Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Internet Anonymity

Heaven knows why I signed up to post comments on the websites for our local newspaper and one of our TV network affiliates. I stupidly believed there might be some intelligent exchange about current events. An opportunity to clarify points or seek other viewpoints.

Instead, I've been saddened by the mean spirited tone of the majority of comments posted on these two sites.

Because the posts are anonymous, people believe they can insult and defame the subjects of the news story, the reporter who wrote the story, and everyone who posted an opinion contrary to their own.

Their posts also display poor grammar and even worse spelling.

And some show a frightening need for mental health intervention.

Sadly, too many of the comments parrot sound bites that offer simple solutions to extremely complicated issues. They blame the world's problems on the scapegoat du jour. Any attempt to address the complexity of the topic or situation is met with potty-mouth speculation about the author's parentage.

These commenters don't want to be educated about the subject. They only want to express their anger and frustration and, in the process, reveal their ignorance. They are the folks who've made up their minds and don't you dare confuse them with the facts.

With the anonymity offered by the Internet, these folks feel free to bully anyone and everyone who can think for her- or himself.

Too bad.

The commentary forums at news media web sites could be a place to intelligently exchange opinions and information about the subject matter. Instead, they are the soap box for small minds.


wilsonc said...

Oh Mary I've found this to be true too. I don't even read the comments on stories anymore because of the kind of people who dominate them. They just want to be ugly and right. They don't want to be discerning and think.

gtyyup said...

Well, dang...I just spent 15 min doing a comment that went off into the blogosphere somewhere!!!

In short...you are so right...I'm right there with you on that one!

Rising Rainbow said...

I could probably get going on this topic pretty easily myself. The problem is the only ones who listen are those who wouldn't act like this in the first place so I'm just going to add I'm right there with you too! It's a sad commentary on the state if things.

gowestferalwoman said...

ditto - public debate has reached a new low...

Do Parents and Teachers not teach Children how to "point and counter point" in a constructive way anymore?

And in most of these forums, when their argument has been nullified by sound statements of fact, the original antagonist pulls the "bully card" to justify themselves for slinging mud everywhere...