Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The scourge of online incivility

Many people say things online that they would never say to others in person. Check out message boards and comment sections on news articles to see what I mean.
They’re often filed with insults, profanity and hate speech.
Where is the intelligent discourse, the fruitful exchange of ideas and common courtesy?
The Internet has given millions the chance to interact around the world. But often what shines through is how rude and mean some people are.
It reminds me of a great comic by Tom Tomorrow called “If Real Life Were More Like The Internet” from his This Modern World series on Salon. (See above. Click on image for full-size view.)
Tech analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates in January took Yahoo to task for not policing the comments on its news articles. He described many of the comments as “odious.”
In a follow-up article, Kay noted that Yahoo had closed the comments section on a news story about the sexual assault of CBS correspondent Lara Logan in Egypt. In a later article, he noted more progress by Yahoo in managing its comments sections.
That’s good news.

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