Friday, May 18, 2012

Offensive Comment Moderation

During our last class meeting, we went over a LA Times story of violence and murder and examined the comments that were left in reaction to this. Although there were some good, well thought-out responses there were also many negative, racist, and insensitive ones. Although some may argue for freedom of speech and that comments shouldn't have to be monitored or deleted, many don't realize what these hateful/ignorant comments cause, and how it affects the people in the situation along with their family and friends.

For this I have a very personal example. One of my best friends, Michael Jones, was shot and killed this past February in my home town Pleasant Hill. It's not a violent place at all, has very little crime, and is somewhat expensive to live in. A local online news site reported on the story and had a section at the bottom open for commentary by readers. While many people of the community were saying nice things about our friend and giving condolences, there was a large amount of unbelievably harsh, ignorant comments left. People who didn't even know Mike personally were talking about him being a bad person, along with the rest of our guy friends in our close group.

The posts began to get so out of hand, that they ended the option to comment- however everything that had been posted remains on the site. Yes, it is interesting to see discussion amongst those in the community and hear what they have to say, but the insensitivity of many of these ignorant people have really hurt his family, and all of our friends. It also makes us look like bad people from the repetitive negative comments, when in reality they don't know us personally or have never met us. Commentary on these types of online news stories should be monitored and deleted under certain circumstances. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a terrific recent example of the challenges involving comment moderation, which raises a number of issues about family privacy, respect for the dead, community values, and how groups of people collectively debate the truth. Certainly it is extremely relevant to our class discussion. Based on your experiences, what guidelines do you think news sources should follow?