After reading the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s article about the recent recall elections in Wisconsin, I scrolled down to the comments. What I saw was extremely disappointing. Both sides of the issue posted comments and most of these comments were slanderous, rude, and garbage. They did not have facts to back their claims and they were not even polite. There are about 350 of these comments. Let’s read a couple:
YouAgain300 – Aug 13, 2011 8:10 PM
The rottenness that is the demorat party can no longer be denied, you have to be morally bankrupt to vote for this party of marxists. Lies and deception are there only outputs, why even have a debate with such rottenness. Its nice that the urinal/sentanal can join in the rottenness.
This one is obviously from a conservative who insults the newspaper for reporting the news. Here’s one from the other side:
BruceSpringsteen – Aug 13, 2011 10:12 PM
MEpublicanism is a social disease sure to ruin America. Death to the tea party!
I would wager that the amount of comments added to this article would be much less if jsonline.com used real names for commenting, like the Facebook comment system.
After seeing an “infographic
” on Mashable.com and having a discussion about it in one of my college communications classes , the battle between online anonymity and transparency rages inside of me. In this case anonymity is provoking behavior from “adults” reading and reacting to the news that many would expect from troubled children. I would argue that if those commenting were accountable for their actions–at least by putting their names on their expression–JSOnline and other websites may get a decent dialogue going in the comments. Sure you would still have a couple nut-jobs who don’t care what others think, but it sure wouldn’t be the majority like it is now.
There are many good comments on many JSOnline articles, but whenever a political article is written, this happens. This one time is not an isolated occurrence. I’m all for the First Amendment right of free speech, but I don’t think our founding fathers had this in mind. I think transparency is the obvious answer to this problem.
What do you think about this issue?