Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rules We Can Live With

John McIntyre writes about blog comments and the need to police them. I couldn't agree more, having been on the receiving end of some of the abuse he mentions but also as a reader of many blogs.

There's something odd that happens when people are commenting anonymously. Some of them turn into lunatics. (UPDATE: ABC has this story about a criminal libel case involving Craigslist.)

An auto writer I know came in for a great deal of abuse a few months ago when he wrote about Steve McQueen and his car in the movie "Bullitt" and mentioned McQueen's co-star. The abusive commenter sent him some of the nastiest, ugliest remarks to the effect that the writer was stupid,ignorant, shouldn't be writing, etc., etc., because McQueen didn't have a co-star. To which the reporter calmly replied by noting that the "co-star" he referred to was the car (which was quite clear to anyone who read the column.) The abuser's reply? "Oh, okay."

And I just this morning removed a comment from another blog unrelated to this one that called someone, by name, a child abuser and gay basher.

So, yes, bring on some controls because this wide-open system is foolish. I don't know how people have the time to seize on postings the minute they go up and post their useless and ugly remarks--though I suspect some political organizations are paying people to watch and post on certain blogs--but they add nothing to the value of the discussion.

And yes, I know about that pesky First Amendment thing. Get your own blog; we don't owe you a platform.

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