Over the years, I’ve been asked more than a few times why the Democrat doesn’t allow comments on its website.
My standard answer, of course, is that that answer is above my pay grade. It’s one of the beautiful things about being freelance these days; I get to pass the buck.
But if you press me, I’ll gladly throw in my 2 cents. I may not have anything to do with the decision not to allow comments, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support it.
I spend my days working online, and here’s the truth: people on the Internet are cruel, unspeakably so.
Empowered by the computer that shields their true identities from the world, the average Internet commenter will say things online that they wouldn’t dare say in person or even in a letter to the editor that requires their signature.
In fact, after five years working nearly full-time on the Internet, I have come to realize five things about 97 percent of Internet commenters:
1. Commenter does not mean reader. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written a story about X only to read a comment about Y … because the person decided to weigh in based simply on the headline or after reading the first paragraph or (and this happens more than you’d think) because the person is just plain cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
2. Trolls don’t just live under bridges. For every person who is really fueled up about the issue at hand, there is always at least one (at LEAST) who is there simply to stir the pot. It’s easy to get sucked into their web of nonsense, but it’s not worth it … it’s like to trying to negotiate with terrorists, you will never win; you’ll just find yourself sucking down blood pressure pills.
3. Spell check is a luxury they can’t afford to skip. We all make mistakes. I type all day LONG, I’m bound to make more than a few of them myself. But when my 7-year-old has a better grasp on spelling and punctuation than you, it might be wise to stay off the Internet. Or at least think about who the real “mooron” is? Speaking of insulting the writer …
4. They like to attack writers. But they aren’t very good at it. I’ve been called “Mrs. Sanger” or “Jeanine Segar” enough times that I should be having an identity crisis. But none of the mutilations of my name tickle me quite as much as the angry woman who once referred to me as a “social path.”
5. They’re mean for no reason. Go ahead, call me everything but a human being. But is there any reason to look at a photo of my 7-year-old and call her ugly? Is there any reason to pick on ANY child? Oh, dear evil Internet commenter, go back to the hole in the ground that you came from …
Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?
Image via Steve Johnson/Flickr