A group for political progressives and warriors for truth and justice. Socialism isn’t a bad word here.
Empowering Angry People?
August 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm #107097
I recently read Steven Clift (eDemocracy.org) holding forth on the issue of major online news sites contentedly “empowering the angriest people in society with the design of their online news commenting systems.”
Steve in interested in conversrations at the local level and heI sees the mainstream media (like the BBC) featuring online news commenting essentially promoting division and discord by intent online in local communities.
He went on to say,
“They are not reflecting a conflicted society, they are giving mega phones to the 1% on the extremes and allowing the other 98% of us to be driven away. At some point I hope media sites begin to survey their communities on the damage to their own reputation for poor stewardship of online interactivity.”
Steve’s partial solution was to require people’s real names during such postings so we at least have transparency. Do you agree with his observation that we are empowering the wrong voices and if so do you have alternative solutions?
August 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm #107113
Censorship? Is that the American way. Who fired the first shot in the American Revolution. Was it Ben Franklin or some Irate Minuteman?
August 3, 2010 at 12:42 am #107111
I don’t think that Steven Clift was talking about firing shots or revolution, but of conversations. The issue is more of one of hearing more voices and perhaps more thoughtful ones. I think of a goal as a desire for more light than heat
Nor do I think that consorship is the issue. Steven idea was to add transparency so that we know who is saying what.
August 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm #107109
I agree whole-heartedly.
August 4, 2010 at 10:39 am #107107
Well, I believe that if the peoples (and by that I mean the people on the street) can vent their frustrations at the problems, at least a minimum correction will be made. It wont do any good to lock them out, lock them up, burn their books, or destroy their computers. If they can ring a bell in somebodies head then it resonates. If it is spite and vindictiveness then people can judge for themselves.
The real problem is that there are so many ways that the government is working around the will of the people and trying to carry out policies contrary to the American People that there must be a forum for them to express their views. There will be a forum for them somewhere.
August 4, 2010 at 11:09 am #107105
I agree that people have a right to express their views. However, I think that there is too much air time given to people who do not just express their views, they verbally attack those who oppose their views. And, the attacks aren’t always focused on the other person’s viewpoint, but on their character, their hair style and then resort to attacking their opponents families! Open, respectful, balanced discussions with differing points of view to include proposed solutions should be encouraged. Mud slinging shouldn’t be given all the air time it gets.
August 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm #107103
Again “lock them out, lock them up, burn their books, or destroy their computers” is not what Steven Clift was talking about. It distorts the conversation to bring these in ad hominem.
An angry person has no more or less a right to a book then a calm person. They may be reading different books and so I want to be sure to hear about all the thoughts they have from all the books.
It is giving all a voice that is of issue here and I would hope that all concerns can be listened to in a reasoned way without monopolizing time so that all can be heard and in a deliberate fashion.
October 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm #107101
Hey all, I just bumped into this discussion.
Ask any local official, general member of the public about what they think of the anonymous online news commenting in their community and 9 out of 10 will shake their heads.
It is not that newspapers don’t have a right to host anonymous speech, it is that by encouraging as the mainstream method of online participation they are undermining local democracy and community. They are tarnishing their reputation and turning most people off.
There is a reason Facebook works for far more people in terms of interactivity than blogs – the trust from real names. Having worked in the MN state legislature I can tell you exactly where all the anonymous letters went – in the trash. If we want citizens to have power they need viable opportunities online to use their real names. We’ve been doing this since 1994 and it works: http://e-democracy.org
Anyone can host anonymous speech online, I just expect higher quality from the local media. Promote real names first and have a moderated channel for anonymous/whistle blower speech.
We’ve been working with immigrant communities and online participation recently – http://e-democracy.org/inclusion – and their perspective is informative. They’ve been driven away from public spaces online because they are tired of being attacked and told to “go home” everyday. This is our generation’s virtual cross-burning … no doubt about it. But instead the media is providing all the materials. Now wonder it is such a mess.
October 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm #107099
Nice to have your update.
Recently there was a discussion on the NYT By BOB TEDESCHI on “two sharp-tongued advertising industry blogs, posted comments blaming the sites for contributing to ad executive Paul Tilley’s suicide.”
Some of the disucssion of this is at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/03/business/media/03blog.html?sort=recommended” target=”_blank”>http://community.nytimes.com/comments/http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/03/business/media/03blog.html?sort=recommended
It started with the question, “Why should Web site operators or Web hosts bear any responsibility at all for anonymously posted comments?”, and used comparison to the Postal Service who doesn’t bear responsibility for mail fraud and other crimes when the U.S. mail isutilized. Another exampe a person argued was the the phone company not bearing responsibility for threatening calls made over its lines.
A counter point was that The 1st Amendment does NOT guarantee that speakers remain Anonymous! and that commentors on the internet should either be:
“required to verify their identities or have their comments rejected if not meeting the smell test of simple human decency. It’s like those hunting websites where a ‘hunter’ can control a robot rifle on a game preserve somewhere. A guy in his pajamas pushes a few keys in his den,and somewhere in Texas a real deer goes down. There are consequences to what we say and do on or off the Internet. Anonymity should not provide a pass on civility.”
One commenter’s idea was that:
“They should Require NAMES under certain circumstances. It is that simple: as a society we should do this to prevent harm where possible and because there is no alternative way of preventing harm.
The method could be simple (and given the risk, well worth the effort): A series of questions are applied which determine whether a name should be required. There must be a way to verify the bona fides of the name supplied. Does the message state facts, opinion, etc. about a third party? If so, is any of the message negative? If Yes, then the Web site ought to require a bona fide name (the name MUST be proven bona fide or the system does not work).”
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