The Crass Content of Comments

One of my morning rituals is to grab a coffee and scroll through the local news in my Google reader. Online newspapers have embraced the commenting and rating options as a popular upgrade to web 2.0 enablement. The downside of comments is that people comment. Dumb people. People who's main goal is one of simple irritation and aggravation. People who, when it comes right down to it, likely shouldn't even own a computer. :-\

The fights and flamewars and name calling suggest that when push comes to shove, Canadians aren't any better behaved than the rest of the world. West against east. West and east against Toronto... there's no end to the silly things that online viewers can bicker about in news story comments.

I know - everyone's entitled to their opinion, and to defend it, but wow, the lengths that people go to, the tactics, the fact that they can just be a nameless, faceless person on the internet will always give them licence to  behave badly.

The solution: It's coming, identities on the internet. Reputation rating, authentication. If you want to be involved in something, you've got to have your identity authenticated. No more hiding in anonymity. Some sites have already implemented these initiatives, linking your personal to OpenID, or your Google account. But newspapers seem to be loathe to institute these options, likely for fear that people will stop commenting. (No one wants to get caught behaving badly, if they can't hide behind a pseudonym). Their feeling is likely one of "even bad comments are good comments"....

:-(

It would be nice to have a little helping of accountability along with comments. If only to act as a lunch monitor in a cafeteria full of 12 year olds.