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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | Last updated: 10:53pm

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In response to “Online comments should be intelligent, productive” (by Nathaniel Drake, Jan. 15)

Mr. Drake seems to have written this article after some derogatory comments made from his article “Armed guards can’t prevent tragedy, weapons ban can”. Now due to those comments there is a new article about moderation of comments and how the minority speaks louder for the majority. Which has been the case for everything in real life, which is how the saying “The squeaky mouse gets the cheese” developed.

Sites might be able to moderate comments or rely on others to flag spam or hateful responses. That does not mean that those who post un-friendly posts are wrong in their comments. It’s our right as Americans under the First Amendment. The Virginia Supreme Court just upheld a case in regards to a comment left on Yelp by Jane Perez. She left comment on a contractor whom she was unsatisfied with, she had to edit her post in order to stick with the facts of her complaint; the complaint was left on the website as her First Amendment right. The contractor felt it was defamation of character but the Virginia Supreme Court upheld her right due to unsatisfactory services rendered.

Even though the utopian setiment of making the Internet a friendly and welcoming environment is sweet it also means there is no growth in thoughts, ideas or development. It is the same in the real world especially in writing, if you can’t handle peer reviews, and criticism, then one cannot grow as a writer. That doesn’t mean all of it is useful but out of the many there will be a few that will improve, enlighten, or force one to question. Some of the best journalists, managers, and CEOs I know will happily face criticism, question why there is that criticism and are willing to respond to it regardless of how uncomfortable, unjust, or unwarranted that criticism is. If a writer is unable to handle the fact that what is publish under their name will be reviewed and criticize then they should abstain from publishing. From childhood to adulthood English classes teach to dissect, tear apart and criticize published works. Last semester, we did the same in our creative writing class with our own works and published works. We sat in a circle and had to listen to our work get picked without saying a word and listen to what we did well. At the end we could give our response, then we got letters from each classmate clarifying what they did and did not like about our writing along with edits. It’s a hard pill to swallow but it’s the world of writing, journalism and life. You either accept it with a grain of sand, and humility or argue refusing to listen to anyone else.

— Breanne Kennedy-Pearce

You completely missed the point. Of course free debate should be encouraged. The author never suggested that your views and opinions should be suppressed. The argument being made is that unproductive comments that contain only inflammatory remarks are not necessary and not civil. Above all, these comments only make you look unintelligent. If you disagree, you disagree with every major publishing organization as they all reserve the right to remove inflammatory comments and do so frequently.

— Emily (in response to Breanne Kennedy-Pearce)

Censoring comments is “suppressing views and opinions.” So I think you were the one who missed the point. You seem to agree with the practice of newspapers censoring comments, but you can’t get around the fact that this suppresses views and opinions. Democracy eliminates a lot of incivility. The top comments on Reddit are rarely hateful nonsense because they are filtered by a voting system. This is a much better solution than having journalists unilaterally censor comments, and is also better than a flagging system which can be abused by users.

— Dr. Downing (in response to Emily)


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