A guy threatened to picket the Monitor today. I wouldn’t let him call people “idiots” in a comment on the website.
Lately, since our website comments have been coming in pretty heavily, I’ve been contacting commenters to let them know why their comment is rejected and inviting them to resend a new comment. The responses are almost always understanding and positive.
But this guy wouldn’t have it.
His response, with grammatical and spelling errors corrected, was, “I’ll do you one better than [reposting without name-calling]. I’ll come to the Monroe Monitor building with a picket sign that displays my insults on them nice and big just for you to see it closer. You can take me off your website but not your sidewalk. I’ll make sure it reads ‘mentally stunted’ just for you.”
Mentally stunted or not, we do have a few items that keep comments off the website. With the exception of a couple of weekends ago when our filters got set way too low and a bunch of unsavory comments went back and forth before we could get online and clean up, we will read all comments before they are posted. And we reserve the right to reject any comment.
So, here is a very short list of things that we won’t accept, either in the hardcopy Monitor or on the website. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but hopefully it will be a good guideline.
- Please don’t call names and be otherwise insulting. Your point, I promise, is better stated without insults.
- Please don’t write unsubstantiated “facts” about people or businesses. We are not a gossip rag. If you really have a problem with a person or a business, take your evidence to the proper court, or whatever, and deal with it there. If it’s a big enough deal, the story might make it into the Monitor someday.
- In the hardcopy Monitor, we do still publish the name and city of letter writers. Please send us a phone number, as well, so that we may contact you to confirm that you are who you say you are.
Really, that’s about it! It all comes down to being civil and factual. For most of us, it’s a no-brainer.
I doubt that those who send us their horror stories of individuals or businesses without substantiating documentation are working out of malice. They feel that they have been slighted or cheated or underserved and their comments are just an outburst of unhappiness. I get that.
But the others, the insulters; that’s a whole different thing.
There is a name, I’ve found, for those who can’t manage civility in a website comment; in fact, they thrive on being aggressive and hurtful in their comments. They are called “trolls.”
A study was completed earlier this year at the University of Manitoba about trolls and trolling. It concluded – surprise, surprise – that trolls are, at the very least, Machiavellian in their beliefs, and are probably sadistic, perhaps even antisocial, personalities.
Very simply, trolls use the internet to remain anonymous while they intentionally make other people uncomfortable. And, because of the existence of trolls, our website filters will always be on high.
Thank you for understanding what we are trying to do here. Please, keep your letters and comments coming! Almost 100 percent of them are fit for publication and we, your readers, appreciate them.
Kathie Savelesky is the office manager of the Monroe Monitor & Valley News.