Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why the rudeness?

One of my co-workers sent me a link to a newspaper-related blog post about bicycle commuting. The author had interviewed a bike club president about what cyclists didn't like about motorized vehicles. It was an OK article, pretty basic stuff. I don't have the link right now, and even if I did, I wouldn't link to it for the following reason: The comment section was loaded with profanity and hate—on both sides of the issue.

This leads me to ask, why can't the comments be civil? It's not just that post where the problem occurs, either. It seems that most newspaper blogs have comment sections that bring out the worst in people. Why? It isn't just anonymous commenters, either; many people sign their whole name to their comment.

Have we, as a nation, lost the ability to have a reasoned discussion where we don't agree with each other? Why is a disagreement taken as a personal attack? Is the sense of self-worth that tied up in whether or not a bicyclist has the right to ride on the road? I certainly hope not! And, some of the places where I have seen these hate-filled comments are even more trivial than a bicycle issue.

Is there hope for the flowers anymore? I'm beginning to doubt it, at least on a widespread level. Some sites seem to keep a more civil dialogue going, but even there, people show that they are taking offense far more easily than I seem to remember even a few years ago.

Just an
<idle musing>

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