09/14/08 94 W - + 7 - 14 The Power and Problems of Those Anonymous Posts

Whatever your opinion of the reported comments of a high-profile law enforcement officer in last week's News & Observer, reader responses caused quite a problem for those moderating comments on the web site. Friday's paper offered this perspective. Anonymous comments can indeed be a bear. Fingers fly, readers return fire, and a big honkin' stew of negativity can result. We're better at e-mail, having learned over the years to curb instinctive emotional responses when necessary. Maybe we'll eventually get better with postings, even when they're anonymous.

Anonymous posts give people a sense of independence and power. Emotions usually flare, and, well, all you have to do is look at the comments that were posted on N&O and on WRAL and you get the picture. I think that the anonymity of the postings allow a person to say what’s on their mind, even if they did not think it through completely. And it also gives a chance to express themselves in a manner they cannot otherwise do. No matter where your personal feelings are, many people cannot express their feelings without a fear of backlash. Again, looking at the cited example, if any of us actually agreed with the comments made, how many of us could actually express that, in the open, without some sort of negative consequences?
DJ (Email) - 09/14/08 - 13:07

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