Our segment about website comments provoked a heated response. We read a few of your letters.
And now for a few of your letters: Many of you weighed in on our segment about the comments readers leave on websites, comments we said were, quote, "sometimes frustrating, maddening and extremely discouraging."
Ethan Stanislawski of New York City registered frustration of his own with, naturally, a comment on our website. He wrote, quote, "The Internet has not dumbed down human rhetoric. Newspapers always got angry, hateful letters. The Internet has just made it easier to send that kind of message for people who wouldn't go the extra mile and pay postage.
That's why if newspapers are to have comments, they need to regulate them to the same extent they regulate letters to the editor."
Mike from Phoenix, Arizona took it a step further. Quote, "You should make people sign up for a user name and password and log Internet protocol addresses for all who post. That way you can IP-ban the worst offenders. Failing that, just disable the thing. There's no reason all media need be interactive."
Well Mike, disabling the thing is exactly what our friends at This American Life did when their discussion forum devolved into a series of ad hominums directed at their guests. Host Ira Glass talked about the decision to do away with comments on our show a couple of weeks ago, but not everyone saw it his way.
CatherineD wrote, "Wow, I just kept waiting for both of you to say, 'You kids get off of my digital lawn.' Pathetic!"
And, finally, JuleS from Chicago wrote, "If we allow pornography to be in plain sight on newsstands, what's wrong with stating one's opinion of someone else's politics or beliefs or opinions in an insulting way? As we've heard so many times before, our freedoms come at a high price. Like it or not, it's an all‑or‑nothing package."
Whether we like them or not, we hope you keep your comments coming. Send them to our inbox at Onthemedia@wync.org, or post them publicly on our website at Onthemedia.org.
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