Think. Type. Enter.

posted in: Creative | 4

Dahlia: Have you seen the news lately? There’s [something so bad] that happened this afternoon! Three middleaged men from Red Park were wounded. I think they’re still in hospital.

Tulip: I’ve read it on [local trusted news site]! Can’t believe the extent people would go through just for money. Looks like most of the country are backing the older one’s son now.

Dahlia: Is that so? But that doesn’t even make sense.

Tulip: Well, if you read the comments readers left below the article – they’re shocking. Almost every single one of them was in favour of the son’s actions. How upsetting!

Dahlia: Ahh, but they do have a right to hold their own opinion-

Tulip: Hold their own opinion? Have you seen the nasty remarks people make on every article? Their narrow-mindedness shines through every word they type!

Dahlia: I’ve read them before on other articles, but the comment box is just there so people can voice what’s on their mind and let everybody know how they feel about the situation.

Tulip: Yes, I agree with that, perhaps that is why news sites have the option of commenting on stories. But having said that, I’m sure it’s there to encourage intellectual discussions and debates. 9 times out of 10 people are just swearing, insulting and cursing whom they ‘feel’ is at ‘fault’

Dahlia: *shrug* I think you’re taking this a little too much to heart – ever heard ‘freedom of speech’?

Tulip: Sure I have. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to make baseless accusations and untrue statements. And if they do have something to say, it’s possible that they can say it in a dignified manner that is not offensive to anybody.

Dahlia: I see what you’re saying, sister. But that’s life. Everybody’s entitled to their own views.

Tulip: They do. I’d go nuts if I were really surrounded by people who make such comments in my presence. What baffles me is, their blatant intolerance. Seriously – is this what they taught you at school? At college? What about home – have your elders not taught you respect? A little sense so that when you do speak people will take you seriously and actually consider the content of your point. How can you even engage in a discussion where everybody is so biased and unwilling to hear the other side of the story?

Dahlia: No I guess it’s not possible to engage in any kind of thought-provoking discussions. But I do know that news sites have people to monitor the comments to keep control of the situation.

Tulip: If people thought out their responses properly and made contributions that are intellectually stimulating, I don’t think any news site would need to censor or regulate discussions. People complain that their comments get deleted, but they don’t take note of the fact that had they made a comment that was really worth the read, it would not have gotten deleted in the first place.

Dahlia: Heh, good point. Maybe it’s just in the heat of the moment that they say these things. But that’s no excuse. They’re adults. I think you should write to them… to them all commentors on news sites, like a blog post: “To All Those Who Do Not Think Before They Comment

Tulip: *chuckle* that sounds so tempting, I tell you! Verbally shake them up and help them understand that their intolerance and biased remarks are not the way forward.

~ * ~

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on local news sites and have come across the most atrocious comments made about almost everything imaginable. They are often insulting and offensive. It is quite disturbing as we live in an information-based society where we are supposed to be equipped with a wider knowledge and understanding of things around us, making us more tolerant and patient in times of adversity. Instead, there are biased remarks and accusations that are laced with a deep misunderstanding of the subject matter. Not every single one of us can claim complete understanding of any single topic, and for the part that we are unaware of, simply avoid it altogether or admit we have limited exposure and understanding of the topic. Like the saying goes “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all“, apply the same principle – if we have nothing worthy to contribute, we shouldn’t contribute at all.

Follow Saajida Akabor:

Digital Copywriter

Freelance digital copywriter; animal-lover; reader; photography enthusiast; and a tea drinker.

4 Responses

  1. YellowCable

    Completely agreed. I have seen a good discussion starting and only it takes one or two person to derails into name callings, insulting etc. I think sitting remotely at your own seclude room does not help with networking society. You do not see body language or tone of voice of the other persons. People become careless to what they type. They can do so without any fear of consequences because of the true identity is hidden. The information society needs different kind of up bringing, in my opinion.

  2. Saajida

    That’s so true. Because nobody sees you, you feel more confident to make such statements.

    I think society needs to remind themselves of what is respectful and what’s not. A simple way to find out if what you’re saying is offensive is to apply the statement to yourself – how would you react if something like that was said about you, about your friends or about your family? If it hits home and you feel the pinch, then you know what you’re saying is something unpleasant and should be avoided.

  3. Arins

    Agreed. Ninety-five percent of the comments that are made online are made because the poster thinks he/she is safely sitting at home where no one would ever know their identity. Let them meet the person face-to-face and the poster would most likely be less vocal about their thoughts/opinions. What is bothersome is the name-calling/insults and so on. It is absolutely possible to entertain a good dialogue/debate online, provided people are willing to be open-minded, tolerant and respectful.

Your thoughts?