Accountability has gone right out the window

May 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

The past 10 days or so have been very hectic, and I’ve learned a couple of things about participating in an online discussion that I guess I’ve always known to be true, but it’s all come back home since this H1N1 virus hit.

Some of you, out there in Internet land, are just frickin’ rude.

Mind you, I’m not talking about getting my own feelings hurt.  What I’m talking about here is that the Internet has allowed anyone to have an anonymous voice for saying  whatever they want to say.

I’m all about free speech, but I’m also about taking responsibility for your actions.

I’ve learned (and again, I already knew this, but boy it hit home) that some people just need something to complain about.  If you don’t put info out there for them, they complain.  If you do put info out there for them, the complain about the info that you’ve put out, or the info that you’re not putting out that they need to know right now.

Case and point.  Our district started a Twitter account just as another avenue to get information to the public about what was going on with the closure due to H1N1.  There were people who signed up for Twitter accounts just to follow us, and some of those people, the only posts they had on their Twitter accounts were @ reply complaints to us (dig through some of those…there’s some really nasty ones).  Seriously.  If the only reason you’re signing up for an account is to gripe, don’t sign up.  And by the way, if you’re going to be rude and demanding information, don’t expect an answer.

There was another gentleman who followed us that griped when we tweeted the proceedings of a school board meeting.  If we hadn’t put any info out, he probably would have complained about that, too.

Another problem I have with all of this anonymous griping is that now the news sites are getting in on the game.  They allow anyone to register for an account and comment on their stories.  In the past, people who wrote letters to the editor of a newspaper at least had to have their name verified, and their name and city got published along with their letter, opening them to public ridicule if their comments were stupid.

Now, there isn’t any accountability, and that, combined with people’s lack of tact and a filter, has lead the stupid right out in the open.

Just take a look at any of your local news sites and you’ll see exactly what I mean.  The comments about “the illegals” and the personal sniping that has gone in the comments sections of the local stories about H1N1 just shows how idiotic people can be, and I don’t think it has any place on a news site.

Whatever happened to shame?  Whatever happened to disgracing your family name?  There was a time in America where people had morals, and when the moral code was broken, people were shamed.  That moral code has gotten looser and looser, to the point where nothing is shameful anymore.

Now don’t get me confused with some right-wing nut job.  I think that people ought to be left alone to do their own thing, but when others start trying to tell me that this or that is going to ruin the moral fabric of this country, I just have to look around and laugh.  The moral fabric of this country was tattered and torn long, long ago, and the people screaming the loudest are more than likely the ones who helped rip it to shreds.

So what will the turning point be?  When will poeple STFU and realize that they sound stupid when they spout off?  Will it take a major news site requiring the name and address of anyone who wants to comment, and publishing that information along with their comments?  I don’t know, but something has to give, and soon.  Children are growing up now with a sense that they can say whatever they want, whenever they want, and suffer no consequences.

What happened to the consequences of saying something stupid, or acting like a jerk in public?


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