Are you Creating Toxic Conversation?

The amount of venom on the Web never ceases to amaze me. I’ve seen so many innocent posts that have good conversation happening in the comments brought up short by someone who has nothing better to do than to leave derogatory comments.

I understand disagreement is unavoidable. I understand that differing viewpoints make the world go ’round. What I don’t understand is why people feel the need to be abusive.

Take James’ Christmas post as an example. James asked me to take a look at the post before publishing. Frankly, I saw nothing wrong with the story. In my eyes, it wasn’t a controversial or sensitive subject. It was just a post about a man’s thoughts. James has posted far more controversial content, I think, and in the past I’ve suggested toning those down.

I never expected the Christmas post to receive massive backlash.

Many people are disgusted and shocked at the choice James made. I’m equally – if not more – shocked and disgusted at some responses the post received.

This type of behavior is typical on some of the social media sites I’ve visited (and dumped). This behavior is what gives many message boards, places like MySpace, and Digg a bad name. These types of angry comments add nothing to the conversation.

If you disagree, fine. Be an adult about it. Add a useful comment to the thread.

I find it very difficult to ignore flame-seeking trolls. Their lack of respect and immaturity gets my back up. To say anything in defense or retaliation only leads to a mess. Ignoring angry commentators often makes the situation worse.

I find it difficult sticking to our policy of posting every comment. We don’t edit comments or delete them if they aren’t glowing. We put up with the good and the bad. What we’ve been seeing lately makes the respect and tolerance we offer all the more difficult to maintain.

The Internet is a great place with many opportunities, but it seems that people enjoy the advantages while forgetting common courtesy.

You talk about being kind to your fellow man? Keep in mind that kindness isn’t reserved for the homeless guy on the corner. Respect extends to everyone.

You want to be taken seriously? Think before you comment. Extend some common courtesy and common sense to the blog owners so that they can take your comments seriously.

I would like to think we are courteous to our readers. We don’t insult anyone’s intelligence. We don’t condescend. We try to provide quality posts with good information. We care about our virtual community.

But when someone drops by and starts off a comment with “Hey, prick,” I have issues.

Think of a blog as someone’s home. You wouldn’t knock on the front door of a random house on the street to verbally abuse the owner. In some places here in the United States, that’s a sure way to get shot.

If you want to change the world and make it a better place, I have two words of advice: Start here.

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.