When I was a youngster politeness was everything. I remember being taught about the EBBOM; in the 80s it was all about the EBBOM. Thirty years on and it is something that would still be a valuable lesson to some.
There are excellent articles on This Is South Devon web portal and there are those not so good but all are written by people in the community who have something they consider important enough to say. Freedom of speech is still a valued societal possession and incentivised by this kind of online media, regardless of status.
But for a moment I want to focus on the comments sections of the portal and more precisely the commentators. You know the bane of those that write the articles not because of challenges to actuality of content but their abject lack of constructive debate. Look closely because at times This Is becomes a cesspool of unintelligent slandering…
Recently, a news story about a serious accident on the A380 near the Pen Inn was met within a few minutes by the comment: 'Yet another reason why we need a bypass. When that road is closed, you get grid lock."
Then Sara Elliot's article about a knife amnesty received the comment: 'Look at these knives, most of them have nothing to do with street crime, just a lot of misfits getting rid of old junk they had hung on the walls of their bedsits.'
Then an article about gay and lesbian foster parents was intruded by the banal comment: '13 foster parents now needed in Syria. Anyone from Totnes interested.' (Fortunately, this comment was later removed presumably following a report).
These are three examples of why stricter moderation is now essential. Where is the natural concern for the safety and well-being of those caught in the accident; where the understanding of the fact that more weapons are out of service; where the moral fortitude to resist writing something in appalling taste?
This Is has become an opportunist window through which can be thrown the most tedious, unintelligent and sometimes malicious words.
Ladies and Gents it is time to bring in the heavies. What is currently rife within the portal should be attended to without hesitation. The bigots, the armchair politicians, the backseat drivers need to look within themselves and begin constructive commenting capable of initiating sensible adult debate otherwise they need to be thrown off at the next stop.
Engage Brain Before Opening Mouth