HomeHome : News : Nov 03, 2011

Keeping Up with the Netizens

November 3, 2011 — by Per Christensson

Last December, I wrote an update about my frustration with website comment sections. While these sections are designed to encourage discussion among readers, they are often filled with nothing more than vicious, offensive rants.

It is not surprising then, that the news of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries' divorce has produced an endless stream of malicious commentary. I first read the news on CNN.com, then proceeded to skim the comments following the story. Every single one of the dozens of comments I read was some sort of snide remark about the couple. Statements ranged from the sarcastic "I am so shocked" to personal attacks I prefer not to republish.

I wonder how many people who decided to share their opinion have actually met Kim or Kris. Probably none of them. They just heard snippets from the news and have developed their own bias. The truth is, both Kim and Kris are probably going through some really difficult times right now. I feel especially bad for Kris, who said in his only statement that he was blindsided by the news. Any sympathy from the web crowd? Not a chance.

Based on my correspondence with Sharpened.net visitors, I am fortunate that my audience is neither base or ignoble, like those whose comments I read. But it's a good reminder for all of us to not speak about things we don't know. Somehow, it has become offensive to speak up for what you believe is right, but completely acceptable to mock what you think is wrong. I don't understand it. What I do know, however, is that a little compassion can go a long way.