Sometimes I get sucked in. I know better. But sometimes, when it’s a good article, I think, “Oh I’ll just take a look at what people have said.” This n-e-v-e-r ends well.
On websites like CNN, or any major news network, I *never* look at ComBoxes. It makes the soul sick.
Sadly, though, it seems that even on websites that are frequented by Catholics, the lack of charity and consideration in comment boxes is rampant. I’m not entirely sure why this is. But it makes me very sad.
Lately I only read the comments on personal, family based blogs with any regularity. Even on some of these blogs, if the topic at hand is serious enough, the ComBox monster rears its ugly head, even among otherwise faithful, loving people.
When I was growing up, one of the major lessons that my grandparents taught me was that “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” I’d be surprised if most children (especially Christian children) weren’t still being raised with this message.
However, there’s something about the ComBox. Perhaps its because we’re sitting alone in our home or a coffee shop, and we feel insulated by the anonimity of it all.
Perhaps its because we just feel so strongly about a topic that we dash off a comment without thinking about how it might be taken by the person on the other end of the screen.
The majority of bloggers are not being handsomely paid for their writing. They are taking time away from their family and other duties to share something they have poured themselves into. It seems almost cruel the way some people will stomp on the words of others, simply because they do not agree. Internet forums seem to make this human tendency even worse.
So what do we do about the ComBox monster?
For some people, it might be to never read comments on certain sites, or even at all. For others, perhaps they feel called to set an example for others by showing charity.
I rarely comment on large news type stories, though I do occasionally comment at Faith and Family Live or National Catholic Register. I follow a simple set of rules for commenting:
(1) I never say anything I wouldn’t want someone to say to me.
(2) I never say anything I wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
I can’t help but wonder if those two little rules might help reduce the allure of the ComBox monster?
How do you deal with internet comments? Do you leave them? Do you have any rules for your own for posting comments? Why do you think the ComBox monster is so prevalent?