Talk Back but play nice: Trolls steer clear

Dateline: Fri 17 Aug 2007

For some time now, Pete Miesel of Boulder and formerly of Indy has expressed amazement at some of the inflammatory/crude/racist remarks that make it on the Star's Talk Back online function. He wasn't alone in his observations, because he noticed today that the Star has posted new "rules" suggesting "constructive commentary" on its site.

Miesel said he most egregious incident he ever saw of a slanderous or libelous nature was a poster who commented that a Pacers player, named in the post, was a known "drug dealer and user". This was during the endless "Pacers are thugs" thread, says Miesel.

Notes Miesel: "When I pointed out that internet forums are public places, and that the poster better be sure of what they're saying because both the Star and the Pacers' player would be quite interested in such an accusation. The poster proceeded to call me a lot of nasty names for the next week or so.

He goes on: "Even more problematic is when there's a high profile arrest, and people claiming to be relatives or friends of the acquaintances begin arguing specifics of the case. The whole pathetic saga of Nancy Dyer and her child who ran on the highway was played out ad infinitum on the boards, and numerous inflammatory statements were directed towards CPS, the police, Dyer herself, and Dyer's family. MANY of the statements were actionable, in my opinion, and I couldn't believe the Star allowed the threads on that case to get that out of hand."

Pete points out that obviously, blogs and the Internet serve a useful purpose. But he's been troubled, he says, by how the Star had allowed things to get so out of hand.

Here are the new rules, from the Star's website:

"TalkBack is intended for constructive commentary on stories in the

news. We recognize that some opinions will offend some readers who

disagree. That is the reality of the vigorous opinion-exchange process that we want TalkBack to encourage. However, TalkBack is not the place for

racist or bigoted commentary or otherwise offensive name-calling. Nor is it the place for unsubstantiated allegations against others. We reserve the right to remove any remark we find offensive. To advise us

of comments that we should review, site users may click on the "Flag"

advisory that is at the top right of each TalkBack post."

No trolls allowed.

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