“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?” (Hamlet Act 3, Scn 1)
If there is a truism that I have learnt reading and writing on this Internet place, and it is one that perplexes me, is that anonymity and instant nonverbal communication leads to some very rude, and offensive conversations. Though I think that perhaps a diatribe is a more appropriate description.
Why is it that when people are safely tucked away in front of their monitors taping away at their keyboards, hidden behind virtual walls, they feel safe and free to write some of the most vitriolic abuse one can imagine. It’s not even confined to the more contentious blogs, say political or religious, on the web. Just a stroll though some of the more mainstream forums like Trade Me, you will discover some downright disturbing threads. I myself tend to live by the rule that you should never type what you wouldn’t be willing to say to family, friends, colleagues, bosses and customers to their face.
Some sites have vigorous moderation policies, and obviously the manpower to police them, some sites seem to just have open slaver and only act on complaints.
Fortunately for us here and in the library online world in general, we have managed to maintain what I would describe as a civilised discourse. There are however issues we need to consider in setting up a blog, or other social media site. As you know I believe in freedom of speech, and freedom of information, but there are limits to that and those limits need to be sensible and reasonable. How much do we limit here or there or anywhere as we seek to engage our communities?
To be, or not to be isn’t the question: Nay say to limit or not to limit.