The Web can be a cruel world

You never know what someone is going to say about you or your business on the Internet. Because so many sites allow user feedback, reviews and commenting, the conversation becomes globally massive.

I know on our news Web sites, TheTimesNews.com, the discussion gets heated real quick. People say almost anything and do everything in their power to bypass our filtration system which is designed to filter out cursing and inappropriate dialogue. If people want to say something, they will find a way.

Online commentors write slanderous comments, accuse people of things that are simply untrue, but they don’t care. Because most online opinions are voiced anonymously, it makes it easy for a user to say what is really on their mind and difficult to find out the truth.

If someone writes about a local politician having an affair with his secretary, it might be false, but it is sure to stir something up among local government officials and certainly in the politicians family.

If someone doesn’t like a product or has a bad experience at a store or restaurant, they can write about it online. Their negative experience might be the only one, but if they blow it up and plaster it all over the Internet, it can be misleading to the rest of the audience.

I think that any sort of commenting or rating system online should not be anonymous. I think we should be able to see who is writing. Obviously it is near impossible to filter out people who will make up aliases online to deceive the public, but it’s worth a try.

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