I’ve been thinking about comment ratings. It seems most Web sites now have some sort of ability for people to rate (+/-, thumbs up/thumbs down) people’s comments. I think it was originally created as a way for users to self-police their communities. It’s nice to not have to read spam and incredibly offensive diatribes that have nothing to do with the conversation because some other users have kindly rated them down to the hidden status.
However, what about all those comments that are rated down simply because a lot of people don’t agree with them? Are we silencing voices on the one plane that has traditionally been truly free in terms of speech and conversation? I am guilty of this myself. I don’t like what someone says and without thinking twice I give them a thumbs down/ a negative/ a 1 star. Not only does this kill the conversation and silence thought, it makes for lazy users. People who could have addressed the comment in a reply now lazily show opposition to the statement with a simple click of a button.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of “thumbs downed” comments on Digg:
- Regarding an article about a lawmaker in Kentucky who is trying to pass a bill in his community disallowing anonymity on the Internet.
mdude85 posts: “I think some form of internet accountability is very important, but this particular bill leaves a lot to be desired. I guess it’s a step in the right direction though.
Anyway, as I interpret it, requiring non-anonymity on the Internet is not a violation of 1st Amendment privacy rights. If you consider the Internet as a public place (accessible by right or invitation, expressed or implied), then posting on-line is akin to making a comment in public. The right to privacy only holds in private places, not public ones. So requiring an ID to make an internet post would not be an invasion of privacy (even if you are using the Internet from a private place such as your home).”
-Negative 18 Diggs Continue reading »