Mar 13, 2008
Amber

Thumbs up/Thumbs down: Silencing Thought?

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 »

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Mar 5, 2008
Amber

Word Gets Around

Word definitely gets around these days. I was intrigued as I followed an interesting story that came up on the local Craigslist Rants & Raves Web site. When people aren’t bickering and racial profiling, sometimes some interesting conversation comes up.

It all started when one poster pasted a forward he/she had received, on to the board:

“Just passing this info on to others.

I had an interesting situation with the Factory Card Outlet over the weekend that I wanted to share with others. I really bothered me and if you feel the same way, I hope you will pass this story along. My daughter is on the Rock Bridge softball team, and they try to do some community service work when possible. Today they are going to the VA Hospital for a belated Valentine’s Day visit. The coach asked that they each bring as many valentine cards as possible. This had the potential to be a bit expensive, since you can’t really take a box of 40 Power Ranger cards. . . so on Saturday, February 16, Abby and I went out to look for cards at the Factory Card Outlet over by Sam’s Club. I thought I might be able to buy several at a reasonable price. There was no sign indicating any discount on the Valentine card display, so I asked a clerk if they were on sale. She said they weren’t, so I explained I was buying cards to take to the VA and asked if they would make me a deal if I bought a large number. She sent me to talk to the manager. The manager laughed and told me they wouldn’t discount them. As I was talking to him at the counter, another clerk was systematically busting already-blown-up Valentine balloons with scissors and throwing them away. So I asked if they would consider donating these balloons to the veterans instead of throwing them away. He said, “No, we have to destroy them.” I told him that didn’t make any sense to me, since they were already blown up and they obviously weren’t going to sell them and were throwing them away. Continue reading »

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Feb 29, 2008
Amber

NCAA 09: Coming to the Wii. Who will be on the cover?

Truman

This hasn’t received coverage as of yet in the local papers. Though, my editor tells me it is being worked on.

Mizzou did well this last football season. The Tigers finished the season with 12-2, only losing to one team. They won the Big 12 North Title against heated rival Kansas. Then, were arguably robbed of a BCS Bowl to enter the AT&T Cotton Bowl where they won a 38-7 victory against Arkansas.

A swelling of pride has engulfed both students and alumni.

Video game manufacturer EA Sports is developing its NCAA 09 College Football video game for the Wii. It will be the first NCAA game for the Wii and so they are having a contest for which college mascot will make this year’s cover. Fans can visit the game’s Web site at http://www.easports.com/ncaa09/ to vote once per day for their team’s mascot. Continue reading »

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Feb 28, 2008
Amber

“Hello world!” and other such cliches.

To Blog

I have had a number of these little online journals in the past. I’ve tried LiveJournal, Xanga, and Blogger several times. Many web sites incorporate their own blogging functions including MySpace and Facebook. In the past, I have used blogs to stay in touch with friends far away. I have also used blogs as journalistic tools and for school assignments.

Now, I want a blog for myself and for whoever may be inclined to read.

This will be a place to write about what I see. Perhaps comment on an article, issue or event. Perhaps add more information to a story I see lacking something. I find myself constantly reading. I am quite addicted to the Internet and all it has to offer. Information overload some say but I can’t get enough. I hear a big story and I search for every bit of information I can find. It’s amazing to be able to know so much.

Discussion

I love being a part of the discussion. This is an issue that journalist’s often encounter. They want to be a part of the “third place.” The place where people are discussing, debating, where people talk about life. This is where the real stories come from. These can be coffee shops, clubs, restaurants, bars, offices, and in modern times people find themselves on the Web. I find myself lurking these local Online alcoves of discussion. I find them on local message boards, Craigslist, Facebook, and commenting on stories. I have found stories this way and sometimes I just follow an interesting debate on a hot local topic like red light cameras or smoking bans. If you know what the people are saying, you’re better prepared to talk to them about it in an interview. Continue reading »

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