Published March 31, 2009
The Talk of the Valley discussion forums are known as a playground of anonymity and animosity. Users from anywhere are free to say what they like with no expectations of accountability. Until now.
Vindy.com has finally had enough (though it took them a while longer than the rest of us, I might note) and decided to attempt to instill a modicum of order to the raucous proceedings there. From discussions about why spousal abuse is underrated to Obama's hatred for kittens to an entertaining, if oversharing, shouting match among the Hanni family that broke out, the Vindy's forums are an alternate reality for users who get a kick out of kicking each other around.
Some of the users are screaming about censorship and free speech. "bobo," for example says, "So much for free expression and a venue for most of us to express our feelings and opinions free from fear of offending or alienating our co-workers, neighbors, or employers. ... RIP free speech and welcome to the Thought Police." Umm, get a blog?
As I've said before, we suffer from chronic depression around here, helped in no small part by the negativists who want to make others miserable just so they're not alone in their misery. They drone on about all the things that need improvement, so they can feel superior. Meanwhile, they do nothing to help. How do I know? When you're working for a better future, you tend to talk about what's being improved.
I say kudos to the Vindicator for taking the appropriate measures to manage their forums, which have hitherto been a wasteland of invective. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't criticize. But when you've got constructive criticism, it carries much more weight when you put your name behind it.
If you're just a boob with nothing to offer and you tell me what's wrong with my life, I'm not likely to give you the time of day. If you've got some credentials, however, I'm always happy to learn from others. Local leaders are no different. They'll listen to intelligent thought. If you don't identify yourself, it's harder to distinguish respectable from ridiculous. Though, the way the comments have gone in the past, some Talk of the Valley talkers have made it all too easy.