Monday, November 02, 2009

Thoughtful Feedback

Seemingly, online media has opened itself to a plethora of mindless rantings by those without even a crazy ideology to spur them on. I speak of feedback on online news sites that are unmonitored and unfiltered so any nutcase with a computer, an Internet connection, and only a modicum of sense is allowed to write responses to local news stories online.

You know what I’m talking about: follow any online article that offers reader’s responses and you’ve probably long since avoided those parts of the articles because it’s a vast wasteland of craven lunacy. This is a tragedy because the medium where we get our news is moving to the Internet where interaction between the media and its readers is critical and will add greatly to our Democracy.

Standing outside of this vast morass of nonsense is Rochester City Newspaper that does monitor and filter out the crazies so the informed and concerned citizen can have their voice and be heard. Sure, freedoms are great and the freedom to speak one’s mind without the state hauling you off to the crowbar hotel stripping you of your writ of Habeas corpus is among them. But, somewhere along the continuum of our freedoms we must find a happy medium between mindless ravings and government pronouncements. All this is to say, that an article in Rochester City Newspaper caught my eye because the feedback to this article was as important as the article itself: ENVIRONMENT: County considers plan to offset wetlands impacts - News Articles - Rochester City Newspaper.

This kind of discourse on a critical environmental matter, where a good investigative reporter presents a story and a thoughtful readership responds respectfully, makes for a better Democracy. However, the responsible and informed public, able to present their views and engage the rest of us in something that will help us decide our future, are usually disinclined to enter into what has become the online world of bug-eyed zealotry and hopeless anarchy.

This could change if more of the informed and thoughtful posted their responses to online articles, so much so that the ‘others’ would shy away from publicly shaming and humiliating themselves—as would be the case if all were seated in a real room surrounded by real people.

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