The delectable Mr Stephen Fry doesn’t like the people who comment on blogs, and says so in his usual forthright, erudite and whimsical way:
“I don’t know about you but whenever I read a blog I do not let my eye drop below half the screen in case I accidentally hit the bit where the comments reside. Of all the stinking, sliding, scuttling, weird, entomological creatures that inhabit the floor of the internet those comments on blogs are the most unbearable, almost beyond imagining,” … “Their resentment, their desire to be heard at the most vituperative level, at the most unpleasant and malevolent, genuinely ill-willed malevolent, level is terrifying and I am very often simply not able to cope with that,”
Ouch! Thing is, as a general rule he’s probably right (though of course I’d like to claim that some blogs do a lot better than others). Same with other media where we the people get to broadcast our views. Let’s hope that Stephen never accidentally tunes his dial to talk-back radio, or the resulting brain-antibrain explosion may devastate Southern England.
So what’s up with that? Why is it that it’s mostly the angry and aggressive who want to speak up? Are there simply more of them? Do they have too much time on their hands? Is it only anger that drives us to speak on anything? Do blogs do any good in the world, or are they just echo chambers that amplify anger? How could we improve the standard of debate on blogs without killing off the openness that is essential to the medium? I guess – it just goes to show you can’t be too careful!