Do you ever wonder what letters to the editor never made it? Were some of them so crude, hateful and ignorant that they couldn't be published?
John Brummett wrote about the sometimes offensive comments posted on a blog. I wonder if John, like many newspaper people, is having trouble adjusting to the new form of media. John has received his share of comments about his writing but, for the most part, the general public don't have a clue about what is written unless an editor published the letter. I can't believe that all of the feedback John has received has all been positive. I bet he has had a number of anonymous letters that were downright offensive and insulting.
Blogs allow anyone to comment on a subject without being subjected to an editor's censorship. A blogger may institute some censorship. Bloggers like comments because they can increase traffic so censorship may be limited to the more extreme comments. Part of the draw of commenting on a blog is the anonymity. A lot of people won't voice their opinions because they are afraid that theirs would be rejected or mocked. I keep my comments open because I'd like to hear more from these people. Of course, it means that I also have to accept the more obnoxious comments. I think that people familiar with blogs learn to ignore the offensive comments. I'm even learning to ignore the ones that insult me personally. Sometimes I wonder if the person really means what they write or they are just trying to get attention.
The ability to comment is one of the best aspects of a blog. There have been some writers that I've wanted to know who they were because they have made some good points or arguments. When it comes down to it, if you can’t tolerate the obnoxious comments, don’t visit any blogs.