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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

It's best to think before you comment

Posted Thursday, February 10, 2011, at 9:27 PM

Do you post comments online? Lots of them, or one once in awhile? Either way, I hope you're keeping up on the news about how lawsuits against commenters are being won by the people who have been targets of nasty comments.

For reasons that I don't understand, some commenters use their ability to comment on stories and blogs to rake others over the coals, and some of these comments are mean, ugly, hurtful and in many cases, downright wrong.

Wrong in that they are factually wrong. And to me, wrong in that I was raised to think one is not supposed to act and speak/write in such a hateful way.

There are limits as to what you can post about other people. With the internet still young enough to be considered the wild, wild west of the current age, the limits have not always been clear, but over the next few years, I predict that we'll be seeing those limits clarified.

For those who don't have enough sense to not post disparaging and false remarks about other people, the limits are likely to be made clear in the form of laws, lawsuits, court decisions and maybe someday even criminal charges.

Like a thief who didn't get it, that thou shalt not steal thing, and is made to understand when they get arrested and suffer legal consequences, I think eventually commenters who didn't get it, that thou shalt not bear false witness/lie thing, will be made to understand by legal consequences that are bound to come along in the future.

I'm reading about various laws that either are in place now, or are being considered by state legislators, regarding online comments.

Plus, there are more and more lawsuits popping up in the news about cases being brought by various people across the country who say they have been damaged by comments. And they are winning.

A couple of articles recently appeared on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution site, one explaining the details of a case where a man won a judgment of over $400,000 against a woman who made comments about him online.

If you read about this case, and the comments that she posted, you may notice that you've seen these type of comments left on the sites you visit.

Think it can't happen to you? Think you can go on leaving the same types of comments about people and nobody around here will do anything to stop you? Think again.

Here are the links to the AJC stories: http://www.ajc.com/news/ga-man-awarded-4... and http://www.ajc.com/news/internet-privacy...

Anna is a staff writer at the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by calling the office at 847-4487 or by sending an email to indianarose@fastmail.us .


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