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Two Rants for the Price of One
[Misc] Flowers
Ethical Journalism

I found an interesting article on the internet while searching for something completely different. I don't want to go into specifics, because I worry that if I summarize the exact content of the article because I don't want the "issue" the article discussed to overshadow the issues I have with the article.

Basically, the article was talking about how everyone in a certain politician's electorate passionately hated said politician, how that politician was known to make horrible remarks about groups, and how a lot of the people in that area were afraid to speak out for fear of retribution. It compared a political party in a state to the Mafia. (Direct quote.)

Now, if this is true (and maybe it is, maybe it isn't), there's a big problem. However, the article mainly used quotes from people who were "too afraid to give their real names."

There are two problems with this:

1. The journalist could completely make up quotes and make up the entire story. There's no way of verifying that anyone actually said what the article claims they said. (And frankly, a lot of the quotes were pretty far-fetched.)

2. Even if the journalist was reporting what he heard accurately, who's to say the unnamed aren't lying? If they're reporting on the condition of anonymity, then there's no accountability. They can make up whatever they want.

I realize that there are some cases where a journalist has to use an unnamed source. That's fine. But to write an entire article based only comments by people who won't even stand behind their words with no other verifiable sources? Not acceptable by any stretch.

1. Politics Free Zones
I disagree very strongly with some friends on political issues. I don't think they're bad people and I think that they want the same thing I do: what's best for this country. Unfortunately, we have very different views. And, at times, their discussions of political issues can get a bit in your face. I don't like it, but I bite my tongue because that person is a friend and they have a right to their opinion (especially if said opinion is written in a personal journal).

That said, I think that there are some communities and groups where political discussions are inappropriate. If someone gets tired of hearing the media either praise an issue or person they oppose or attack an issue or person they support, they can turn the television off or not read a newspaper or magazine. In other words, they can avoid things that focus heavily on politics.

Most, if not all, of the groups I belong to online are non-political. It doesn't mean that the people in the groups don't understand the issues or have strong opinions. It just means that, for various reasons, the members of the group don't see a reason to bring politics into the discussion. There are a few exceptions, but they're usually made up of people I know well and who either have similar opinions or can disagree respectfully.

I don't think that I should have to check my LJ Friends list and see a political post in a non-political comm, especially when the group is very large and the entire reason for the group is to offer support for a project. And it's really frustrating because the person in question couldn't use an LJ cut, despite trying it three times, and then posted a reply saying something to that effect.

I respect the right of everyone to have an opinion. However, I respect my right not to have political content shoved in my face in a non-political comm. If posts like that turn out to be fair game in the comm, I'm leaving.

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I agree...comms are made to join people of a common interest, and one of the biggest rules is to always stay on topic. Most mods delete posts and threads that stray too much, and it's with good reason.

You can meet others and decide to continue conversations like that on each other's journals, but letting one person post about something completely un-related opens flood gates to all sorts of un-necessary spam that you hope to avoid.

A lot of people complain about mods that are "too strict," but I think in many comms today, especially the ones that have very biased people in them, or just a lot of people in general have to do that in order to keep things in control. If we wanted to see stuff like what you mentioned, we would either be in a comm for that or it would be coming from a friend's post.

Exactly. And even if people agree with the original post, others are going to disagree strongly and it's probably going to get ugly. By the end, everyone is somehow upset.

Tightly modded comms can be a pain sometimes, but it's usually for the best. One comm I'm in absolutely refuses to allow you to edit or delete a post except to fix minor problems. It's great because everyone has to stand behind what they say.

Exactly, and at the point that mods do break in and stop the matter, people tend to still think that mod is only stopping it because they disagreed with one side in particular. When you only have words to go by, many people can't distinguish the emotions behind them and tend to take things a lot stronger than they should have...online debate is usually not a good thing in communities.

I like that ideal, especially because it reminds me of something I had read for fun a month or so ago. One of the groups I like and listen to had a 'hate meme' started on it, where people could post the problems they had with anything at all related to the fandom. Very few people actually posted without going anonymous, and those that did keep their screen name were attacked mercilessly for being attention seekers. Most of them stuck by what they said, but a few people that made arguments bent over backwards to completely agree with someone who offered a refute.

I think people should be entitled to stand by what they believe in, and they shouldn't change their story just because someone doesn't agree with it. We can't please everyone.

Which is why it's so much smarter to just have a zero-tolerance policy, rather than waiting to see how it goes. Hint: Almost always badly.

And yeah, I think we've reached the point where a lot of people see two options when someone disagrees: attack with all they have or backpedal as fast as possible. Sometimes both parties have valid points and not every issue has a magical right answer.

I honestly can't think of an event where it won't, because even one bad person on there can ruin the whole discussion for the rest. :/

People forget that things aren't black and white, especially in discussions of almost any relevant topic. There's always going to be a general gray area, but then again, it all comes down to how willing people are to have a smart and sensible discussion.

And now it's deteriorated to "If you don't like my opinion, don't read it." *sighs*

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