The weekly email from the American Bar Association popped up with news for the week. I usually find something of interest, but last week’s didn’t have much. I did see where a law firm had banned phones and other communication devices from firm meetings. Thought I’d take a look.
The story was short and to the point. A law firm had established rules regarding the use of cell phones and portable email devices in meetings. Seems that the lawyers had grown tired of having that type of interruption. That was it. The story was over. I thought there must be more, so I paged down below the advertisements.
I don’t suppose that I had done that before. But I discovered that there was a comment feature at the bottom of the page. I wasn’t really curious but for some unknown reason I started reading.
First comment commended the law firm. Second comment commended the law firm and went further, condemning anyone who talks on a cell phone in public. Third commenter told the second commenter to lighten up. That line of thought went back and forth for awhile.
And then someone noticed that the headline said “Firm Bans Blackberrys,” or something like that. So, of course, a heated debated arose over whether the plural of Blackberry is Blackberrys or Blackberries. Soon, commenters were blending the plurality issue with whether cell phones and emails by phone are from the devil — and possibly whether other commenters were demonic.
This is the tragedy of online news and blogs. In the cloak of anonymity, people act nasty to other people. Yes, it happens face to face, too. But people really think it’s okay and even admirable if they can make derogatory remarks about other people on the internet. It is true that some individuals are respectful and articulate. But many are not.
That’s why I was blessed by what Kate said, way down in the list of comments. Her words?
I have never taken the time to read comments responding to a posted article. Hilarious–thanks for the entertainment! I particularly love when one individual criticizes another, all the while making blatant typos, whether spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Another favorite: the witty remarks. Thanks for the laughs.
In her kind way, Kate assumed the best. That people were simply going out of their way to entertain her and other readers. And don’t you love the gentle way she pointed out that perhaps people should pay attention to what they type?
Seems to me that many of the earlier comments could have been made in Kate’s style. The same information would have been imparted. And we would have all been spared the nastiness. Who knows? Perhaps I’ve missed the point. Maybe online comments should only be viewed as entertainment.
Oh, and if you are wondering, the plural of Blackberry is “Blackberry Mobile Devices” according to one of the commentators who bothered to go and ask the company. Not much entertainment value in that, but the process is certainly refreshing.