But that same energy can provoke destructive behavior when left unbridled. The Irrigator has had to contend with online comments that represent the negative side of passion during the past week.
A story about a judge’s decision to release a 25-year-old woman from custody after she admitted to drowning her daughter in Patterson in January 2010 prompted hateful rhetoric from several individuals on the Irrigator’s Facebook site. A couple of comments were laced with profanity.
Likewise, a vicious online dialogue of personal attacks ensued on the Irrigator’s website last week regarding a letter to the editor about Councilwoman Sheree Lustgarten’s false statements to local media about past bankruptcies.
We want to remind readers of our online commenting policies: “We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs.”
Personal attacks will not be tolerated, nor links to websites that contain personal attacks. It’s fine to disagree, but that can be done civilly.
Those who do not adhere to the newspaper’s online commenting guidelines risk being banned from commenting on websites the Irrigator controls. That is true regardless of which political faction or agenda the commenter represents and regardless of whether the person is a political activist, a civic leader or an average resident.
Words are powerful and can bring about an enormous amount of good, as well as destruction. Our hope is that the Irrigator’s website and social media sites will foster the good in this community. We ask for the help of you, our readers, to make that happen when making comments online.