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Keller @ Large: Post A Comment, Take Responsibility

BOSTON (CBS) - According to Northeastern University journalism professor and blogger Dan Kennedy, the Boston Globe has finally had enough of cruel, vulgar, gratuitous online comments from readers.

They have hired a Canadian company to moderate the comments and remove the ones that violate Globe standards.

Listen to Jon's commentary:


These include false, defamatory statements; in one example cited by Kennedy, if a disgruntled Red Sox fans wants to post that "Carl Crawford is a detriment to the team," that's fine, but "he or she shouldn't say that he's dealing drugs in the dugout."

Other obvious candidates for removal are obscene or profane comments, although less offensive terms such as "jerk" or "idiot" will still be allowed.

But get this -- the Globe's new policy, as quoted by Kennedy, includes the following: "We permanently disable comments on all stories about people who have experienced a personal tragedy, as well as all obituaries."

And: "We also temporarily disable comments overnight for stories about immigration, religion, and religious figures. Commenting on these stories should be enabled at 7 a.m., and the stories should be given extra attention throughout the day so that we can move quickly if the comments degenerate."

Perhaps it comes as a surprise to you that there are people who will post vile comments about victims of tragedy, religious figures, and the recently deceased.

If so, welcome to the sleazy underworld of the Internet, where anonymity empowers the worst in too many people.

I commend the Globe for the steps it is taking, but I also urge them and every web site manager to consider removing the shield of anonymity completely.

Force the jerks and idiots among us to make a choice: take responsibility for what you want to say, or keep it to yourself.

My guess is, most will clean up their act in exchange for the privilege of being heard.

As for the rest?

Good riddance, to wicked bad rubbish.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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