Katie Couric's Notebook: Online Civility

I usually end my notebook with a signoff. But today, I'm going to start there. I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

But online, I could be anyone just by changing my screen name or using no name at all.

Anonymous atom bombs of animosity are nothing new in the comment section, and neither are the trolls and haters who leave them behind. But just when I think I've seen the bottom of the cyber barrel, along comes a new low.

This weekend, the suicide of Marie Osmond's son Michael topped the entertainment sites. I generally don't read the comments section...but this time, unfortunately, I did. I saw cruel barbs, senseless sniping and opinions without portfolio from pseudonyms clicking away in the ether.

Websites aren't legally responsible for reader comments but they also aren't legally required to allow anonymous ones nd they shouldn't. And that includes our own.

Free speech is protected, but we need to protect the basic laws of civility. Especially in times of personal tragedy.

And that...is a page from my notebook.