Being civil in cyberspace

By Simon Barrow
April 16, 2007

Some say that without religion everything would be nice and rational. Hmmnnn... Spend a couple of hours on discussion and comment boards on the web and you will discover that ranting incivility knows no such boundaries.

This from Jonathan Freedland on Guardian Comment-is-Free: "...That's the beauty of [the blogosphere], say its defenders; an environment of truly free speech. If your ideas cannot withstand the fierce gale of harsh debate, then they're probably just too flimsy. In one respect, they're right. Journalists like me have had to raise our game, knowing that a factual lapse will be pointed out within minutes. But that advantage is surely out- weighed by the risk that the blogo-sphere, which could be a new, revolutionary public space, instead becomes a stale, claustrophobic environment, appealing chiefly to a certain kind of aggressive, point-scoring male - and utterly off-putting to everyone else. This is not just bad news for media outlets like the Guardian, keen to build an audience; it means that this great democratic opportunity is lost."

Read the full article.

[Simon Barrow's CIF columns are here]

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