When are Message Board Comments Out of Bounds?

by Dean Hybl

Over the weekend, Orlando Sentinelsports columnist Mike Bianchi spent nearly half of his weekly “Running Off at the Typewriter”column outlining how someone who disagreed with one of his recent columns hoped that Bianchi would die of AIDS. Seeing the post as a chance to create some chatter, Bianchi created his own tongue-in-cheek poll on his blog site asking if people really wanted him dead.

Hopefully most people will agree that regardless of whether you agree with a columnist or media member, calling for their death is very much out-of-bounds and probably was meant to emphasize disapproval, rather than as an actual reason for Bianchi to fear for his life.

However, posts like that do bring into question just what is going too far when posting comments to a message board or blog. While it appears that people now take message boards and public forums where people can post anonymously with a grain of salt, as was articulated by Dan Ward in an earlier post on this blog, it appears that people are giving some credibility and power to comments made by people who are not accountable for their replies.

Providing individuals with an opportunity to easily express opinions, ideas and concerns is one of the best things about the internet, but it should come with some responsibility on our end. Disagreeing with someone because of their party affiliation, favorite sports team or preferred beverage of choice is one thing, but making inappropriate comments that question a person’s gender, mindset or right to breathe is out of bounds and reduces the credibility of the entire process.

One Response to When are Message Board Comments Out of Bounds?

  1. A comment such as the one that was directed towards Bianchi is certainly a testament to that person’s character. I appreciate, though, how Bianchi turned it into content for his blog!

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