'Ignore User' Option Available

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Colorado Spring Gazette now gives readers the option to block comments from specific users that annoy them. According to Jeff Thomas, Gazette editor, readers have mixed feelings about the new tool.

"People have said, 'I get where this could be a blessed relief,' but it also creates the ability for folks to hide their eyes from information they don't want to see," Thomas said. "And some people have lamented that."

Thomas explains how the option works: "If you have readers A, B and C looking at gazette.com story comments, and user A decides to ignore user B, then when user B posts a remark, user A will not see it--but user C will because user C has not chosen to ignore B."

Just as all new software has its downsides, this new option does too. Going back to the previous example, if user A has blocked B but not C, user A can still see comments that C may have left in response to a post by user B. However, user A will not know what B said. Thomas said that some people will have to be willing to miss out on that information if they want to use this function.

At first glance, this seems like a good option because you will no longer have to read comments from people who annoy you. However, I think it is important to know all sides of the story before forming any opinions of your own. Choosing to not be exposed to a person's comments that don't match your beliefs doesn't allow a reader to stay informed on an issue.

5 comments:

Staci Mead April 19, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

I agree with the fact that someone needs to see all sides of the story, but on the other hand, along with free speech comes the freedom to ignore that speech. Say, for example, that person A is a devout Christian who is reading a story regarding the persecution of his/her religion during an incident. If person B is a persecuter, the comments they read might be considerably hateful or upsetting. That is an extreme example, but still, I'd love the option to ignore some of the comments I hear people say. This is an interesting new twist on ethics for both media publishers and consumers. Good work.

Courtney Glienke April 20, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

I agree with both sides of this to some extent. If you aren't willing to listen to both sides of an argument you won't be well-informed, and it also shows how close-minded you are. If hateful comments are being posted though it shouldn't be up to the user to sort through it, it should be up to the media publisher running the site.

Katelyn Chamberlin April 20, 2010 at 9:53 AM  

I agree with the option to block certain users' comments, but I disagree with the principles behind it. If a certain user is constantly posting nonsense comments that are irrelevant, that might be an excuse to block them. However, it would be in everyone's best interest to see all sides of a story, not just the ones they agree with most.

Grant Rodgers April 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM  

I know for instance that my local newspaper's Web site often becomes a debating ground for hot local issues. I see this new software becoming a problem on this level, where, rather than using a site as a means to debate and offer solutions to a problem, people can simply isolate themselves to the side they agree with.

Michelle Pohlad April 20, 2010 at 3:20 PM  

It is probably no different than skimming over the stories in the newspaper that you don't want to read or changing the TV to another channel when you don't like it. The shame is that people don't expose themselves to both sides of an issue, but you can lead a horse to water....

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