Death, obituaries and website comments

This article in the St Petersburg Times, a Florida USA paper, is the sort of one that can make you very angry and bring a tear to the eye, all within a few paragraphs.

The synopsis: a man who worked as a dish washer for $9 an hour died as a result of a hit-and-run accident, when the announcement of his death occurred a reader posted ‘A man who is working as a dishwasher at the Crab Shack at the age of 48 is surely better off dead’. The response from other readers, the man’s friends and work colleagues and the newspaper show that there’s still plenty of community left. Journalist Andrew Meacham and his editor deserve huge kudos for follwing up with a superb story.

On the tech side, comment moderation is an old chestnut, and the idiot that posted the comment won’t be the last. The challenger for the future is that as mainstream media outlets get less influential and news sources diversify further, who will be the arbiter of community standards? If the same comment had appeared on a blog or social media service, the response to it might have been different. That’s not an argument for the status quo, but a prompt for discussion on an issue that’s not going to go away.

What do you think: will there ever be a solution to the idiot troll?

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