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It's not OK to be a cyber bully

September 19, 2012 - Art Smith

For the last several years, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel has offered readers the ability to comment on most stories posted on its website.

The ability to comment on an article adds another dimension to the story-telling process. Readers have the opportunity to voice their opinion in an open forum on a wide variety of topics. They can leave comment on stories, blogs and polls. They also can comment and establish forum topics on a wide number of subjects.

Most people behave themselves and play nice. Their comments are thoughtful and constructive.

A few people prefer to be bullies and make wild statements about those who have views different from their own. This is not the purpose of the site, the comments or the forum. State your own opinion. If you feel others are being abusive, report an abuse of a comment and we will evaluate it.

The system is meant to be a lively exchange of ideas, not a bar fight.

When people sign up for an account they agree to our Terms of Service. A Terms of Service outlines what conditions you must agree to when you use a site. As a reminder to those who are trying to stop others from stating their opinion, our Terms of Service includes the following.

You cannot:
• Restrict or inhibit any other user(s) from using and enjoying the service.
• Post any material that contains vulgar, profane, abusive, hateful or racist language or expressions, text, photographs or illustrations in poor taste, or attacks of a personal, racial or religious nature.
• Post any material that is threatening, false, defamatory, misleading, fraudulent, unfair and inaccurate, contains gross exaggeration or unsubstantiated claims, violates the privacy rights of any party, is unreasonably harmful or offensive to any individual, community, association, business or group.
• Post any material that includes copyrighted or other proprietary material of any kind without express permission of the owner of the material.
• Post any material that includes advertisements, promotions or offers to trade any goods or services, except in areas specifically designated for such purpose, if available.
• Post any material that violates or encourages the violation of any municipal, state, federal or international law, rule or regulation.

You can read the whole Terms of Service here, but in short, state your opinion without attacking others, don’t try to shout down people who disagree with you and don’t try to circumvent filters that remove links and bad language. Don’t be a bully.

You should also refrain from cutting and pasting from other organizations’ websites. The material you copy is the property of the organization that published it, and unless they granted you the right to copy it in their Terms of Service, you are breaking the law when you do so.

It’s sad that a few people think it’s all right to attack those who that disagree with them. It’s not. I’m assuming they did not read the Terms of Service they agreed to when they set up an account; let this serve as a gentle reminder.

 
 

 

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