Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Facebook | Twitter | All Access E-Edition | Home RSS

You can’t take back nastiness, be civil online

January 16, 2014 - Art Smith
It continues to shock me how stupid some people are when they leave comments online. People really need to think before they click the post button.

I’m not talking about anonymous comments left on stories all over the web. Although they are frequently nasty, they normally do not have all that much of a readership.

My vent today is about people that post false things for thousands, or even millions of people to read in 140 characters or less.

Twitter seems to be the platform of choice to be snarky and condescending.

There have been a couple of recent high profile examples recently.

The Detroit Free Press’ Zlati Meyers made a “joke” on Twitter that now that West Virginia had the water issue under control, it could work on their “incest problem.”

The post, rightly so, caused uproar on Twitter. Some 300,000 people in the West Virginia spent the better part of a week without water. Understandably they were not in a very good mood when a reporter from the Utopia that is Detroit thought it was a good time to take a swing at them.

The rest of the Twittersphere did not take kindly to it either. The post was removed fairly quickly and the editor of the newspaper apologized. She apologized several times online and people began using the hashtag #hasZlaitLandedYet.

That hashtag is in reference to the last time someone with a large voice said something that enraged a large group of people with just a few words. Last month a PR executive traveling to South Africa tweeted she hoped she didn’t get A.I.D.S. Justine Sacco sent the tweet before boarding a flight to Africa. The uproar over her comments beat her to the country. By the time she landed, she was without a job.

It’s easy to be nasty online. You type a few sentences hit post and move on to the next thing. It takes a few seconds. You can do it from your phone, your tablet and your desktop.

Both Meyers and Sacco likely wish they could take back their words. You can’t. We live in a day of instant worldwide communication. The higher profile your job is, the faster your words can bring you down.

Think before you post.


Article Comments



Jan-31-14 1:30 PM

I think some of you need to reread Art's last sentence and really think about it - "Think before you post."


Jan-23-14 8:47 PM

@Joe- I think I did explain why ppl still use W.Va. Try to keep up.


Jan-20-14 1:09 PM

Now the one ill guy has classified me as one of the trolls because I don't follow his lock step love of all things CNN or MSNBC. Most of what I have ever posted comes from two sources: Internet research or the school of hard knocks. Occasionally using sarcasm to point out the absurdity of others statements is also one of my acceptable responses. It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you. With all the revelations of NSA or government spying on its own citizenry, how can you not think they are not out to get you?

Jan-20-14 3:33 AM

What I hate is when one person takes over the comments section of an article and then attacks the other posters with a slew of name-calling and know-it-all attitude until they no longer participate.

Jan-18-14 6:23 PM

Too often I felt the need to defend my position on a topic. I tried not to take anyone too seriously, but once in awhile, someone would get under my skin. If I were having a face-to-face chat, I'd defend myself then too. But then, I'd get over it.

Some people either can't contain themselves, or they can't state their opinion without name-calling, etc. Then some just love to start trouble.

Kick them out, and let the decent folk have their say. I used to learn alot from other posters. That was important to me.


Jan-18-14 4:15 PM

And the first sentence of the blog, The Great and Powerful Art, calls some people stupid which is what most of the nasties were guilty of. Since this retired "janitor" is now being addressed as such by the Ex "Litter of Kittens" on Marietta, I'll have to sign in there to respond. They still haven't been shutdown, yet.

Jan-17-14 3:40 PM

I find it too bad when people cannot place a comment without putting others down in a nasty way. A lot of times when that happens, most intelligent people just pass the comments off. It enlightens us to the uneducated people in our area, therefore, important and good ideas are often not shared. We wonder why so much hatred is in our world today, and of course there has always been, but I can remember times when people could get points across in a proper discussion. And in some situations, there are those who don't even stay on the subject. Sometimes its just not worth reading.


Jan-17-14 2:01 PM

Speaking of comments, I noticed the ability to comment on articles on this site no longer exists. They don't shut down Twitter because a few random trolls make over the top comments.


Jan-17-14 2:40 AM

Kendall, "W.Va." remains a proper abbrevation for the state. "WV" is the postal service designation, later adopted by WVU and others, but to say that "W.Va" is somehow out of date is wrong. Ask people in Ore., Calif., Tex., etc.

To me, the worst thing about these postings is when people who have their facts wrong "correct" others.

Jan-16-14 9:32 PM

Since YOU are the one who shut down PN&S comment line there Arthur, mayhaps you ought to take a long hard look at Marietta;; OUR troll is up there now spewing the same garbage as he did here to shut things down. Brutus something or other zip code.

No need to hide here Aaron Lohoefener 304 481 6028

No wonder you didn't put the Facebook login criteria on comment like other publications, couldn't have schills stir the pot. YOU have a wonderful day Art;; on reflection,


Jan-16-14 4:03 PM

It also seems like these type of comments come from people who should really know better. West Virginia gets a lot of flak from those who are suppose to be well educated. On a side note, I can't recall how many news sources kept putting W.Va. in their articles. The AP still uses the old style and therefor all the rest outside of our state do the same thing as well.


Post a Comment

You must first login before you can comment.

*Your email address:
Remember my email address.


I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web