Jay Cronley: Reported missing — online comments with tone
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Friday, April 22, 2011
4/22/11 at 8:33 AM
ONE OF the changes that has taken place, now that this newspaper is charging a little something for its content on the website, has to do with the tone of reader responses online.
Reader opinion printed on paper, signed by real name and verified, always has seemed more respectful, even in disagreement.
With your name on something, you wouldn't want to say that you're glad somebody died in an airplane crash.
Before lightly edited anonymous online responses, the predecessor was a call-the-editor feature whereby a certain number of lunatics rang in on a regular basis to shout politics and vent frustrations that couldn't be verbalized at home, in the workplace, possibly even in the slammer.
You could always tell which office person was transcribing the anonymous call-in feature. That employee sat glassy-eyed with a headset typing up shouts and cuss words. Projecting a caller profile was easier when you could put a voice to the attack: that one, heavy smoker, still in sleeping gear at noon.
The tones of the internet responses from paying customers and occasional drop-ins seem calmer and more focused than was the case before.
Some characters are missed: The problem in today's society with the state of characters and people who could be a little off is that they have been driven to rehab, or to computers in the corner.
Not all colorful people require professional assistance.
Not that there's all that much wrong with being different.
Dangerous people have done colorful people no good.
Readers with personal grudges disguised as disfavor with something written, they have little to contribute beyond hidden agendas.
But those who have been divorced once too often, or those who dropped out too soon, or those who could do the job 10 times better than most of those for whom they work, or those who have absolutely no luck whatsoever, or those who could quit something bad for their health at any time, or those who love playing the slot machines, or those who have a great idea for a book or a movie, or those who cannot stand the establishment, or those who are due, listen, think it over.
What's a couple of quarters a day for the newspaper. Many of those abstaining from the news and events of the day probably gamble more than that.
A few of you nuts are missed.
Original Print Headline: Jay Cronley: Reported missing: comments with tone