The commonplace understanding of comments sections as terrible comes from the prevalence of online abuse and harassment that can occur in these spaces. Online abuse and harassment can take many forms, including hate speech, cyberbullying, trolling, and doxxing. These behaviors can be harmful and intimidating, especially to individuals from marginalized groups who are already underrepresented in online spaces.
Despite the risks, many sites have comments sections as a way to encourage engagement and foster community. Comments sections can provide a platform for readers to share their thoughts, offer feedback, and engage in dialogue with each other and with content creators. However, sites need to take measures to ensure that their comments sections are safe and inclusive spaces that promote healthy discussion.
while comments sections have the potential to foster community and engagement, they can also be hotbeds for online abuse and harassment. Site owners can promote healthy discussion and create a safe and inclusive space by establishing clear guidelines, investing in moderation, and taking swift action against abusive behavior.
Jon Ronson’s 2015 article “When Online Shaming Spirals Out of Control” explores the phenomenon of online shaming and its potential to spiral out of control. Ronson argues that the internet has created a culture of shame in which individuals can be publicly shamed and humiliated for perceived wrongdoings, often without due process or consideration for the consequences.
The article highlights several high-profile cases of online shaming, including the case of Justine Sacco, who tweeted a poorly thought-out joke about AIDS before boarding a plane, only to find that the tweet had gone viral and resulted in widespread condemnation and harassment. Ronson argues that online shaming can be a form of collective punishment that can have long-lasting and devastating effects on the individual being shamed.
Ronson also explores the psychology behind online shaming, including the role of empathy and the impact of anonymity. He argues that online shaming can be a form of moral outrage that allows individuals to signal their moral superiority and feel a sense of belonging to a larger group.
Overall, Ronson’s article raises important questions about the ethics of online shaming and the impact it can have on individuals and society as a whole. It highlights the need for greater empathy, nuance, and context in online discourse, and the importance of considering the consequences of our words and actions in a digital age.