Anonymity is one of the great things about the Internet. Conversely, it’s also one of the worst.
Everyone’s favourite opinionated alleyway drifter, Rick Mercer, recently addressed the issue when he called on serious media organizations to stop anonymous comments and shut down online hate.
His rant was inspired by a friend who received a quasi-death threat when he was mentioned in a Canadian magazine’s online edition. He rues the fact that comment sections used to hold a lot of promise as arenas for debate when the internet first started, whereas reading online comments now evoke “despair for society.”
Indeed, most anonymous commenting platforms are riddled with racist, sexist, and hate-filled speech, as well as – almost equally concerning – spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Equally concerning, of course, since both bigotry and failure to grasp the English language are often the result of sub-par education.
He even goes on to identify exactly the type of people who post such comments. They’re that guy below, second one from the right – just wise enough to use the internet, though not adequately judicious to do so responsibly.
Mercer makes a valid argument, though it’s tough to justify even more censorship on the Internet. While anonymity can invite online abuse and reckless trolling, it also affords a level or privacy and safety for people who may otherwise feel repressed to voice their opinions. The majority of responses on Mercer’s YouTube channel suggest the Internet is fine as is:
Watch the full rant below: