I wish it didn’t, and I know it’s a choice, but drama is entertaining to see unfold.
It’s a personal decision I have to make every day to not let the negative energy of drama enter my consciousness. I often give in and peek at the latest butthurt or check out the gossip. Yes, I even participate at times, giving my own opinion on a discussion.
I don’t think of me being a better person. I just never make personal attacks on people in public forums. Ever. I never tell someone that their idea is stupid or what they’re doing means they don’t love their baby. Calling someone out as a terrible mother or outing them as a liar is just not something I do.
Many times I think these things in my Neanderthal brain, but I keep it to myself (or gossip with close friends). Making a public spectacle of my negativity will do no one any good.
It’s more about the people who make it a point in leaving their comments to out-right disagree in a hurtful way. To say, “Lame article,” then follow up with a diatribe ending their comment by writing that the author is “blog(ing) things just to make themselves feel better…” really has no place in a forum for adult people. It is NOT OK to make the comment, “That kid is seriously NOT cute. Ugh.”
Yes, I love seeing conversation with disagreements. Not everyone is exactly the same with exactly the same opinions, which, Awesome. But it takes a mature person to be able to share their disagreement in a way that doesn’t insult the author of the article or post.
Reading the comments left on news articles and news blog posts should make you feel worse about the future of humanity.
But how does this stop? How does the perpetuation of negativity and the expectation of drama end?
The publishers of the websites end it. By letting the readers, commenters, and writers know that it’s not allowed and it won’t be tolerated. Negative comments for the sake of being negative can be deleted.
I realize it’s a slippery slope. People have the right to say what they want to say. But the publishers of websites have a right to allow the negativity to appear on their site. Many blogs and discussion boards have disclaimers that hurtful comments will be deleted, but many don’t abide by their own rules.
I would like to see more publishers disallowing blatant insults. I’d like to visit a site, read an article, and possibly participate in a discussion, knowing I was in a safe place where my voice wouldn’t be insulted.
Time.com released their list of 50 Best Websites, and at the top of their Family & Kids list is CafeMom. Described as a place for “conversation, advice, friendship and entertainment,” the site is more than just those things to me. I’ve seen more negativity from participants in the discussion forums and blog comments than I feel should be allowed by a site that is ranked so favorably by a reputable magazine like Time. The “conversation” I’ve seen is, more often than not, argumentative, negative, and mean. There are always exceptions in some of the sections of the site, but from what I’ve seen, the negative overtakes the positive.
I have several good friends who are writers for Babble.com blogs, and I’ve seen more than several times that they have comments left on their posts that are down-right cruel. This atmosphere does not allow for fostering creative writing; it fosters more pageviews.
Unfortunately, more drama means more pageviews, and more pageviews means higher advertising rates.
Let’s realize that even though we may be sitting behind a screen where we can’t be looked in the eye when we write what we write, our words impact the reader as though they are being spoken to directly.
I’d like to see more publishers realize that the allowed negativity perpetuating on their hard work, their sites, their hard-earned living, keeps more people away than are currently reading.