Thursday, November 12, 2009

Got Time To Waste? Then Spend It in “Comments”

You have to believe self-survival convinced the newspapers to glom onto the idea of allowing readers to post comments below their online stories. Driving up their websites’ visitors count by opening up a free-flowing Comments forum must have seemed like a good idea at the time – prolonging readers’ involvement with the paper long after it had been delivered.

Nice theory, but from what we can tell, the Comments section is ripping at the fabric of society as a refuge for the bigoted, profane and abusive. Drop in and see what we mean. The same people are there each day, hiding behind pseudonyms, of course, hurling thunderbolts and insults at one another. Virtually all posters use a fake name for obvious reasons.

But not everyone there makes abusive comments in the rail debate; those generally come from the anti-rail faction – a minority, we hasten to add, since a majority of Oahu residents voted for rail last year and the recent opinion survey showed that support has increased in the past year.

Voice pro-rail sentiments there and be prepared for an avalanche of invective. And God forbid that you’ve ever been associated with the City administration in any way or identified as a supporter. That’s an automatic disqualification, according to the anti-rail crowd.

One Person, One Vote

If you’ve been visiting this blog, you’ll know we’ve been reporting recently on the public opinion survey conducted a few weeks ago by a respected local polling company. You can read the results below; they show what we call landslide support for the rail project.

Which brings us – finally – to the graphic at the top of this post. Ten thousand jobs per year is a major consequence of building rail. It’s not THE reason to build it; that is and always has been to create an alternative to sitting in traffic congestion – something every great city and urban environment the world over offers its citizens.

The anti-rail people actually see the employment issue as a negative and describe rail transit negatively as a “jobs project.” And so goes the thinking from that crowd.

Spend time in the Comments section if you must – and if you believe in rail as most of Oahu residents do, then drop in some respectful comments of your own to keep the pot stirring. Otherwise, it’s in danger of being one uninterrupted sewer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you read Lee Cataluna's column on Sunday "Even saints get yelled at online":