Please comment responsibly

The general age range of a college student is between 18 and 22 years old.

But as of late, the maturity level in our Web site’s comment section has plummeted to that of a 3rd grader. But not just any 3rd grader: a homophobic, sexist, racist and ignorant one.

Over the last year, and especially in the last month, the volume of comments on has significantly increased. While we appreciate the traffic, we don’t appreciate the ignorance. Each time a comment is posted, a select group of editors receive an e-mail, alerting them to the new message. If any hate speech appears, we’ll remove the comment immediately.

We’ve seen it all. There really hasn’t been a group that hasn’t been attacked. You can go to the Web site and see some of the tamer comments. We won’t even entertain publishing some of the harsher ones. Take our word for it — many made us question what type of person could even summon up that much hate.

But take note, we’re not trying to censor the discourse. After all, we are a newspaper. If it weren’t for the First Amendment, we’d probably all be mathematics majors. We’re simply trying to point the discussion in the right direction.

A few semesters ago, we received a number of posts filled with extremely sexist and racist comments, which is why our Web site’s policy is to remove hate speech.

The comment section on our Web site is designed to encourage further discussion of the issues affecting our campus, and posting bigoted remarks isn’t going help with that. Criticizing someone’s views and personally attacking them under anonymity because you disagree with them is cowardly and downright irresponsible.

The Internet has become a place where people feel as if they can say whatever they please and do it anonymously or with a bizarre acronym. After all, most newspapers won’t publish unsigned letters to the editor.

But what many people might not realize is that the Internet has such a broad audience. Why would you post something so offensive where millions of people can gasp at your ignorance? You probably wouldn’t yell the comment in the Student Center or even to a small group of friends, so why is the Internet any different?

Remember too, the permanence of comments posted on the Web. It’s no guarantee that your anonymous hate speech will remain anonymous forever. Think about it.

We’re at a university, a place where thinking should be encouraged. In fairness, we have a small cadre of commenters who post well-thought remarks, but we could always have just a few more. If our comment section is any indication on the mental capacity of our community, then we have a right to be worried. Prove us wrong, won’t you?

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.