First, in the interest of full disclosure and to get my bias out in the open: my primary interest in viewing this site is to read news, opinions, etc related to Ohio State football, period. I have zero interest in seeing any post or comment related to politics.
The Internet and Social Media offer so many positives; among the negatives though, in my opinion, is how people say/write all sorts of “stuff” because they have anonymity.
I am in my late sixties and, as for the “good old days,” I can say that, from my perspective, some things were better, some things were worse, and some things were very much the same.
One thing I feel was better that, if you were going to post a public opinion, you had to put your name and, in essence your reputation, behind it. As one example—sports-related—if you wanted to give your opinion in Sports Illustrated about Woody Hayes or Bear Bryant in connection with a story that appeared there, you had to provide your name and hometown to have a shot at having your letter to the editor published. And they would have other identifying information as well, i.e., your address and phone number, to confirm that it was indeed John Smith from Columbus, Ohio whose letter they were going to publish.
The same was true for letters to the editor that were published in local newspapers on all sorts of topics, including politics, and obviously this remains the case today.
I’m not saying everything was perfect in this regard but people, by and large, thought carefully before they put their opinion out there for the world to see.
I have a close friend from high school who writes a local blog in CT that has 10,000 subscribers and touches on a variety of topics (including local politics). Like many Internet sites, he would let people post comments anonymously. But there were people who would go off in ways that you know they never would if they couldn’t do it behind a pseudonym.
Finally, after requests from a number of his readers (including me), he changed his policy on posting and required real names (along with a way for people to verify who they are).
This unequivocally led to more civil comments overall and more rational discussions by readers.
I would ask11W to think about such a change in its policy—especially with no football for many months. But, before 11W even considers such a change, I would be curious as to what other readers think. Thanks for hearing my “rant.”