Most people are afraid to wield power. That's my experience. Here's an example. In the US, the House of Representatives represents the people. It was impractical in the days of old for everyone to represent themselves. It made sense to elect our representatives to represent us in our absence. Today, the technology exists such that everyone could represent themselves. Anytime I propose this idea, it is met with opposition. I've never had a single person agree, even in principle. The response has always been something like, "Oh. No. We don't want to do anything like that." There is a notion that we need someone to represent us. We can do it ourselves. We are afraid of our own power.
That brings me to Writer Beat. Quite often, contributors go the host of this site and complain about others and demand that something is done, that she moderate the site. Proposals for moderators have been made. It is likely true that the vulgarity and vitriol discourage many contributor and potential contributors. Is that what is holding back Writer Beat? In my opinion, no.
What is holding back Writer Beat is ourselves, our refusal to use the power granted to us by our gracious host to control our own articles. We are the moderator of our articles. We are the ones holding Writer Beat back.
Why do we not use our power to control the integrity of our articles? Judging from comments here is why I believe that we don't:
1.They believe in free speech. Deleting someone's comment is a violation of their free speech.
2. Leaving the comments shows everyone the vulgar nature of the commenter and, therefore, serves a purpose.
3. They thrive on it. They like the ruckus that it causes.
Some have used their power recently. I applaud them. Some use it to silence those who disagree and contradict them. They don't want discussion. I've had a number of my comments deleted because the author did not agree with what I said or that they refuse to admit they were wrong and had to remove all evidence to the contrary. They want to be coddled by the group and sing Kumbaya. I'm okay with that. There is nothing wrong with controlling the message. I'm free to walk away. I won't waste my time with them in the future.
It seems that for just about every article today, there are two commenters hell bent on silencing each other. They call each other names like school children. "No. He started it." "No. You started it." Most of us are adults and find such exchanges childish. I don't have to name names. You know who they are. One makes an obnoxious comment and the other calls him an arse wipe. I've seen many good discussions ruined by this dynamic duo. I've seen better behavior in two-year olds.
If you care about the integrity of your article and value the discussion and comments of your commenters, it makes sense to delete the offensive comments. Yes. We have freedom of speech. We also have the freedom from speech. We don't have to read articles that offend us or comment on them. As authors, we don't have to tolerate the offensive comments that detract from the discussion. You are not violating anyone's free speech by deleting offensive comments. You are protecting your free speech. You are controlling the integrity of your articles for the people who care enough to provide you with feedback and discussion. Show some respect to them. There can be some merit in leaving comments, but, in general, the best course of action is just to delete it. They may protest that you are violating their free speech. Delete that too. Don't bother to explain. Don't apologize. Don't give them voice. Sooner or later, they won't waste their time. Maybe they avoid your articles in the future. Mission accomplished. Your articles will be more readable and enjoyable.
Of course, they have the freedom to create their own article condemning you. If it bothers you, don't read it. Don't let it bother you.
I'm grateful to our hosts for giving us the power to moderate our articles. She has entrusted us with the power. I am inspired by her commitment to free speech and her refusal to moderate. She is committed to showing no bias and does so admirably despite the calls to do otherwise by those who refuse to use their power. Writer Beat is indeed a unique website.