Leonard Pitts is marvelous (and, I suspect, a fan of Mark Twain). We've got highlights:
Originally posted by btrage
... For proof, see the message boards of pretty much any paper. Or just wade in the nearest cesspool. The experiences are equivalent.
For every person who offers some trenchant observation on the point at hand, there are a dozen who are so far off point they couldn't find their way back with a compass and road map. For every person who brings up some telling fact, there are a dozen whose "facts" are fantasies freshly made up to suit the exigencies of arguments they otherwise cannot win.
Why have message boards failed to live up to the noble expectations? The answer, in a word, is anonymity. The fact that on a message board -- unlike in a letter to the editor -- no one is required to identify themselves, no one is required to "own" what they've said, has inspired many to vent their most reptilian thoughts.
Enough. Make them leave their names. Stop giving people a way to throw rocks and hide their hands. Any drop-off in the quantity of message board postings will surely be made up in the quality thereof.
That's my opinion. If you don't like it, well, at least you know whom to blame.