Why Does Some Idiots Always Spoil It?

12 June 2012 10:28
Being a football webmaster is one of the greatest experiences ever. Writing about your team (and your country) is a pleasure more than a job.

But editors of other football websites, who are new to the game, struggle to take the inevitable shit that comes their way.

As Joey Barton spews his shite online and thousands read it; Toon defender Danny Simpson has closed his Facebook account because of abuse . from NEWCASTLE fans.

Barton can take the shit . Simpson cannot.

99 times out of 100 those who give abuse hide behind their computers, but the government is going to act.

One of the attractions of being a pioneer is the opportunity to reach a new frontier before “they” come in and impose rules and regulations, a place where you and your fellow pioneers can enjoy the freedom to set your own standards – until some idiots come along and spoil it all.

The internet has given even the most unlikely of us the chance to be pioneers by pushing back the boundaries of communication on the web. Trouble is, some people have been pushing the wrong boundaries.

The internet has worked to give a great expansion in free speech, for positive ends.

Social networks and internet forums have given people remarkable opportunities to express themselves publicly which simply didn’t exist before.

The “old media” has always had to be very careful what it publishes or broadcasts because of the danger of landing up in court for injuring someone’s reputation, upsetting a judge or even breaching state security.

But the internet has provided a dilemma for lawmakers, who have tended to avoid applying the same rules to web comment, particularly when it’s not edited. There’s the added complication that “offending” comments are often anonymous, which clearly emboldens some to go further than they perhaps would if there was a possibility that their targets would turn up at their front door.

But the High Court has now taken a hand in all this by ordering facebook to reveal the identities of people who launched what appears to have been an astonishingly abusive online campaign against a woman whose “crime” was to post a comment saying something nice about a former X Factor contestant.

This means the victim will be able to take a private prosecution against her tormentors for harassment – something I imagine lawyers will be anticipating with glee.

A sad day for freedom of speech, then?

A sad day for the pioneers, but then you almost knew some idiots would come along and spoil it all.