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artemisdivine's avatar

Negative Comments on Fluther Question - why even read when clearly in subject?

Asked by artemisdivine (1097points) January 23rd, 2008

i had these two quotes recently on one of my posts (and no it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out which one)

“What a horrible thing to speculate on.”
” This is a pretty messed up topic”

obviously MOST people get the meaning behind why I posted it. but i am concerned as I am a HUGE supporter of free speech. And as that freedom is seriously being eroded in America and elsewhere, I just wonder WHY do people read/comment on items that clearly DISCUSS the subject matter in the title? Seems kinda silly to me. It would be different if you did not know what the post was about. Myself I would never express displeasure over a post I CHOSE to read unless it is something illegal. I am just wondering how others feel or if they get the same experiences/comments from others.

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11 Answers

Vincentt's avatar


I really wouldn’t care. As long as other people answer your question I see no problem at all…

(Now, how long before someone makes the comment “This is a pretty messed up topic” ;-)

glial's avatar

“but i am concerned as I am a HUGE supporter of free speech”

“Myself I would never express displeasure over a post I CHOSE to read unless it is something illegal”

Am I the only one who sees the irony?

Zaku's avatar

Like the coffee thread, it makes me think maybe it’d be nice if the asker could moderate his/her own replies, for instance by minimizing replies he/she doesn’t find appropriate. People could still expand the unappreciated answers, but it might allow people to stay on topic and not get thread hijacked by something the asker isn’t interested in.

So ya, I do agree, and glial, it might seem ironic but the distinction is who the topic starter is.

cwilbur's avatar

The fact that people can comment on what you say is part of free speech. People have just as much right to tell you your idea is stupid as you do to tell them about your idea in the first place.

You have the freedom to say stupid things. Other people have the freedom to tell you that you have said a stupid thing.

You have the freedom to say smart things. Other people have the freedom to be stupid and tell you they disagree.

This is the essence of free speech.

Zaku's avatar

@cwilbur, but what about when people tell other people they are saying wrong things? Or, when you ask how people like their coffee, and people start talking about murder, mutilation, sex, and then whether that’s appropriate or not? Or, in verbal conversation, when loudmouths won’t let quiet people get a word in edgewise?

paulc's avatar

I actually don’t know what the question we’re talking about but I do know something about free speech: you should have the freedom to say what you want but if how you say it is invasive or obtuse then it is a problem. As far as I’m concerned, appropriateness is for dinner with the queen: no topic should be “inappropriate” but what is being said should be on topic.

As Zaku refers to them, there are “loudmouths” out there that express themselves freely but do so in a totally obnoxious way. Basically what I’m trying to say is that nobody should be condemned for the contents of their expression but only if their delivery is considerate of others’ freedom to do the same.

Finally, this site is about answering questions so if people are posting things like the examples given in the details of this question then its actually not doing anything to contribute to the question-answer format. In that case I’d say its worth of flagging – perhaps not as abuse but flagging as non-contextual or something that indicates “noise” as opposed to “signal”.

Disclaimer: I don’t like the queen and I’d never have dinner with her even if she begged.

Bri_L's avatar

I have to admit to reading a question and the comments and, in the absence of anything further to add, adding what I felt was and amusing quip in the spirit of the conversation. I get the desire for free speech. I kinda thought it was an interesting debate. Most people would agree that free speech is important. But I find it intriguing how different the opportunities for exercise free speech have become. It was brought up so we could question our government, our laws and continue to grow as a nation. Now it means we want to swear on tv before 8 and spray paint Fbombs on railroad overpasses. Things just always seem to come back to something a wise and glowing jellyfish once told me. Treat others as you would want them to treat you. I wouldn’t want those people ripping on my question so I wouldn’t rip on theirs. Is it their right. I guess in the great big grand absolute scheme of things yes. But c’mon, aren’t their better battles to fight. What’s a little civility. It actually took time to do that. Just skip it and go back to protesting the 24/7 Britney Spears coverage.

cwilbur's avatar

@Zaku: Person A is free to say whatever he wants; person B is free to tell person A that what person A thinks is wrong. Person A is free to believe person B, ignore person B, or respond to person B. That’s what you get with the right of free speech—the right to say what you think necessarily involves the right of people to say what they think, even if what they think is that your beliefs are completely off base.

The flip side is that the responsibility of free speech requires people to be courteous and civil. If there’s an online discussion about coffee and out of the blue someone starts haranguing people about Ron Paul, well, the Ron Paulite has the right to do that but the responsibility to do it in a civil manner and in an appropriate place.

To address the original post: you’re free to speculate about which celebrity will die next. Other people are free to tell you, civilly, that they think it’s in poor taste. That’s free speech. You do have the freedom to ignore them, you know.

Bri_L's avatar

@cwilbur – nicely put. That was were I was tryin to go. and you didn’t need to use the phrase Fbombs.

Zaku's avatar

@cwilbur – That’s a clear way to explain it. Thanks. :-)

noneck's avatar

be happy that you made people read your post, think about it, and then take the time to comment. congrats!

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