Given the recent fun we've had around here with a certain troll and my very angry blog post about the troll, which involved quite colorful language.... I found this to be a very relevant article from the NY Times.
What are your thoughts on the points raised in the article? Is it really possible to regulate the behavior we witness upon blogs and message boards? I'm all for banning anonymous comments, as evidenced with LIT SOUP itself, but I'm not sure that the other proposed restrictions amount to anything other than censorship. Then again, we have standards of behavior for how we conduct ourselves in oral discourses with people, so why shouldn't we have similar standards of behavior for online discourse?
I think the larger question, at least where this is concerned, is where do we draw the boundaries between free speech and "harm to the public good". You know, how you're not supposed to yell "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, unless there is actually a real fire. But with blogs, it's a much more amorphous thing, and as a result, you get cyber-stalkers, trolls, and copycat web sites, which are all technically permitted under free speech laws in most countries (and should be--I'm all for free speech). Where does the line go though, when you have a troll like mine, who's posting such outrageous personal attacks about me that I could conceivably take legal action against them for tarnishing my name and reputation, if the attacks weren't anonymous and didn't take place online?
ETA: Apparently, one of the reasons that comments have dropped off lately is because Blogger is being a pain in the ass about the word verification. I'm going to turn that off and implement comment moderation, on a trial basis for today...