The right to comment

What I am about to post is very sad for us, Brazilians. It is about those comments that go after a given article on major news web sites. What is the reason for them to be there, how people should use it, and what are the differences between the very same articles in Brazil versus USA? There should not be any differences, but this is not what one can perceive.

The reason why comments are allowed in daily news article is to let the user have the feel of having its voice heard – which is the big deal with the internet 2.0. As one could presume, comments about a given article should be what it is to be: A comment about the article. However, that is not what we see around.

Readers should use this marveled tool wisely, adding knowledge to the subject alone or at least having some connection/relevance to it. It gets more obvious when one compares the comments on a Brazilian news article and a USA one. Do not take me wrong – I am Brazilian, but the truth must be said: we mess up the comment’s business.

If one takes a single article from, for instance, globo.com, will notice right away that comments are not always about the subject. Instead, it takes most of the time, a religious and prejudiced connotation. Sad, but true. It all starts with the first point of view: “God has done it or the person did not hear what God said”. Then, the next comment says: “What God? He does not even exist. You are so **** to even think he is a living entity” and that keeps going until someone wrapped it up and gets totally out of subject: “Guys, respect one’s opinion”. What opinion? About religious believe or the article itself?

I was reading a news about this pilot that had a panic attack and the air plane had to be taken down by the other pilots. The comments were very respectful, trying to understand the symptoms and if they match to the given diagnostic. One said: “This can’t be panic attack as the symptoms are very distinct. It must be some other disorder aggravated by the stress caused by several non-stopping working hours”.

Needless to say, the very same article in Brazil had a totally different approach: Guess what? They started to say: “this pilot is nuts. In fact, all people that has panic attacks are just crazy and should not do what normal people does”, and the list keeps on.

What is the solution for this? I don’t know entirely. What I do know is that education must take place teaching the people on how to express themselves not being offensive and being cohesive, keeping the focuses on the subject instead of the religious or cultural backgrounds.

Most countries assure the right to speech and express thoughts. Right to comment be should and will be maintained. However, let’s be more careful with the words and take a smarter step towards better communication so our voice can be heard in an effective way.

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