The internet can be a vile place.
On the internet, anyone can post almost whatever they want on Twitter and Facebook, blogs and forums, comment sections, etc. You’re allowed to post scathing articles about college athletes on the internet, and you’re allowed to respond to them.
At Campus Pressbox, writers are encouraged to voice their opinions, popular or not. When I started, Executive Editor Damien Bowman told me his rule is “have an opinion and stick to it. So even if I don’t like it or the readers don’t like it, you should have something that you believe in.”
During this election season, I’ve often seen and heard people complaining that they’re tired of political commentary from non-politically educated people on social networks. But it’s the internet. Political commentary is allowed, no matter what level of education the poster has received.
My wife posts a lot of pictures of clothes and food. My mother shares just about everything she sees on her Facebook timeline. They are borderline obnoxious, but they’re allowed to do it.
You get the point.
However, while there are some legal limitations to what you can post on the internet, I would contend that there should also be moral limitations.
Here’s an example of the moral argument:
Last week, a post about Kentucky football Head Coach Mark Stoops appeared on a blog called Blue and White Times. The post was taken down shortly after it was posted, but the contents of the post are well known. That’s because it was the main point of discussion on many forums across the state and throughout Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night during the ‘Cats win against South Carolina.
Essentially, the post stated that Mark Stoops impregnated a Kentucky staffer, possibly an intern or graduate assistant, his wife left him and he was living in a hotel or motel. It was written as an informational piece that we were presumably supposed to take as fact.
The initial comments about the “scandal” were fierce and fiery even after the post was deleted. It wasn’t until after an apology was issued by the publisher and Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones confirmed that the accusations were false that the rumor was squashed and buzz around internet media began to subside.
However, a public, “heartfelt” apology does not excuse the intolerableness of this outrageous post. It was a personal attack on Stoops, who has had enough distractions this year after countless articles have suggested he is on the “hot seat”.
Stoops also has a wife and kids, and can you imagine how they may have felt after hearing that garbage?
Based on some tweets sent by players soon after the post was published (those tweets have also been deleted), the rumors got to them as well. The last thing the 2-2 Wildcats need to worry about is their coach’s personal life while trying to take Kentucky to a bowl game for the first time since 2010.
My point here is to ask that you please refrain from posting bogus rumors on the internet just because you can. Think about what you’re doing before you do it. You may seriously jeopardize someone’s career, marriage or more.
Post facts. Post opinions. Post pictures of your food. Whatever.
Just keep unconfirmed rumors to yourself.