If you spent any amount time on the Internet last month, you no doubt saw a few of the surveys that rate cities based on various criteria.
America's Worst Drivers: Travel+Leisure says Miami has the worst drivers.
America's Most Miserable Cities: We're #1 according to Forbes Magazine. We even beat out Detroit!
America's Rudest Cities: Miami is number two in this category, behind New York but ahead of Washington DC.
But, if you drive on I-95 or the Palmetto with any regularity you don't need a list to tell you Miami's drivers are the worst...or the the rudest.
And miserable? If you have any doubts that South Floridians are rude and miserable, just head on over to MiamiHerald.com.
Click on the link to any story and scroll down to the readers' comment section. There you'll find examples of abusive ad hominem, vitriol, hate speech and smears rivaling anything that can be found on a Tea Party website.
And, for some strange reason, the Herald's website seems attracts a fair number of readers who can't figure out how to disengage the caps lock key.
Yesterday, the South Florida Daily Blog compiled a short list of abusive comments left on the story about the bicyclist who was struck and killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway.
thetruth99Here's one I found this morning that didn't make SFDB's list.
4 Words "Roads Are For CARS" Ride on the sidewalk with your gay spandex shorts!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's written by someone whose username is "meinschwanzistsehrgross." (Google Translate will help you find out what that means.)
"THESE BICYCLISTS IN KEY BISCAYNE ARE COMPLETE IDIOTS. THEY RIDE IN THE ROAD LIKE THEY OWN THE ROAD AND LIKE NOBODY IS EVER GOING TO DARE RUN THEM OVER. THEY ARE COMPLETELY RUDE. THAT GUY GOT WHAT HE DESERVED."Got what he deserved? Really?
Here's a question for those in charge at the Herald: Why do you allow this sort of garbage to flourish on your website? Clearly, having moderators in Bangalore or Mumbai is not getting the job done.
According to a note on your editorial page, readers sending letters to the editor must include their name, address and phone number in order to have their letters considered for publication.
You don't publish hate filled screeds by anonymous authors in the paper and I'm reasonably certain you wouldn't publish a letter from a reader - signed or unsigned - who advocated running over and killing someone just because they were riding a bicycle.
So why allow this kind of crap on the website?
It's time to end the system that enables this kind of thing. Hate speech and off-topic comments only cheapens your product and brand.
In 2010, Scott Rosenberg, a Salon.com co-founder, wrote in a blog post about newspaper comments:
If you opened a public cafe or a bar in the downtown of a city, failed to staff it, and left it untended for months on end, would you be surprised if it ended up as a rat-infested hellhole?Why not adopt the comment system that the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers are using?
Click on the link to any LA Times story and you'll find a comment section that's tied to readers' Facebook accounts. (Who doesn't have a Facebook account these days?)
It won't stop all abusive comments, but at least it will force the haters to "own" their comments.