Why do we allow “meanies” to own al.com?

I’m feeling pretty beat up as I write this post.

I was just called a “moron” by a commenter on al.com.

I guess I can’t take the comment personally because the commenter doesn’t know me.

I write this blog with the sole purpose of creating a conversation on how to fix our redundant, fractured, dysfunctional government.  I post it on Comebacktown.com and then it is republished on al.com.  I get no financial gain; I’m not running for office. I benefit just like you.  If our region does well then businesses and jobs will be created and we can take pride in our community.

I’ve lived here all my life and am tired of Birmingham being called the city of “perpetual promise.”

The conversation on Comebacktown is civil.  Not everyone agrees, but comments are respectful and there’s an honest attempt to be constructive.

On al.com, there are personal attacks (which al.com tries to monitor) a lot of references to race, and an extreme hatred for Birmingham.

On Comebacktown, people post their comments under their real name.  On al.com the responders are faceless and hide behind their handles.

It seems like many of the people willing to comment on al.com are against something.   It’s so mean spirited and it hurts.

It sure would be nice to hear from folks who are looking for solutions rather than to find fault.

Our Birmingham region is not perfect.  If it was, there would be no need for this blog.  But because we’ve had problems in the past, doesn’t mean we are doomed forever.

We have a young generation who wants a better community.  Let’s give it to them.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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8 thoughts on “Why do we allow “meanies” to own al.com?”

  1. David, I’m totally with you — why do we allow the meanies to dominate the comments sections on al.com? I’m afraid that sometimes the bullies chase away those with intelligent, constructive things to say. All we can do is beg our users to flag inappropriate comments and monitor conversations as best we can — and even then, we’re criticizing for “censorship.” And I hope as we chase the bullies away, those smart, civil commenters will feel more comfortable voicing their opinions on al.com.

    1. Julie, I certainly understand the “censorship thing.” However, I think people act more responsibly when they comment in their own name. They have to take more responsibility for their posts.

      1. It’s really not us that allow the destructive comments on al.com.  It’s al.com that allows it.  The Birmingham News requires you to sign your name before they’ll publish your letter to the editor, so I can’t figure out why their website won’t do the same thing.  I agree with you, David, that many, many of the comments on their website are inappropriate and destructive.  Why they don’t police it better or require people to take responsibility for their comments (by signing their real name) is completely beyond me.

  2. Ha! David, the commenter definately doesn’t know you… you could make a fortune running “Nice Guy” camps during the summer, and “Good Guy” training seminars on weekends! I applaud your efforts to create this dialog. Anyone who can’t take an honest look at where we fall short as a community, and explore opportunities for improvement, needs to move over a state or two. Please keep the posts coming…

  3. *I “love what you have done” with Comeback Town. Not so much with whats happened at al.com. I quit reading the comments on AL a long time ago. I always read the comments and make comments here. I NEVER comment on al.com. As long as the conversation about Birmingham specifically and really anywhere is dominated by negatives and people who are only trying to push their own agenda instead of seeing the bigger picture and working towards the common good, we just all sit and spin in one place and nothing moves forward. Of course , that really sums up what you are talking about here doesn’t it? Keep up the good work,,,I’m behind you 100%!

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