Have you ever been in a situation when you wished you could take back something you said? Did you ever escalate a stupid fight by saying something you regretted later? Maybe you made a mean-spirited dig at a foe, or perhaps a pointed jab at a public official just to garner a few chuckles.


Well, over the past few weeks, there have been several comments posted on our new Website that have raised a few eyebrows, and maybe some people would like to reconsider what they said.


We are proud that The Chronicle-Express has been able to bring a new very useful communications tool to the public. However, we’re not particularly proud of the kinds of comments we’re seeing posted in response to the stories we offer. We work very hard to make sure the stories we post are backed up by fact – in events we’ve seen with our own eyes, or in documentation we can verify through independent sources.


When we activated the “comments” section of our Website, we expected to help people who care about the Yates County community — whether they are in Florida, Arizona, Spain, Brazil or Branchport — to be able to carry on a discussion about issues.


We didn’t expect to see that others don’t seem to feel a need to think twice about what they are tapping out on their keyboard to the world, or whom they may by zinging with their words. 


It appears that since we don’t require people to identify themselves to post a comment, a few folks are taking advantage of the cloak of anonymity to make some statements that are downright nasty or hurtful, not to mention far from helpful to the community’s reputation as a whole. 


We’re all really just beginning to understand the benefits and dangers of instant communication, and we feel strongly that free speech should not be hampered or censored. We encourage people to use the comments section of our Website to make a statement on issues and elevate discussions about community topics. Enlighten your neighbors with a new point of view about something that’s important. But we hope people will begin to see it’s just not cool to bash someone else just because you can get away with it.


That’s bullying.


We strongly feel that great responsibilities go along with our freedom of speech.
Those who use this section of the Website (and other Internet forums for that matter) should pause before clicking on the “enter” key.


Think about how that comment will be viewed by others… perhaps the children of the person you’re jabbing; or your own grandmother, for goodness sake. And think about this – would you say the same thing if you had to include your name, or if you had to sit across the table from the person you’re attacking and look him or her in the eye?


Remember, the remark you whisper to a neighbor usually ends there, but the comment you post online lives on forever.


Go ahead, speak your mind, but do it with a little class.