Everyone’s got an opinion

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I start my mornings pretty much the same way every day — grab a cup of coffee and hit The Star-News Web site. I like starting my day reading the opinions of others about the happenings in our county.

First, I have to say that some of you folks are just flat out funny. On the flip side, some of you are flat out strange.

And the user names … well, that’s a whole column unto itself.

Sometimes as I write, I can almost visualize the comments that we’re going to get on a specific story even before we put it up on the Web. Most of the time, the predictable stories — like a hard crime or a drug story — garner the usual “what a piece of slime,” or “put ‘em in jail” vernacular.

Just like the “hearts, flowers and feel good” stories get us the traditional accolades — the “good job” or “keep at it” kind of comments.

But for the last few months, and maybe even a little longer, I’ve been outright flabbergasted with some of the things that have been put into writing for Covington County to read.

We’ve had folks confessing to affairs with their in-laws, allegations of drug use by this person or that, slurs on law enforcement, people taking up the keyboard to defend their loved one’s honor, congratulations and good goings all around. It’s been amazing to watch the human process of discussion unfold — although in some cases it could be accusations unfold.

Don’t forget, the newspaper itself — and its writers — are not immune to those comments. I think my most favorite thus far was one about myself when someone said I should have my “writer’s license” taken away because they didn’t like my opinion of the day.

And that’s the beauty of the whole thing, in my opinion.

I know that many will disagree, but our Web site is an open forum for discussion for our readers. It’s a place to give one’s respective opinion on the topic du jour — whether it’s electronic bingo, the murder of a Dozier man, why you think our county is broke or whether or not you think I should keep my opinion to myself.

With that said, I have three tips that will help you get the most out of your commenting experience on www.andalusiastarnews.com.

First and foremost, use common sense when posting. If you get an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach before you hit send, odds are that comment probably doesn’t need to be up on the Web.

Secondly, you may not realize this but the “www” at the front of andalusiastarnews.com means World Wide Web. WORLD WIDE Web, people, which means the stuff you put up here goes out for the entire world to see.

Lastly, spell-check it before you go. There is nothing more frustrating to read than a person who has a passionate response — be it heated and directed at another user or passion-filled because they connect with what was written — and it is filled with misspellings or grammatical errors.

And keep those comments coming … I can almost see them now.