Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman has this provocative clip where he talks about the damage that message board posters have inflicted on the reputations of two Sooner football players. To remedy this, Tramel calls for all decent people to stop frequenting message boards.
I understand his underlying concern, but I get the sense that his contempt extends beyond this situation and applies to the internet in general.
Message boards can be a great place and they can be an ugly realm too. Dawgman.com is a website that I have contributed to for several years. It is as well-run a website as you will find. Yet, our message boards have been a contentious place in recent months– due largely to a fractured fan base that constantly spars over the topic of coach Tyrone Willingham. Some people find criticism of Willingham to be hurtful or hate speech, but the root cause for that belief is a conversation for another day.
The best thing that message board administrators can do is insist that posters use their real names; then there would be so some semblance of accountability when someone spreads false and damaging rumors about other people.
As a side note, which goes without saying, is that the last thing we need is for government to get involved with this issue!