JOINING a Facebook community group some months ago I looked into Facebook community standards.

I was very impressed indeed.

Facebook, with near 3,000 million members, an enormous democratic forum the likes of which until this century unknown on our planet.

A matter of bringing people of the world closer together.

And with responsibilities. Treating others with respect and dignity. “Our commitment to expression is paramount but we recognise the Internet creates increased opportunities for abuse.”

That said, more locally, I am very pleased indeed to see that Bournemouth Echo has recently taken to highlighting more prominently The Echo rules and standards, at the head of comments.

The Echo is absolutely right. Using comments is a privilege, not a right.

I am sorry to say far too often there are in comments far too many personal insults and attacks – and personal squabbles.

But then the issue of “authenticity” is emphasised on Facebook. We are required to write in our own names.

But not so in the Echo. The vast majority write in comments using aliases.

To some extent I’m with Oscar Wilde on this: “Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth.”

Must be one of the truest statements in history. Don’t we all harbour “reservations” and all too often curb what we want to say?

But then where are we when this leads to abuse, mocking, and belittling others? Tossing rocks from behind the bushes.

The answer has to be, in public media, we all write in our own names. With respect to others we should, surely, be able to express ourselves openly, and frankly, about issue that matter to us.

The beating heart of democracy, and progress. We speak our mind – in our own name.


Jubilee Road, Parkstone