Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » What turns regular people into monsters?

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Thanks to the reader who sent me this e-mail today:

"I'm sure you get messaged a lot, so i'm sorry to add another to the pile. I blog a lot, at multiple sites. I read forums, I participate in many things. I have never in my entire 12 years of being online seen such horrible people gathered in one place, the Advocate website. I'm not exactly thrilled with the paper, but still...i'm not sure what people expect. They complain about the content, but never do I see these same people giving any input as to what should be covered. Really, I just want to say that I don't envy you, because I could never handle these monsters as gracefully as you and the other members of the staff. I want to reach through the computer and punch these people in the throat sometimes...and not because of their opinions. Opinions are fine. But its so frustrating to see so much hatred coming from such a small area, and I don't know how you do it without losing your mind. I have a whole new respect for the Advocate staff, and will no longer be critical of you. (Though, I do envy that you all get to write. It's almost worth putting up with all the crap to be able have your job.)"

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Why do you think people tend to get ugly online? I don't think Advocate.com readers are any worse than those on other news sites. I wish I had the magic formula for keeping the conversation civil.

For those who commented on my previous post, thank you. That was a good example of a constructive discussion.