My view that comments sections and messageboards are the equivalent of virtual pub bars hasn't changed much over the last year but the attitude of some of the people clicking the thumbs up or thumbs down on boards where that system is used always fascinates me.
The recent rape and murder of a young woman by six men in India was a truly horrific crime and right from the start I followed it on Indian news sites, only because I think a lot of 'local knowledge' gets filtered out when repeated internationally. A lot of information surrounding the crime seemed to be drip fed to the western press but reading through Indian news outlets and the comments and messages you couldn't help become aware of the growing anger in that country and also the real resentment that people feel towards the Government at the moment.
Back here in Blighty the Yahoo News page, like all British media outlets, picked up on the story but all the news that was published was virtually identical across all sites, little conveying of the demonstrations and the over reaction to those demonstrations, such as the closing of railway lines, deployment of riot police etc, during the first few days after the crime was discovered. What was evident from the British sites, but curiously absent from the Indian sites, was a definite anti-Muslim undertone (and it some cases more overt tone) to the comments, some of which weren't so much as borderline racist but over the border, sitting on the porch, playing a banjo and drinking a bottle of cold beer racist.
Anyhoo, somebody posted a question on one of the comments pages:
"did they all take turns driving the bus as well or did a bus driver just keep driving for an hour while a heinous attack was taking place on his vehicle ?"
Now I knew the answer to this as it was available in the Indian media but the news had not yet been published on any European sites, so I posted, "India news agencies reported that the bus driver was one of those charged."
My post has so far received 71 thumbs up and 2 thumbs down. Now I don't care about the number of ups or downs but rather why would you give a piece of factual news a thumbs down?