"These days, I can't blog freely anymore. The blogosphere is getting scary. People attack each other with words (both explicitly & implicitly), the world is getting uglier." - quoted from Etel's blog, without her permission, of course.
What prompted her to say that could be the spate of news lately about bloggers' behaviour on the Web, especially on blogs and forums. (This post is a sequel to an earlier one.)
In an attempt to control online dissent, China had ordered its bloggers to register with the government almost 2 years ago. It was recently reported that China had an estimated 20.8 million bloggers at the end of 2006, of whom 3.15 million were active writers. With such colossal numbers, it is understandable if the state controls have met with little success so far. It is probably because of this reason that Malaysia has recently decided not to take a similar measure:
Recently too, a story about an attractive 18-year old Singaporean blogger made the news. She was 'flamed' for posting revealing personal photos of herself as well as blogging about what was viewed by the 'flamers' as her somewhat overly luxurious lifestyle. The 'flamings' spreaded to other Internet forums and there were several threads on her, each with hundreds of postings. Some comments were polite but there were also others which were nasty and insulting. The situation got so bad that Michelle made a police report on 28 Mar 2007 and posted the report on her blog. Needless to say, she was 'flamed' even more and accused of over-reacting to the incident.
One forum user, Helen Leong (28) even said, "If she can't take the flamings on the forum, then why did she post her pictures online? It's common sense: If you post anything online, you have to be prepared for flamings."
Of course, there were also others who were supportive of Michelle's action. Daniel Sun wrote a letter to the New Paper dated 10 Apr 2007 in which he applauded Michelle's action.
Besides yours truly, many bloggers have also blogged about this incident. (See another example here.)
For those of you who are interested, Michelle's blog is here but do note that she may have removed some of the postings which caused the furore. Her blog is titled "There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved". Indeed, it is quite obvious from the photos on her blog that she is deeply in love and with whom. Not only that, it seems that young and pretty girls like her are not afraid to let everyone know their age. Of course, if she's a middle-aged woman who's wrinkled and past her prime, then things could well be very different. In fact, she also stated her birth date very clearly on her blog as 10 Apr 1989. (Happy belated 18th birthday, Michelle.) She also revealed her real name (I believe) because it was also published in the New Paper.
Hey, I just checked technorati's ranking. Her blog is ranked 190,600th while mine is 161,660th. So this 51-year-old is still ahead of her by almost 30,000 counts. Hmm... I wonder how is that possible? No wonder they say that statistics can lie - her statistics (in all senses of the word) should be much better than mine - no mistake about that, hehe.
As usual, I leave you to ponder over whose action you think was more right - Michelle's or the forumers who were critical of her. On this note, I end this post with a quote from Mr Tim O'Reilly (who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0) which appeared in a recent article (first photo above):
"That is one of the mistakes a lot of people make - believing that uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech. Free speech is enhanced by civility."
Fill this dreary old world with more love and less hatred and it will be a better place for all of us to live in.