Virulent lies, defamation and negative comments on Internet postings can be upsetting. Recently a Jewish grandmother expressed her dismay about language in readers, comments. One group’s response is a Biblically-based code of conduct.
JWeekly posts a letter to the editor response to negative material and ugly things in print, especially language by writing this: “The virulent hatred, slanderous lies and name-calling being indulged in by some Jewish organizations and their members is a shaindah, something I never thought I would live to see perpetrated by Jewish people.”
She goes on to explain who she is and what type of behavior has dismayed her enough to write about it.
“I am a 75 year old grandmother, raised in an Orthodox Jewish home. I was taught to welcome the stranger, listen to dissent and engage in learning. I have tried to do that as much as possible with respect for others. To then be called anti-semitic because others disagree with my call for peace and justice for all peoples in the middle east and because I support the showing of various documentaries at the Jewish Film Festival is not something I ever imagined. I have been verbally abused at rallies by both adults and some of their children, with language which has appalled me and others who suffered similar abuse.” Her recommendation? “Stop the horrific noise and let's all go to the movies and discuss our differences in a sane and respectful environment. See you at RACHEL!”
Negative posts about individuals can be carried by Google and can be destructive. Some companies have been concerned enough about their reputations to look for ways of combating what can be serious lies about their products or services. There are organizations that can help companies, or even individuals, if they believe they have been discussed negatively in an unfair manner. Pasch Consulting Corporation is an Internet reputation management group that helps people recover their reputation or protect their good name. They claim they can do that in a reasonable way but can do more if necessary.
Some groups, however, believe people should be reminded of how they should interact with each other and provide a Biblically-based approach to forum discussions. This is what Sojourners, for example, has to say:
Comment Code of Conduct I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree—even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)
I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)
I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)
I will participate in community accountability by rating posts up or down based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed, and will flag posts that violate these rules of conduct. (Proverbs 12:18)
Jewish grandmother, ordinary businessman, Christian believer or anyone else can find solutions to negative postings that can hurt. Some organizations claim they can help stop a problem, while others believe a spiritual compass through a code of conduct can help teach people how to interact courteously on the Internet.