“The issue is far more complex. There are a variety of psychological factors that contribute to people being mean online – summed up by many as the disinhibition effect. One factor is dissociative anonymity – the effect of not knowing, or being able to see, the person on the other end of the comments. This disassociation can make it easier for us to be meaner than we might be in person. So, just because they use real names doesn’t mean Huffington Post readers are going to be any nicer to each other.”
Joanna Geary writing on Comment is free in response to Arianna Huffington removing anonymity from Huffington Post’s comment systems.
This Tumblr was created to highlight some of the positive, constructive and illuminating comments which can be found below the line. We feel it’s done it’s job to highlight just a small proportion of those, you can see many more on theguardian.com and we’ll let the debate about online comments continue in other spaces.
11:47 am • 27 August 2013
This article just made me decide to volunteer for one of these banks. I’ve been following the evolution of this issue since a couple of months, and now I’ve just sent them an email, and hopefully they’ll get in touch soon.
We’re all in together on this. Bragging about one’s leftism or rightism is becoming more irrelevant by the day. Please stop arguing who’s right and who’s wrong! As long as this, and similar issues continue, we are ALL wrong.
I care for this country, I left mine 10 years ago to come here. I am myself struggling with food, but not at the level where I have to rely on food banks. At least, not yet. I think these harsh times are giving us an opportunity: to start caring for each other, and to stop this hideous individualism that has corrupted our souls at the level that we can just stumble upon a homeless chap and feel annoyed by his lack of “soap and decent clothing” (@loftytom).
— giagal, Food bank Britain, theguardian.com
11:20 am • 27 August 2013
“After 6 hours they finally got us moving by uncoupling the rear engine where the fault was. The train was massively overcrowded with scores of people sitting on the floor, no seats had been reserved because of a computer error, it was understaffed, the toilets were blocked before we’d even broken down and they ran out of food and drink after about an hour. There were loads of families on board. Children were crying and vomitting. It was truly horrendous. We were not allowed to desembark”
— Passenger on the delayed First Great Western train comments on guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 August
3:22 pm • 5 August 2013
I work as a freelance feature photographer for the most prestigious, international newspaper and their website. Note: I’m not a reportage photographer, shooting spot news, etc.
All the same, I am strictly disallowed from submitting any pictures with any retouching whatsoever. Any means even straightening verticals, taking razor nicks off the necks of famous (or not) people. Nothing. And they mean it. Their editorial reputation is more important to them than ‘balancing the light in a dark alleyway.’
I don’t always find this easy, or even desirable, as a visual artist. I love P’shop and use it extensively. But I shoot old style for my good buddies, and in some ways, it’s a good discipline.
And finally: I agree with Nick Dunmur (who I’ll admit I know and like… but still) the retouching is poorly done. It detracts from the images, crushes the story.
As for Olivier Laurent (who I don’t know…but still): he plainly has no understanding of the nature of a news photograph versus one created for advertising. The BJP clearly has no standard, and OL lacks experience. Those who know nothing should say nothing.
Habitant, The Independent, The best photograph of the year – or a big fake?
10:01 am • 16 May 2013
“As I am nearing 40 with the BRCA gene, I have been trying to decide when not if. I have not had the courage to face the mastectomy concept, I am just trying to decide on the hysterectomy. Thank you so much for the article. Angelina Jolie is the world’s icon of a beautiful woman, so when she has the courage to do something like that and share it with the world, then, the simple press and exposure helps the rest of the BRCA carriers to be viewed as less “extreme” when we do face the decision to do life altering and possibly life changing surgeries.
When people hear about me doing something, they may be more like, “Oh yeah, I have heard about people doing that before” as opposed to, “That’s crazy talk.” I can’t say thank you enough.”
— Judy, New York Times, My Medical Choice
9:57 am • 15 May 2013
“My then 6-year old daughter and I met both these ladies on a train journey to Scotland. It is one of the defining moment of her childhood, she was so in awe of them and still cannot beleive that two women wrote and drew this character. I think she believed that Angelina was real, she could not have been made up by anyone. Their kind few words and attention towards her (she was motion sick), also taught her that truy gifted people also have good manners and dignity and are never haughty.
From my point of view I have always thought there is much more to Angelina than meets the eye. One can be overwhelmed by the cuteness of it all, but underneath, issues of self-esteem, jealousies, and the difficulties of friendships are dealt with. And I love that boys are not completely left out of the picture.”
— Rosaleen1968, How we made the children’s favourite Angelina Ballerina
3:02 pm • 14 May 2013
"I’m a banking law professor at a reputable law school in the UK (I’m also a New York attorney and have considerable expertise in the American banking sector) and I can simply say that ""most"" of the NY cases have found that there IS lying, but no fraud by the banks. Hence, there also cannot be any criminal actions based on fraud: Let me explain the situation pre-banking crisis:
A bank will create various products of security backed assets (generally prime / sub-prime CDOs - basically “”a whole load of mortgages”“). They will then: (i) request a credit referencing agency to give a rating to this set of CDOs; (ii) do their own research on the riskiness of these CDOs (iii) find a buyer whilst touting the rating given by the credit referencing agency (iv) issue a Credit Default Swap (CDS) basically a “”insurance policy”” to the buyer of the CDO.
Normally, the credit referencing agency will give a higher rating, a better rating, than the bank’s own research. The bank will be more cautious, and will issue the CDS based on their own research rather than the agencies.
Generally, the purchasing bank of the CDO would take the selling bank “”on its word”” on the transactional documentation. The selling bank would naturally, being a SELLER, speak very positively about the assets that it wishes to sell. The Courts found, in general, that it was the purchasing banks responsibility, as a large (and in most cases) an institution with billions of dollars worth of assets to research what it was buying.
Therefore, the selling bank, and its employers BANKERS, were not fraudulent even if they engaged in lying when they sold the CDOs.
To put it in terms that most people would understand: A very rich automobile dealer approaches another automobile dealer and says “”I like the look of that red Rolls Royce car you’re selling”“. The selling automobile dealer says “”that is a fine car, Sir”“. Please, feel free to take it for a test drive or have your mechanics look at it”“, but I do have an independent verification certificate issued by “”werateanycar.com”“. The very rich automobile buyer says “”no need to worry, I will buy the car without doing any of my own research whatsoever, because I trust a man with a top hat who sells 2nd hand cars”“.
In the above scenario, would you say that the selling automobile dealer is at fault?”
— Lordprotector666 The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions
5:03 pm • 13 May 2013
Below the Line with MostUncivilised: 'I met my partner over CiF'
Our weekly feature showcases notable personalities in the Guardian’s commenting community. Today: MostUncivilised
Couple of great new series on the Guardian this week - first the US is running commenter profiles - find out more about that pesky bottom half.
Second, the Guardian’s Comment is Free section is featuring one top comment a week - take a look at this first story on parenting a child with Asperger’s here.
You may have noticed BHOTN has been a bit sparse of late - this isn’t at all due to a lack of brilliant comments on news sites, oh no. Purely due to the busyness of the site’s creator. In the meantime, please follow these links to enjoy the fruits from the Guardian’s fabled Cif community. And keep sending in submissions you’ve seen elsewhere too!
5:09 pm • 10 May 2013
“My son’s dyslexia was only diagnosed in Year 6, so he has some catching up to do. I want to keep him on as academic pathway as possible, so I am having him tutored to catch up on basic reading and writing skills so he can catch up more easily. I think he will catch up in a relatively short time, and if he does, I probably won’t carry on with the tutoring, I would never have gone down the tutoring path if he didn’t have problems with literacy. A friend of mine has a child in private school, at 5 years old the majority of the class have tutors. The reason? So they could be ‘top’ of the class.”
— giftedamateur, guardian.co.uk, 26 April 2013 16 tutors, seven parents and two pupils on the private tutoring boom
5:40 pm • 26 April 2013
“Haven’t a clue about Japan, but I live in China and have two stepsons who go to high school here. Their school day starts at 8.00am and runs till around 4.30pm. When you factor in a two hour lunch it’s not too much longer than the UK (the article says 9-3 is the norm in the UK, that wasn’t the case when I was at a state secondary school 15 years ago when most days began at 8.45 and finished at 3.45.) Regarding holidays over here, my lads get a little over two months in the summer and one month for Chinese New Year, maybe 13 weeks a year in total (no half terms), which works out very similar to the UK. Regarding Asian schools ‘expecting more’ from their students, I haven’t found this to be the case with this particular Chinese school. It’s not one of the better schools in the area so perhaps this is why, but there doesn’t seem to be any undue pressure on them, no more or less than I was under at the same age in a UK school. Maybe this will change in the final year when they take their university entrance exams. From what I’ve seen a lot of the pressure on school children in China comes from pushy parents rather than teachers or school admin.”
— Walks, guardian.co.uk, Michael Gove proposes longer school day and shorter holidays
5:54 pm • 19 April 2013