Go ahead, prove me wrong

For What it's Worth - Opinion Column by Tracy Hughes

I hope I’m wrong.

I hope hundreds of readers can send me letters saying:

“Tracy Hughes, you doofus, you didn’t know what you were talking about.”

I wouldn’t mind a bit. (Well, except maybe the doofus part.) I’ve taken some heat over the past few weeks about a column I wrote on Oct. 5 entitled “Exposing the great divide.”

In it, I predicted a divisive municipal election campaign, dominated by heated discussion about the SmartCentres shopping centre proposal. I warned candidates to put on some rain gear because there could be some serious mud-slinging.

I based this opinion, in part, on the abundance of time I spent deleting online reader posts off the Observer’s online commenting feature.

As part of the great new computer media age, the Observer offers a relatively new service to encourage community interaction. Anyone reading our stories online can also share their views, which are posted online for the world to read, once they register with our commenting service. Unlike our letters to the editor policy, this feature does not require the public disclosure of names, so people can choose whether to post with their name attached or anonymously.

The deleting happens because we have a set of standards for our site, that says, “personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed.”

The election has sparked plenty of violations of this policy, keeping me anxiously checking the site for posts that could get the newspaper (and also the person posting those comments) into hot water.

I want to encourage people to make use of this new feature, as I think it is a powerful new tool for community discourse about important issues. I have suggested that candidates, with their names attached, respond to queries on the site so there could be some interactive discussion. That is up to them, but I hope the discussions could be constructive and respectful.

This brings me back to my previous column. I certainly hope the whole campaign can be constructive and respectful. I have been accused of writing that column to try and incite bad behaviour.

Not my intention at all, it was simply my observation on some nastiness which had already transpired. Indeed, I hope the column has the opposite effect. I hope people will say to themselves, “I don’t want to be one of those mud-slingers Hughes was writing about.”

My reverse-psychology approach was buoyed the other day when I read a study that concluded people were actually less likely to support a political party if a newspaper endorses them. Maybe the same will apply in this case.

So for now, I will sit back and continue to keep my eye on the campaign, our website and my delete key. And I will await the arrival of the doofus letters after Nov. 19.

 

Just Posted

CSRD approves grant application for electric vehicle

South Shuswap Transportation Society receives a lift from regional district

Kayaks, paddleboards stolen from tenants at Shuswap resort

Thefts reported to have occurred overnight on Wednesday, Aug. 14

In Photos: Sunday acts cap off Roots and Blues

Last day of the 2019 festival goes off under sunny skies

Update: Firetrucks off of Alexander Street, faulty air conditioning unit to blame

Occupants of downtown Salmon Arm building safe, back inside structure

Musicians wanted to play adventurous travellers along yellow brick road

Shuswap Theatre looking for artists to provide musical accompaniment for The Wizard of Oz

Knife-wielding man tries to break into Okanagan retirement home

Seniors and staff shaken by incident and upset with RCMP response

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan dog ‘Alice’ to get surgery thanks to BC SPCA crowdfunding

With the surgery, Alice’s prognosis is ‘excellent,’ stated the BC SPCA

Suspicious item forces 47 to evacuate plane at Kelowna airport

Kelowna RCMP continue investigation of suspicious item on airplane

Kelowna man nearly drowns on Okanagan Lake

The victim is in serious yet stable condition but his condition has worsened since going to hospital

Okanagan youth protest Tolko logging

Small group gathers outside Tolko head office

Kelowna International Airport threat deemed non-credible

Normal operations have resumed following note of a suspicious item on board a WestJet plane

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read