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We are becoming increasingly disturbed by the tone of comments we see on social media.

Because we live here and we know the folks who make Prince William County their home, we are sometimes surprised at the incivility that appears in our newsfeeds. We know that folks would never say in person the things they say online.

After reading straightforward police reports, some rush to condemn the accused -- and even the victims -- when investigations are just beginning. Before all the facts can be gathered, the wave of comments crests, surmising about the perpetrators’ “real” motives or the perceived honesty of the victims. For good reason, our police departments release limited information; we must resist the urge to fill in the gaps.

Online bullying is a thing, and not just among teenagers.

This newspaper and its employees are shouted at (in all caps) on social media as being tools of the liberal left -- or sometimes, of the conservative right. Not every issue is partisan, but local concerns are twisted into battles between ideological combatants and the newspaper is frequently accused of favoring one side.

Sometimes, of course, we make a mistake. We spell a name wrong or misstate a fact. A quick phone call, email or text from you allows us to quickly adjust the online article; we are grateful for that assistance.

And we have had many respectful conversations with readers who disagree with the substance of an article or editorial stance.

But often, instead of a request to correct the record, we learn about the error through hyperbolic Facebook comments and angry emails, complete with accusations of bias and deliberate deception.

It’s disheartening.

Social media is wonderful for so many reasons. Let’s use it as the tool it is, and not a weapon.

A good rule to follow: if you wouldn’t say it face-to-face, don’t say it online.

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(3) comments

Louf

Excellent points. But please remember, the media brought this upon itself. We live in a society that we do not trust our Government and trust less our media.

ccw

You are in the right church sitting in the wrong pew.



While your article is filled with valid points it should have been written in a manner that thanked your readers for their respectful behavior and online demeanor. It is their support that has allowed your publication and your sister publications to flourish and grow in the midst of a profession that is failing miserably in our nation. In short when you had the opportunity to stand up to the liberal mainstream media with a well written simple message of treat others as you would have them treat you the article turns 180 towards your readers.



The liberal mainstream media is the root cause of the increasingly disturbed tone of comments you see on social media. They are the major primary source of your and our nation's endless anger, confusion, depression, frustration and growing rage. Your readers might collectively be responsible for a very tiny fraction of what you and your peers are feeling. Up until now I think that your readers have understood and respected you for shouldering much of the stigma attached to the media without buckling, kneeling or submitting your publication to the unfair liberal mainstream media demands that you join them or else be destroyed.



Your article proves that to a degree you understand what is going on in our world today and why and how it is wrong plus some good ideas about how to make things better for everyone. By virtue of that wisdom alone perhaps you have a better than average understanding of what the sting of being subjected to a three year non stop voracious vicious attempt to destroy one person's mental and physical health must be like. Speaking of the incivilities of rushing to condemn without any proven facts I give you the President of our United States of America. Can you think of a better example? I don't think so.



Thanks for your article's earnestly but the awful real truth is that there are no fairy tales come true in life. Check today's news and brace yourself things are going to get much, much worse fast in the next year.



If the madness ever ends who will who blame then?

zcxnissan

One of the few editorials ever I have agreed with.

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