Web Designers: Unite Against Breitbart
Breitbart has been claiming lately that the people posting racist comments on his website are “liberal plants.” He’s either a terrible human being or a terrible web designer (probably both). Here are two arguments against Breitbart’s logic that aren’t made against him nearly enough:
1) If Breitbart wanted to prove himself right, he could easily do it
I’m not a master web designer, and until recently I just made them for fun. But even just an amateur web-tinkerer knows that the web site administrator has the power to view the IP address of anyone who visits your website. This in itself would be enough to trace someone’s identity. But on top of that, you must register a valid email address on Breitbart’s site before you can make a comment. This means that Breitbart has, at the very minimum, the IP address and emails of everyone who posted a racist comment.
Why doesn’t Breitbart publish this information? Afterall he made a big stink a few weeks ago about the need to “publicly shame” liberals (That’s an indirect link, to save your sanity). But it seems that his public shaming is limited to posting pictures of poor random guys at the mall, in order to give his followers someone to attack.
The ultimatum to Breitbart is simple. If “leftist plants” are posting racist comments on your website, it would take about 2 minutes to prove it. So prove it.
2) Unmoderated comments are blatantly irresponsible
Despite Breitbart’s claim that comments are plants, he hasn’t deleted them. Apparently he believes that comments should be unmoderated (or he won’t publicly admit that he adores the racist comments). But this really just turns his website into a cesspool.
Consider the broken windows crime prevention theory. Studies have shown that a great predictor of crime in an area is the number of broken windows on abandoned buildings. The premise behind the theory is that a broken window leads others to believe that no one is watching or cares about the area, and they are more likely to commit crimes there. Patching up abandoned buildings is shown to reduce crime in an area.
A disgusting, racist comment is like a broken window. It lets less crazy people think that they’re normal, and that anything you say in the comments is valid. This leads to a devolution in the discussion on Breitbart’s sites, which only stokes the fires of hatred. If he doesn’t want racist/hateful comments on his sites, he needs to moderate. Again, even an amateur web-tinkerer can figure out how to do this automatically or via a third party.
So there you have it. Breitbart needs to take some responsibility or eat his words. If we all tweet this at him, or post this logic in the comments section of his websites maybe he’ll be forced by his own followers to change his policies. It’s worth shot…