Dear commenters on The Daily Princetonian website,
The great majority of you have spurred debate and the exchange of ideas for all those at The Daily Princetonian for years. Through your responses to our ideas, numerous writers and columnists have refined and bolstered their thoughts, improving their opinions and writing skills. You are the final critics of our writing, and for your generous contributions, I thank you.
But, as many columnists and reporters have experienced, some commenters have not been responsible with their opinions. I do not mean those who have challenged our opinions with well-reasoned and evidenced objections, nor those who have written full response articles in the ‘Prince.’ Rather, I speak to the trolls who presume that the articles they read and comment on are inherently biased and that their ideas cannot be challenged nor altered. I speak to those who do not critique articles, but degrade their writers.
And to these trolls, I ask this: Please stop your unorganized, purely emotional, illogical, and cocksure spiel.
I know full well that as soon as this article goes up it will be torn apart by trolls like a feast for crows. I do not presume to think that the vast majority of the trolls will stop simply because I have asked nicely. Instead, you will in all probability attack me harder. Perhaps you will say that I cannot see your point of view due to my privilege, being a Princeton student. Perhaps you will demonize me as a “racist like Dora” [my fellow columnist] because I do not support whatever cause you prioritize. Some of you may even cry out, “I forced myself to read every line of this shamefully [insert adjective] screed,” and claim I have mentally hurt you by presenting this article. I could explore a comprehensive list of the useless comments we have received, but energy is better spent detailing how you can improve the quality of your comments.
I ask, quite simply, that you put some thought before writing your comments on all articles. These articles represent not the works of snobbish elites, but of ordinary students attempting to make sense of their world and exploring their ideas through the written word. They, unlike you, know that they are not always perfectly correct, and are presenting their thoughts in an effort to learn more and experience new schools of thought. So, if you have questions regarding articles or want to encourage debate, please do so. Please write us comments or compositions of your own that are well-supported and well-reasoned, so that we can respond in an equally civilized manner. But please do not assume that your ideas are inherently better than anyone else’s simply because of your personal emotions and beliefs (they are called personal for a reason). A view without any attempt at substantiation, based only on emotion or prejudice — or worse, an ad hominem attack — contributes nothing to the cultivation of ideas.
For those who will protest that I am stifling your right to free speech by writing such an article, do not misunderstand: Having written for the ‘Prince’ for over a year now, I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are among our most important rights as Americans. Instead, I ask you to honor the purpose of free speech: the advancement and unification of different schools of thought.
Protect your right to free speech by being responsible with it. Put your money where your mouth is, challenge yourself, and comment or write a proper, well-argued response to the ‘Prince.’
Daehee Lee is a sophomore from Palisades Park, N.J. He can be reached at email@example.com.