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YOU DECIDE (POLL): Did 'Stupid' Stadium Comment Cross Line?

Is it abusive to say an argument is 'stupid' and 'uneducated'?

Did this bill use language that violates the Patch Terms of Use?

"this deal makes economic and social sense, no one is really paying anything all monies are returned and we get to help charities and add to our general fund. Arguments against are stupid, uneducated, and have to do with personal agendas. I saw a poll from 2 years ago and 80% favored a new stadium, it is the will of the people." [emphasis added]

The Patch Terms of Use say, in part, that users must not: 

"... post or transmit to other users anything that contains Content that:

  • is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive ...
  • is threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual"

At the time, there were also several comments from another person—the only commenter on that post to argue against the bill. That person has since deleted the anti-bill comments because of what seemed to the commenter to be a personal attack in the 'stupid, uneducated' comment quoted here.

Part of my job at Fridley Patch is to moderate comments—that means keeping them within bounds and deleting comments that violate the Terms of Use. I decided the comment calling the other side of the stadium-bill argument "stupid" and "uneducated" did not cross the line—specifically, that it was not "defamatory" or "abusive" or "harassing" and didn't "promote hatred ... against any group or individual."

Did I make the right call or was I off base? Leave a comment below.

Julie McMonigal April 30, 2012 at 01:57 PM
You did fine Chris. Others are entitled to their own opinion. I did not feel that the "stupid" comment was offensive in any way.
Wendy Olson April 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM
I believe you made the right decision. This commenter referred to arguments as "stupid... " He did not refer to any specific person or group as "stupid..." However, I think using this kind of language in trying to support your point sort of weakens your position, as people are less likely to respond favorably when these words are used. Just sayin'...
Chris Steller (Editor) April 30, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Thanks. That was my thinkIng too, although when I re-read the policy it doesn't distinguish between abusive language against individuals and in general. I agree--"stupid" is usually not the way to go. But I wouldn't want to ban it--would you?
Jay Ackerman May 01, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I agree with Wendy, leave the comments like that in. It only shows the weakness of his position. Once you descend to name calling, you have lost the arguement. I personally disagree with the original comment. Rather than be offended, all I can say about being called uninformed and stupid is that the feeling is mutual.
Chris Steller (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I guess the problem is when a lot of people are doing that, the whole comment stream gets dragged down. By the way, I'm not sure what the deleted comment is or was above Jay's.
Jay Ackerman May 02, 2012 at 12:45 AM
The deleted comment was mine. I had a typo in the original post. Other than that, it was the same.
Chris Steller (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Thanks for clearing that up, Jay. I thought I was deleting comments in my sleep!

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