Editorial on anonymous confession sites

The Elk Valley is home to several anonymous Facebook pages where people post atrocious things about other members of the community.

It has recently come to my attention that the Elk Valley is home to several anonymous Facebook pages where people post atrocious things about other members of the community. I personally think these sites are appalling. Unhappy people hide behind their computers, typing terrible things about their neighbours and so called friends. These websites make me cringe when I hear about all the cheating, gossiping and empty threats. Like many others living here in the Elk Valley, I grew up in a bigger city and I’ve never been subjected to something like this. It disheartens me to know that people have so much built up resentment towards each other. Yet, they hide behind an anonymous post. Occasionally, people will even use these sites to confess their feelings for someone else, using that persons initials or defining them by their vehicle or their appearance. I feel pretty confident in saying this is not the best way to attract someone. Hiding behind your computer screen shows a lack of confidence and it’s a shame to see that people lack enough confidence to stand by their name and what they write.

Recently, a Free Press freelancer who had stopped contributing to the paper while she was running for Sparwood council was accused of self-promotion on our Remembrance Day page. The photos we ran that week included mayoral candidates, councillor candidates and the members of the public. The individual accused of self promotion did not take those photos or write the story and to make this accusation was insulting to our staff. I personally choose the photos that go into the newspaper and the photo choices are based on quality more than anything. It is unsatisfying to read negative feedback, especially by an individual hiding behind an anonymous post. It is even more disheartening to see someone accusing The Free Press of being involved in self-promotion on Remembrance Day, a day that is meant to be dedicated to honouring our fallen soldiers.

As I mentioned in my editorial last week, we encourage the public to generate a conversation with our paper, even if it is a criticism, but not on these sites. We prefer individuals to submit letters to the editor or to contact us through email or over the phone.

It would be nice to see people using these sites to engage with other members of the community, and to see people submit new ideas that would improve the community.

At the end of the day, gossiping and belittling someone else isn’t going to do you any good.