Mr. Cope's Cave: No Comment 

I have three words on Boise Weekly's decision to shut down the comment feature on most of its website:




It was with no small measure of satisfaction I learned that the little no-see-ums who buzz around other peoples' work, gnawing anonymously on exposed skin, will have to go elsewhere to spread their persistent itch. I cannot honestly say the satisfaction has nothing at all to do with how I feel about any persistent critics to my contribution to these pages—those who have demonstrated over the years how empty their lives must be to spend so much time trying to piss on my parade. It does, but not a lot. Quite some time ago, I figured out how to remain unperturbed by what these insects think of my writing skills, my opinions, my general intelligence, my age, my looks, my whatever. I simply quit reading the comments. Haven't even looked at 'em for at least five years. To those who were complimentary, I say thank you and I'm sorry that I missed what you had to say. To those who were uncomplimentary, I say bite my ass and why don't you grow up, creeps.

Yet on a much broader level, I hope this is a sign of things to come. For too long, this medium has granted the superpower of invisibility to the worst sorts of demeaning, bullying, harassing, infantile behavior, and the power of invisibility is never a good thing. People with backbone don't need it; its only use is to allow cowards to pretend they are brave. I don't believe we'd lose anything worth having if anonymity were eliminated entirely from the Internet. If you want to comment, do it under your real name. And if you're ashamed to say openly what you want to say, don't say it.

And please, don't cry to me about how your freedom of speech is being violated if you can't make up some ridiculous user name and hide behind it. There is no provision in the Constitution that gives you the liberty to be a faceless dick. Besides, you can always go back to writing out your opinions on public toilet walls like you used to do before your mommy got you that first modem. Remember?

For those who still insist they have something to contribute to the conversation, I've been told you can go to the Boise Weekly Facebook page, sign in and comment away. Don't ask me how to do it. I've never been there. But judging from what I know about Facebook, I'm sure even you can figure it out.

Or... you could always do what grown-ups do: Take the time to write a letter to the editor. Do that and you could actually see your name in print. Even more thrilling, you might even gain some respect from the community for making a modicum of effort to speak out, openly and freely, on something that is important to you. Trust me, it's a good feeling to know you are taking an active part in our democracy, rather than slithering around in the sewers of a comment feature, looking for ways to be nasty.
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