Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The staff of the Daily Gazette was stunned to browse through The Phoenix‘s opinions section yesterday to find the Gazette’s comment section described as “hateful, vitriolic and ignorant.”
Perhaps the editors of The Phoenix need to read the comments left on the Gazette more carefully. Over the course of this past week, students have left nearly eighty comments, and the worst language to be found was “jerk.” Indeed, the comments were passionate, considered, and informed.
In fact, an editorial proclaiming a rival newspaper as “hateful” and “ignorant” is more vitriolic than any comment on the Gazette. And while the Gazette moderates every comment posted, we have only found two comments out of the 849 from the past six months to be objectionable.
The Gazette believes Swarthmore needs more forums for discussion, and apparently the Swarthmore community agrees with us. Far from being a “marginal online forum,” as The Phoenix suggests, the Gazette provides a place where busy Swarthmore students, alumni, faculty members, and administrators can talk and debate.
While The Phoenix might wish all written dialogue on the Swarthmore campus occurred within its pages, publication of a tiny handful of letters once-a-week is not enough.
Through the Gazette and the Swarthmore Admitted Students forum I ran for three years, I’ve witnessed an enormous amount of online, anonymous discussion by Swarthmore students. I know that that vast majority of Swarthmore students are mature adults, perfectly capable of handling a little freedom.
The Daily Gazette is not the Daily Jolt. Perhaps the editors of The Phoenix should look to publications that use anonymous comments, like The New York Times, USA Today, and the Daily Gazette to see how the internet can foster conversation and debate.