The EFF cautions that a blogger should not abuse the power to edit comments posted by others on their blog. This is explained in light of Section 230, which grants a blogger the right to edit in good faith certain comments which might be found to fall outside of the limits of common decency.
In this current age of internet anonymity allowing people the secrecy to post negative, obscene and altogether harassing comments, I find it difficult to navigate the ethics around editing comments. On the one hand, I am of the mind that inappropriate, hateful comments should be deleted without pause. Especially in this era of seeming media illiteracy, these comments are negative to the process and should not be tolerated as legitimate speech. On the other hand, I am a staunch supporter of free speech. Where do these two concerns meet in the middle? Where is the happy—or at least acceptable—medium?
Take the recent example of the County Music Awards (“CMAs”). Beyoncè joined the Dixie Chicks onstage for a performance. Following the ceremony, commenters posted racist and sexist remarks in such abundance that the CMAs removed all mention and video of the performance from their website. Most of me is sickened by this development; however, is not one of the lessons we are learning from this past election that we need to hear each other’s opinions, even when they are ugly? That is an answer I’m not quite ready to accept.