On my blog, I welcome my readers to express their views on technology and “Black Mirror” in the comment section as do I in my reviews. I encourage them to contribute different ideas and opinions because discourse is imperative to learning. This is a democratic space for open dialogue, however, there are a few caveats because anonymity can breed incivility (Konnikova, 2013). Explicit and transparent community guidelines are necessary to protect me, my audience, and my content from online trolls; they communicate to my readers the type of comments that are and are not permitted. I cannot control what people write, but I can moderate the comment section to block inappropriate comments and ensure that my platform reflects my values and prevents undue harm.
“Black Mirror” episodes cover a range of contentious topics and issues, and given the nature of the satirical show, it can invoke divisive opinions. For example, “San Junipero” is about a lesbian couple, “Men Against Fire” criticizes the military and government, and “White Christmas” depicts police corruption. Furthermore, according to The Guardian, a large percentage of online abuse is targeted at women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), religious groups, and LGBTQ+, many of whom are represented in this show. Therefore, it is important to establish community guidelines that prohibit comments that are oppressive, dismissive, abusive, and/or irrelevant to the content of my blog. This includes, but is not limited to, name-calling, profanity, hate speech, defamatory statements, and threats of any kind. Exchanges must always be constructive and respectful of other people’s perspectives. When someone has an opposing view, my philosophy is always “don’t berate, educate” — this goes both ways. I will place this disclaimer above the comment section and review all comments before they are approved and published on my site.
Gardiner, B., Mansfield, M., Anderson, I., Holder, J., Louter, D., and Ulmanu, M. (2016). “The dark side of Guardian comments.” https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/the-dark-side-of-guardian-comments
Konnikova, M. (2013). “The Psychology of Online Comments”. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-psychology-of-online-comments