Southborough selectmen mull legal action over blog comments. That was the headline in the Metrowest Daily News today. The blog they’re talking about is this one. Here’s the story.
One sunny afternoon last September I got a letter from the town’s lawyer demanding I reveal the identity of one of the commenters on this blog.
I admit my first instinct after reading the letter was to rush inside and fire off a blog post to share my outrage that the town would “expect” (their word) me to hand over personal information about participants of this blog. And my outrage that with all the challenges facing our town, this is how our elected leaders chose to spend their time and money.
I wrote the post, but I never published it.
The thing is, we’re all part of the same community. We shop at the same stores, say good morning to each other at the coffee shop, cheer shoulder-to-shoulder at our kids’ soccer games. And we all care deeply about this town. So I decided to give the selectmen the benefit of the doubt and not make a fuss.
As much as I disagree with the selectmen’s threat to take legal action against me and commenters on this — or any — site, I sympathize with their frustration. They don’t like what’s being said in the comments. Truth be told, I don’t like much of it either. But we all know free speech isn’t always pretty.
In any community there will be people whose opinions make your blood boil. It’s true of this town, and it’s true of this blog. But how different it would be if selectmen saw this site as a place to engage with their community instead of making it “us versus them.”
Needless to say, I have not revealed the identity of any of the commenters on this blog, nor do I intend to.