heartfelt plea for action to curb the rising tide of abusive and venomous comments on the internet. He says an increasing number of media sites are suspending or restricting online comments because mindless spleen is taking over from serious thinking.
He is disturbed that privacy and anonymity is becoming more important than responsibility, and instant reaction counts more than considered opinion.
He refers to the personal trauma that such vicious abuse can cause. He mentions the suicide of an Irish government minister. He could also have mentioned the many young people who have killed themselves as a result of relentless online bullying.
Personally, when I read the comments on media articles, I'm often shocked by how vitriolic and brutal they are. Under cover of anonymity, the writers simply lash out like brainless thugs.
These aren't comments in any normal sense. They don't come from a thorough and considered reading of an article. They don't show any respect or sympathy for other people's views or circumstances. They don't have any intelligent thoughts or fresh perspectives to offer. They are simply verbal kickings trying to harm some vulnerable, sensitive human being.
It's the ability to be anonymous that allows the commenters to be as malicious as they like, ignore all the usual conventions of decent behaviour, and not have any comeback. They can burst out of their hiding-places, lob a few online grenades, then disappear again, and nothing can be done to stop them except in very serious cases where the police are compelled to trace their identities.
It seems to me the media either have to ban anonymity or restrict online comments. The first may discourage some worthwhile comments, the second is a form of censorship, but surely either of those is preferable to people being scared that voicing their opinions will just unleash a sickening torrent of abuse.
Shrugging your shoulders and saying "Oh well, that's the internet for you" simply isn't good enough any more.