This page will feature opinion articles about TOPIX, especially as they relate to the hot issue of CYBERBULLYING ON TOPIX.
Topix claims to be the LOCAL WATERING HOLE for many cities and towns around America. However, our hypothesis is that Topix most powerful traffic draw is not its news aggregation or its localization of information, but its anonymous forums. We challenge TOPIX to reveal the data, showing what percentage of its traffic actually comes from its FORUMS.
"...incumbent to the right to express oneself freely is the responsibility to accept accountability for that free speech which one has chosen to publish ..."
There are many blog sites out there with all kinds of strange and bizarre conversations, many of which are quite inappropriate or even dangerous. However, what makes Topix particularly dangerous is the fact that as a news site, with an unbelievable ranking in GOOGLE searches, people just land on Topix unexpectedly. For example, one can post something about suicide and someone searching for suicide prevention HELP, will just land on the thread, thinking that it is a legitimate place for feedback and help. Completely unaware that Topix is anonymous, unmoderated and highly UNRELIABLE as a source for help and information, someone may post asking for help and end up with a reply like this one:
Now we don't deny anyone's right to their opinion. But the problem is that as a news site with a very high profile on the internet, Topix can be a destination for almost anyone and having a free for all of opinions that does not distinguish hyberbole and bad ideas from legitimate news can lead people to do exactly what some posters below suggest. And can you imagine if kids are reading this?
This brave young woman talks about abuse of Topix forums by high school kids. Sadly, she says that its only Wednesday and Topix has already ruined her week. Neither she nor her friends probably realize that whatever has been posted on Topix will STAY THERE FOREVER unless Topix decides to take it down. Topix will say she's right and people should use the site responsibly but the same thing holds true for matches and knives, which is why we don't just hand them to everyone and hope they act responsibly. Can you imagine how it would feel for a teenager to realize that a momentary lapse of judgment will stay on the internet, index powerfully by Google FOREVER?
Killing our kids.com sees three websites which are the most dangerous to kids and TOPIX is listed as number three. We think it would be number one if kids were interested in it as a news site but since its front focus is more adult oriented, kids don't hang out on Topix. That is until they find out the damage it can do. See the article here.
A new law in California, SB1411, makes it a crime to create a fake online profile to harm someone. The San Francisco Chronicle covers the new law HERE. This law addresses the rather understood situation where someone makes up a fake Facebook or MySpace account and harms someone through defamation, harassment or cyber bullying.
However, the fact that nobody has to register with Topix to comment means that Topix can be used to skirt the law. You don't have to 'fake it' with Topix. You can legally hide. This creates two interesting issues:
1) Does this law create an incentive for companies to drop registration altogether. After all, the law basically says that if you don't have to identify yourself anyway, you can harm people online.
2) Since Topix does not require registration, is it possible that judges might interpret the law this way: Anonymous comments are all fake. In other words, either you identify yourself, or you are fake. In this way, all anonymous posts which harm, will be interpreted as fake and will be covered by the law.
We need input and feedback from CA residents and lawmakers on this very important issue.