Researching prior restraint laws for my Topic in Digital Freedom class I came across this blog entry featured on knoxnews.com. Discussing the legality of imposing prior restraint on posting public records online of people who owned gun permits in Tennessee, Jake McElroy takes the stance that preventing public records from reaching the internet is a breach in freedom of the press. The blog entry was very opinionated and one-sided. Due to this I couldn’t use it for my research paper, but the entry exemplified the importance of the comment section within blogs.
Although the original blog post was thorough in its explanation for opposing prior restraint, the first respondent in the comment section matched his initial post. Arguing that prior restraint was necessary, the person going by the user name “Knoxmetro,” provided multiple constitutional reasons for preventing the records from being posted online. His analysis energized the original post into an active conversation. Multiple users gave reasonably intelligent and thought out views of the bill potentially being passed to prevent permit carriers names from being posted online. By the time I was done reading the comments, I had an entirely different outlook on issue than when I had finished reading the original blog post.
Usually turning to the comment section for entertaining banter between people who can’t spell, it was nice to see the comment section being used as a way to transform the original article. No name calling or racial remarks, just simply people debating an issue backed by factual and intellectual points.