Several days ago this editorial made the unusual call that a certain sector of Ballarat reconsider how they respond to the news that shapes their city.
The Courier has and always will value the feedback of its readers but there is an element who use the anonymity of the online world and its amplification of emptiness to simply indulge their cloistered cynicism and peevish negativity.
Nowhere does this become more apparent than when the news is in fact positive and welcomed by the community at large.
Whether it is simply thanking emergency service men and women for their extra effort or a new community facility that delights local children, there is always a number who like to jibe at some minor aspect or predict doom.
Experienced journalists clearly understand that we live in a world of spin and there is another angle to every story.
But even old-fashioned scepticism should not be blind to new ideas and the possibilities for solutions and ways forward.
One of the more serious side effects of this carping and trolling that occurs in the public debate is that those who have more legitimate criticisms or even those who can proffer new ideas are intimidated in silence.
Worse still is that a legitimate forum for public debate becomes such a slough of the unworthys’ expectorations that anyone with an informed opinion or inspired idea will not sully their voice in the company of such trash.
The internet is often the new vehicle for shouting louder in the market place than anyone else, a verbal graffiti wall that gives way to those with the most idle time and spite. But it need not be so.
With the right moderation and the right community attitudes, the pool of ideas such forums bring can be a great force of change.
The Courier recognises the great potential of community forums and hopes that 2014 is one where the constructive criticism and developmental thought become stronger voices than simply mindless barracking or finger