LETTER | As they used to say in that television series Twin Peaks which we enjoyed almost a lifetime ago especially with Sherilyn Fenn displaying her wares, “It is happening again!”
Malaysiakini’s readers' comments platform has gone down and insofar as opinions were concerned, readers were experiencing desert-like conditions for two days without even having to visit Saudi Arabia or, fortunately, their embassy.
However, as of right now, 6.15pm, Jan 8, there is some light at the end of the tunnel though we are not fully out of the woods yet. Sharing comments is possible for most articles, like the two on WSJ and China, sex in the BFM city, the continuing saga of the waspish AirAsia and KLIA, but not certain other pieces.
First, let me take out the short knives on that Chinese editor and his Indian accomplice, thereby fulfilling a national obligation to introduce race or religion into everything we eat, hear, touch or read.
Malaysiakini readers and subscribers are a most tolerant lot, almost as tolerant as Hadi and PAS, and we don’t mind if the site encounters some snafus once in a rare while.
But not on crucial elements among which the offering of commenting is one. To naïve ignorant persons like me, comments on any website is an easily managed service and should technical problems indeed happen, they should be overcome speedily. Obviously, I am wrong.
Being a long-standing subscriber, I notice that the entire approach collapses whenever the editors embark on some mission to disallow comments, a restriction that usually arises in respect of news on royalty or when persons not particularly the object of affection pass away.
But more on this later.
In the first place, are our comments necessary? There is no doubt they are. Comments is that vehicle that not only allows us to express our opinions and thoughts on issues featured in Malaysiakini but also gives access to alternative viewpoints and in the process, learn something.
I cannot imagine a Malaysiakini without comments from “Abasir” and his amusing scathing observations especially when hidden in mystic quotations and language.
Then there's “David Dass” with his sober analysis of the matter at hand and lending it a touch of history and “Cogito Ergo Sum” and “The Wakandan” whose contributions offer us more in-depth glimpses and a host of others including “Quigonbond”, “Mano”, “Retnam” and “hplooi” whose writings can only serve to illuminate and stimulate.
Should comments be censored or disabled? I would imagine that Steven Gan and Malaysiakini would prefer readers to have their free say so that opinions cover almost all 50 shades of the rainbow.
Therein lies the catch and therein why Malaysiakini has to be more discreet than valorous. There are certain topics which should be handled by nine-foot or longer poles but it is in these very areas that passionate readers might be carried away and indulge in language considered delicate, insensitive, or worse, illegal.
For all the liberal promises from Pakatan Harapan, certain matters must be understandably handled with care and it is here that Malaysiakini would want to be cautious rather than too open.
When someone leaves for that resting place in the sky, perhaps a sense of decency dictates that however unpopular he or she may have been, their final journey is not accompanied with painful, unkind words.
And remember, sedition may still lurk close by where royalty is concerned even should some members play Santa Claus in supermarkets.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
Editor's note: Malaysiakini apologises for the purely technical issues affecting the subscribers' commenting platform and wishes to assure that efforts are underway to restore it within the shortest possible time. We thank you for your patience.