When I was a kid, my parents always used to tell me to think before I opened my mouth.

“Always use tasteful words, because you may have to eat them later,” was the rule of thumb that I lived by. Sure, I didn’t always follow that. I’m human, and I’m just as prone to knee-jerk reactions as the next person.

In the age of the Internet, it is easier than ever to say whatever you want without any accountability.

It is so easy to write an inflammatory remark about an article or a post that you disagree with, and put it out there for everyone to see. In the meantime, no one knows it’s you because of the digital wall that’s between you and the rest of the world.

The ease with which people can comment on posts has led to many problems, even here at Algonquin.

Two Algonquin Times issues ago, I got an e-mail that accused me of not approaching a group on campus for an article I was working on. The truth was that I did, in fact, get in touch, but I didn’t hear anything back until after the article was printed. That’s the reality of the program I’m in. We have deadlines, and they need to be adhered to.

It’s all too easy to just jump to conclusions and get upset with something without considering all the facts. It’s very easy to go and call a reporter “unprofessional” and “appalling” without doing research. I don’t write my stories without talking to people first, and people posting online should get the facts before they write their comments.

Don’t get me wrong, open debate is wonderful, and we are lucky to live in a society that encourages this.

But it helps to be aware of what you’re putting out there. Nobody wants to start an unnecessary flame war and fling insults at each other. That would be unprofessional and appalling.

My high school music teacher used to say that “It’s better to stay silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Reflect before you object.