Added Jan 12 2012
Chicago News Report is a blog I used to frequent for late-breaking Rogers Park-related news. Unfortunately, in the interest of free speech the blog's owner allows people to post racist comments anonymously. Blogs like CNR are why I am against people being able to post to message boards anonymously.
The comments have recently ratcheted up to include personal attacks against anyone who posts dissenting opinions. The following link is an example: http://www.chicagonewsreport.com/2012/01/video-ghetto-rap-battle-on-cta-red-line.html
I was called an N-word lover on this thread (The blog owner recently instituted a filter so the N-word looks more like n*****.)
One anonymous poster went so far as to google my screen name and then present a distorted profile of me--based on reading a few comments I posted on various websites.
I think it is cowardly & disgraceful that not only are people on that blog allowed to post despicable, racist comments about my neighborhood--and about black people in general--but they are also allowed to do it anonymously. How is that free speech?
The First Amendment pre-dates modern technology by a lot. Back then, free speech and the right to peaceably assemble mostly looked like men in waistcoats and breeches standing in the town square bellowing the rhetoric of the day against whatever evils of government existed at that time. Back then, it was illegal to create anonymous fliers and newsletters!
Today, people hide behind their First Amendment rights to post the most vile, intolerant, hateful, racist rantings against anyone they don't like--anonymously and with impunity. Undoubtedly, this is NOT what was intended by the original framers.
IMO, the only solution to reducing the amount of hate speech allowed to proliferate across the internets on public message boards is to mandate that people identify themselves. Then let them rant all they want--and suffer the consequences.