I am really quite tired by the nature of the comments we receive on our news website and the types of people leaving them.

It is often riddled with harsh criticism, sarcasm, and even personal attacks – not to mention those that are racist or libellous.

It is the same on our social media platforms, with the only people having a conversation often those with an axe to grind.

They forget there's a real person, or people, on the receiving end. Someone can be hurt by your comments or impacted by the outpouring of this constant negativity.

The consequences of online unkindness are far-reaching. A single negative comment can discourage someone from sharing their ideas, stifling creativity and open discourse. It can also lead to self-censorship, silencing valuable voices and hindering the vibrant exchange of ideas that the internet should foster.

Why are they so quick to be mean online, and how can we shift towards a more positive online environment?

It is an important question I would like everyone who is on our website to consider.

There is nothing better for a local news outlet than people making their voices heard, getting that debate going and those opinions known on the important matters where they live.

Online kindness isn't just about being polite; it's about creating a space where everyone feels safe to share their thoughts and participate in discussions. It's about fostering a sense of community and belonging in the virtual world.

I ask those thousands of people who have been intrigued, educated or inflamed by our articles every day to say so, let our comments section truly reflect our readership.

Because I refuse to believe that the derisory chat I see on many of our stories as representatives of our good town.

Shifting the online landscape towards kindness requires a conscious effort from all of us.

And while I cannot stop an idiot from being an idiot (indeed it keeps me in a job reporting what they get up to), I can certainly encourage them being drowned out and some level of reasonableness brought back to our forums.

So next time you are online, why not leave a little message on your thoughts on the story? Who knows where it might go.