In Slatington, a controversy erupted because of an Internet website, www.improveslatington.com.

The site contained perceived derogatory videos of some council members and statements that brought to light questionable decisions by council.

The problem was that the site developer steadfastly refused to reveal the identities of those who were posting the information.

Without knowing the source of the postings, the questions arise whether the site contains accurate information or if the person posting it has a political agenda.

The site's contents have been removed except for an open farewell letter. The letter reads:

"We would again like to express our apologies to anyone that we may have offended and sincerely hope no irreversible damage has come to the town as a result of our efforts."

There are some people who are naive and believe they can throw stones without facing any backlash; that they can stir up controversy without planting seeds of discord. There are individuals who feel if an opinion isn't their own, it's a wrong opinion.

With the website like the one in Slatington, people behind masks try to discredit elected officials by spewing chaos and controversy under a shroud of secrecy.

It's okay to disagree. It's okay to debate facts and opinions. It's not okay to be anonymous in such debate. This pure cowardice. It's not okay to create a website with no other purpose than to bring down the individuals that the majority of voters put into office just because you disagree with them.

You can't call these web posters watchdogs, because watchdogs are willing to stand up and be counted.

Did the people who had the website ever run for office? Did they win? Are the website posters presently office holders?

We'll probably never know.

The worldwide web can be a great thing when used properly. But what was being done in Slatington was bullying.

In fact, bullying on the web has become a worldwide problem.

We're happy to see that information was removed from www.improveslatington.com.

In that farewell letter, the writer states:

"Let us begin by offering our sincerest apologies to anyone that we may have offended by the development of this website. We had set out to educate & motivate the citizens of this community in an effort to affect positive change to a town that many would agree is in need of improvement.

"However, in light of recent events, it appears as though we are now a town starkly divided with deep-rooted animosities toward one-another. Our efforts may have contributed in part or in full to that & again we offer our apologies."

There are other sites out there which spew just as much venom. It's okay to have a site and disagree with the actions of council members. But state who you are so. Make the debate a fair one.

What the authors of such sites should really learn is the "when you throw mud at someone, you're the one who's losing ground."

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com