I heard a story recently of someone who took writing “Romani ite domum” on the boards of a building site, every night on his way home from the pub; he was protesting the building of a supermarket on the site of a local cricket pitch.
The thing is he was clever enough to publish a witty protest (for those familiar enough with Life of Brian) and not get caught.
You could hardly claim that what Matthew McKenna, 20, and Dean Boyd, 21 did on Facebook was a protest, but writing “Kill all Taigs” with your name attached is a particularly fool thing to do.
Far from being one of the first examples of this kind of menacing on Facebook, as the Independent claims, it follows the case of Daryl O’Donnell who was similarly convicted last summer for writing menacing comments about the East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.
This is one of the reasons why Slugger has a fairly tight commenting policy (which relies on you the community to report any breaches directly). And it should kick in a long way before people feel they have to resort to law.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty