Some of the comments on social media of late directed at political candidates or those in office have been nothing short of disgraceful.
Among the most concerning examples have been levelled towards Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and candidates who put their names on the Rosevears Legislative Council election ballot paper.
Some of the deeply personal attacks are too abhorrent to repeat, and many have been made by gutless keyboard warriors that more often than not hide behind fake names with no realistic profile image.
They are social media trolls on the hunt for an argument or to be as offensive as they please without a care in the world about the impacts their words may have on people.
The morality of individuals responsible is questionable when comments around wishing the death on someone, defaming one's character and making threats to another are made without a second thought.
Whatever happened to the adage that "if you haven't got something nice to say, then don't say anything at all"? Or the general social media rule of thumb that if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, then don't be saying online. There is a clear line, and normal societal standards of respect and manners should apply. Voters in the past 20 years have often bemoaned the reported lack of diversity of candidates putting their hands up for Parliamentary service.
Well, if you have spent any time on Facebook or Twitter of late, why would anyone want to subject themselves to such innuendo? Several councillors have resigned due to the fact unmarked criticism has become too much, and former premier Will Hodgman cited it and the impact it was having on his family as reasons for exiting public life.
Politicians should not go about their day-to-day jobs as representatives of the taxpayer unchecked, but that does not give citizens a right to slag off without facts or a conscience. However, it's humbling to see an increasing number of people with morals willing to call out faceless bigots for their careless words. So next time you have something to say online, think before you speak because typed words can be just as damaging as those expressed aloud.