I think this is a very interesting topic. What is everyone expecting from Stomp? We (me included) exclaim “Stupid Stompers”, “What kind of Stomp is that”, blablabla. I still remember someone taking a photo of any truck in Singapore and Stomping it, saying “It looks like Transformers”. In a way, that does seem like a stupid post and a waste of resources.
Or the recent “Durian auntie gives wrong change, but insists she’s right” Stomp article? Should someone ever use Stomp as a place to complain? Or the “Outrageous that man goes naked in East Coast Beach!” incident? I can already see the comments in my head even before I browse the comments section: “Why Stomp? Should have called the police”. Blablabla. Or for the durian auntie article, people will say, “that’s a one sided view”, and the auntie may be “suay” to have such a customer.
But seriously, if we think about it in another way, forums have been existing for years. It is very easy to set up forums. You can just get the software and upload it onto your own server that supports PHP/MySQL. There have been popular forums teeming with childish children and young adults, and more often than not, they have a rant place, where people do complain about certain things that happened. “The rude auntie who gave me a stare when all I want is to use the toilet”. Or “The salegirl who was rude and loud”. Sounds familiar? It happens all the time on forums too.
Some forums put up photos of pretty girls or celebrities. Some put up the funny things they see. In a way, the transformer post would become an excellent material for a normal forum. People can chit chat and laugh about it. If we think of Stomp as a forum where people can easily post up photos just by MMSing, then what is wrong with it?
The actual problem is the label of what Stomp is about. They call it citizen journalism. When we hear of the word journalism, we think that there must be a certain kind of standard. You can’t expect a truck that looks barely like Optimus Prime in the Transformers Movie to be news. You won’t see them in the papers. But we can see “Man naked in East Coast beach”, of which the man will be fully clothe by the time the reporters arrive.
So what are we expecting from Stomp? If we want Stomp to be a newsworthy site with posts from citizens, then I’m sorry to say Stomp falls short of it. There does not seem to be any editorial guidelines on what a Stomp should be, because nearly all Stomps will be shown. But if we just think that Stomp is just like any normal lame forum out there, then Stomp is perfectly acceptable.
Yet we can’t think that it is like any lame forum because its a journalist powered site, albeit citizen journalists. The best thing is that it is powered by SPH!
But what I can say is this: When Stomp didn’t exist, and forums do, the level of such content in the internet is lower. When Stomp came into the picture, suddenly, anyone with a camera phone can become a smart alec who may take your photo from afar and post it on Stomp. Stomp has made it so easy for someone to post up an article, and that is why the standards are so crappy. In reality, it is really a no control forum. So with that thinking, we can understand perfectly well why such articles may be up on Stomp.
But that is not to say that I support Stomp. In fact, I dislike it. I dislike the fact that you can take anybody’s photo and Stomp it, and then the camera wielding man or woman becomes the judge. How can one expect to judge fairly? “Kid does not give seat for pregnant woman”. Is the kid wrong? He may not be wrong!
I think Stomp’s management should exercise some control. The photo posting feature of Stomp should have stricter guidelines. No photos of faces that may allow us to recognize somebody. No embarrasing the person when he may become the victim too. But I think generic photos of durians blabla are acceptable, because, ultimately, Stomp is just a like a forum. A really childish one. So Stomp, please stop saying citizen journalism, because the standards seriously disgraces the profession of journalists.