SO once again the faceless Twitter warriors have been out in force – this time, quite bizarrely feeling the need to issue death threats in response to the fate of controversial Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Not exactly a proportionate response to the celeb’s departure, but there you go. Clarkson himself is not the victim of these, of course. Instead it has been first the producer on the show that he had his momentous dinnertime altercation with, and this week Sue Perkins, who has done nothing more than be rumoured as a possible replacement for him.

Rumours which she herself has denied. Still, it hasn’t stopped the finest minds that social media users have to offer from suggesting she be burned to death for apparently stepping out from the middle England battlefield of The Great British Bake Off.

The result, sadly, was her announcement that she was retiring from Twitter for a while, presumably until the social inepts sending the bullying tirades her way find something else to spew their vitriol toward.

Amusingly enough, James May, Clarkson’s former fellow Top Gear presenter (for the moment, at least, until another channel snaps up the trio along with Richard Hammond), immediately suggested such Twitter trolls go and kill themselves, before acknowledging that he didn’t really want them dead in the very same tweet – just that they give up on being Top Gear fans.

Even Jezza himself told them to lay off poor old Oison Tymon, the man on the receiving end of his wrath at being served cold food.

The reaction is, perhaps, to be expected. Top Gear has a fiercely loyal audience – and with any such band of fans, some of them inevitably get a bit carried away. The combination of intense fandom, lack of social consideration, a hint of misogyny, and access to a social media account is obviously a pretty combustible one.

I have mentioned this before, but one of the most staggering things I have noticed in my time at the BFP is how incredibly obnoxious so many of our online comments are – often under the misguided apprehension they are being witty and perhaps a bit snarkily ‘controversial’.

Online comments are great – they open up debate, allow people to air genuine points of grievance or dispute and very often make strong points. But freedom of speech is best enjoyed with a degree of responsibility.

Robust and lively debate is one thing – personal snipes, attacks and outright insensitivity is something else entirely, and it too often takes priority. Unfortunately we are too often left with an awful lot of ignorant people saying stupid things while thinking, sadly, they are being clever.

The upshot of this is that the people who have something more interesting, reasoned and informed to say are often bullied off the site in question – whether it is Twitter or another kind or forum – or can’t be bothered to log on and wade through a gibbering tribe of morons in the first place.

It seems a shame that all too often these forums that are becoming an ever more dominant force in 21st Century communication are so often hijacked by, well, idiots.