I think we can all agree that the internet is great. Can’t remember what we used to spend all our time on before the web (BW). Perhaps on activities that avoided obesity, poor posture and RSI.
It has made us ruder, though, hasn’t it?
You just need to read the comments below the opinion articles on The Age website (or on any feminist blogger sites) – lots of name-calling, arrogant viewpoints and an unhealthy array of ninnies who obviously haven’t managed to read past the first paragraph, but feel qualified to leave their opinion (usually on a tangent issue), thus repeating the cycle of name-calling. Instead of discussing ideas, issues or actually debating, comments are restricted to ‘ you are shit and what you wrote is shit’, and variations on that. It’s as if the only people prepared to leave responses are the very people who didn’t want to read the article in the first place, hated the author already and are grumpy for even visiting the site that they’ve spent so much time & passion trashing.
Leaving aside trolling, even relatively normal people seem to feel quite justified to openly and harshly criticise those that they don’t agree with, whether it be Yumi Stymes, Julia Gillard’s dress sense (she’s our freaking PRIME MINISTER, not a clothes horse), or the cover issue of Time Magazine.
Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned, but I do believe that if you don’t have the guts to say something directly to a person’s face, then don’t bother writing it on the web.
Would it hurt to just be a little nicer? Or at least a tad more imaginative when it comes to insulting people anonymously? Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s important to have criticism and juxtaposed positions, but I think we should all be grown up enough to do that without resorting to pathetic name-calling. Most of the internet just feels like a highschool cafeteria with no teachers on yard duty.