Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why are we all so nasty?

via Tinkerty Tonk

People are such arseholes online because they write as they expect journalists to do.

"What is it about electronic communication that makes highly intelligent adults behave like arseholes as soon as they sit down to a keyboard? It is a puzzle that has defeated better minds than mine, most recently Timothy Garton Ash's. He suggests that some kind of responsibility may be the answer; while this is itself a characteristically responsible suggestion, I don't think it is going to work at all. All this spring we have seen astonishing examples of the rudeness, stupidity and aggression which seems to characterise all online discussion.

Intelligence, education, and respectability in the real world are no protection. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury said earlier this year that "parts of the internet are the preserve of bigots and maniacs"; and he should know if he reads Christian discussion sites. The internet is a matchless incubator of religious hatred. But then again, it is a fantastic generator of hatred of every sort. Even where "hatred" is too strong a word, the amount of small-minded arrogant rudeness that goes on out there is quite astonishing. It is nicely encapsulated by one of the most famous laws of online behaviour, which states that the first person to drag Hitler into an argument online has lost; it has a corollary which states that as any online argument continues, the more certain it becomes that Hitler will make an appearance..." Continue...