Sunday, July 25, 2010


Ya know, back in the 1990s I use to love internet forums. The way people from all over could share their opinions with each other with the filter of an editor deciding rather something was worth sharing with the world or not. Now, in 2010 I am starting to rethink all that.

I'm still for free speech and people being able to post whatever they want. The thing is I'm not sure how useful it is. Looking at the comment sections of places like Yahoo and CNN are pretty depressing for me. It's amazing the amount of animosity you see on these boards. There is a lot of US vs THEM attitudes. Be it, Republicans vs Democrats, Real American vs Terrorists, America vs North Korea. It doesn't really matter. There's just a lot of bile being tossed around by both sides.

Part of the problem is, the Internet allows a person to be anonymous therefore they can say whatever they want without fear of reprisal. Plus on the Internet you don't see the consequences your words have on other people which makes it easier for you to insult somebody. I like to think most people are basically good and they don't want to hurt another persons feelings in person. Yet the internet makes insulting somebody else easy as you can't see the hurt or anger in a persons face after you insult them.

I also like to think we're a lot more a like than we are different. That most people have the same common goals and that a lot more good can be done learning how to work towards common goals than looking for issues that separate us. Yet being anonymous on the Internet makes it easily to be belligerent. You don't see who you are dealing with therefore you tend to forget that you are arguing with another person not just a collection of electrons shown on a screen.

So don't get me wrong, I'm a geek. I like the Internet. I just feel it makes it too easy for us all to act like jerks without having to worry about consequences. Finally after 20 years I'm starting to see the value of both face to face communication and editors. Who would have thunk it.

Somebody about the rank.


Eternal said...

I agree with you, it is all to easy to spew forth filth and stupidity when no one can see you. I am a WYRIWYG sort of person. I say online just what I would say face to face. Why be anyone but myself in either world right?

Stephen said...

With the switch from print to Radio/TV and Online, our attention spans have dropped.

Everything now needs to become a sound bite. The average person does not have the patience to hear a long, detailed comment.

It is much easier to have a sound bite for an extreme position. It is much harder to have a sound bite for a moderate position.

Therefore, the Radio/TV/Online communities have been taken over by the sound bites and the extreme sides.

Try this simple test, take any issue (gun control, abortion, immigration) and try to create a sound bite for (a) Pro, then (b) Con and then (c) Moderate/common sense. Hard to come up the the moderate sound bite.

Pastor D said...

I agree 100% John. I get this sinking feeling when I survey the comments - and there are thousands of them!

Anonymity doesn't help. Unfortunately, many people are just as filthy and stupid in person as they are on the internet.

(Proverbs 18:2) A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.

Dennis said...

Hello first time posting, I love your comic strip, The main problem with the internet and any media outlet in general is the fact that people on both sides of the political isle refuse to listen to anyone one on the other side part of the reasons we are in the shape we're in now as a nation is no one is willing to sit down and try to solve the problems there is no compromise there is this we are right you are wrong attitude. If people are willing to talk and set aside differences more people will find out that those differences are minor and petty. Eventually we will all learn to work together and these problems will be solved until then we're just rowing in the lake with one ore.