Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

“Your Writing Style Suck Also Does Your Mother”

I was sitting in my room wondering what I would write my next blog post about when my boyfriend thoughtfully sent me the link to this cracked article: 4 Situations Where We’ve All Agreed to Act Like Dicks. By the way, major warning for crude language, if you mind that sort of thing. The four situation the author writes about are driving, spring break, the internet, and rallies. The one that I’m going to focus on, obviously, is the section on the internet.

internet

The author mainly writes about, as I mentioned in previous blog posts, that people will be incredibly rude on the internet even when they wouldn’t be in real life. He gives an example of a comment another Cracked writer has received in response to an article: “Seriously your writing style suck also does your mother but thats not the case, you’re a stupid git and thanks to you I think abortion is a good idea, it’s a shame it wasn’t legal when you were a fetus.” Does that seem like it is vastly ridiculous? Maybe not as much now, since we’re all used to reading comments like that—depressing, I know—but it gets worse when you imagine what it would be like to hear a comment like that in real life. He goes on to give the example of going to a summer festival to watch entertainers, then going to listen to a fiddle player where you stand with hundreds of other people, listening. After the fiddle player finishes his song, an original, most of the crowd likes it, except for you. As everyone else cheers and donates, you yell loudly about how terrible it was and various other, ridiculous, expletive-filled insults. This seems like an exaggeration, but on the internet? It’s really not. The author puts it better than I ever could: “Can you imagine an instance anywhere else in life when you might, when presented with free entertainment that you went out of your way to experience, find said entertainment to be not to your liking and therefore engage in a verbal tirade that could and often will encompass racism, sexism, homophobia, death threats, and overwrought personal hatred and insult?”

insult

Honestly? I’ve learned the rule “Don’t read the comments” so well that I don’t even think about how ridiculous the hate really is. They went, of their own free-will, to go find entertainment that cost them nothing, only to get angry and rage about it in the comments section? How does that make any sense?

Yet most of our blog posts on this matter suggest that these tirades go against netiquette. This article, however, seems to say that it’s the opposite: this is netiquette. As a society, we have collectively decided that it’s acceptable “to act like dicks” on the internet, and this is not a good thing.

Still, I’d like to be a bit more optimistic. Most people aren’t going around being jerks on the internet. It seems like a lot, because they’re so loud about it, but most of us are pretty civil most of the time. I rarely see any fights break out on Facebook .. On second thought, that’s probably because I’ve finally defriended all the right people. Still, I’d like to believe kind people are kind wherever they are.

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