• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

No more nice guys

Gee, do ya think?

It was yet another example of how the Internet — and the anonymity it affords — has given a public stage to people's basest thoughts, ones that in earlier eras likely never would have traveled past the watercooler, the kitchen table or the next barstool.

Such incidents — and there are countless across cyberspace — also raise the question: Is there anything to be done about it? Or is a decline in civil discourse simply the price that we pay for the advance of technology?

This seems so strange to me. Folks in Fort Wayne cyberspace are so darn nice and polite.

Posted in: Weblogs


Steve Towsley
Thu, 03/22/2007 - 3:55pm

I've been participating in online forums since the BBS/Red Ryder/FidoNet days where the only style was plain text (videogames too by the way).

One of the early lessons I learned is that no matter how thoughtful one's posts, one is going to be ambushed frome time to time. The first time somebody unloaded a slew of profanity and insults on me around 1985, I had a reaction I can only compare to being robbed.

Since then I've come to understand that strangers don't know anything about me and therefore can't possibly judge me -- so the insults are exhibitionism by the critic, not feedback to me personally. "Rant" is a pretty accurate word much of the time, and "flame" (as in flamethrower) works too.

Now I'm not insulted, but I might pretend to be occasionally to get a webmaster to investigate some crude posts and maybe close the poster's account.

Forums have plenty of tools to use, if they'll just use them. Trouble is, some "monitors" have mistaken this kind of abusive tantrum as some sort of free speech issue -- those are the boards upon which I close my OWN account and say "Good riddance to bad rubbish" -- as the adage goes. ;^)