I see a thread that was pretty popular yesterday has been closed. Please, Mods, I am not attempting to open it back up. Heaven forbid we have to live through that crap storm again.
What is it? The anonymity of online forums? The contentiousness of this age? What causes this complete breakdown in civility?
Some of you: Suppose you you were making an insulting, disrespectful, obscenity filled response to a post here, and you got up to visit the can, get a beer, whatever... and your child happened to check out what Dad was writing. Wouldn't you be embarrassed? Wouldn't your child think you were a jerk? Or, worse, would your kid think that this is how adults act, not any better than some of the punks and bullies at school? Is this how adults discourse about a contentious subject? Your son or daughter just learned that it is. Congrats on fine parenting.
Most online forums put on to be 'communities'. People with common interests get together, by way of computer, to share information, get and receive advice, converse about what brings us together, post some cool pics, whatever. I still feel a sense of wonder that we can do all of these things, with others all over the world, with so many different perspectives, views, live experiences, ect. Don't some of you? Do you remember the days you tried to find an answer to a problem with your vehicle by studying the Chiltons, reading your old issues of Popular Mechanix or car magazines, trying to pump your local wrench into sharing his knowledge? Now you have a question about your Tacoma truck you just ask it here, getting some invaluable help. Of course many of these informative, interesting, helpful threads get bogged down and wasted by snotty comments, mindless insults, childish put-downs. And I haven't even (and won't) gotten into political / social arguments that deteriorate so quickly, only to get closed/locked once everyone is pretty well hacked off at each other.
People can disagree and still be courteous and respectful. One can take a little time to think about what he intends to write, how to compose it, how to present his opinion without insult to other posters. Of course that is a little more difficult than just resorting to obscenity and vicious putdowns. And those kinda responses invite everyone else to bring it on, to outdo one another in the bad manners department.
I mentioned your children above; Leave them out of it. How do some of you feel about some of the comments you make here? Are you proud of your words? Do you have a good feeling about how you presented yourself?
I'm not really comfortable on a soap box. I think I will get off it, kick it aside and just- personally- make more of an effort to NOT get involved in some of these ridiculous, mindless, destructive arguments.
I am not presenting myself as perfect. I've made some pretty bad comments myself in online forums. I always end up regretting it. Serves no real purpose.