Sunday, July 10, 2005

FAQ #4: Commenting

It seems that people on the Internet have lost, or, from what I've seen, never quite developed the ability to leave a proper comment on the Internet.

First of all, why do you always have to get personal? If you disagree with someone's thought, idea, politic, religion, etc. that they write down in a post, why not argue with the concept within the post and not assume that the concept rules the person instead of the person ruling the concept? A lot of very good people just have some very wrong ideas. If you disagree with an idea, you should simply state why you disagree with the idea, include some proof if you have it, and leave it at that. From what I've seen, almost anybody who leaves a comment on any Blog or website will begin to disagree with the idea of the post in the first part of the comment, and in the second part go on to tell the person exactly what kind of human being he is, based on that one post.

I think it stems from the fact that people have less to be afraid of with the anonymity of the Internet. Because no one can automatically punch you in the face as soon as you say something hurtful to someone, you feel free to go ahead and say it. Maybe if someone gathered up a list of everyone who said anything insulting about them, went door-to-door to punch the commenters in the face, like in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, there would be a lot fewer people willing to include a free, derogatory personality profile with their commentaries. Let's put it another way: I wouldn't go into your house and insult you in the most barbaric fasion because I don't like your decorating tastes, and I expect no less from you.

Second, if you do get personal, expect it in return. If you just stick to arguing the point at hand, then I'd be more than happy to have an intellectual discussion with you on the topic. However, as soon as you decide to throw in personal insults, character assassinations, or derogatory personality assessments into your argument, then the gloves are off. If you wander off the safe and narrow path of the topic into the dark, dangerous forest of throwing around general insults, then I'm going to use whatever I can ascertain about you against you. Tit for tat.

Third, on a more personal note, you have to take a lot of what I post with a grain of salt. I'm honestly not such an asshole in real life. A lot of my posts I know are rather insane. They're meant to be. It's called sarcasm. If you don't have a sense of humor, don't take it out on me by being personally insulting. Not one of the comments I have received have ever asked the very poignant question, "Are you really serious about this?" before they went on to decide that I'm just an asshole and start a total character assassination for an idea that I, quite honestly, don't really believe and was really just posting because it is so ludicrous that it's funny. Sometimes I even bait you for an attack, like I did a few days ago about Britain, or like I did with Mac users when I posed about the iPod, because I know that people's egos are so brittle on the Internet that they'll feel the need to give me a personal attack in response. Your personal attacks affect me so little that I actually welcome them, so why do it? Why not instead have a serious discussion and leave the insults of someone you don't know out of it? If your ego is so fragile that you feel personally insulted by some broad, general, sarcastic comment I make, then the personal response I make to your personal insults will likely crush you. Like I said above, if you don't like the wallpaper, don't bulldoze the house, and I won't have to skullfuck your eyesocket in return.

I see this all over the Internet. Nobody can have a rational, friendly discussion on the Internet like they could if meeting face-to-face in real life. They always have to bring personal insults into it. I would love to have an actual thoughtful discussion with someone who reads this Blog, but so far, all I've gotten are people who take themselves so seriously they have no room in their day for sarcasm or cynicism. Do your personal attacks hurt me? Not in the slightest. It's more of a reflection on yourself that you are so wound up in your own self-indulgence that you actually get offended over something I say to the point that you feel like it is personally attacking you and you have no choice but to attack me in response. This is merely a warning for people who decide to comment rudely, because I do so enjoy a good skullfucking.


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