I am jumping on my soapbox for a minute to discuss something I can’t quite wrap my head around: The nasty tendencies brought out in people by the Internet. Gamergate brought Internet trolls to the forefront of everyone’s mind but the lack of respect we show our fellow humans online is something that continues to baffle me beyond that heinous incident.
Logging online seems to make people feel they can abandon all their manners and threaten to rape a perfect stranger or suggest someone kill themselves for daring to express an opinion that goes against the current school of thought . These are the kinds of statements that are being posted in the comments sections of leading genre film themed websites and the Internet at large on a daily basis.
Obviously the anonymity with which one can go around and spew hate is a factor in what incites this type of behavior but there must be more to it than that. Perhaps people that have been bullied in life have taken to making others lives miserable online. But that is such a counterproductive tactic and doesn’t make anyone feel better in the long run.
That this type of behavior is so prevalent in the horror blogosphere is particularly baffling to me because the horror community is made up of outsiders that are able to bond over a common interest. So, why in God’s name anyone would want to start lobbing insults at and make an enemy of someone that could have just as easily become a friend is beyond me.
People rarely act like this at their day jobs or out in public. And they certainly do not behave this way at conventions. In fact, people come together and bond over a shared love of the macabre at cons but when some of those same people go home and get behind a keyboard, they begin to morph into nasty creatures, spewing vitriol at one another.
It’s fine to disagree. That’s one of the best things about living in the free world is that we are entitled to our opinion and needn’t worry about being persecuted for what we think. But when your disagreements are not based in logic and subsequently turn into personal attacks, that’s not very awesome. Respectfully disagreeing with a blogger or fellow commenter sparks discussion and keeps things interesting but if you are going to put your opinion out there, you need to be able to back it up and should also bear in mind that what you say is being read by other humans.
Also, if you are going to disagree with a stranger, at least do them the courtesy of making a well thought out argument. Statements along the lines of, “That movie sucks and you’re a f**king idiot for liking it,” are completely uncalled for. There’s no need to personally attack someone for their opinion but what bothers me even more is that the author of the post undoubtedly spent time and effort formulating a critique with examples supporting their point of view. But forum trolls typically put no thought into their counterargument. And they often expect that their clout as an ‘authority’ on the subject matter negates the need to provide any explanation as to why a person should not like said film. Proclaiming that a film sucks really does not offer any meaningful explanation as to why you feel that way or why anyone should agree with you.
If you’re guilty of being a creep online, let 2015 be the year you stop to question why you behave that way. Then get some goddamn therapy because you are ugly and stupid.