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What are some people's problem?

By Frances Buckley - Posted on 23 November 2008

OK - so, I've been described as "putting the human face" on my posts here on RFO. That is a compliment that I value and so, although I have tried to throw in the towel before, I keep trying. Recently, I blogged about having a fear of foreign travel after 9/11 and now, with Obama's election, feeling much better about it. I think I made it pretty clear that I am a nervous traveler to begin with and that I had NO intention of going ANYWHERE and being an a**hole. I have to ask, why did this provoke comments about how I should try "Kabul" and various others about how idiotic my feelings are? What is wrong with people? I've been blogging here and in other places and it never fails to bring out the smug, self rightous, narrow minded commentors who can't wait to call someone else a "moron". Why do these people choose to dwell in internet land? Is it because it affords a certain degree of anonynimity for the cyber bully inclined?

One of the other causes that I embrace is credit card reform. Hey, if Consumers' Union and the National Small Business Association also champion this cause I don't think it's just a bunch of deadbeat welfare cases who want it. These posts never fail to bring out the "you deserve to suffer" crowd. Why? What is their problem? They WANT to see others getting ripped off? Is that it? Are these the same people who say women ask to be raped? Criminal abuse is criminal abuse - if gypseys conned an elderly couple into buying a worthless home improvement would these same people say "tough luck, they deserved it"?

I read an article a year or so ago about that online game "Second Life" that said new people can expect to have their virtual houses burnt down and other harrassing events inflicted upon them by older members. That such an online community is rife with cyber bullying and asking what this says about human beings. I just wonder how we got to this point? I wouldn't have anything to do wth someone who acted like that and I certainly would correct my kids if they acted like that toward anyone else. How did we become a nation of cruel bullies? Is it just the last 8 years of political climate or the last 2 decades of declining religious participation? (although, when blogging for Obama, the worst cyber bullies were those who claimed to be Christians). Have we always been this way or is it a relatively new phenomenon?

There's theories floating around, about how the anonymity of the 'net makes some "closet bullies" empowered to be nasty to perfectly harmless folks online. I don't buy that, since you don't have to throw a punch in order to be a bully-- look at some of the schoolyard bullies in Japan: sophisticated social networks; arbitrary, distributed and relentless physical or psychological attacks on targets; and, all under the administration's radar. How human ingenuity can be this turned towards that sort of malice is absolutely frightening.

I remember a comment on Slashdot that opined that we tend to think of sociopaths who hide their bullying as people who get things done and make money, so we view them as "successful". We hold up !@#$s like Trump up as ideal businessmen despite the fact that he's one of the penultimate bullies. Because we as a culture lift up bullies to high positions, we tend to think that people ought to grow a backbone even if the malice is obvious.

I hate "griefers" who have nothing to do with their time other than bully others, so I often post once and walk away from a discussion when it's a very popular forum like digg. Sometimes, if the responses are reasonable, I'll go back and follow-up, but that's rare for me. I gave up online gaming for the very same reason, because the nastiness of a few can ruin the experience for months, and it's impossible to regulate through TOS or EULAs. Yeah, that leaves me open to demagoguery, so I try to maintain a sense of humor and make sure I can still laugh at myself, because there's nothing worse than a soapbox preacher than one who isn't funny.


And there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.

I sent an e-mail from your post on the credit card reform and got a response from Senator Tester about how he supports that legislation and hopes the banking committee will approve it.

I also agree above that the anonymity of the internet creates cyberbullies who spew venom no matter what.

I dunno. I think you're reading stuff that isn't there. At least here at RFO.

People are having conversations. That doesn't always mean head-nodding in agreement.

I didn't really see any negative comments on your travel post or on your credit card reform post.


"For those who plan with audacity and execute with vigor,
progress is the magnificent by product." 

I'm not sure what you meant by "throwing in the towel," but please don't stop blogging here.  I really enjoy your posts!! =)  

I think one aspect is the difference in personalities, and often there are stark differences in how females and males post.  When you were discussing your feelings about air travel, it was some male posters who hit you with facts.  You are an intelligent woman; you know the facts but that wasn't what you were talking about.  You were inviting others to share their experiences and feelings with you.  That was a post that I thought of responding to but never got back to it.

Of course there is definite cyber-bullying going on; people always trying to one-up each other.  I think it's a good idea to respond honestly and courteously when one feels slighted.  I've done it myself on occasion.  After visiting other sites I'm always glad to return here because rarely do things get nasty here.

Hang in there Frances, formerly klaf. 

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