Jeeesh! There are so many hyper-critical people everywhere you go these days, most especially on the internet. I can't post anything, no matter how benign, without someone finding a reason to pick it apart; and they don't bother to try and be polite about it, that's for sure. It kind of makes me not want to post anything at all.  It's sad, because here on TA, I thought that I had found a place to discuss things with other people in a rational matter, but all I usually get is more of the same crap that I get if I post to the general public on my Facebook feed - which is to say idiocy, nastiness, or some combination of the two.

I have posted on this subject before and it was suggested to me that I use private messaging more than posting general replies to the whole community, but that sort of defeats the purpose of an open disussion. It's not that I don't want to know everyone's opinion, it's that I wish we could all take a moment to think of how our words are going to come accross to the other people who read our words. It would seem that there is a whole different class of people out there who want nothing more than to belittle others and be just as nasty as they can be, all over minute discrepencies in world view. I hate to say this, but it remids me of all the religious people I know bickering over which version of the Bible is "correct", or which sect of Christianity is "correct". It is very ridiculous. I can't even have a decent conversation about evolution anymore without someone coming along to call me names like "spiecist", and how dare I presume that humans are "smarter" than cockroaches when cockroaches have reached the apex of their evolution (...not sure how he presumes to know that...) and on and on. It makes it really hard to have an intelligent conversation when you have to sift through all the people being hyper-picky about the words you use, and/or constantly trying to pull you off-topic to argue with them over their petty issues.

I don't mind being corrected or told when I am wrong about something, or that there is an angle to something that I had not considered; I actually quite prefer it to running around spouting misinformation. I also enjoy getting other people's take on things so that I may consider all the angles. I just don't understand why, too often, a correction, argument, or differing opinion has to come accross as being so nasty. It's not really that difficult to leave out all the nasty words and name-calling when you are replying to a post that you disagree with, see in a different way, or have more informaion about. I mean, it really discredits your argument, at least for me, if you have to be downright nasty to me just because  we don't see perfectly eye-to eye.

I quit posting things to Facebook because of issues like this, I never expected it from this community. I guess I was naive, to say the least.

Ah... out of blogging time. Sorry to end abruptly. I would love to know what other's takes and experiences are on this topic.

Peace... Oh, sorry no time to spell/grammar check!

Views: 349

Comment by Mark Say on June 8, 2012 at 10:28am

I think there are two reasons for this.

1) There are so many people expressing opinions on the internet that everyone is competing to be noticed, and for many the most obvious route is to be strident/opinionated/intolerant/abusive. It's not helped by the fact that some people make careers in the media through this approach, and I admit that I used to be the same when I was younger and had a column in a local newspaper.

These days I appreciate more reasoned voices - I think it's still possible to express strong opinions without being hyper-critical - and try to take a more nuanced approach myself.

2) Anonymity. How many people who are really aggressive in their comments post under their real names? I know there are are reasons for people to use a blogging name, but it's an invitation to act like an ill mannered teenager.

I'm always surprised that, even for the quality press in the UK, how much bad tempered abuse flies around the comment sections. But I suppose that a lot of people will show their worst sad when they're speaking from behind a mask.

Comment by Amy L. Cook on June 8, 2012 at 1:38pm

WOW! Featured! Thank you all for your responses!

I do agree that there is no way to filter out all the jerks in life, especially on the internet where you are dealing with thousands or millions of people, and not just the ones that you see every day. I think that my new personal policy is going to be to disregard anything coming from anyone who does not have the integrity to put their name behind their stance. It's cowardly and it means nothing if you are not going to stand up and say "this is who I am and this is what I think". Obviously, if they are not willing to own up to who they are, their stance on the world cannot be that important to them. I have my real photo and real name on everything I post, so I am going to hold others up to that standard. Unless they are being nice, reasonable people. (A double standard, I know. But nice is nice and nasty is not.)

A few people had asked me for the discussions where I was under unwarranted attack, and they are still on my blog/news feed, you just have to look at older posts. I stopped posting here for a while because every time I did there was someone who just wanted to call me names and be generally nasty.

- There was the discussion on abortion where I mentioned that I had given up a child for adoption many years ago. I said that anyone who was teetering on the abortion/adoption option could contact me if they wanted to talk or needed advice, simply because I know that it is a difficult, emotional decision to have to make. Now, I am not against abortion in any way, it is a personal decision that should not involve anyone but the pregnant woman and the man who's sperm fertilized her egg. But I was personally attacked and called (indirectly, I'll admit) an "imbecile" for "popping out babies and then giving them away".  ??? Yeah, that's my M.O. You caught me. I swear, it's like she thought it was my goal since childhood to put myself through emotional hell.

- I was involved in a discussion about vegetarianism where I was attacked because I, an "immoral, murdering meat eater" had the nerve to end my posts with the word "peace". I know that vegetarians are sensitive, but jeesh! I think that humans are omnivores for a reason, and I kept posing the vitamin b-12 dilemma but was ignored on all attempts. I'm sorry, if you have to take a supplement for a nutrient, that means that it is lacking in your diet. If meat is the best source fr a nutrient that we need to maintain healthy bodies, then don't you think we're supposed to be eating it? Ah, but I digress.

These are just some recent examples. I am sure there are more if I were to go back and read my history on this site.

I try to be polite to everyone, but I am sure that I am guilty of crossing the line into nastiness on occasion; I have to be pushed there, though. I don't just go looking for other people's opinions to pick apart and then pounce on them like a waiting cougar. If this is your hobby, then you should take a serious look at your personality.

I think, too, that sometimes the words we write do not carry the emotion and context of the ideas that we are trying to convey. A lot is lost when we are just looking at words on a screen. When we talk to people face to face, we can hear their vocal inflection, see their body language, and (perhaps most importantly) we can hold them instantly accountable for what they have said. When you can just type words on a scree, hit "post" and then run and hide, you don't have to take that immediate responsibility for what you have said, if ever. Most especially so if you are not using any of your real information.

Thank you all again for reading and responding! I am sorry it took me so long to approve all the moderated posts, I am a night owl and I don't get up until way after most people are already into their day. I have (I think) turned my moderator off. It's just no fun that way. I like open discussions and I don't like the feeling of having control over what others' say. I am an idealist, so I just wish we could all learn to be more polite to each other. I don't necessarily want control over who gets to have their responses to my posts published. I tried it and I didn't like it.


Comment by James Cox on June 8, 2012 at 6:17pm

Dear Folks:

I do wonder how all this fussing over details does us much good at times. Maybe many of us are so needy for validation or some measure of superiority that we can't help ourselves from trying to make someone else 'smaller'? We are already rather tiny in comparison to some basic details about the world, I bet most of us can find something to make us squirm.

I remember a supervisor asking me about 'does a tree falling in the forest make sound, if no one is there to hear it?', I think just to see if he could make me uncomfortable. My response was 'well I quess it could depend upon your theory of knowledge, does a fact need an observor'. This sort of freaked him out.

Sorry, teach him to ask me a question,,,LOL    

Comment by Amy L. Cook on June 8, 2012 at 7:02pm

I hate the tree falling in the woods analogy. A large object hitting the ground is going to make a noise. Every time. The lack of an observer is irrelevant. If the tree exists without observation, then the sound exists without observation. It's that simple. I liked your answer!

Comment by Kenneth Murrie on June 9, 2012 at 1:30am

I just joined this site not too long ago and my second post was just a much shorter version of your topic. Some people prefer to win rather than informing their opponent of their misinformation. Not much you can do about it either because even if you make the last person that was a jerk to you change his mind and from now on he's civil with everyone the other half of the internet will eventually shows up

Comment by Suzanne Olson-Hyde on June 9, 2012 at 1:32am

The only thing I, as an Atheist thinks - there is no god -  then there are disagreements over how do I know there really is no god, therefore I am an agnostic. Whatever...

We will disagree on politics, abortion, the old favorite vegetarianism, whatever - but it is a shock when one is attacked, but I just don't worry about it - at times it is like talking to a xian, and how some people get so vitriolic :(

People who do go on the attack are very unhappy, inadequate people, THEN they hide behind a non de plume

I am of French descent, people think the French are arrogant, I will go along with that - I don't give a merde - everybody can have their own opinion about anything and everything - just don't get personal. One would like to think that Atheists are more broad minded and encompassing, but it seems not - when someone is pushed,as you were, it just makes your argument clearer - so it is all good :D

Comment by Diane on June 9, 2012 at 7:08am

I don't think I've been obnoxious to anybody here, but damn, I have had some unpleasant discussions with Christians.  Part of my reasoning for that is that I have to contain myself with Christians most of the time or it would affect my job more than it already has.  I certainly don't want to be known as "that angry atheist".

I appreciate having this outlet.  I would be upset to feel like I could not post freely out of fear of how people might respond.  Then again, "Screw 'em!"  Some topics are worth bothering over - others aren't.

Comment by Ed on June 9, 2012 at 10:11am

Taking the high road and avoiding personal attacks can be stress inducing but it is the preferred method when interacting on a social forum. Attacks on the messenger accomplish little but may inflate the ego I suppose. A sense of decorum is required to keep everyone civil. We all are adults, right?

Comment by Amy L. Cook on June 9, 2012 at 12:48pm

I am glad that so many people are reading this thread. It's not really that I am THAT upset over some of the things that have been said to me, it's that I feel this... uncontrollable need to educate people on tolerance. I work with the public and see many different types of people every day. Some are happy, but most look bewildered and angry. I just want them to understand that happiness is a choice, and that they don't need to take their frustrations on others. Sometimes, if your ire is truly justified and channeled to the appropriate offenders, unleashing you wrath on another person can be satisfying and make you feel better, but most of the time people who let their emotions & frustration get carried away and taken out on other people (who DON'T deserve it) jut feel bad about it later, thus making them more miserable than they already were.

Even if they don't feel bad about it later, they are just self-propagating their own misery. Negative thought patterns can become your normal state of mind if you let them take over too much of your mind, too often. The more times a neuron fires in that direction, the more your brain becomes accustomed to it and the angrier and more frustrated you become.

I think a lot of people have the idea that they can go online and be a complete ass to other people and it will not effect them at all, but they are wrong. Anger, hatred, frustration, etc... are all a trap. Choose to be happy, and you will spread your joy to others, even the ones you don't completely agree with!

I told you I was an idealist!

Anyway, my lunch break is over so I must go!

Peace & Happiness

Comment by archaeopteryx on June 9, 2012 at 7:12pm

I think you have to understand Amy, that it's likely nothing specific that you did or do. A lot of people are angry these days, and the truth is, no one cares.

Business, for example, is geared, not to satisfying everyone - the old, "Customer Is Always Right" adage - but satisfying only the majority of people. No one really listens to the complaints of these dissatisfied people. Even a lot of websites don't give you a means to complain if you feel the need to do so.

So a lot of frustration builds up in these people, and when you say something with which they don't agree, all of that anger at others gets dumped on you. Is that fair? Of course not, but sometimes understanding why something happens, can be the key to getting past it.


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