Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Post Apocalypse

10.30 a.m. Thursday July 17 : Just heard that Anwar just posted his bail. That means he can leave the custody of the Police and rejoin his worried family.
While we are all waiting breathlessly for any breaking news on Anwar's travails at the KL Police HQ, I am taking some downtime to share this insightful piece by Lev Grossman who makes some insightful observations about the way in which angry or hate comments are made by visitors to blogs or websites that permit comments.
This blog has generally escaped too many hate comments probably because the contents are generally dull and un-sensational, dealing with more complicated and arcane economic policy matters. Here's an extract of Grossman's piece:-
The horribleness of commenters isn't really a mystery: Internet anonymity is disinhibiting, and people are basically mean anyway. Nor is it a mystery why the people who run websites put up with commenters: the economic model for Internet content is based on advertising, which means it's based on traffic volume, and comments mean traffic. They're part of the things that make online publishing work. enables comments on its blogs, including mine.) It's just hard to tell whether they're ruining the Web faster than they can save it.

Commenters tend to respond with surprise--they're shocked, shocked!--when people call them on being not nice. In their social universe, this kind of rhetorical slap-fighting is just how you do business, and anybody who feels otherwise is thin-skinned and humorless. As lame and self-serving as this excuse is, we can learn something from taking it at face value. Maybe commenters are just on one side of a cultural disconnect between two incompatible ideas of what the social conventions of the Internet should be. One is based on the standards of real-world, off-line politeness. The other is a kind of communal game in which whoever is cleverest and pushes the most buttons wins.

This disconnect is probably just temporary. In another decade or two, one side or the other will have won out, and then we'll all be on the same page, and we won't have this kind of misunderstanding anymore.
I invite you to read the entire article entitled, Post Apocalypse.


Pat said...

Such an insightful piece. I think people who hide behind 'anonymous' feel they are safe, and so revert to the wild things they are (as in 'Lord of the Flies'. Read that one?) Unfortunately, I have to agree with him about us being basically mean. How sad.

And I disagree with you about this blog being dull and arcane. I think we are all experts in some areas and not in others. If we just let the experts guide us, we would all be better off. This is your field of expertise. Why not just read you, and then think about what you say? How does it help to bash you and revile you in your own blog? It just shows them up for the dimwits they are.

Also, many don't bother to read the entire posting/comment. They skim and scan and pick up bits and pieces - and then knock you down.

Hahaha, got angry lah. You hang in there, and take care.


de minimis said...

Hi Patricia,
It is an interesting article, isn't it? And, thanks you for the kind words.