non-fiction writing Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

Those Weird, Crazy, Angry People on Facebook — Among Other Sites

I’ve given up for the most part on trying to help people with questions on Facebook and most of the other discussion sites I have participated in. The only forums that work are those where every question and answer is approved by a moderator, on sites where you have to use your real name and have your identity registered before you can comment or post. In these groups you have to act as you would with someone in front of you, with respect, with politeness.

The internet plays host to weird, crazy, and angry behavior that would never be tolerated in person. These people are outcasts to begin with, with no one to listen to their tripe or their diatribes. With the internet, they find a home.

This goes way back to the start of the net. The USENET was really the start of internet wide discussion groups. Before that, discussion groups existed inside of walled gardens like Compuserve and Prodigy. Local bulletin boards also had groups. But everything went big time with the USENET (now what Google calls Groups). There, you had moderated or unmoderated discussion groups on everything from telecom to Barney.

It was a running joke on the USENET about how long it would take before someone would call another person a Nazi. As I remember, it only took six or seven heated comments before someone played the Nazi card. This was back in the mid-1990s. Nothing has changed since.

Now, setting up a website for your own view or opinions is just fine, people can ignore or enjoy what you do. But it is such a poisonous atmosphere to have helpful comments on a public forum ridiculed or questioned that I have simply given up. You can’t sweep sand off a beach. The trolls, like the poor, will be with us always.

What finally did it for me was to have some people criticize what I had suggested without reading my posts. They pointed out things that I had clearly covered in my writing. They’d say something stupid or outrageous to contradict what I had written and then they’d refuse to provide any link or reference to back up their position.

It’s like arguing with a drunk, impossible. None of them ever tried to help people, they just wanted to criticize people who were trying to help. Worse, many of these people would get a like or a thumbs up, obviously from other trolls. These are the muttering street people we have all seen, talking to themselves, shouting at random, getting angry at any point, and always threatening.

Again, this kind of behavior would never be tolerated among people face to face, consequently, the misfits who don’t belong in the real world come to the internet where they cannot be driven out. It’s a sad situation but one that has existed since the start of the net and one that will continue until it ends.
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By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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