For the past, oh, three or four years on my LJ I've had a phenomenon that I've not really seen happen on other people's journals. It started off with me making a post about something I loved, and I'd get multiple comments from people I'm not really close to (not even internet close) telling me how gross that something is, etc. And it's not that people can't have opinions that differ from mine, it's this: why do you think I give a shit about your differing opinion? and why do you feel compelled to make a stranger aware of your position on said topic, especially when that stranger is clearly happy about said topic?
I'm not talking about a post on race where it's possible that I would want to hear someone's thoughts on yaoi. I'm talking about me posting about a TV character. Or food that I like. Or something I didn't like because it's my JOURNAL. That's where you record your thoughts, yes? Now, I want you to imagine a post you've made in the past where you're really excited about something and you note it on your LJ. Now, picture a group of strangers coming over and pissing on that, calling you names, or generally trying to put you down. I get that a lot. Every month, for sure, sometimes more often. (12 times this past week, incidentally. RUDE comments, not "Eh, that wasn't my cup of tea.")
I've tried to figure out why there's such a breach in manners in my LJ, and I think I've figured it out: because we're really loosey goosey over here (we = me and my dudes) and it's a very chatty blog (people strike up convos in the comments, which I'm totally cool with, by the way) I think there's an idea that this is a community LJ. Guess what? It's not. It's my personal journal. Shocking, I know. I also think there's a lot of folks that pop up that don't really have a lot of understanding of the nuances of human interaction. As the mother of a child with a social disorder, allow me to put some more bullet points out there for your (not you, you, but for you. you know who you are*) edification. [Previous posts of Dos and Don't s]
How To Win Friends And Influence People On The Innertubes
[ETA] Please note that this information translates across the internet, and isn't meant to solely apply to my LJ. But yeah - these are rules for my place, too. *G*
1. Never hit the post button until you've read through your comment.
- Does it say what you really mean to get across without worry of tone or lack of inflection? Remember that people can't see your face, unless you're using a webcam, then they can. Make sure your fly is zipped, in that case.
- If someone doesn't know you, will they know you are being sarcastic? Or are you just trying to be a dick? Don't be a dick, be a dude. That first part was key: DO THEY KNOW YOU? If not, would you say what you've typed to a complete stranger in the post office? No? Backspace.
2. Double check the web address. Are you on a public forum where people are asking for your thoughts? If the answer is no, you have two options:
- open yourself up to the fiery depths of internet wank hell
One of those answers is the better one.
3. There is no such thing as being truly anonymous, nor does hiding your identity give you license to be an ass. Your computer has an address and some people (like me) record those addresses. Sockpuppets have a way of being outed. There was a group of people in the south that thought they could hide behind anonymity and do and say whatever they wanted. They liked white sheets, what do you like? My guess is not unicorns, hopes, or dreams.
4. There is no such thing as a special snowflake. I know, that's hard. We grew up with our mothers telling us how wonderful and unique we are, but that's because it's a mother's job to say that. There are over 6 billion people on this rock, and surprise! Not everyone is going to agree with you, your religion, your life choices, your opinions, or how you vote. You can do one of two things:
- Move on and be secure in your own mind with the greatness that is you. Who doesn't want to bask in their own awesomeness?
- Stop and fight and allow the internet wank monkeys to descend on you like this.
5. So when is a good time to give your unsolicited opinion?
- In your own journal! That's what it exists for, huzzah!
- When someone asks for it. (Ah, but you asked for unsolicited opinions, Stoney! EXACTLY.)
6. How should you state your opinion in a way that will keep the internet Howler Monkeys from attacking?
- The great separator of animal from man is our ability to reason. You should use cold, unemotional information to support your theory/opinion/thought.
- Gentle comic stylings, not unlike Dmitri Martin. Note: he uses visuals to support his jokes and insight. Perhaps that could bolster your opinion in a way that will get us to smile and rethink our lives?
- Irrefutable awesomeness. Not sure you have this one? Stick with 1 or 2, then.
7. But Stoney, I did all you said and I still have big, stinky jerks coming to my journal and being dicks, not dudes! What did I do wrong? Unfortunately, there are just big stink-heads that really like being that way. They look for ways to be jerks, or they didn't have parents that loved them, or their cream was soured before they poured it into their coffee, or who knows what. The great thing about the internet is that you can delete ugliness from your LJ.
You can also go to the admin_console and apply a ban_set [username] if they're really awful and then they can't leave any comments in your personal space! You have just achieved zen.
Ah, Grasshopper, I feel your pain. I have had to ban almost ten people from commenting in my journal for trolling (a word that means purposely being aggressive and irritating in repeated comments meant to upset the user) since Christmas. While it doesn't darken my spirit, it does irritate me to have to waste time. [True fact: my number one pet peeve is waste in any form. Well, going to the toilet isn't a pet peeve, wasting food, time, resources is what I meant.]
8. But Stoney, I really like being a dick, dudes are weak! I want to go to complete strangers personal space and wildly insult them, their mothers, the horses they rode in on, the barns in which the horses were kept, but especially the little bare-footed boy that brings the hay to the horse, he's the best one to mock! Why can't I do what I want?
Dear Dick: you can! You can do what you want. And when you take that step, you make it acceptable for people to do what THEY want to you! This is when we all break into a chorus of "The Circle of Life!" except we should change the lyrics a bit to reflect our internet activity and also to keep from being sued. My suggestion is a substitution of "wank" for "life." Yes, I realize that could be taken out of context to reflect a circle jerk. I'm okay with that.
If you feel the need to be a jerk to people in their personal space, have at it. Just know that you have just slapped a huge target to your forehead and many of us are not afraid to pull the trigger. Metaphoric trigger, let's hope.
Love, A Dude
Remember: the internet is home to all, and just like in any democracy, that means the jerks as well as the people that are awesome. If I may borrow from Edna Garrett,
You take the good, you take the bad
You take them both and there you have
Your live journal. Your live journal.
There's a time you got to rant and rave
About the awful and your fave'n
Your live journal. Your live journal.
When the 'net never seems
To be living up to your dreams
And suddenly you're finding out
Your livejournal is all about you! You!
It takes a lot to not fight
When you're blogging on live journal. (blogging on Live Journal)
* I have not always known the rules to 'netiquette myself. I have had missteps and made mistakes, but I do NOT go to people's journals and say shitty things to them, regardless of what you may have heard. I won a HUGE ongoing wank once when I showed that I'd never made fun of a certain person by linking them to a search for their name in my LJ, after unlocking every single post momentarily. I practice what I preach, in other words.
Remember: the internet knows all, and anyone with some skills can find out anything they want.
I think my all time fave was from this weekend, where someone linked me to a drug and alcohol rehab clinic on a post where I thanked a friend for sending me a gift. Bless. Final thought: if you are an asshat in my journal, you have given me the right to say what I think about YOU. Do you really want to give me that power?
And for those of you who pop up and have commentary, this doesn't apply to you lovelies. I always welcome lurkers, commenters, conversations. I'm talking about capslocked "UR SUCH A BITCA THEY ARE IN LUUUURVE ZOMG I WILL KILL YER BABY" comments. Or "Gross, how can you like Connor on Angel: The Series? He's gross." F you, and take that crap to your own place, thank you.