Sometimes I wonder if some commenters on blogging sites will one day spontaneously self-combust. You know, burst into flames. I regularly see commenters who appear to comment in a parallel universe. They get themselves worked up and put enormous anger into precisely worded comments. (I think I may have been guilty in this regard in the past.)
I do wonder if they should just chill.
There are a lot of people – almost exclusively male – who can make themselves seem like very big men from behind a keyboard, with the relative anonymity of the internet.
But I suspect – based on a few examples – that when you meet such people they are actually very small, very withdrawn, socially inept and couldn’t, frankly, knock the skin off a rice pudding.
I think it is a good rule of thumb that you should not say anything on the internet that you would not say to someone’s face.
For example, I never call people racists on the internet (or elsewhere). If I have not met someone, I don’t think it is ethical or credible to do so.
I don’t think it is right to be anything but polite to someone you have never met. (Again, I confess that I may have sinned in this regard in the past).
Come on guys, let’s get a sense of perspective here. There is more to life than the internet (and, indeed, politics). Politeness costs nothing and leads to a much better world for all of us.
And remember, if you are rude to someone, you might actually meet them some day. They might even be in the position to give you a job that you want.