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More incivility online than usual

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Since this is IMO, here goes:

In my community we have the equivalent of an online newspaper, in fact I get the local news quicker with it than the paper. They are just implementing a policy within the next few weeks. People posting comments can no longer hide behind screen names, they will be required to use their real names. Many hateful comments were the reason for this change. Being anonymous has brought out the worse in people and they say can say anything they want without any responsibility.

Besides TCS, I belong to two other sites. I have been noticing threads that escalate rapidly with many responses and then deteriorate just as quickly.
I think people on are edge with the economy and many uncertainties and the veneer of being civil to one another is cracking very easily. People are getting angry and threads turn into shouting matches very fast. Being anonymous and being angry, unhappy or having an agenda is finding an outlet for many people on the internet now. I've seen this before, it's nothing new, but I think I am seeing it more than usual in the past six months and it's increasing.

I don't have a fix or an answer, just this obsservation. Is anyone else noticing this?
post #2 of 14
The newspaper forum I participate in has been bad for a long time. It no longer shocks me. I rarely post in that community because it is the norm to spin words just to annoy someone. I can see why your online newspaper requires real names.

My work forum doesn't count, but only because corporate will take your forum priviliges away if you often with them.

TCS members, for the most part are really well behaved, IMO. We (myself absolutely included) get emphatic from time to time. We truly believe in our opinion and sometimes go overboard trying to get our message across. Sometimes we get frustrated because it seems like people refuse to consider our view. Sometimes we get our feelings hurt, but I firmly believe that no one here is being malicious.

The economy could play a part in this. For instance, if finances were better, the Universal Health Care thread wouldn't hit home to so many of us.
post #3 of 14
I can see what you mean. I also agree with Rockcat.
I was raised in a house where heated political debate was part of everyday life. I have relatives involved in politics so it was a natural thing. But feelings were never hurt and we respected each others opinions. I belong to some other forums and moderate one where we don't discuss certain topics because people feel strongly about them such as religion, politics, abortion...I do like that this site allows people to talk about current affairs.
I have almost posted several times and then caught myself because I realized it would not come across in the spirit it was intended. You only know me from my words but you don't know my nature. You can't see my body language.
I also realize that some things will trigger a strong response and to measure my feelings before responding.
When it no longer feels spirited in good faith then I no longer enjoy the discussion. When it gets personal then the opportunity to learn goes out of the window.
I do think the current economic climate makes people more tense. I think as a whole people have more on their minds.
post #4 of 14
I don't know about online, but the customers at my workplace have gotten a lot nastier recently. To the point of being cruel just for fun. That sort of thing has always happened, but the frequency has definitely increased.

I've also noticed that crimes here have gotten more and more desperate. There have always been muggings and whatnot, but there has been an increase in home invasions and similarly desperate crimes.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
TCS members, for the most part are really well behaved, IMO. We (myself absolutely included) get emphatic from time to time. We truly believe in our opinion and sometimes go overboard trying to get our message across. Sometimes we get frustrated because it seems like people refuse to consider our view. Sometimes we get our feelings hurt, but I firmly believe that no one here is being malicious.

I agree with that, TCS is my warm-fuzzy board, it may get heated in here, but it's very nice compared to my other ones. People that like cats, animals in general, are good people IMO. Even here though, I'm feeling more tension than what I'm used to. Maybe it's just me and I'm being too sensitive.
post #6 of 14
I agree- only one person here has ever been just completely maliciously cruel, and it was via pm. Generally our members are more polite than some people are in person
post #7 of 14
I'm opening a hot topics forum, themed after and put online for a local radio station that does all-day talk radio, and I'm going to require registrants to provide me with their real name and their age. I'm going to keep the last name and age private, but encourage them to use their first names to refer to one another in their posts. I think when people have to refer to one another by a real name, they're a little more inhibited in what they say and how they say it.

I like heated debate -- I find it stimulating if it's a subject I'm interested in. The guiding principle behind the rules and policies will be something like: say what you want about the other person's arguments and opinions, but always respect the other person's "person" -- not stated very well, but I think you get the drift.

Those are my theories, anyway.....we'll see how it works out.
post #8 of 14
Would the words from our own IMO guidelines help?...

Quote:
...Debate on any issue is welcome, but fight fair. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. Debate the issue, not the person.
post #9 of 14
"Debate the issue, not the person." Yes, I like that. Concise and to the point.
post #10 of 14
I am not sure if it is just the economy or what, but there are more kids who are bullies. The biggest increase in bullies is in girls. My son is bipolar so it has been so hard for him.
People say that it is the violence on TV and the computer games. Our son watches that hotbed of TV violence, the game show network. His computer games are also age appropriate.
So, I don't know whether to blame the economy or just what seems to me to be the added stress of everything in our lives. We, adults and children, lash out at people that we do not think will ever meet us or see us more than once or those who don't fit in with the standard "mold," whatever that is.
post #11 of 14
Until AOL took them over, CompuServe forums (most of them, anyway) had a "real name" rule. You had to post under your real name, or use a pseudonym approved by the forum administrator. This kept down many of the problems you see online today.

By the way, it also saved the life of at least one of our members. He was in diabetic shock and near to death when the forum administrator got the authorities to his home.
post #12 of 14
I remember CompuServe....in fact, I was thinking about that very thing -- using your real name -- just the other day. And my thoughts on it were that it was a more "innocent" time online. There was little to no chance of your name getting picked up by people bent on spamming you or even harming you, because you weren't on the internet where anybody could see your name....you were just connected to CompuServe, and CompuServe was the gateway if you went anywhere else.

SIG*Atari -- that was my favorite place!!
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Until AOL took them over, CompuServe forums (most of them, anyway) had a "real name" rule. You had to post under your real name, or use a pseudonym approved by the forum administrator. This kept down many of the problems you see online today.

By the way, it also saved the life of at least one of our members. He was in diabetic shock and near to death when the forum administrator got the authorities to his home.
On the board I moderate we have had some scary things happen offline including a suicide attempt. If it hadn't been for another member who knew this person it would have been a sad tragedy.
post #14 of 14
Now that you mention it, I remember something like that happened on one of my other boards, too. A new member posted a suicidal note (not a "suicide post" as in quitting the board) and the administrator tracked them down through their IP and ISP and then through the authorities. That's all we were told. With the huge size of TCS, it wouldn't surprise me at all if something like that has happened here, too.
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