MoroniCast Episode #3: Comments About Online Commenting

MoroniCast Episode 3
Eh?

Oh eh, here’s another one of those things where Mr. Wapojif thinks he’s better than you so he talks down to you. For 15 minutes! Gee whizz, what a talkative talky person!

MoroniCast #3: The Thunderous World of Online Commenters

Right, this month MoroniCast reaches the type of intellectual arc that Noah could only ever dream of.

For we’re going on about online comments this time. And the online commenters behind them, many of whom are notorious for being:

  • Toxic
  • Entitled
  • Belligerent
  • Bigoted
  • Needlessly antagonistic
  • Ignorant
  • Dumb

Not all of them, of course, as there are plenty of world-class online commenters out there.

It’s just a huge proportion aren’t and they fail to understand what civil conduct and intelligence are.

Like that time when Professional Moron got its first hate mail.

And so we waxed lyrical about it. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Feel free to add abuse, death threats, and typos into the comments section below!

The Nature of Online Commenting

Okay, in MoroniCast #3 we mention a Tim Adams piece from The Guardian a decade back: How the internet created an age of rage.

We can see why this appealed to our 26 year old selves as it explained away the bizarre behaviour of a lot of online folks. Here’s a good, chunky extract:

“Psychologists call it ‘deindividuation’. It’s what happens when social norms are withdrawn because identities are concealed. The classic deindividuation experiment concerned American children at Halloween. Trick-or-treaters were invited to take sweets left in the hall of a house on a table on which there was also a sum of money. When children arrived singly, and not wearing masks, only 8% of them stole any of the money. When they were in larger groups, with their identities concealed by fancy dress, that number rose to 80%. The combination of a faceless crowd and personal anonymity provoked individuals into breaking rules that under “normal” circumstances they would not have considered.

Deindividuation is what happens when we get behind the wheel of a car and feel moved to scream abuse at the woman in front who is slow in turning right. It is what motivates a responsible father in a football crowd to yell crude sexual hatred at the opposition or the referee. And it’s why under the cover of an alias or an avatar on a website or a blog – surrounded by virtual strangers – conventionally restrained individuals might be moved to suggest a comedian should suffer all manner of violent torture because they don’t like his jokes, or his face. Digital media allow almost unlimited opportunity for wilful deindividuation. They almost require it. The implications of those liberties, of the ubiquity of anonymity and the language of the crowd, are only beginning to be felt.”

And that was just over 10 years ago, when the piece was published on July 24th, 2011.

One decade on and situation has become so horrendous the likes of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, The Guardian, and many others employ staff (or use volunteers) to weed out the endless, volatile, and often crazed ranting.

And so a term has sprung up to describe this behaviour—trolls.

But these individuals often just go out of their way to be nasty to get a kick out of it. Whereas we argue there are a far more extreme sect of online types who are just naturally horrible and the internet is a great place for them to vent their ire.

Annoyed about something someone’s said on Twitter? Send a death threat! Or call someone ugly! Or send them a private message packed with demented ramblings!

Or even better, if you have strong political opinions supplied by the totally reliable tabloids, time to rant about how immigrants are to blame for everything.

Which is very much the theme for the short documentary The Internet Warriors (2017), (which we mention in the podcast).

Unfortunately, it’s all become such a common part of the internet now we really don’t see any answer to it.

Businesses are stepping up their abuse reporting mechanisms. But in 99% of cases whoever committed something horrendous gets away with it.

A solution is to remove online comments sections or step up their regulation enormously. And get rid of social media. It’s a bit pants anyway, eh?

But that’d get the freedom of speech brigade into a frenzy.

Because, as we all know, the right to free expression is all about telling that celebrity you’ve never met they’re an “ugly bellend lol”.

Our solution for now? To be bloody cool online commenters. That way you could rise above the dickheads to create something nice in this world.

34 comments

  1. I’m totally against removing comment sections, but I also hate these sorts of comments, so I’m not sure where I fall. I think I pretty much agree with you that people just shouldn’t be dicks. I am in favor of removing the really inflammatory stuff; there’s no need for that. No real freedom of speech on privately owned websites anyway, for as much complaining as we hear about that sort of suppression of expression.

    Granted, maybe this doesn’t touch me so much because I’m not important enough to have gotten any hate mail yet (unless my spam filter killed those emails, in which case thanks.) But I have gotten a couple of shitty comments before. My policy: post them and keep them up forever so everyone can see what a prick the commenter was. This is their true punishment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there should be How To Write Online Comments classes in schools, to get the younger generations sorted on it all. They can lead the way!

      If you do anything online as a content creator you’ll inevitably come across a dickhead sooner or later. So I suppose the best approach is just to not stoop to that level. Innit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm, I came back to comment on your podcast. I wanted to listen, again… but it’s not working!
    AARRRGGGHH!
    I switched browsers. Could that be it?
    Or is it like Cinderella, it cuts off at midnight!

    Like

  3. I’m using Safari now. The podcast works. I heard a moo.
    I’m going back to Firefox to see what’s happening. I’ll be back , again. If it moos I can hear it!

    Like

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