Sunday, December 17, 2006

Everyone: Everyone (Else) is an Idiot

New York Times columnist and tech book author David Pogue muses on the utter lack of "netiquette" in his blog. He calls out sites like Slashdot and digg, wherein the comments on each post quickly devolve into an uber-juvenile festival of petty pre-K sandbox-esque name calling and finger pointing.

One of trends that I have observed is the tendency to find assertions that ignorance on the part of a [ahem] "fellow member of the community" is directly attributable to one of the following: idiocy, stupidity, apparent mental retardation, poor breeding, or a (clearly) incorrect system of beliefs. These poor, disrespectful, divinely-entitled, internet-flame-trolling dolts are clearly superior to the other disrespectful, divinely-entitled, internet-flame-trolling dolts whose bait they accept so readily and whose posts they attempt to ridicule in the most ridiculous fashion imaginable.

The most disheartening revelation regarding this behavior is tied to the demographics of these groups. The median age of these posters is generally well beyond the lawful drinking age, not merely the voting age or the driving age. You may be tempted to ask "Why is that disheartening?" Simply stated, it means that the posters of such well-reasoned, respectful, and meaningful comments as "wut a 'tard prolly cudn't evn git it if it wuz tattood on his mamas arse that he oviusly came outta. and dont even try to tell me my grammer sux cuz i lernt it from yer mom so yer jus dissin dat skank"* are participating in the real world. Common activities (and rationalizations for each) of these posters include the following:

  • routinely cutting off other drivers
    • other drivers are clearly idiots for lawfully being on the part of the roadway where the posters suddenly decided they deserved to be
    • only a truly mentally deficient driver needs do things like look in a mirror or use a signal, posters are entitled and invincible
  • failing to vote, but complaining about the outcome to everyone
    • already posted "meaningful debate" about each topic and candidate
    • why vote: everyone in the race (and everyone who votes) is a total loser
    • only the opinion of the poster matters, everybody else is an irrelevant jackass