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An Open Letter To All Internet Users
Posted Jan 26, 2011 - 10:19:46

CIMG0066.jpgDear Internet Users of the World,

I'm fond of you, don't get me wrong - the very fact that you're reading this means you've decided to pay at least a little attention to me. As you are aware, I'm very fond of people paying attention to me, so I promise not to be too harsh.

...unless being too harsh might get more people to pay attention to me. Hmmm.

Anyway, I don't know if you've noticed this, but this communication medium you've been using quite a bit (and that we are clearly all very fond of) connects you to other people. I know that this may come as a shock to you, as some of you may not have been aware of this, but from what I've found it does actually seem to be true.

If you were aware of this, then I apologize for assuming you ignorant. The reason I've had to assume most people thought the internet was instead connecting them to some sort of closed, echo chamber is how many people online seem determined to act like complete asses.

You wouldn't walk up to a person on the street and yell "These people are nothing but a bunvh [sic] of losers" or "u r f*kin assholes," so why on Earth do people think it's appropriate to say the same things online? Now I'm well aware of the underlying social causes - that being cloaked in supposed anonymity allows many people to dehumanize the target of their wrath, and many person would otherwise be perfectly polite in real life if confronted with analogous situations. Some of you might think the anonymity is the problem here, but you'd be wrong.

I hate to tell you this, but the actual problem is you're a jerk, and you need to stop being one.

See, some of us would never think to ever type things like that. My history on the internet is fairly well documented over the last sixteen years, and in no place have I ever acted like the amount of an ass to a random passersby that I witness on a regular basis. No, I'm not always polite - I've told people to "f*** off" on multiple occasions (without the censorship), but only when directly provoked (and never in a situation where I wouldn't use the words in real life). At no point though was I any less aware of the other people reading it being real people though.

So I guess what I've learned is that most human beings are monsters that pretend to be nice in person. All I'm asking of you is that you please pretend to be nice people on the internet as well. You fake it at the grocery store, so why can't you fake it in Youtube comments too?

The internet is becoming a less anonymous place every day, so if you don't want your own obnoxiousness biting you in the ass in ten years, it might be a good idea to try.

Thank you.
- Traegorn

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