The Internet is Like the World’s Playground…

But I digress.  The point is, I still don’t see – and no one addressed this in this comments section – how it is anonymous, when you register your full name and so on in order to post.

Most of these sites, thankfully (because I am lazy), allow you to post using things like Disqus and Google, who require your information to register.  You have profiles on them.  Your name is on them.  Only your screen name can be anything, like “muse” (admittedly obscure, unless you have seen the tattoo on my left ankle), or “Victoria” (which is not at all obscure, as it is my actual freakin’ name).

The idea behind the “no anonymous posters” thing is the belief that people will be more civil if they use their own names after their comment.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!  *coughing fit*  oh dear

No.  Unless they’re paranoid and believe that people are actually going to take the time to hunt them down because they insulted someone using their actual name, this is not a bit true. Admittedly, some trolls, as they are called, are paranoid.  But if you have ever seen a flame war on Facebook or (before that) MySpace, you know that people don’t care if someone knows their names.

In fact, some are quite proud of their snarky, albeit stupid, personal attacks on others.  And they even post pictures of themselves when they do it!

So, no, posting your full name in a comments section really doesn’t indicate much of anything, if at all.  In the case of the UFO dude, I would guess that he does it because he has a big ego. In the case of the medical internet article site, um…I think the “title” thing is supposed to be off-putting to patients who might have the gall to post there.

Aside #7:  That’s sarcasm. I think it’s perfectly fine for patients to post comments on medical article internet sites.  Some are very intelligent.  Some doctors who post comments are very stupid.  A degree and a title does not always mean “smart”.  Certainly, in my experience, it quite often doesn’t even mean “has manners”.

But, back to my very first thought about how it’s getting worse…

This false dichotomy that’s developing between “anonymous contributors” and those who post under their full names/degrees/titles/blah blah blah is, to me, silly.

Aside #8: Next week, I might actually do a literature search to see what the research is on this (U of Wisconsin comes to mind, I know folks up there who do discourse research) to prove my point, but tonight I am lazy – having just recovered from yet another bout of mystery illness with tonsilitis/sore throat.

I haven’t left the house in 2 weeks, so how I managed to get sick is also a mystery.  My guess is the Epstein-Barr virus reactivating, but Dr. Wonderful does not agree so all I can do is just lay low when ill and then get up and go when I recover.  I love Dr. Wonderful and I don’t want to bother him with more tests that will just frustrate him and cause him to send me to Pittsburgh, which I can’t afford to do anyway.  Even on Coco-with-training-wheels.  It’s just too damn far, and would require at least one overnight stay in a motel.  Contrary to neo-cons’ wacky beliefs, neither Medicare nor Medicaid pays for transportation to Pittsburgh for medical tests, nor for a motel.

Anyway, I think it’s a false dichotomy that is now causing needless self-censoring on the internet.  Kind of like when you know the schoolyard bully is going to stick you upside-down in a trashcan (this actually happened to me when I was 8), you tend to avoid areas where the bully might see you.

If, when you innocently post a comment on a website, you get admonished for not using your full name and title, or get dismissed by the likes of Mr. UFO Expert (I am deliberately not publishing his name precisely because he uses it on that site, and I am a petty like that) as not being worthy of engaging in discourse with, you then decide to not post at all or feel extremely intimidated doing so, that, in my opinion, is bullying.

And I see that as a lot ruder than childish name-calling.  In fact, it’s not only rude, it’s (there’s that word again) microaggression.

You may have noticed that I do not take kindly to people attempting to, or succeeding in, intimidating others.  I don’t like it in “real life”, and I don’t like it on the internet.  As I get older, I realize more and more that all this stuff, this posturing, this pissing-match mentality, this attempting to emotionally destroy people via text and discourse, is the result of people whose egos are completely out of control.

And you know, as a psychologist – and I am tired of referring to myself as “a therapist”, because I am very proud of my education and it was in discourse/experimental psychology, not counseling – I could write on and on why I believe peoples’ egos are out of control, except for one thing:

I don’t care why.

People who do that to others just need to stop.  They are hurting people.  They are creating a class system on the internet whereby only “certain people” can post with credibility – credibility according to a set of arbitrary rules they have set down, like “having a title” (what patients have titles?  right, so if you don’t have one…).

Good goddess, the internet should be one of the few equalizing places left!  A place where many opinions are expressed and read, a place where you don’t have to suck up to someone else to make your voice heard.  A place where no one can get fired for posting an opinion (though I guess now, they can – but they shouldn’t, because that’s wrong).

Why is it, too, that this rush to censor, either outright or implied, is championed mostly now by the so-called left?  Ok, so “liberals” would be a better word, as I don’t know what happened to the “real left” in this country…but anyway, why why why?  I have never been overly fond of liberals – in fact, sometimes I even prefer dealing with conservatives over them – but they are really starting to piss me off with this bullshit.

I find it really frustrating that I, who am basically to the left of everyone on the planet (except for some of my pals from my much younger days), am the one yelling about censorship on the internet.  Against, not for.   And it also seems odd that I find very little, if any, class analysis of this situation regarding “anonymity and censorship”.

Phew.  I guess I’m still cranky from being ill.  Rant over!

This week’s weirdness comes from “All About Occult”, which is a nice little burgeoning site run by a nice young guy who doesn’t censor my comments heh.  This week, he published a video by some news site about an exploding pit in Devon, England – it does this on a regular basis, kinda like Old Faithful (but with snails ewwww).  Give it a nosy, as the Northern Irish say, because he needs and deserves the traffic.

This week’s recommendation for books or films or TV?  None, but I have one for a good app (Android): “Super Simple Shopping List”.  Yeah, it is what it sounds like.  If you’re like me, and you forget stuff you want at the store, and half the time you can’t find a pen to write things down when you’re home, this is a really nice app.

Of course, it doesn’t solve the problem of taking your smartphone out of your purse, clumsily dropping it on the grocery store floor and watching it skitter underneath the nearest shelf display of products….oh? That’s just me?  Never mind, then.  I think I need a product to velcro my smartphone to my shirt or something.  Any suggestions for the terminally clumsy?

Be good.  Be kind.   Mind your manners, online and off.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s