Thursday, August 25, 2011

10 Rules for Not Being an Asshole on the Internet

Yesterday, on a website I frequent, I left a comment on a highly debated article. The comment was about my husband and had some basis of truth, but I mainly posted it for a laugh. A couple minutes later, I refreshed to see if anyone had appreciated it and sure enough, there was a reply. And damn, did it piss me off!

Now, this website is actually fairly civilized when it comes to commenting, not like a lot of websites that just turn into political bashing or trolling, but the responder was apparently on some sort of high horse today and felt like making all the commentors on this post feel like crap. He basically said that if I didn't like my husband's behavior, it's always an option to leave him. I responded in a short comment, calling out his behavior, and he actually apologized (which is definitely an internet rarity) and deleted his original comment. Afterward, though, some other jackass came to his defense and said that if I didn't like his reply, I should just stop commenting and deal with it.

Well jackass, here you go. Here's a list of "10 Rules for Not Being an Asshole on the Internet" to prove that yes, in fact, you are an asshole.

1. Don't troll in a public forum

If you want to say snide, sarcastic, or hurtful things as a comment on someone's Facebook wall, have at it, but I only let that slide because if it's not appreciated, it can be easily deleted. As a response to an article, it may not count as offense and get flagged if you blame the entire economy on Obama, but if you post it on an article about where to find discount school supplies, you are an asshole.

2. Don't "Like" everything on Facebook
This makes you more of an unintentional asshole, but you don't need to like every picture in someone's album. "Like" two or three pictures max and if you really like the album, say that ONLY ONCE in a comment. Take this especially to heart if you are significantly older than the person you are commenting on because it will most likely kill the string behind you since no one wants to post something funny or sarcastic after the nice aunt who commented on every single picture.

3. Don't jack someone's status
Don't switch the topic of discussion. If someone is complaining that they had a hard day, it's an asshole move to say that you had a harder day because you took care of two kids all day. If you want to complain about that, post it on your own wall. Personally, I have no problem deleting someone's comment on facebook if they try to jack my status. Consider that a threat!

4. Don't confuse the internet with real life

I know I only have seven followers and the person who follows my blog the closest is my own mom. This is why I do not have a facebook fan page devoted to my blog. This is why when I comment on someone else's blog, I don't follow it up with a link to a similar post on my own blog. Just because you have twitter and post crappy poetry on your blog, it doesn't mean you're a good blogger and it doesn't mean that anyone else wants to hear about it.

5. Don't confuse someone else's life with your own
This is equivalent to what sports fans do, saying things like, "Our line up sucked this year." If your kid has a big swim meet, let them post about it.

6. Don't automatically post things to your wall

No, I don't care about your horoscope for the day or what you need for Farmville. No one cares and we won't tell you, but we'll secretly hide everything you post.

7. Don't be offended if people don't like your opinion

I know this one sounds counter intuitive given the introduction I gave, but let me clarify. There's a difference because getting upset that someone suggested I leave my husband and someone giving me a "thumbs down" and then demanding an explanation as to why someone disagreed. If someone disagrees with your comment, they should be allowed to click the little icon and move on. You are not entitled to an explanation.

8. Don't correct spelling with a second comment
I don't care if it was your own original comment or someone else's, unless the typo changes the meaning, the extra scrolling needed to skip your correction will just make me a little more stabby.

9. Don't post passive-aggressive drama

Everytime one of my teenage cousins posts something like, "Well, I guess I know who my true friends are," I just want to reply, "You actually have friends?" No one is trying to decode what you're rambling about except other people who ramble as well.

10. Don't be an asshole

Maybe this one should go without saying, but just because the internet is anonymous doesn't mean people don't think you're an asshole. They may not know you, but you are an asshole. Calling someone ugly, fat, or stupid because you disagree with their opinion doesn't say anything about them, only you. Karma is, in fact, online and she will still come for your ass.

Did I miss any?

Oh, and here’s a link to the comment that started it all (look for “justpeachy” down in the comments).

1 comment:

  1. Also, never get personal. Stick to the argument instead of picking on the person for their gender, ethnicity or imagined sexual preferences.