Thursday, 10 March 2016

Off Topic: Online Shaming and Ridicule


As a writer and a blogger, I spend far more time online that what I should. One thing I love the opportunities that it has provided to connect with many different people from across the globe, people who I may not necessarily have been able to meet and talk to in real life. Unfortunately, there is also a down side to all of this. Places that should be open to free discourse are often the haven for trolls, bullies, keyboard warriors and people who just flat out have nothing better to do at that particular point in time than to run someone else's opinion down, usually by means of heckling, pointing out any spelling or grammatical errors, or just saying, well, anything really, to make that person look foolish. 


And you know what?

I don't find it clever. I don't find it funny. I don't get why a conversation on the internet should go something like this:

Person One: Great article! I support marraige equality.
Person Two: Do you? Do you really support marriage EQUALITY. That means that you also support adult men marrying child brides, because that is EQUALITY.
Person Three: *marriage. Learn how to spell.
Person Four: I support marriage equality. I want to be able to marry my hedgehog.
Person Three: Go right ahead and fuck your hedgehog.
Person Two: Won't somebody think of all the people who want to marry hedgehogs?

In my opinion, it is just stupid and childish behaviour, and it takes the focus away from whatever issue is being discussed. It means that people who do have something valid, and important to say, are less likely to voice it through fear of ridicule, or being used as fodder for someone else's entertainment. At its heart, it is a type of censorship--speak up and you'll be ridiculed.