2.20.2013

The Sad Invention that is Comment Boards

If you ever want to completely lose faith in mankind, read a comment board. Worst thing ever! I have a terrible habit of doing this. Every time I know I'm setting myself up to be moody and disenchanted with mankind. Like when there's a controversial news story--I read it and seethe at the lack of objectivity in journalism. And then I click to read the comments. And I go nuts every time. It's maddening!

With some stories I don't care as much and can laugh off the uneducated, condescending, judgmental, hurtful etc. comments (political stories especially--I'm not big on politics). Other stories are just...awful. My Achilles heal is stories about adoption custody battles. They crop up so often, and the comments are always the same, but I still always read them. And then I get frustrated. Ahhh! And then I vent to Shaun and occasionally it spills over to here too. And then I'm okay until a few days later, when the vicious cycle starts again.

 So my point it--comment boards. Yikes! I worry that technology has turned us into monsters. We think we're brazen and awesome when we comment something controversial, but we forget that there are actual people on the other side of our computer screens who have feelings, who have their own beliefs and stories and experiences. And we just think about ourselves and say awful things that we'd never say to someone's face. And it ruins some people.

 Sometimes there are awful, tragic stories in the news about accidents that injure and sometimes kill children. The comments on those stories can get ugly too. People assume that parents are negligent, and that they are unfit to parent their kids. They say things about how they would *never* let this awful thing happen to their kids. But they don't know!

 Even fluffy news stories, like "how to make fruit smoothies for your kids," can have vicious comments. ("You give your kid added sugar?" "You DON'T?" "You are a terrible parent, mainly because you're not the same kind of parent as me!"...)

 News stories are told by imperfect people with biases and opinions of their own that leak through. All of us are imperfect ourselves. And we don't "get" each other. Pretending we do and belittling is unhelpful, and can scar people. It's time to stop feeling like our computer screens are mirrors, thinking we see and know it all. We don't. Own up to your words and actions online, and choose them carefully. It's not all about me, or you, at least not when the entire world wide web is connecting us. Obviously we're all bound to mess up; we're human. But let's try to not bully others who mess up, or even just don't see the world like we do.

 And PS--I'm not even going to mention youtube comment boards. Okay, I will. Even worse. Don't bother reading any. They're the same but without spellcheck and with tonsss of swearwords. 

3 comments:

  1. I think you'd really enjoy this blog post http://www.71toes.com/2013/01/enshrouded-in-family.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, yeah that was a great post, thanks for sharing it! The post she was responding to- I totally read the comments on that one, and it was, of course, maddening. Haha :)

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  3. Oh my gosh, YES YES YES!!! After I read a news article or watch an online video I will sometimes start reading the comments, and every time I do I just have to stop because I get icky, nasty feelings almost instantly! I can't believe how insensitive and rude people can be behind the curtain of the internet. It's one thing to politely disagree, but when people start judging or attacking someone because they believe or act differently, it's just awful. So I stay away from comment boards as often as I can.

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