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Why Is Everyone on the Internet So Angry?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by ibaker, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. ibaker

    ibaker Well-Known Member

    I was searching the internet to try and get an understanding of why my site seems to have got angrier over recent years and found this gem of an article...the quest for me now is how and what I can do to cultivate my site's overall culture to bring it back to the way it was 5 or so years ago without damaging it in any way like using one big foul swing of a machete

    Why Is Everyone on the Internet So Angry?
    By Natalie Wolchover and Life's Little Mysteries

    A perfect storm engenders online rudeness, including virtual anonymity and thus a lack of accountability, physical distance and the medium of writing

    With a presidential campaign, health care and the gun control debate in the news these days, one can't help getting sucked into the flame wars that are Internet comment threads. But psychologists say this addictive form of vitriolic back and forth should be avoided — or simply censored by online media outlets — because it actually damages society and mental health.

    These days, online comments "are extraordinarily aggressive, without resolving anything," said Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. "At the end of it you can't possibly feel like anybody heard you. Having a strong emotional experience that doesn't resolve itself in any healthy way can't be a good thing."

    If it's so unsatisfying and unhealthy, why do we do it?

    A perfect storm of factors come together to engender the rudeness and aggression seen in the comments' sections of Web pages, Markman said. First, commenters are often virtually anonymous, and thus, unaccountable for their rudeness. Second, they are at a distance from the target of their anger — be it the article they're commenting on or another comment on that article — and people tend to antagonise distant abstractions more easily than living, breathing interlocutors. Third, it's easier to be nasty in writing than in speech, hence the now somewhat outmoded practice of leaving angry notes (back when people used paper), Markman said.

    And because comment-section discourses don't happen in real time, commenters can write lengthy monologues, which tend to entrench them in their extreme viewpoint. "When you're having a conversation in person, who actually gets to deliver a monologue except people in the movies? Even if you get angry, people are talking back and forth and so eventually you have to calm down and listen so you can have a conversation," Markman told Life's Little Mysteries.

    Chiming in on comment threads may even give one a feeling of accomplishment, albeit a false one. "There is so much going on in our lives that it is hard to find time to get out and physically help a cause, which makes 'armchair activism' an enticing [proposition]," a blogger at Daily Kos opined in a July 23 article.

    And finally, Edward Wasserman, Knight Professor in Journalism Ethics at Washington and Lee University, noted another cause of the vitriol: bad examples set by the media. "Unfortunately, mainstream media have made a fortune teaching people the wrong ways to talk to each other, offering up Jerry Springer, Crossfire, Bill O'Reilly. People understandably conclude rage is the political vernacular, that this is how public ideas are talked about," Wasserman wrote in an article on his university's website. "It isn't."

    Communication, the scholars say, is really about taking someone else's perspective, understanding it, and responding. "Tone of voice and gesture can have a large influence on your ability to understand what someone is saying," Markman said. "The further away from face-to-face, real-time dialogue you get, the harder it is to communicate."

    In his opinion, media outlets should cut down on the anger and hatred that have become the norm in reader exchanges. "It's valuable to allow all sides of an argument to be heard. But it's not valuable for there to be personal attacks, or to have messages with an extremely angry tone. Even someone who is making a legitimate point but with an angry tone is hurting the nature of the argument, because they are promoting people to respond in kind," he said. "If on a website comments are left up that are making personal attacks in the nastiest way, you're sending the message that this is acceptable human behaviour."

    For their part, people should seek out actual human beings to converse with, Markman said — and we should make a point of including a few people in our social circles who think differently from us. "You'll develop a healthy respect for people whose opinions differ from your own," he said.

    Working out solutions to the kinds of hard problems that tend to garner the most comments online requires lengthy discussion and compromise. "The back-and-forth negotiation that goes on in having a conversation with someone you don't agree with is a skill," Markman said. And this skill is languishing, both among members of the public and our leaders.
     
    FredC likes this.
  2. BlackJacket

    BlackJacket Well-Known Member

  3. Pope Viper

    Pope Viper Well-Known Member

    YOU SHUT UP! I'M NOT ANGRY!
     
  4. Dodgeboard

    Dodgeboard Well-Known Member

    Seems like all sites have gotten angrier.

    With Facebook, you can surround yourself with people you know, family members, and people who think like you do...your circle of buddies so to speak. You are careful about what you tweet because everybody knows who you are.

    But every now and again, a lion needs to hear itself roar. So when people get away from all the Facebook kum-by-ya and venture over to your site where they are anonymous and free, you bet they are going to cut loose by ripping someone to shreds, whom they don't know and aren't beholden to.

    It's all that pent up Facebook kum-ba-ya-ness that's causing it! :ROFLMAO:
     
    Alien likes this.
  5. Jason

    Jason Well-Known Member

    Pretty much this. It's something a lot of people have problems with, both online and offline it seems -- perhaps more so online where social skills from individual to individual seem more lacking. It's far easier to resort to personal attacks (ad hominem) or snarky remarks -- a form of deflection, than evaluate and attack the argument based on its merits.
     
  6. LPH

    LPH Well-Known Member

    Are people angry, anti-social, or do they think that posting hyperbole is the norm? Most likely all of the hyperbole encouraged by shock jocks on talk radio, commentators on cable stations, and numerous big news sites eggs people onto greater extremes. Next, add poor understandings of logical fallacies and embedded beliefs that we end up with followers acting out characters they've interpreted as normal, expected, and accepted.
     
  7. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    I'm just an ******* :).
     
    Edrondol, Onimua, John and 1 other person like this.
  8. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I think that people create their opposition in order to become their proposition. It's classic yin-yang. Good cannot exist without bad. Those who would perceive the internet as bad see themselves as good in part enabled by their perception of the bad.
     
  9. Ingenious

    Ingenious Well-Known Member

    Forum moderator meets Tao Te Ching :)
     
  10. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    Internet peeps arent getting laid.

    Technology makes people less social in real life.

    Etc
     
  11. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    I'm not angry :p
     
  12. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    Something to think about....using your methodology, you are technically speaking ...an internet peep to me from my position at my computer...soooooo why u mad bruh... Jussayin.

    Getting laid is not a solution....it is a physical release, period...it in and of itself does not solve anything unless you want sexual relations or a child at that time.

    At any rate comparing getting laid to being angry is a justification of one's inability to control themselves and is completly obtuse ...go right on and testify in court that you meant no harm to someone and that you only did something because you dont get laid and see how that flies.

    Some people just dont understand the concept of respect and when you give them an outlet to address a huge amount of people in a way where physical presence isn't required...and when they feel they can't be held accountable for what they say and do, they show their true colors a lot of the time resulting in personal attacks that can have permanent damage.



    My summary:

    The internet is made up of a bunch of networks connected to form bigger networks all sitting inside bigger networks etc etc until you have the entirety of what we simply call the internet which allows us to connect paths to many remote machines.

    It is not a bad thing, it is not a good thing, it is a utility. It acts like a giant toolbox filled with a bunch of tools and all tools are double edged swords and can help you as much as they can hurt you.

    'Everyone on the internet' is first and foremost...made up of real people If you have problems in your physical life...you have the same problems when you get on the internet, except people for the most part use text or voice to communicate on the internet instead of talking face to face or on a phone and basically with a lot of the applications and websites promoting communication (fb tw forums skype steam xbl psn etc), you get a lot of people conversing and trading experiences that otherwise never would.

    Note:
    • There is a lot of sneaky, greasy, disrespectful bottom feeders in the world,
    • They prey on other people usually the and easiest target that is the fastest to acquire,
    • The internet is a faster form of real life communication,
    • The internet creates access to more people,
    • Some people abuse things in life...

    Conclusion:
    People blame everything for their problems....except the things that are actually the problem...yet again another problem that is rooted in people acting irresponsibly.



    It really is that simple, and it really should be just that obvious in my own opinion.
     
  13. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    Wtf
     
  14. Eagle

    Eagle Well-Known Member

    Internet has a special place in my heart, lol. Well I'm not angry :p
     
  15. Robert F Schmitz

    Robert F Schmitz Well-Known Member

    Maybe it is the easiest outlet for all of the frustration that is building due to the economy and political ineptitude.
     
    Lucas likes this.
  16. Alien

    Alien Well-Known Member

  17. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

    (possibly NSFW... depending on your particular employer's rules and regulations... however, if you're visiting XF on work time, you're probably okay)

    That nugget of wisdom is nearly nine years old, btw.
     
    Alien likes this.
  18. fos

    fos Active Member

    Too many liberals! ;)
     
  19. Lucas

    Lucas Well-Known Member

    IMO this is one of the biggest reasons. Our society in general is so messed up nowadays that it's hard not to see people gearing towards hostility on everything.
     
    Rob Fritz likes this.
  20. ibaker

    ibaker Well-Known Member

    As one user on my site puts it in response to the same thread as this:
    If you want to see what's damaging the mental health of our youth, look at Facebook .
     
    Rob Fritz likes this.

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