Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
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28-11-2014, 05:38 AM (This post was last modified: 28-11-2014 05:41 AM by The Germans are coming.)
Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
the last couple of days I spent looking through news items on the internet and reading comments beneath them were pritty horrid. The outright racism, not hidden in any way, really shocks me.

From people insisting that there is "a nigger problem" that needs to be "solved through firearms" and other rubbish just really disgusted me.

And the frequency with which these comments appeard also shocked me.

Now people often simply brush these kinds of comments aside claiming that the internet supposedly only brings up the worst in people.

But is that really the case?

Is that what people only see as "the worst of someone" possible that what actualy defines a person?

A person I frequently mention and quote when debating social matter is the Czech/Austrian psychologist Karl Bühler. Who should actualy be just as famous if not more famous than Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler and the other great pioners of psychology in Vienna and Prag during that time.

He spent a great deal of his work studying moral psychology and which process in our minds and which incentives guide us into making certain decisions. I read all of those studies and one experiment in particular stood out for me.

He traveld arround the world and gave students from various different age groups, social backgrounds, faiths and ethnicity tests in Turkey, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Japan, the Soviet Union and more.

One test group had the chance to cheat and the other didnt. The conclusions he made through this and various other similar experiments was that the likelyhood of a person making a "inmoral" decision that benefits that individual is mainly not influenced by upbringing, class or ethnicity but by if that person thinks he or she can get away with it.

People may interpret this differently, but to me this also meant that a persons character is greatly defined by what some people may call "the worst about him".

What do you think?

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28-11-2014, 06:11 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
Well, think about online FPS games. It's full of videos where you see kids (actual kids) swearing and insulting other players because they just got owned. I doubt many of them would say the same in a face-to-face situation.

Or think about the birth of the expression "keyboard warrior". Being anonymous, sometimes far away, behind a screen makes you kind of "invulnerable", so when you say that it "brings the worst" I think it is sometimes true. Less (and sometimes zero) consequences than insulting someone in real life.

It's almost like when Louis CK talked about people being more violent in their words when driving a car. I suppose it's all about the transient situation: you're probably never gonna see that person anymore so, who cares?

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28-11-2014, 06:57 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
You're actually asking two different but thematically linked questions:

Quote:Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?

Are people defined by the worst aspects of their character?

I don't think there's any reason to dwell on the first question; it's a resounding yes. The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (G.I.F.T) has been codified for decades years understood for decades and represented in one way or another since we worked out how to comunicate by text. (And I'd bet good money that people sniped at each other by curior before that.) Check out any of the letters page's in old trade magazines, news papers and even the formal scientific papers and essays circa the 1800's.

When we're not looking somebody in the eye it is much easier to treat them poorly.

I think the second question is best deliniated when you make a distinction between who somebody is and how they choose to represent themselves.

The parts of my identity that I'm not proud of are exactly as valid as the parts that I am proud of. They're just that; a part, a component of a larger, ever shifting thing that is my abstract consiousness. So that which is "bad" doesn't define me. It's how we choose to define ourselves.

(Picking a label we identify with and associating ourselves with it is obviously a part of our internal identity so we can't remove ourselves from context entirely. I may be making a meaningless distinction.)

I do think it's OK to define people by aspects of the persona they choose to share. It's a large part of how our minds work. We break somebody down into recognisable traits, filter them through our preconceptions and whatever-the-plural-for-a-bias-is and whatever stands out most prominently is how we define the person. That person had some consious control over how they represent themselves and so what aspects of their persona that we identify as important are signifiers of how they choose to define themselves.

So to focus on things that we don't like is an entirely valid ways of identifying somebody. Potentially uncharitable but valid.

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28-11-2014, 07:16 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
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28-11-2014, 07:56 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
(28-11-2014 07:16 AM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  [Image: 4fc.jpg]

LOL! I used to be a UT2K4 junkie, but it did have an effect on me, making me quicker on the anger trigger after playing a long time.

I was never this bad, but:




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28-11-2014, 08:04 AM (This post was last modified: 28-11-2014 08:08 AM by The Polyglot Atheist.)
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
The angry german kid was apparently staged. Tongue

By the way, UT2004 = Best FPS arena ever. I miss playing that game.

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28-11-2014, 08:08 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
(28-11-2014 07:56 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(28-11-2014 07:16 AM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  [Image: 4fc.jpg]

LOL! I used to be a UT2K4 junkie, but it did have an effect on me, making me quicker on the anger trigger after playing a long time.

I was never this bad, but:




Is that Vosur viewing typical TTA posts? Consider

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28-11-2014, 08:20 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
(28-11-2014 08:08 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(28-11-2014 07:56 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  LOL! I used to be a UT2K4 junkie, but it did have an effect on me, making me quicker on the anger trigger after playing a long time.

I was never this bad, but:




Is that Vosur viewing typical TTA posts? Consider

Laugh out load

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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28-11-2014, 08:28 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
(28-11-2014 08:08 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(28-11-2014 07:56 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  LOL! I used to be a UT2K4 junkie, but it did have an effect on me, making me quicker on the anger trigger after playing a long time.

I was never this bad, but:




Is that Vosur viewing typical TTA posts? Consider

No. Just one that had one spelling error.

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28-11-2014, 08:47 AM
RE: Does the internet show the worst in people, or who they really are?
Humans have a tendency to think in the moment and most certainly even today, while more people have access to modern technology, we are collectively on average still far to ignorant of our evolutionary behavior. We can talk about use of words all we want but ultimately our aggression and hate of others is evolutionary. No, that is not an excuse. If we are to reduce conflict we have to have more of a mentality of having the starting point priority that there is no "other". Unfortunately evolution works through group survival, the downside is that it also pits one group against another.

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