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Why Are We So Rude Online?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the because-nobody-can-punch-us-in-the-face dept.

The Internet 341

kodiaktau writes "An article in the WSJ discusses why internet users are more rude online than they are in person. The story discusses some of the possible reasons. For example, a study found that browsing Facebook tends to lower people's self control. An MIT professor says people posting on the internet have lowered inhibitions because there is no formal social interaction. Another theory is that communicating through a phone or other device feels like communicating with a 'toy,' which dehumanizes the conversation. Of course, a rude conversation has never happened on Slashdot in the last 15 years."

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Simple reason (5, Funny)

PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) | about 2 years ago | (#41535637)

Oh, but this is simple. People are rude when, well... Well let me tell you a story of my friend called Dave.

Dave was an ordinary boy with wild imagination. He was popular with the guys for several reasons, but the fact that he and his mother let us play GoldenEye on his Nintendo64 wasn't easy to ignore. All of us guys used to gather at his house and play a few rounds of the great multiplayer experience that only the original GoldenEye gave.

I noticed that people tented to get angry during the game. They would verbally attack other players and even punch them a bit. Dave didn't - he actually seemed quite an non-aggressive fella. What was the secret to Dave's non-aggressive and non-rude behavior? Because his mother made him these wonderful home cooked pizzas. He wasn't angry because he ate well!

Let me explain with a car analogy. (4, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | about 2 years ago | (#41535923)

Well, this writes itself. People in cars are just so crazy as opposed to when you see them face to face.

Re:Simple reason (-1, Offtopic)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#41536003)

They tented during the game because they thought his fat mother had big tits. Nobody liked Dave.

Re:Simple reason (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536047)

Go suck a cock and have a cactus shoved up your ass you worthless sack of shit. We don't like rude fuckers like you around Slashdot, so fuck off if you aren't going to be fucking polite.



Who are you calling rude? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535651) insensitive clod!

Re:Who are you calling rude? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535673)

What would a dumbass MIT professor know about social interaction? Fuck him and his studies. With a big rubber dick.

Re:Who are you calling rude? (3, Funny)

kokoko1 (833247) | about 2 years ago | (#41536033)

Here you go why are you so rude even you don't know this dumbass professor?

Re:Who are you calling rude? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41536175)

What would a dumbass MIT professor know about social interaction? Fuck him and his studies. With a big rubber dick.

Here you go why are you so rude even you don't know this dumbass professor?

GP is the professor's wife, you insensitive clod

Re:Who are you calling rude? (1)

Life2Death (801594) | about 2 years ago | (#41535781)

Get off my lawn AC

I'm not anonymous on Slashdot (3)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41535819)

And it haven't stopped me from being a jerk.

Re:I'm not anonymous on Slashdot (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41535931)

It's not about being anonymous or not, it's simply the mode of communication.

Obligatory memes.... (0)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#41535655)

1) In Soviet Russia, internet is rude to YOU! 2) I for one welcome our rude, toy-using internet overlords!

Re:Obligatory memes.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41535943)

With a beowulf cluster of Natalie Portman doing email for old people.

Anything missing?

Re:Obligatory memes.... (3, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41535959)

1. Be rude online
2. ???
3. Profit

Re:Obligatory memes.... (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41536015)


You win one internet, sir. But you have to put in your own tubes.

Re:Obligatory memes.... (4, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41536077)

2. About Cars

See Jeremy Clarkson of Top Rear.

Re:Obligatory memes.... (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41536025)

I AM the Internet. Who are you calling rude? Fuck you!

No Shit Sherlock (5, Funny)

Cheech Wizard (698728) | about 2 years ago | (#41535663)

Leave it to the WSJ to be 15+ years behind the times in figuring this out.

Re:No Shit Sherlock (2)

Cheech Wizard (698728) | about 2 years ago | (#41535695)

Can't edit, so.... Actually, the more I think about it this was true in the BBS days, so I correct myself having been involved "way back when" - Not 15 years late - More like 30 years. Wow! And an MIT professor just figured this out!

Anonymity (1, Redundant)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41535665)

This article is totally off. Of course, the most important reason is the (perceived) anonymity.

Fscking morons.

Re:Anonymity (5, Insightful)

dbet (1607261) | about 2 years ago | (#41535719)

I'm not sure that explains it all. My girlfriend and I both hate our phone conversations but love our in-person conversations, and we certainly know each other. There's something about communicating with a device that ruins a lot of the non-verbal stuff we take for granted.

Re:Anonymity (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41535919)

I wouldn't focus too much on the machine part of the equation.

Anonymity along with the internet bringing different cultures together creates a situation were people can get annoyed and frustrated combined with a degree of safety that allows them to become jerks with little to no repercussions.

In my travels, I have always found things people do different enough to annoy me mildly, sometime even a lot. The other people do not know it annoys me, they are used to it because it is normal for them. When we are face to face, we think more about hurting someone's feelings or the fact that they might punch us in the nose or something. When we are isolated by technology, we don't have to think about those things. But mostly, you will find other people's behavior to normally be different and that difference can be or can cause the rudeness on the interweb tubes thingy..

Re:Anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535727)

That's right. Because we are fucking anonymous cowards!

Re:Anonymity (1)

lxs (131946) | about 2 years ago | (#41536111)

I am not. But I might. It really depends on the gender and disposition of the AC in question.

Re:Anonymity (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | about 2 years ago | (#41535739)

Nope. Facebook has proven this. People say offensive shit from their facebook profiles.

Re:Anonymity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535803)

Nope. Facebook has proven this. People say offensive shit from their facebook profiles.

Without immediate feedback, people don't think about the consequences of their actions. You see the same thing when normally ordinary people turn into dicks when they get into their cars.

In short, "people are stupid".

Re:Anonymity (1)

Walterk (124748) | about 2 years ago | (#41535933)

There's a problem with that theory of yours. People on facebook tend to have their real names on their accounts, so the stupid/offensive things people say on there can be traced back to them very easily.

The thing is that people say both stupid and offensive things all of the time, but if you actually say them to another person, there won't be a paper-trail of it, nor does it have a potential audience of millions. As an example all of the people who say "my boss is a dick", only to have that shared by a colleague who has their boss as a facebook friend. Whoops. You'd probably say that to that colleague to their face, who might agree with it, but neither would say it to your boss' face.

Re:Anonymity (5, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41535811)

I doubt that. Social networks which don't warrant anonymity (e.g. Facebook) prove to have the same rude audience as totally anonymous sites. My hypothesis is that it's
a) the larger audience. Especially male persons seem to be more aggressive if the audience is larger (yes, there are extensive studies about that, if needed I might be able to google up a citation). People who are totally nice and gentle in 1-1 situations become total jerks if many people are watching. The Internet is as an audience second only to the Super Bowl and the Soccer World Championship.
b) the decoupled reaction of the audience. Face to face the reaction starts while you are still acting, and you start to adapt while not even finishing your sentence. A lot of overreaching rudeness is thus dampened before it can be acted out. In not fully real time conversations as chats, the reaction already comes late, and via email, on message boards and profile based social sites, it can be hours until the reaction is there. Until then your own rudeness rules supreme because no social control can be exercised on you.

So no, anonymity is not the problem. Size of audience and delayed social control is.

Re:Anonymity (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41535851)

This article is totally off. Of course, the most important reason is the (perceived) anonymity.

It's obvious to anyone that the real reason is that you aren't within arms reach of the rest of the world. It doesn't matter to me whether you know who I am. You're not going to hop in your car and spend a few days tracking me down, just to punch me for my opinions on Das Kapital or because I called you an internet clown. Well, I hope not, you internet clown, you.

Re:Anonymity (0)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#41536283)

The most important reason is the rubber band principle. Many people in many social interactions are forced to suck it up ie the high school nerd vs the jock strap douche, the polite waiter vs the arrogant low tipping tea bagger, the person on the street vs the steroided out of control cop, the typical minimum wage obedient employee vs the raging 1% republican employer who enjoys firing people etc. etc. etc..

It is not normal social interaction that causes the internet problem, it is distorted inhumane social interactions where some douche via distortions in human society is able to force their aggressive and anti-social behaviour upon others in social interactions, leaving those others, those nobodies that the Wall Street Journal and that MIT professor can't even remember that exist, the indivisible people who are forced to bow and grovel, absorbing the direct social abuse under threat of violence (that violence includes firing resulting in loss of home and sustenance).

Well on the internet that stretched and abused temperament will often spring back, out of control not simply because of the freedom to express themselves but striking back at a society which forces them to suck up abuse day in and day out because that society in a truly distorted manner empowers ill behaved narcissists and psychopaths. The problem here is not the anonymity on the internet, the problem is society failure to 'FORCE' more reasonable behaviour out of those who society empowers and make no mistake, that must be forced upon those who would so readily abuse the power they have. Freedom on the internet ain't the problem, the abuse that occurs and has been occurring long before anyone anonymously connected to the internet, is the true problem.

Now those abusers who so routinely abuse people directly and in public basically want to be able to carry over that power onto the internet. The sickness is visible, the problem is not the trolls, the problem are those who are all to willing to use the power of money to silence anyone they want to for any reason they want to.

Not rude (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | about 2 years ago | (#41535669)

I also feel that we're being desensitized. What used to be rude IRL but okay online, is now considered okay IRL as well. I'm not sure this is a bad thing per se. Sometimes it makes conversation just more efficient, without all the social cruft.

Re:Not rude (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41535697)

Like what?

Anonymity has always caused assholishness. People were assholes in cars before being assholes online.

I had a guy here wish me to be in hospital after a traffic accident in the cycling thread.

If one met someone like that IRL, one would generally back away, call them a fucking psycho or, perhaps if one was so-inclined and felt suitably threatened, punch the guy in the face. Usually 1 and or 2 though.

Re:Not rude (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | about 2 years ago | (#41535741)

Okay, maybe not rudeness, but just lack of etiquette. Instead of "Hi John. Nice weather, don't you think? How's the wife and kids? Oh, by the way, I'm moving to another apartment... [silence]. So that'll be a bit of work.... [silence]" it's "Hi John, wanna help me moving?".

Or something like that. I'm not very good at coming up with examples. It's just a feeling I have.

Re:Not rude (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41535989)

I get what you mean. I also hate it when people start making small talk in order to soften me up to what they actually want to ask, instead of just asking. It's insulting when people think they have to trick or guilt-trip me into helping them.

Re:Not rude (5, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 2 years ago | (#41535755)

For similar reasons, I often find myself about to post my views on something and then hesitate: "Does the internet really need to hear my opinion on this? Is it worth the emotional backlash if my thoughts set off a troll?" More often than not recently I've answered "No". And before anyone leaps out and cries "But you shouldn't be so emotionally invested in what you post!" I'll assure you that it's impossible to express a considered opinion and not invest some part of yourself in it. Everyone should be able to state their point of view without being wished bodily harm as the parent was.

I like how the Hackaday forum has cleaned up its act by permabanning trolls and flamers and holding people more accountable. Yes, it's whackamole with fake accounts but if trolls don't get any traction in your forum eventually they go away. Trolls are a lot like schoolyard bullies and have similar motivations. By removing the enabling mechanism (anonimity) or removing the payoff mechanism (flame response), I expect such bad behaviour can be diminished.

Re:Not rude (1, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41535801)

Like what?

Anonymity has always caused assholishness.

It also allows you to tell the truth to "unreasonable" people. IRL if I suggested that Islam was not the religion of peace I would end up with my house burned down, and probably be killed.

Re:Not rude (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#41535939)

It also allows to receiver of the so-called "truth" to disregard it even more easily. Which is why no one convinces anyone on the internet - any particular discussion tends to degenerate into incredibly long (and frequently rude) point-by-point rebuttals. This being slashdot, I'm sure examples are being provided as I post this.

Re:Not rude (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#41536215)

Which is why no one convinces anyone on the internet

I don't know about that. I've had my mind changed about a topic before when someone pointed out how stupid my POV was. I'm not above admitting that I become emotionally invested in one side of an argument, but I don't see it that way until someone makes a good argument with citations. Then I can step back and see the facts for what they are and realize my "one-time" experience was just a fluke and it shouldn't be shaping my opinion.

On the other hand there are times when I'll post facts and citations in an argument only to have someone, "OMZG!!!! YOU FSKING MORION!! SUX COCKS!!" or some variation there of. As in the bicycle thread yesterday. what I read came off as "Cyclist don't have to follow the same laws as cars do. It's ok for them to run red lights and stop signs and pass the stopped traffic because if they had to stop it wouldn't be as easy to bike anywhere. Drivers need to learn to share the road and let us do whatever we want when it's convenient to us....", Ahhh, no i don't think so.

Re:Not rude (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41535885)

If one met someone like that IRL, one would generally back away, call them a fucking psycho or, perhaps if one was so-inclined and felt suitably threatened, punch the guy in the face. Usually 1 and or 2 though.

Physical proximity is not the opposite of anonymity. What I think is going on here is consequences. If there are painful consequences for rude behavior, even if nobody knows who you are, then there's disincentive to be rude.

Re:Not rude (1, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41536011)

So you're saying we should hook up the Slashdot moderation system to an electric shock collar?
Let me be the first to say "-1 Great idea!".

Re:Not rude (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41535795)

I also feel that we're being desensitized. What used to be rude IRL but okay online, is now considered okay IRL as well. I'm not sure this is a bad thing per se. Sometimes it makes conversation just more efficient, without all the social cruft.

There is a difference between omitting social niceties and getting to the point and being deliberately rude. I agree its sometimes nice to be able to get straight down to "I disagree with your position", without all the "good morning, how have you been keeping" stuff - but online it will be "fuck you - how can you say such crap"! Thi hasn't (yet) entered most real life conversations.

Re:Not rude (1)

CodeheadUK (2717911) | about 2 years ago | (#41535899)

XBox Live is a good example. I've now all but given up playing with randoms as being called a 'faggot / douchebag / retard / fucktard' throughout the game doesn't really add much to the experience.

Sadly, it has become so common that it's almost like background noise.

Obligatory Penny Arcade (5, Informative)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41535671)

Why, it's the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [] that explains it

Re:Obligatory Penny Arcade (5, Interesting)

bazorg (911295) | about 2 years ago | (#41535753)

It is a phenomenon very similar to road rage if we think about it.

People are not more rude online... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535679)

...and if you don't agree go fuck yourself


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535681)

it's cool to be a complete dick to somebody you don't even know.


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536085)

Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.


lxs (131946) | about 2 years ago | (#41536157)

It certainly is fun, but I tend to reserve that pleasure for telemarketers.

I don't know (2, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41535683)

Now feck off.

My theory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535689)

is that people are also more stupid on-line than in real life, therefore deserving scorn. I've never met anyone in real life who claims that the species needs to leave this rock because of the Asteroid of Doom on Space Elevators made of magical materials that only exist because of NASA. But on-line, they're legion and must be insulted.

N/A to me (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#41535693)

This does not apply to me. I am exactly the same, online or offline. Whoever met me online and then offline could testify. I use some profanity in both "worlds" and I act and react the same. These realms are't different in my view. Of course, I'm maybe one of few, but I've seen other people act similarly.

Re:N/A to me (2)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about 2 years ago | (#41535833)

Actually, I can admit to being more of a dick IRL. But I'm trying to behave better.

We are not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535701)

... now stfu and do something useful with your life! You're a dork for even thinking of something as ridiculous as this. Lol.

For me, the reason... (5, Funny)

notknown86 (1190215) | about 2 years ago | (#41535705) that my computer screen doesn't punch me in the face when I talk about the sweet, though slightly twisted and, depending on your geolocation, illegal relationship I had with your mother...

She was great, by the way.

Re:For me, the reason... (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41535995)

Necrophiliac bastard!

Re:For me, the reason... (2)

jimshatt (1002452) | about 2 years ago | (#41536023)

I think you would be more offended when I'd talk about the relationship you had with my mother than I would be. It's nice though, that you two are getting along...

fuck you (1, Funny)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41535725)

the same reason youtube's flash player sucks more as time goes on: fuck you, that's why.

Rude? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41535735)

When I thought about it, I found that there indeed has been no rude message in Slashdot, ever. So I propose we discuss constructively how to keep up this fine tradition and even improve it! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me. Oh, and if you happen to be in the town, I'll definitely buy you a beer. Have a nice day. :)

Re:Rude? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535841)

fuck you, twit.

No teacher (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535745)

No-one teaches the social manners communicating online. Not parents, or educators.

Therefore, people behave without them, and are more expressive towards desires.

Its becuase.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535747) one can punch you in the face

Obligatory Oscar Wilde quote (5, Interesting)

zill (1690130) | about 2 years ago | (#41535785)

Give a man a mask and he will show his true face. -Oscar Wilde

The question is not "why do some people act like fucktards online?". Deep down, fucktards is exactly what those people are. They just hide it better in real life.

Re:Obligatory Oscar Wilde quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535991)

Your us-and-them attitude makes it seem that you don't consider yourself a fucktard, deep down.

But, even though you are not being particularly rude here, you are assigning binary categories (fucktard/non-fucktard) which I expect you know very well are over-simplifications. So you're probably smarter in real life than you are here. Here, you simplify, and use profanity, to explain an intellectual position that you probably couldn't even justify in an actual person-to-person conversation. Why is that? It's not as simple as saying you're an idiot that thinks binary categories really apply, but you hide it when talking face-to-face. Or maybe it is. Maybe under some circumstances we activate parts of our brain that "know better", and in other situations we don't. So maybe we're all fucktards, deep down. Even you.

That still doesn't answer the question of why people are more fucktarded online than face-to-face.

Explained quite well, indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536171)

That still doesn't answer the question of why people are more fucktarded online than face-to-face.

I thought the Oscar Wilde quote explained it all and quite eloquently.

Consider "mask" to be a metaphor for the internet. So instead of wearing and hiding behind a mask, such as Spider-Man, you are hiding behind internet anonymity - except for places that require real names.

The internet is just another mask in most cases.

Re:Explained quite well, indeed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536273)

Probably true. I remember the first time I came to Slashdot, and experienced this phenomenon first-hand. In the working-class pubs in England you simply would never talk to another human being like that, because you'd quickly get punched, or worse. Remove the threat of being punched and, wow.

But also I think the medium is partly to blame. It's too hard to have a real to-and-fro conversation, so there is often no real meeting of minds, just a kind of shouting into the void.

Simple enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535789)

Most people are assholes. The internet lets you show your true self without getting beat up.

Human Psychology (5, Interesting)

ExecutorElassus (1202245) | about 2 years ago | (#41535793)

The reason is very simple, if somewhat disheartening. Take a look at some of the literature on human behavior, particularly the studies on the "banality of evil" (texbook scenarios are the Milgram Experiment [] and the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment [] ).

The sad truth pointed out by both of those studies is that approximately 60% of us -- all of us, even those of us who claim to be, and act like, normal ethical people in polite society -- will commit acts of cruelty upon another human being, even to the point of delivering potentially lethal electrical shocks to someone obviously in distress, if the social sanctions against it are removed.And those were both cases in which the victims had voices and (in the latter case) faces by which the perpetrators could witness the suffering they were causing.

In short, the majority of people will be cruel, spiteful bullies if they believe they can get away with it. For me, a good example is (oddly) watching how people treat pigeons (??): they're harmless, no more dirty than, say, hoboes, and live around us. But they are negatively viewed as carriers of disease ("rats of the skies" is such a cliché, and what's so bad about rats, anyway?), and most people wouldn't think twice about trying to scare them and threaten to cause them harm. It seems a bit melodramatic, but I often wonder why a person would want to be mean to some random harmless animal. I think, sadly, that it's because most people like being mean, and just need a venue to get away with it.

The Pinochet regime in Chile figured this out pretty quickly: you don't need to make people commit acts of cruelty against their will. All you have to do is provide a venue for cruelty without consequences, and the people will come out of the woodwork of their own accord. And Facebook/YouTube/your local news station's comments section are just such venues.

Re:Human Psychology (2)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41535805)

Interesting. I find myself lacking in the social norms when communicating on IRC with my friends. Then again, so do they. Conversations quickly come down to (as pointed out by a friend of mine) poop, pee and colonthree. It is a great outlet to let it all out, and keeps me sane in otherwise pressing situations where I have to endure the social stigma that comes with discussing bodily produce openly on the street.

True... (4, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41535859)

I haven't got the source, but I remember a study of road behaviour in the UK that concluded that the system works because, in effect, the 50% of drivers who are reasonably thoughtful, considerate and drive sensibly compensate for the 50% who are anything from careless to dangerous.

But, also, there is the effect of childhood bullying. I think that most people who post regularly on Slashdot are aware of this: academic children are more likely to be bullied owing to the general social attitudes of the English speaking world. And that means that when they grow up they have quite a lot of suppressed anger aimed at the stupid people who bullied them. This could be one reason why "jock" attitudes expressed on /. tend to produce such strong negative responses; the other, of course, is that in the real world far too often fools are allowed to persist in their folly and nobody stops them. Blake said that "if the fool persists in his folly he will become wise", but actually it's more likely to be "he will cause immense trouble for other people". On line, it is easier to call a dickhead a dickhead.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535847)

Nice theory, fucktard.

my newly-penned thoughts on just this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535865)

I leaned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear-skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired

The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone

Who called to say, "Come dance with me"
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen

A brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs
Whose name I never could pronounce
Said, "Pity, please, the ones who serve
'Cause they only get what they deserve"

And the rich relationed hometown queen
Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly

So remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debentures of quality and dubious integrity

Their small town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball

It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
When dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me

We all play the game and when we dare
To cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown

They call and say, "Come on, dance with me"
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me at seventeen

why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535879)

fuck you. that's why

YOU ARE!! (0)

MrKaos (858439) | about 2 years ago | (#41535903)

I'm not fucking rude, you moron.

Whatever (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41535911)

I'm no more rude online than I am in the real world. I am capable of sweetness and light right up until someone says something insulting or staggeringly stupid, and then I let them have it with both [verbal] barrels. Most of the stuff that really sets me off, nobody would ever fucking say to me face to face without trying to start a fistfight. Slashdot is especially great about that but there's definitely some jerkwads on G+ that are the same way, and I'm not even talking about the trolls.

Anonymity and internal voices (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41535915)

First, most people are rude in general. We put a mask of politeness on top of it when in public for fear of "causing a scene" (or picking on the wrong person who *isn't* afraid of causing a scene back).

I find it amazing how many people will let, say, someone push in front of a queue. In some, perfectly civil, countries it's positively mandatory to fight with your fellow man to be the next person served. In others, you can jump in front of a queue of 50 and barely be tutted at, for fear of "causing a scene", even if you're not some huge bruiser.

But inside our heads, we're all thinking "Arsehole" when that happens, even if not with that exact word. Some people will expose that internal thought to the outside world, most won't.

On the Internet, the same reason you can have more in-depth conversations about controversial topics, tell people you've never met things about you that you haven't told your own friends, and air views just to cause a nuisance because you find it funny: Anonymity, or at least pseudo-anonymity, let's you not worry about causing a scene. The worst you'll get is some online reaction that you can block, ignore or just not visit that site again.

I've done it myself. Aired my views on a topic which doesn't have a definitive answer, been shouted down, not bothered to read the other people's rants and opinions or just not bothered to read that thread ever again.

Everyone is being rude all day long - calling their boss, the person in the other car, the person on the other end of the phone, or any number of other people names in the privacy of their head. Sometimes they let it slip because it's consequence-less or they don't care about the consequences. And on the Internet, the consequences are generally SEVERELY limited so it's easier to say what you think without rationalising too much and having to stop insulting people.

Everyone, in the privacy of their head, has thought "You're a dickhead" about someone they know or have met. The Internet just lets you air that without anyone ever knowing that it's YOU saying it (if you've half a brain about not putting your personal information on the net).

Why? (4, Funny)

Psychotria (953670) | about 2 years ago | (#41535935)

Because 99% of the people online are stupid.

Actually, 99% of people in real life are stupid as well. Maybe I am just intolerant of idiots and being surround by them.

Not you, of course.


Re:Why? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | about 2 years ago | (#41535961)

Because 99% of the people online are stupid.

Actually, 99% of people in real life are stupid as well. Maybe I am just intolerant of idiots and being surround by them.

Not you, of course.


"Surround by them"? You are one of the 99% you stupid retard. Now, get the fuck away from me and let me engage with the 1% who are not fucking idiots. I have no time for you and your kind. And, before you ask, let me answer: "yes I am like this in real life as well."

Kind regards

Re:Why? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | about 2 years ago | (#41535999)

Because 99% of the people online are stupid.

Actually, 99% of people in real life are stupid as well. Maybe I am just intolerant of idiots and being surround by them.

Not you, of course.


"Surround by them"? You are one of the 99% you stupid retard. Now, get the fuck away from me and let me engage with the 1% who are not fucking idiots. I have no time for you and your kind. And, before you ask, let me answer: "yes I am like this in real life as well."

Kind regards

I actually have an answer for this. Not defending the OP, of course, but: []

What? Say WHAT one more time, mutherfucker! Go on. I dare you.

Re:Why? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41535971)

We are the 99%! We are the 99%!

Erh... oh fsck.

Inner Dialogue? (1)

Bongo (13261) | about 2 years ago | (#41535937)

On the internet people can hear what you're thinking.

In real life they can't.

Not Me (0)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 2 years ago | (#41535951)

I post online at my regular level of rudeness. While in person many find me to be an insufferable jackass, online I come across as a perfect gentleman.

Anonymity is only half the equation (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41535957)

The other one is seeing that others get away with it and feeling entitled to do the same. That's not limited to the internet, though.

Try it yourself. Get a sign that says "no littering" and put it somewhere where people would probably drop a thing or two if there was no such sign. You will notice that people do actually heed the sign. Now throw some garbage under the sign and watch the pile grow.

Communicating through a phone? (1)

Sanoj (149435) | about 2 years ago | (#41536009)

communicating through a phone or other device feels like communicating with a 'toy,'

Wow this statement made me feel old. The fact that the author felt no need to qualify it with "via typing" makes me feel even older.

Or it could be... (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 2 years ago | (#41536027)

That online forums, blogs, etc. tend to attract that percentage of the population online that is capable of behaving like this. I bet if you met a lot of the people who behave rudely online, their "offline" personas are simply a change of degree from how they behave online. I think it's far more likely that the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is not only true, but that fuckwads aren't really normal, decent people in their daily lives and they tend to pool together online.

it's not that people are ruder online (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536049)

It's that neoconservatism has made people generally more self-absorbed, hypocritical cunts.

People are too quick to blame the tool and too slow to blame the mind.

No accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536071)

Next question.

you don't always say what you think IRL (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | about 2 years ago | (#41536101)

unless you're on the internet and anonymous, in which case you can go all out.

It takes social skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536149)

It takes social skills to argue in person.

Several factors at work (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about 2 years ago | (#41536155)

1. Target audience, we're less prone to being polite and conform to social norms with strangers. Simply put, in a forum full of nicknames and no physical connection with the people behind those nicknames we often don't care what they think.

2. Anonymity, there's no consequence to behaving badly/rudely. In fact some people are encouraged they managed to upset another person.

3. Motivation, often when a person is confronted with a similar pattern or argument they would opt to dismiss it, as quickly and as long lasting as possible. This often happens with rehashed debates when people simply give up or excuse themselves from having to explain or repeat. They resort to an emotional response, anger, trolling or ridicule. Often a mix of a few things.
So it regresses to a response that may be useless to one person and more useful to the person responding. Instead of wasting their time hearing something they disagree with people want their beliefs reinforced, not challenged. This is doubly true if the challenge is obviously flawed or flat out wrong.
So more often than not, when someone asks a question that has an obvious answer, is flawed etc someone will make fun of it. A social currency if you will, I have taken time to consider your words, you have said something I deem foolish, I wasted my time but have made fun of you as to at least derive satisfaction. right, wrong, moral or not.

It also allows some people to get attention. This is especially easy if they are consistently funny and other users read their responses, jokes, input, trolling etc.

4. Medium, The way we process written language differs to the way we process verbal language. Typing often allows you to put down raw thoughts that you later revise, edit and refine. When we speak we often think twice about what we are saying, to whom and how that may sound to them.
Conveying emotion is text is much harder, there is no tone of voice, no pitch, volume, pronunciation or accent etc.

5. Human nature, being rude, trolling, it may be a form of rough play. I believe it is imperative that some people experience some of that rough play, it's character building and will allow them to understand they are not a special and unique snow flake that happened to be the 8th winner, their just dumb, fat and live in their mother's basement.

Anonymity brings out real personality (2)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#41536165)

In real life, when I come across the type of morons who regularly posts online, I really want to punch them in the face. Kick them in the groin. Rip out their tongues so that they can stop insulting me with their dumb-ass arguments. That is my natural behavior. Social pressure as humans went from wild animals to socialized beings have made us frown upon such social behavior. Whacking someone over the head with a chair just because he is dumb enough to believe in Intelligent Design might be the right, and desirable thing to do, but we can't. Not any more. Sadly.

Online we can. Verbally. So it brings out the true personality within.

The study is bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536183)

The answer is fear. Online there is nothing to fear from being rude. In real life, there are a variety of things to fear from doing this.

Wiki on rudeness (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41536189)

From Wikipedia: Sometimes, people deliberately employ rude behaviors to achieve a goal. Early works in linguistic pragmatism interpreted rudeness as a defective mode of communication. However, most rudeness serves functional or instrumental purposes in communication, and skillfully choosing when and how to be rude may indicate a person's pragmatic competence. Robin Lakoff (1989) addressed what she named 'strategic rudeness,' a style of communication used by prosecutors and therapists to force their interlocutors (a courtroom defendant or patient) to talk or react in a certain way. Rudeness in everyday speech "is frequently instrumental, and is not merely pragmatic failure" (Beebe, 1995, p. 154). Most rude speakers are attempting to accomplish one of two important instrumental functions: to vent negative feelings, and/or to get power. []

Everyone is unknown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536201)

People treat anonymity differently.
    Most people are more selfish: Such as road rage, internet trolling and ugly tourist behaviours.
    But some people (mostly female) see the recipient as anonymous: This allows romantic crushes without personal contact, sexting and 'lost puppy' sympathy.

It's in the culture (1)

HnT (306652) | about 2 years ago | (#41536223)

I also think it has to do with seeing others do it or becoming a victim of rudeness yourself - so you get the impression it is ok or want to retaliate.

Fuck you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536249)


Not everyone is rude online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41536303)

It might be interesting to test for differences between rude people and not rude people wrt personality traits, background, education etc.

What a stupid fucking question... (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41536313)

What kind of idiot has to wonder why people are rude online? It's because we're rude in real life. We just make more of an effort to cover it up in person to avoid the social pressure of looking like an asshole in front of everybody.

That kind of real-life instant feedback is compelling, but does not exist on the Internet.

Now have a nice day and go fuck yourself.

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