I’ve been incredibly annoyed the last few days, but I haven’t been able to adequately express what annoys me, which is annoying.
I think if I have to try and pinpoint it, it has to do with a question of worldview and standards. I see too many people take the cynical view and go “well, what do you expect from the internet”, or “well, surprise, surprise, the world sucks”, as if we should just expect people to behave badly and if you fail to prepare for it, it’s your fault for being naive as opposed to the fault of the people behaving badly in the first place.
My own view on the matter is that there’s a small amount of people who’ll misbehave no matter what, there’s a very small amount of people who’ll always do the right thing… and a huge amount of people who simply responds in kind.
If the general standard in a place is low, they’ll sink down to it, but if people are held to a higher standard, they’ll often be able to claw themselves up and be at least decent.
The problem is that it’s very psychologically satisfying to have a low standard. If the standard is high enough and you’re consistent with it, you’ll probably fail it just as often as anybody else, and that causes many uncomfortable moments of cognitive dissonance on your part.
It’s so much easier to simply have a low standard of behavior, watch people race to the bottom and then feel smugly superior that you’re not quite as bad as the lowest person on the totem pole.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is that we are all responsible for the environment we create. It’s easy to assign a scapegoat in the form of overt trolls or generally nasty people, rather than ask what allowed them to run wild in the first place.
(This isn’t a call to censorship mind you, I’m a big believer in the idea that the answer to bad speech is more speech, but that ideal comes with a responsibility to speak out when something is bothering you and call out behavior that you personally think are counterproductive.)
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