don't abuse the online haters
September 21, 2011 12:11 AM   Subscribe

Living in a post-modern, information-rich world should lead us to more civility rather than less – thought this might be interesting to readers - Both Nietzsche and Brecht understood the temptations of arguing in rage, but did not follow their own prescriptions; we should learn from their example.
posted by hopefulmidlifer (30 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I started out as an online hater. Now I send angry letters to my local paper. I'm a curmudgeonly old crank at 26, and I'm more mild than most people online.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:33 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could hate on this article, but you know what? People who already believed what they read in it aren't going to change their minds. People who don't believe it aren't going to magically start believing it.

In fact, given the way cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias work, there's really no point in that article being there at all. It's either invisible or it's an echo chamber. It's just more useless words in a stream of vapidity.
posted by seanyboy at 12:43 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I started out as an online hater. Now I send angry letters to my local paper.

You're going backwards. What's next, hate messages by telegraph?

-.. . .- .-. | ... .. .-. | -.-- --- ..- | ... ..- -.-. -.-
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:03 AM on September 21, 2011


Nah, blowing angry bubbles in to your glass of bourbon.
posted by taff at 1:40 AM on September 21, 2011


It's perfectly possible to tell Hollywood that it is not right to look after its own in that case without saying that you hope people die in fires or have their eyes gouged out with forks.

That sort of language is just a verbal moral spasm, as lazy as the reactions it is condemning.


The author assumes that when I say that I hope someone dies in a fire, or that I would like to crush their larynx in my rage-fuelled, double handed grip, watching as the light in the eye slowly fades, that I don't mean it.

When I say it, I do.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:02 AM on September 21, 2011


the eye = their eyes. Sorry.

Feel free to tell me that I deserve to be boiled alive in a pot filled with angry scorpions.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:04 AM on September 21, 2011


Feel free to tell me that I deserve to be boiled alive in a pot filled with angry scorpions.

It would be wrong to boil the scorpions.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:38 AM on September 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Actually I thought "the eye" was more poetic. No scorpions.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:42 AM on September 21, 2011


Actually I thought "the eye" was more poetic. No scorpions.

Just the kind of mealy mouthed, liberal pacifism one would expect from your ilk, you commie pinko scum-sucking pig of a diseased dog! Scorpions for all of you! And your eyes to be gouged out with spoons! [apparently, that's worse]
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:51 AM on September 21, 2011


Battle not with mealy mouthed liberal pacifists, lest ye become a mealy mouthed liberal pacifist.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:14 AM on September 21, 2011


Living in a post-modern, information-rich world should lead us to more civility rather than less

...If we actually counted as fundamentally good, rather than a species of petty bastards all just tying (more or less subtly) to enforce our wills on others.

So that said, given that premise, and the fact that it fails to hold true...
posted by pla at 3:22 AM on September 21, 2011


What's our position on telemarketers? My husband who pretty much never gets angry became so enraged by constant phone solicitations that he told one person that if they called again he would find them, come to their house and kill them, kill their children, and then burn their house down to make sure they were all dead. Which is actually sort of hilarious, if you knew my husband.

I made him promise not to threaten to kill people's children, so he's cut way back on that.

Actually, he did take an alternative approach: He did find the person, who turned out to be a poor unfortunate who works at our most local franchise of the telecommunications company we have our mobile subscription with, and these employees are made to make these calls (offering expanded services and the like) as a part of their regular job, which is accepting payments, selling phones and accessories, and signing up people who come in wanting to acquire the service. Once your name is on their computer for any of these transactions, they call with offers. Every single franchise where you ever do business (pay a bill for example) calls. So this would turn out to be several calls a day, eventually.

He went to the main office and told them if he gets one more call, he's immediately switching providers (and he's been with them forever, and we give them a hefty chunk of money every month), then he went to the nearest franchise, and apologised to the person he yelled at, and talked to her manager, and told him what he told the main office. Everyone apologized to everyone, and we haven't received another call. So far.

So. That was perhaps a story of enlightened behavior over brutish antagonism, but pretty demanding of time, attention, emotion, and shoeleather.
posted by taz at 3:36 AM on September 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


My husband who pretty much never gets angry became so enraged by constant phone solicitations that he told one person that if they called again he would find them, come to their house and kill them, kill their children, and then burn their house down to make sure they were all dead.

To be fair to your husband, the telemarketer probably enjoyed this as a refreshing break from all of the "why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you later" Seinfeld routines.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:41 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Battle not with mealy mouthed liberal pacifists, lest ye become a mealy mouthed liberal pacifist.

Damn it!

Make love, not war, I guess.

[May you be impaled on the spears of a horde of syphilitic zombie spartans].
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:49 AM on September 21, 2011


Nice progressive people should definitely be polite to everyone on the internet, except Republicans, Christians, the Tea Party and anyone who still uses Internet Explorer, the rat eating bastards.
posted by joannemullen at 4:05 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Both Nietzsche and Brecht understood the temptations of arguing in rage, but did not follow their own prescriptions

It's always sad when great thinkers go off their medications.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:08 AM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


taz: He may enjoy this.
posted by seanyboy at 4:29 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I want to talk about having a civil conversation with people I disagree with, I also like to use phrases like :

... People ... are, ... stupid and vile
... those who hold improbably evil views ...
... people have talked themselves into inhumane views,
... more venial ... the lazily complacent actors ...
... lazy as the reactions it is condemning
... vicious narcissistic infighting...

I also like to compare church goers with paedophiles. Because if all my time on the Left has taught me anything, it's that it's always OK to talk about paedophiles in the same context as the other things I hate.

The author of this piece of puffery is not practising what she preaches.
posted by seanyboy at 4:42 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, lets not forget that offence can be given and it can be taken. There's so many people out there who frequently and unreasonably take offence that this whole concept of "civility in your new fangled media" is moot.

And while I'm at it, do I detect the stench of "It was better in the days before the Hoi Poloi could write things to be read by an audience" in her writing.
posted by seanyboy at 4:46 AM on September 21, 2011


Nice progressive people should definitely be polite to everyone on the internet, except Republicans, Christians, the Tea Party and anyone who still uses Internet Explorer, the rat eating bastards.

I'm beginning to think... yeah, I'm pretty sure – no, no, definitely sure – it's Venn Diagram time.
posted by taz at 4:49 AM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


joannemullen: "the rat eating bastards."

Leave me out of this, you incompetently-creased pantaloon.
posted by vanar sena at 5:29 AM on September 21, 2011


Nice progressive people should definitely be polite to everyone on the internet, except Republicans, Christians, the Tea Party and anyone who still uses Internet Explorer, the rat eating bastards.

Sounds about right. One should be nice to nice people, and mean to bastards, don't you agree?
posted by spitbull at 5:42 AM on September 21, 2011


My husband who pretty much never gets angry became so enraged by constant phone solicitations that he told one person that if they called again he would find them, come to their house and kill them, kill their children, and then burn their house down to make sure they were all dead.

To be fair to your husband, the telemarketer probably enjoyed this as a refreshing break from all of the "why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you later" Seinfeld routines.


I used to be a telemarketer, in high school, and I didn't actually get too much of either of those. Except when we accidentally called someone who had recently died, then all bets were off. I did once get someone who claimed that their dogs were the person in the house in who made the long distance phone service decisions, then yelled "But, I don't think you SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE." The woman then proceeded to laugh at her own joke for like 30 seconds, until I hung up on her.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:48 AM on September 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I started out as an online hater. Now I send angry letters to my local paper. I'm a curmudgeonly old crank at 26, and I'm more mild than most people online.

Aren't you the guy who wants to be Fred Phelps when he grows up? Let me recommend to you On the Pain of Speech: Fantasies of the First Order and the Literary Rant which "tracks the literary rant, [as] an expression of provocation and resistance that imagines the power to speak in its own name where no such right is granted." It all may be lost on you, but in the future at least you can add "pretentious" to "curmudgeonly" and "old."

As for some of the others here, you need a physician's advice, not mine.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:22 AM on September 21, 2011


What's our position on telemarketers?

My personal position on telemarketers is that I want to kill the person who decided that I should be called at some inconvenient time. (These times are made even more inconvenient by the fact that my phone has an East Coast area code but I live on the West Coast, so sometimes I get early-morning calls.) But I don't get to talk to that person, I only get to talk to the person that they're paying ten bucks an hour to to interrupt people. I feel sorry for that person, so I don't kill them.

That, and I don't have a killphone yet.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:11 AM on September 21, 2011


The article is a waste of time, unfortunately. The author attempts to claim the moral high ground, but, as seanyboy so clearly describes, pushes the same silly and irrational responses she blames on others.

I do, however, take umbrage at the "Living in a post-modern, information-rich world should lead us to more civility rather than less – and let us be clear, I know in myself the temptation to use violent, or at least bitchy, language for its own sake." quote.

Post-modern? Yes. Information-rich? No. We're data-rich, yes. But, as any data miner will tell you, there's a big difference between data and information. Thanks to the massive spike in both inputs and signal-to-noise, it's increasingly difficult to obtain actual information from all the data - and that's intentional. Data is now branded, with built-in bias provided by the peddlers of data, and consumers cling to brands they like - just ask Fox News viewers. We can no longer see the forest for the trees when it comes to information, and we're far too low on the chain of consumers to get useful data.

So, we debate the validity of the data we receive, we pretend to derive information from this clearly-manipulated data, and we become polarized because we're defending brand names - "conservative", "liberal", "progressive", "libertarian", and so on - instead of collating and digesting useful data into information. You're not supposed to think, to cogitate overlong on this data - it's been done for you, by countless media outlets, pundits, talking heads, analysts, and so on. You're simply supposed to consume it & defend the brand.

The idea of civil discourse is based in objective rationality. There is no objective rationality in backing your brand even when the brand itself betrays its ideals, its followers, or its mission. Cheerleaders and fans don't debate - they yell canned cheers, they mock the opposing team, and they deride casual fans of their own brand for not showing enough "spirit" for their own brand.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:21 AM on September 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally (and non-judgmentally as possible), I think that if you have time or even care to argue with people over the internet that you don't personally know, and over things that are hardly even relevant to you, then maybe you're wasting your time a little too much.
posted by mitrieD at 9:43 AM on September 21, 2011


To be fair to your husband, the telemarketer probably enjoyed this as a refreshing break from all of the "why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you later" Seinfeld routines.

Hm, for the most part they just make a big deal about timing you to the exact minute when you warn them how long the survey will take.

"...no more than two minutes."
"Okay, I'm timing you!"
"Ha ha sir! I'll be quick"

"...should take no longer than two minutes."
"Okay, starting now!"
"Ha ha sir! I'll be quick!"

(Repeat ad nauseam)

I don't sell you things, but I have, and sadly call centres usually bitch you out if the customer gets chatty and off topic. Though thankfully customer service calls tend to only annoy people predisposed to be annoyed. "Hi, how is your brand X car?" "WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME???!!!???" "I don't know, why did you give the dealership your number?"

So fucking with your telemarketer usually makes them sad, and they only pass your ire on to their employers by a high turnover rate and a complete refusal to take the job seriously.
posted by Phalene at 11:25 AM on September 21, 2011


nl;dr: "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything." really weird article. seems like it was written in the 1990s.

What's our position on telemarketers?

Mostly I feel sorry for them. Caller ID, recognizing robocalls (any delay between "hello" and a response), and just hanging up are too easy. Imagine the despair of calling hundreds of people every day, knowing that 80% will hate you.

What bugs me more than telemarketers are pollers. At least (some) telemarketers are trying to sell me something for my money. Pollers want my time (and possible expertise) for free. I respond that I charge $50/hour for phone conversations.

Personally (and non-judgmentally as possible), I think that if you have time or even care to argue with people over the internet that you don't personally know, and over things that are hardly even relevant to you, then maybe you're wasting your time a little too much.

Is it really any worse than getting drunk and haranguing your friend over and over about an issue he or she couldn't care less about? Some people like to debate. A lot of people like to argue.

MetaFilter: More useless words in a stream of vapidity
posted by mrgrimm at 11:34 AM on September 21, 2011


So fucking with your telemarketer usually makes them sad, and they only pass your ire on to their employers by a high turnover rate and a complete refusal to take the job seriously.

When I worked selling Qwest long distance phone service (Qwest! Long Distance Landlines! It's a really blast from the past just thinking about it). I got a dressing down once for not delivering my "Well, if you change your mind call us at..." bit until after the customer had hung, I really thought the call monitors wouldn't figure me out. And to make it worse, the call monitor was a guy I went to high school with. Also, the cute receptionist never flirted with me. That job was hell, I tell you, hell. It was years before I could smell rubbing alcohol without thinking about wiping down my phone at the beginning of another horrible shift.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:17 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


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