Recently, I was on Internet Movie Database looking up some trivial information about a movie. I spent a little time reading posts on their message boards and I was shocked at how rude some of the comments were. Stating your opinion about a movie appears to be grounds for insults to your intelligence, politics, race, nationality and mental state. I can't imagine anyone making the same comments to a stranger in a video store.
News websites are no better now that so many of them have comment space after each article. To a degree, I can understand debating news stories, but it doesn't stop there. When my brother in law died last year, there was an article about it on a local newspaper's website. They mistakenly called him a "squatter", meaning that he lived in his house illegally. This wasn't true, he paid rent to live in his house, but because he was presumed to be breaking the law, these are the sorts of comments that were left at the end of the article:
"...the man sealed his own destiny. Obvioulsy his cat wasn't dumb
enough to stick around. Ohh yes PLEASE PLEASE blame this on the government and wall street."
"While I feel pity for the poor guy, I also know that his stupidity
caused property damage.... So because some guy decided to squat in an empty
house people could have lost money and all we feel sorry for is the guy that was
breaking the law by trespassing. "
These are just a few of the comments that were left by strangers after reading that a legally blind man, my brother in law, had died tragically in a house fire. I find it appalling. Would these people have said the same things to any of his family members at the funeral?
One of the few sites I've found where strangers are generally friendly to one another is the Recipe Exchange at Allrecipes. It is, in fact, the place that I met most of my online and blog friends. I have to admit, though, that I haven't been there in over a month. I used to enjoy my time there, but I needed to break away from it for a while. Not only was I spending too much time getting involved in chats, but I was finding that the nastiness of other forums was beginning to show up. In the middle of a fun conversation, a member made a completely offensive remark to the rest of us who were participating in the thread. This was not a "troll" or a "newbie", it was a regular member who has been around for a long time. Everyone ignored the remark, but I was a little shocked by it. Another incident happened last summer when a new member asked a question and three or four of the regulars jumped all over her and insulted her to the point I don't think she ever came back. It was uncalled for. Rest assured that none of my blog friends were involved.
It makes me wonder if there is an anger management forum out there.