I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet and, yes, I know I’m not alone. Like millions of people, I am wowed by the vast amount of information readily available and how we can connect with people all over the world. The Internet is simply amazing and one of the most significant advancements of my lifetime. It’s great for hobbies such as RC as newcomers can learn an amazing amount in a short period of time. It’s not just for newcomers, experienced RC’ers can get inspiration from their peers and I love that someone with a problem can find help online–instantly. The downside of the Internet is that–as we all know–for every piece of information that is a gem, there are a hundred pieces that are, well, junk. Then there are the people …
KIDS WILL BE KIDS. ADULTS SHOULD BE ADULTS
When a child acts like a child on the Internet, I get it. I cut even the worst offenders some slack. I don’t, however, have much use for the adults that act like children. Some people are just horrible communicators. They either offend unintentionally or don’t care to take the time filter their comments. I by no means believe we should be walking on egg shells–as the saying goes–when online, in constant worry that we may hurt someone’s feelings, but I do believe we should communicate online the same way we communicate in person. Again (because it’s worst repeating), I do not believe we need to be super sensitive and in constant worry that may hurt someone’s feelings.
“IT’S JUST THE INTERNET”
No need to beat around the bush on this one. I do not buy into the “It’s just the Internet” philosophy. That is simply a coward’s defense of his cowardly actions. Of course, the online tough guys adamantly deny that they only act as such when online. They would like to believe they aren’t brave only when hiding behind a keyboard and a screen name, and yet, in all of my years of attending RC events I have never seen the tough talk. People seem to–all of a sudden–know and exercise some boundaries when it’s face to face. Huh?
The bottom line is a huge number of people talk and act far differently online than they ever would in person. The above mentioned cowards love the Internet because it enables them to act out in a manner they would never be brave enough to do in person. Am I wrong? The only people they really convince that they behave in person just like they behave online is themselves. I’m certainly not fooled. I don’t doubt they joke around with friends and I’ve seen plenty of trash talk between RC buddies, but these guys don’t go after strangers in person the way they do online. They don’t because they fear the potential consequences–they’re cowards!
THERE’S A NAME FOR THAT
If you state that you like to “stir the pot” (I’ve had people say just that when I questioned their online behavior) you are a troll. This isn’t a behavior you should be proud of. And, you shouldn’t band together with a couple other trolls and come up with a team name and team symbol. If what I just described sounds childish it’s because it is childish. And yet, it happens. The real reason trolls like other trolls–need other trolls–is so they can feel good about their childish and cowardly actions. Nothing to be ashamed of if a couple other people do it too, right?
So, what’s my point? My point or goal certainly isn’t to impart any sort of change in the trolls. I have learned from experience that there is no reasoning with the trolls. While I will continue to speak my mind to the trolls, I am not so naive to believe a troll is capable of seeing what he does is wrong or that a troll would be brave enough to admit–even just to themselves–that they are a troll which is also known as a childish coward. My goal is to identify the bad behavior for what it is, so that others don’t get suckered into it. When you see a troll, call them out for what they are.