Friday, April 25, 2014

Saving myself

Maybe it’s the time of year, but I seem to get all “ppht” about Internet fights around this time of year. Last year, I talked about not talking about adversaries. This year, it's comments. Well, not commenting, actually.

It all started because I got an email from Twitter reminding me it’s my seventh Twitterversary. I thought it was yesterday, but never mind that pesky detail (timezones!). I Tweeted this fact (of course) and posted it to Facebook and Google+. I was having a bit of a laugh at the intense meta-ness of posting about a social network anniversary on other social networks. It was all a bit of fun.

Then Facebook went and spoiled it all when someone said something stupid.

It was no one I knew—a friend of a friend—but it was such utter delusional nonsense that my jaw literally (yes, literally) dropped (remaining literally attached to my head, fortunately). It doesn’t matter who said what to whom about what; suffice it to say, the person’s comment was factually wrong, silly, and, as I suggested above, delusional.

It was an outrage! Errors needed to be corrected, truth and facts needed to be asserted! So, I did—nothing.

Time was, I would have jumped in to fight for truth and facts, but not today. Lately, I’ve had the strangest sense that I can’t tell who is a troll and who is expressing sincerely held (and sincerely batshit crazy) opinions. We all know there are some sick folks out there who get their jollies out of upsetting people on the Internet, and these days I can’t tell those people from real shockingly misinformed people.

So, these days, more often that not, I just say nothing. I’ll engage with people I actually know, whether I agree with them or not, because we can have a civil discussion. But the people I don't know? It’s a crap shoot, and I don’t want to risk getting caught in the sights of a crazy person.

These days, I turn, as I did last year, to the cartoon at the top of this post. It still keeps me out of trouble and helps me save myself. It also means I never run out of antacid.

The well-known cartoon at the top of this post, "Duty Calls," is by cartoonist xkcd. Publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.


rogerogreen said...

Then you had to spoil it all by getting Frank and Nancy stuck in my head!

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Yeah, that was running through my head at the time I typed it. I realised, though, that it might only be people, er, um, of a certain age who'd get the reference.

To the young'ns, this is what we're talking about: http://youtu.be/0f48fpoSEPU

But some young'ns may know this version: http://youtu.be/f43nR8Wu_1Y