Friday, September 12, 2014

What's Acceptable Online

What’s kind of ironic is that this post was started days ago and recent events have just added further incentive to finish it.
When I wonder what’s appropriate online, my first thought is whether or not it’s something that I would say to someone’s face.   Or, how would I feel if the roles were reversed?  This post I’m writing, who could be offended?  Is this something I would tell them in person?  This comment on a post I’m writing, is that something I would say to someone’s face?
If I said this to someone in person, would I get punched in the face?  Or vice versa.
I see a lot of stuff online that wouldn’t pass any of those tests (or shouldn’t, at least).  I see it and wonder what the hell is wrong with people.  Sexist, racist, disrespectful, hateful comments that people would never (should never) say to each other in real life.
Granted, I’m an extremely polite and respectful person, but I don’t think many people use any kind of filtering for online behavior. As in, no filtering whatsoever.  It’s not in person so they just don’t care?  It’s like all the parts of the brain that review the words are circumvented because they’re not “talking” to a “person”, they’re writing on a computer.  And other people see this behavior and aren’t bothered by it, which troubles me.  If a person said that in public to someone else, would you be offended?  If so, you should be offended online as well.
One recent post was a joke that went well beyond what I thought was respectful.  It’s one thing to joke but there’s definitely a line that was crossed.  I was furious.  Had the same been said in front of me, there would have been a serious, serious problem.  What the fuck did you just say?  But it was online and written as a joke, so it’s somehow okay?  Somehow it’s funny?
I’m a very simple, easy going guy, but respect is something I take very seriously.  I give respect to other people, I try and act with respect for other people, and I only ask that I get respected back.  Apparently, online, that’s asking too much.
So, before you’re next post on your blog, or commenting on someone else’s, take a second and look at what you’re writing.  If it’s something that you wouldn’t say to face to face, you shouldn’t be saying it here either.

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