Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt

The New York Times has a great article by Julie Zhou called Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt about how people behave when given the ability to act anonymously, specifically when leaving comments.

There you are, peacefully reading an article or watching a video on the Internet. You finish, find it thought-provoking, and scroll down to the comments section to see what other people thought. And there, lurking among dozens of well-intentioned opinions, is a troll.

I always equated commenting to what a person would do in real life. Would you really walk up to someone and tell them their art sucked or that their opinion was stupid? My guess would be no, you’d leave your opinion to yourself. I’d say about 5% of comments on The Fox Is Black get deleted for a number of reasons, but just like the content on the site, the comments should be curated as well. The article brings up a lot of good points, many of which I’ve been frustrated by before. It’s nice to see I’m not alone.


3 Comments Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt

  1. Ian December 1, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    I don’t buy the idea that associating a name or bio with a comment could make you any more likely to be civil on the internet. For instance, I don’t personally care about what most people on the internet think of me because they affect my life in no way, not because they (or I) post under pseudonyms.

    I believe that most people who troll online do it either just to vent, or to provoke a reaction. The most effective treatment is to ignore them or to cause them to be ignored by moderating.

  2. José Luis December 1, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    I agree with the article and what you said about curate the comments too. Also, the nice piece used to illustrate the article was made by Jennifer Daniel, featured in your DWP and her mom, Sandi Daniels.

  3. David Enfield December 3, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    It’s how it is . Good to read someone making a stand .

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