Do people on the Net make a big deal out of little things?

I’ve been following some of the recent fights on the Message Board. I’m not sure why, and I used to think I was above soap operas, but this is what many recent threads have been like. Here’s a general question. Do people take small slights more seriously on the Net than they would in real life? I mean, at work or with my friends, if someone has a problem, it usually gets solved within a few minutes. This is real life, of course. Why should discourse on the Net be different? By the way, I think a lot of people need to cool off around here.

You don’t work with the people here, now do you? Fact is, a heated argument is a lot easier to have on-line WHEN THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF YELLING than in real life where your boss will overhear you and fire your ass.

Yer pal,

Right, Satan. Here, we are anonymous (well, most of us are) and we will most likely never meet. Makes it very easy to ask serious and not-so-serious questions, even intimate and embarassing ones, offer opinions, facts, myth, trivia, drivel, and, yes, occasionally raise holy Hell (and Satan just LOVES that!) But for most of us, it’s all in fun. Sometimes, posters take it all way too seriously, or are just overly sensitive on certain topics, and go too far. Posters have been banned and a moderator was even fired not so long ago. But all-in-all, we’re one big happy family.

One big happy family? How stupid ARE you Sycorax? Jesus! Sorry, I just had to. :slight_smile:

You trying to start a fight Surgo? I see you’re a student so you obviously have a lot to learn :slight_smile: No, I’m not stupid. The SDMB is a kind of family. Families have spats; families get over-sensitive and squabble about trivial crap. But in general, they also have good times and support each other. Might be kinda boring if we were always agreeable, don’t ya think?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I act like like this IRL too. The only difference is, in real life, I can throw a round-house atcha when you piss me off. :slight_smile:

Please tell your pants it’s not polite to point.

I think one of the problems with non-face-to-face communication is that it allows people to be total bastards to each other without ever admitting, deep down, that they are stinging on a human being. Of course, each person knows he or she is human, so when somebody else comes around stinging on them, they get really mad, and then the fights start.

All of our ordinary politeness reflexes are short-circuited by net communications. So we need to develop new ones. And yes, people need to cool off. I’m one of them.

It’s funny, I experienced the same sort of thing at university. Ordinarily we students were fairly respectful of one another’s work. We wouldn’t criticize each other much, unless specifically asked for a critique. Then a professor took an essay, written by one student, and put it on an acetate to project onto the wall, and had the class critique it. The author was left anonymous.

And all the collegial politeness went straight down the toilet. Everybody pretty much said, “The paper sucks!”, which pissed me off, because I was very aware that the writer was a human, and probably a thin-skinned university student like myself. By the end of it, I was fuming, because the paper was decent, and everybody was just treating it as their intellectual punching bag, despite the fact that the author was right their in the room with them. I wanted to apologize for my high ‘n’ mighty classmates, but I didn’t know who to apologize to.

Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

Gee, Diane, in real life I can pick you up and twirl you! Round house swing or not you will probably hit me in the butt! :slight_smile:

Hey, as to the OP… big deal out of small things? I guess it depends. On where you are at and what arguments you have going on. Certain issues to me will never be “small” but I get the gist if someone wants to joke around.

I try to balance my anger against other views and what is obviously just a joke.

That’s not only life, that’s this board. Go figure!


yeah…just kick him while hes down.

what is wrong with people who do that? did they lose their ability to put themselves in someone elses shoes. that being the ability that makes us human. the reason we consider ourselves better developed than every other animal on this planet. we have the ability make a way to communicate, something no other animal on this planet can do. and still we kick the person that has already fallen. would you like to be there? NO.
that should be reason enough not to kick.

because as soon as we kick, we are making a big deal about it.

“kicking people while they are down” is both used as a metaphor and as real life referance at the same time. just in case anybody is wondering about it.


I think a contributing factor is that verbal interchanges online are written, not oral. There is no tone of voice, no body language, no action/reaction. People type quickly, often without reading what they’ve actually written. And people take offense much more easily.

I had a major misunderstanding once with a person who told me (online) to “fuck off.” I did not know her then as well as I do now, and I took it as an uncalled-for insult, and I reacted (or overreacted) in kind. The expression she used was meant as a joke; it’s not my kind of joke, but it is her kind of joke. If the interchange had been face to face or verbal, I would have heard the tone of voice that cued me “this is a joke.” In the event, I read a very different tone into the comment, and responded explosively.

We’re way over it, but I think it’s a good example of how the message board exchange can lead to blow-ups reactions.

CKDextHavn: Yeah. That’s why if I’m in doubt about how someone will take a statement of mine, I will indicate my tone with one of them smily faces, or use some sort of phrase.

Ya moron. :wink:

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

Hey, I accidentally learned how to do a smiley-face! I typed in a colon, hyphen, and paranthesis, not knowing it would come out as a real smiley-face. A small thing, I know, but whenever I learn anything having to do with computers (and it’s usually by accident),it seems like a real achievement. I promise not to overdo the face. Now I have to figure out how to do the winking and frownie face. (I know, visit the FAQ site.)

Yeah, I make a big fucking deal out of things! You want to make something of it? Huh? Huh? Come on! Show me what you’re made of!

Er . . . I meant, “What’s an Internet?”

On line culture really is more agressive. People have a chance to say things they would normally be afraid to in real life, whether it is meant as a joke or not.

It seems the longer people have been on line the more likely they are to think of “Go boff your dog” as a friendly greeting.

Dex said:

Another big factor about a on-line debate being written is that there is also a “permanant” record of it, and a large readership. I truly believe it is easier to walk away from a spoken challenge or perceived slight than to leave unanswered, for all posterity, a written challenge to one’s logic, opinions, debating skill, spelling & grammar, or, in the Pit, body odors and parentage.

I am quite impressed with the overall intelligence, wit, experience, and eloquence of most of the posters here. I am also a moderately competitive person. ::aside to PUNdit - shut up!:: I know I have responded to things on message boards out of pride that would have been better left unanswered, and that perhaps, in real life I would have let go.

I honestly don’t think the anonymity factor influences my posting much. For one thing, we’re probably not really as anonymous as we think we are. Given enough motivation & enough time, most people can be tracked down. With a few exceptions (See the troll…), I think I would say the things I’ve written on line if I were sitting around shooting the bull with 3251 of my closest friends.

Sue from El Paso

<< I know I have responded to things on message boards out of pride that would have been better left unanswered, and that perhaps, in real life I would have let go. >>

Yes, I agree… In normal conversation, you can make a statement, someone else can say, “That’s dumb” and you can back down. On line, you make a statement, someone challenges you, and there’s a strong tendency to get into a defensive mode: not backing down.

With due respect to all parties, I think we’ve seen that in the little fracases that’ve gone on here. And, frankly, on both sides.

Oh, wait, did I say that outloud?

Plus, in real life, when you’re having a fight, usually you’re not having it in front of an audience. Here it’s like being at a tennis match:

Person A: Such a post only underscores your obvious lack of intellagence and ignorance of this subject.

(all the heads of the peanut gallery turn to Person B for his or her response)

Person B: Not only are you pretentious, Person A, but you quite literally do not even know how to spell “intelligence”.

(Ooooh – all heads turn back to Person A)

etc. etc.

I think it’s harder to back down anytime you know you have an audience. It’s hard enough to eat crow one-on-one; it’s much harder to eat crow in front of God and everybody. I also think insults are magnified for the same reasons – a person who calls you a name isn’t just doing so in front of you but in front of all of the MB. So then people feel they have to respond.

Another reason is that it’s kinda fun, and it hurts a hell of a lot less than a meatspace fight. I can get my ass whupped on line without all that pesky surgery.

Diane wrote:

With, or without the choo-choo train inside it?

(Either way, that’s pretty impressive. I can barely lift a dog house, let alone a round-house.)