Mean people on the Interwebs

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 3:39 am » by just_the_flu

copy and pasted from ... ternet.htm

Is there a psychological reason for people being mean on the Internet?

It's an accomplishment to reach Olympic-level competition. But when British diver Tom Daley didn't earn a medal at the 2012 Olympic games, he became the subject of Internet comments that were just plain mean. "You let your father down, you know that," tweeted a teen.

Daley's father had recently died from brain cancer.

Daley retweeted the message, adding, "After giving it my all ... you get idiots sending me this." After sending more profanity-laced tweets to Daley and to others who criticized the teen, he was arrested by police but released hours later with a warning for harassment [source: Warstorne].

Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, message boards or chat rooms, the Internet seems to be a magnet for nasty comments -- and few result in real-world consequences. But why are people so mean on the Internet?

The root, it seems, may lie deep within the human psyche. The majority of communication is non-verbal, comprised of body language, eye contact, speech tone and language patterns. Without this information to help us process and categorize information, our minds are left to sort through the uncertain. And, thanks to a leftover prehistoric penchant for fight or flight, being unsure about another person's intent often creates a negative reaction to a perceived threat [source: Gardner].

By continually presenting only our "best selves" online and reaping the emotional benefits of lots of "likes" on Facebook for instance, psychologists say our self-esteem may bloom disproportionately -- and negatively impact self-control. The result? You'll feel entitled to be an online meanie. Experts also posit that people sometimes actually forget that they're speaking out loud when they post a snarky comment -- writing something from a smartphone almost seems like you're talking only to yourself [source: Bernstein].

This lack of inhibition also may be connected to a physical distance from the people to whom comments are directed. Turns out, the closer physical proximity you have to someone, the less likely you are to be mean-spirited. For example, one recent study found game show contestants were less likely to vote off a contestant standing next to them than one standing further away [source: Dallas].

But here's an unexpected consequence: Lobbing snarky comments online -- even if no one knows your real identity -- could be bad for your health.

The Surprising Consequences of Being Mean on the Internet

But being mean in a virtual world can spill over into real life, resulting in an increase in aggressive communication with coworkers, family members and friends that later must be repaired. While being unkind online can temporarily boost self-esteem, it's a short-lived high. For lasting benefits, you'll need to form meaningful connections within a group.

Not to mention that having a negative outlook on life could actually shorten your lifespan. Case in point? One study discovered happy nuns lived nine years longer than their negative sisters [source: Chopra].

Yet, our brains are wired toward negativity, both to give it and to remember it. Back in the Stone Age, it was more important to remember to avoid the threatening tiger than to approach the friendly dog. If you have a tendency to be an online downer, changing your persona could be as simple as retraining your brain. If you can encourage positive thoughts in real life, you're more likely to be nice online, too. By recognizing the many good things that happen throughout the day, such as finishing a work project, completing household chores or keeping a date with the treadmill, you're retraining your brain. The more you cultivate positivity, the more active the left side of your brain's prefrontal cortex will be, and over time, this activity will help overshadow any negative emotions that may crop up [source: Rope].

Still, the Internet seems to attract comments that people wouldn't dare express publicly in real life, especially when it comes to hot topics such as sexual orientation, ethnicity or gun control [source: Kornblum]. So what should you do if your blog, Facebook page, Twitter handle or Internet conversations become the target of a meanie? We've got a few tried-and-true strategies to employ on the next page.

What To Do If You're a Target

Many online publications have begun requiring commenters to register and provide a valid e-mail address to put the brakes on trolls -- posters who intentionally comment using provocative or profanity-laced language to get a rise out of others. Whether it actually makes a difference is debatable [source: Ferenstein].

On a more personal level, what can you do to diffuse the online wars? One of the most effective strategies is to give yourself a time-out. Take a few minutes (or hours) to cool off before you reply. And when you do, remain objective. If it's on your personal blog or social media account, ask the person to stop. If that doesn't occur, then block the person from the service you are using and/or report them to the administrator of the message board or chat room, or even your Internet provider [source: Gardner].

If the threats seem likely to escalate and spill over into real life, make a police report. With the exception of Montana, in 2012 every state in the U.S. had a law against bullying behavior. However, only 16 of those states included an anti-cyberbullying provision. An additional five states were in the process of proposing laws against cyberbully behavior [source: Hinduja].

Of course, pursuing legal action is most effective if you haven't thrown any gasoline on the fire. Don't respond to negative comments with negativity of your own. It's important to preserve your online image, so don't stoop to the same level and fire back with a zinger. If you find it difficult to resist a retort, you always have the option of disabling comments or enabling a comment-approval feature [source: Robertson].

Of course, if someone is just responding rudely to a comment of yours on some random Web site, you always have the option to leave it alone. Is it worth the mental energy to even dignify it with a response? As with all interactions with difficult people, it helps to remember the source. People who are lashing out usually have troubles of their own and are simply looking to exert control or discomfort -- all in an effort to personally feel better.

The Trolls Remain

In 2007, South Korea mandated that all Web sites with more than 100,000 users had to require them to enter their real names online, as well as input personal information at registration, all in an effort to reduce abusive comments. This law was later scrapped because negative comments had only declined by 0.9 percent in a year, and adding the personal info left people vulnerable to hacking [source: Chosun Libo]. ... ternet.htm

IMHO the main reason people are mean over the internet is because its non-confrontational, anonymous and were all guilty of this..... its just too easy to be a dick without consequence :alien51: ... and sometimes its just fun to piss in someones corn flakes :?... even if your not really a dick or a mean person in real life... The internet is great..... lets keep it anonymous :flop:

:hugging: dont know your wearing a leash if you sit by the peg all day...

...some asshole thought of it, some sucker believed it, and look what its done so far...

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 3:49 am » by Poooooot

People are mean on the Internet because they can be. I think people that annonymously lash out at strangers online are sad and lonely, hating the world. But that's just my opinion.
Matthew 7
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 4:11 am » by just_the_flu

i also think the people who lash out on others thrive on attention. Even if negative, people pay attention to mean actions. not the good. goods most likely to be over seen anymore.....

Think about your day today.... how many bad things can you remember happening to you than the good things?

When you think about individuals, you recall the bad before the good.... dont know your wearing a leash if you sit by the peg all day...

...some asshole thought of it, some sucker believed it, and look what its done so far...

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 4:13 am » by Poooooot


Although I had a great day so your example doesn't work in this instance. But generally, yeah :-)

I'm always nice on the Internet! (That's a lie lol)
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“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 4:25 am » by Newearthman

It's the herd mentality, Sheep feel safe when the wolves are chasing the other sheep... :sheep:

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 5:29 am » by Akashicrebel

Most of the time what look like mean attitude is a misunderstanding, joke that didn't go so well, and even a bad day after effect.
If you find this quote to be wrong or stupid so go fuc& yoursel you fuc&face.(this is an example for a joke that didn't go so well, and by mistake it might look like a mean person quote.)

The nonplussed fabric of intellect is at inchoate state. any panache will be indefatigable unmartinate by the hoi polloi.

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 6:31 am » by Skydog

People might get mean on the internet when somebody is having a conversation ,or listening to one, when somebody else pipes up trying to promote themselves in the the middle of it!
mk77- i think you moght have potential but at the moment,listening to you is like forcing my balls through a mincer.Get a studio!spend some money!

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 8:59 am » by Malogg


Malcolm Konrad Ogilvy
Ahaha just booted 55 folk from friend list
Like · · Promote · 2 minutes ago ·

Malcolm Konrad Ogilvy My bad
about a minute ago · Like

D***** W****** · Friends with Pete Thomas and 9 others
what for, so I don't get booted too?
4 minutes ago · Like

Malcolm Konrad Ogilvy what ya want booted ?
4 minutes ago · Like

Malcolm Konrad Ogilvy lol
3 minutes ago · Like

Malcolm Konrad Ogilvy 56
A few seconds ago · Like

Facebook that is
It only takes that one person to go missing for the world to become empty

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PostWed Jan 30, 2013 9:20 am » by mediasorcery

get the fuk over it, life is mean, the universe is mean, everything is "mean", its called survival in the infinite void, there is no soft landing when you fall in REALITY, you get hurt because YOUR MEANT TO,

listen to me, GET OVER IT, life is harsh and thats that,

if a person cant handle reality, then perhaps they should not be on the internet to begin with,
you cant baby everything everywhere, otherwise wel have a generation of fookin sooks, we may already,

boo hoo, mummy he was mean to me, for fuks sake,,,,,please/
the story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again my friend.

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