I guess it is because we are not interacting with a person face to face that has taken the civility out of our character while using the internet. Some are using the internet almost like a weapon against others. Facebook Expat pages, Expat Yahoo groups and others are full of sniping, hurtful comments that are made in such a way as to be an attack on a person’s character, finances, intelligence and more. Could it be because we have become a faceless entity that can say anything one pleases with no consequence for the action or on how it may have hurt someone’s feelings? Many have several different ID’s on the internet so they can make their snide comments under cover of a pseudonym instead of their real name. Others come out openly as hostile and aggressive to attack without provocation or concern for anyone’s feelings, making grand assumptions of someone’s character etc. I also think some of the folks asking the questions are trying to start a fight. Looking to antagonize certain folks, what I would call “stirring the pot”. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged into these conversations, they are a waste of time, energy and brain power. As one person stated after a string of nasty comments on one recent post, go outside and take a walk or something to that effect.
Both Joe and I are at the point of not reading these forums. I am sure we are missing excellent information but filtering out all the negativity is exhausting and unnecessary at this point in our lives.
Years ago the actors Charles Grodin and Carol Burnett came out in public asking for people to become kinder and gentler towards one another. At that time I laughed and thought it ridiculous to have to say something like that, but not anymore. I am saddened to see manners, civility and just down home courtesies removed from our daily lives. I feel that the fact that we are almost invisible with the internet being the major culprit that we have lost those things that make a civilized society work.
One of my mothers sayings was “if you cannot say something nice about someone don’t say anything at all”. That goes for the internet as well, if you find yourself wanting to be nasty take a step back, take a breath and think how that comment is going to hurt that person. Think about how your actions will be perceived by others that read your comments. I am not saying to not make a comment or to not correct an incorrect comment but to attack a person personally is crossing the line in my estimation. Someone asking a question looking for information to better themselves should not be treated to comments on their character or personal finances or anything personal in my opinion. Making someone feel attacked is not a way to get your point across. Trying to be kind and in an open way discussing an issue is more productive than character assassinations will ever be. Hurtful and mean-spirited personal attacks only take away from any good information that you may offer, you will always be looked upon as mean-spirited and a blowhard, someone whose ideas are not worth reading…sad because I am sure folks who have experience in a particular area could be a great asset to the community at large.
Everyone has issues, no one is perfect, if you think you are, you need a reality check because we all come with baggage, drag around our insecurities, wrap ourselves in the blanket of self-doubt and some allow those things to overtake who they are, to color their judgment and give more power to the weakness. We should perhaps look at ourselves as flawed individuals and allow for flaws in others as we would want them to allow for ours.
That to me is the definition of a civilized person, one who allows for the flaws of others…