Sunday, March 4, 2012
Someone is wrong on the internet!
Addiction is bad. Addiction to stupid things is worse. And I have a confession: I am completely addicted to stupid internet fights that pop up in the comments of one of my favorite (for a value of, I read it a lot, and alternate between agreeing its dumb) blogs, Jezebel.com. While I generally don't comment-- I realize that stirring the arguments is kind of immature-- sometimes, I feel a little too much in common with a certain XKCD comic.
I don't know how on earth it is that something so seemingly small and insignificant can piss me off so much. It isn't jsut blatant stupidity-- those ones usually just make me roll my eyes and move on. Its something in the tone-- people that sound like they're on the attack, or sound self-righteous, or hypocritical. Or people who revel in ignorance while mocking things I care about, like science, or the law. Mocking science, especially, is a big problem on Jezebel. Part of it I can blame on the articles the editors choose to report on, and the way in which they do report. The articles are chosen to relate to women, with a slightly slightly feminist slant-- so something saying men prefer thin, young women might be posted with mocking dialouge, and then the commenters fall into a sea of "no-shit studies", "Can I have funding to talk about X observation", "why don't they cure cancer", and personal anecdotes aimed at trying to undercut the validity of the post.
A lot of commentors are pissed off because science, in those cases, is reinforcing beauty standards. Others are pissed off because it seems obvious-- but there are plenty of studies that find something "obvious" when the exact opposite result would also have been percieved as obvious. And a lot are pissed off because they percieve it as somehow being a personal insult or an affront to them-- especially when the articles address health and weight.
And I can. not. resist.
I refresh, and read all the comments, and feel my anger coming up-- over things people I have never even met, people I do not care about are saying. I get frustrated that, in a community that likes to think it is more educated and progressive than general, people are still proud to display their ignorance. I respond, sometimes, when something is particularly obnoxious, or when I think I have a great answer, or when its just a topic I know a fair bit amount. And it is so silly, and ridiculous, and a waste of time-- I read the site for the exposure to articles from more corners of the internet. And I end up in petty fights.
I didn't make any new years resolutions, and I didn't give up anything for lent, but I think its time for a little spring cleaning in my internet habits-- or at least, pausing to really think whether or not my comment is likely to change any minds, make anyone thing, or just stir up the clash further.