Tuesday, December 04, 2007

People are strange

Do you think people are generally meaner these days than they ever were? Or do you think it's a different kind of nasty? People are far more personal with insults now, and I'd say on the whole we are more fearless when it comes to standing our ground or lashing out than we ever were before.

And they need no encouragement. Leave a harmless, though pointed, comment on a website (Andrew Collins' - posts since deleted, if you're interested) and all the nutters come out of the woodwork knocking some poor guy because he's dares to tout around for work, albeit unsolicited and perhaps a little misguided. Okay, I started it, but only because I get fed up being inundated with emails like that. But it doesn't mean I think this particular person is a bad. He's only trying to make a living after all.

But there are those who don't get that. Some people should be ashamed of themselves.


Andrew Collins said...

Couldn't agree more, F-C.

Comment Moderation has been switched off on my blog for about a week. I left my office mid-afternoon yesterday and was offline until this morning, when I arrived at my desk and found all this unecessary abuse directed at a young freelance journalist who'd sent out a group email touting for business. I felt terrible, as it's my blog; I'm the only moderator. You felt terrible, because you'd first pointed out the email that happened to be in a screen-grab of my Junk inbox accompanying an entry about spam, and it started the abuse ball rolling. Some of it was actually quite satirical and well-written, but when the subject is someone so fundamentally innocent, it's just as bad as illiterate mud-slinging.

I really like the immediacy of message boards and forums without a moderation filter, but it's unedifying how rapidly a normally literate and intelligent and witty blog community (or those on the lunatic fringes of that community) can descend into sniping and - worse - people posting under another person's name, which is what happened here. I really hate that.

I have been resorting to Comment Moderation on and off pretty much constantly since abuse started appearing on my blog earlier this year when I posted about Celebrity Big Brother (pre-racism), and was accused by some anonymous trouble-maker of patronising young, white, working-class women.

Free speech: it's a fucker.

Five-Centres said...

It seems whatever you do, Andrew, you can't win. I can't believe how in the blink of an eye things can turn nasty. It's insane.

Clair said...

Well, it's Carry On Agreeing from me. Just to add, those of us who work in the media do seem to get a sound kicking from those who don't. Either they think we killed Princess Diana, or they're a bit jealous of our 'glamorous' lives.

I mean, hats off to the young journo in question; he's clearly going places, but when I was commissioning, there was nothing I loathed more than a round-robin from someone I didn't know; if they couldn't be bothered to effect a personal relationship, I thought it was a bit unprofessional.

cerebusboy said...

In fairness, Rodney didn't do himself any favours by calling Andrew's posters "cretins" on his blog. But of course no-one should be subject to random abuse. As regards people pretending to be other people - doesn't that happen quite a lot and isn't there a way to stop it? Maybe banning anonymous comments so people need a google/blogger id?