“Who are you? What has made you so angry? What has happened in your life that you’re reduced to spewing bile at people you know nothing about?” — The Believer, “Haterade”
The Virginian-Pilot (a former employer) held an online commenters’ forum a few years back. I can’t seem to find a link to it, but as I recall, the idea was to try and figure out who made the (significant) vitriol on the Pilot‘s comments pages, and what made them tick. I dont’ know how successful it was, but by the looks of the site today, it barely made a dent. The haters remain.
(Take special note of the part in that story that talks about this recently prevalent “join the conversation” idea.)
It’s challenging when the dominant form of currency on the Internet is the snark, and it’s far easier and more lucrative to be sarcastic and hateful. It’s gossip at its worst. And maybe it’s fun to log on and try to demonstrate how much smarter you are than A) the subject of the story; or B) the reporter who wrote it. But I doubt these haters have solutions or would even care to think of any. Far easier to sit back and say “that’s a bad idea” than implement what you think might be a good idea and risk being wrong. And anonymity only encourages people and organizations to respond to the loudest and angriest voice instead of addressing problems intelligently.
All that said, please leave a comment anyway.∞