Barbarian Hordes At The Blogs

Jack Schofield is missing Robert Scoble who hasn’t been blogging for a week. Seems Scoble was shaken by some of the comments and posts turning into personal attacks against him.

These people would never say this kind of stuff face-to-face but because it’s on the Internet folks feel like they are allowed to be rude in ways they’d never think of being face-to-face.

I think Schofiled is being a bit elitist in the way he describes the before and afters.

Sad to say, the Internet is no longer the preserve of a small number of mostly intelligent university-based life forms that it was more than a decade ago, and the civilization it once possessed has long since gone. The blogosphere also is no longer the preserve of a small number of mostly intelligent people that it was three or four years ago. The rabble has arrived; it isn’t going to go away.

But, although elitist, he’s mostly right. I’m not sure it’s because the “rabble has arrived” though. Not from an intelligence or school education perspective anyway. I think a lot of the bad behavior we have been seeing is due to people not knowing the current “web medium” that well. Some people don’t realize what blogs are or that they are even on one. They often treat blog writers the way they do someone in the next car, speeding along and not hearing them, not realizing the comments are going straight to email, right next to mom’s hello and hitting the bloggers right in the jaw, not bouncing off the windows of a car you’ll never see again.

At the same time, people driven content is multiplying so not only are readers largely unaware of the directness of the personal connection, they often just pass by, on their way to thousands of other sources and won’t ever “get to know” the person they insulted which would be the first step in figuring out the effects of their comments.

Obviously, that’s not always the case. As Scoble and Schofield note, some people are just vicious uncivilized dumb arses. I just think they are a whole different species alongside the large numbers of new blog/wiki/social soft readers that don’t really know where they are and what they are doing.

[Update] A good example of bad behavior, it also happens on wikis.

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