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.

6 Comments

Yan August 10, 2005

Not so long ago the majority of the tribe ( Shameless plug to your other note ) knew about netiquette. Simple rules that govern the use of the internet. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS AS THIS IS CONSIDERED BAD FORM AND YELLING, is one of the easiest example, but more and more I have to remind people of it.

Why ? Because they do not know, they were not part of the ‘net when the rules were “established” and agreed upon by the wise old men that live on the zen mountain.

I believe that current behavior that we frown upon are just the results of the diversification of the internet citizens from scholars to geeks to market droids to mom and pops.

And then there are the morons.

steph August 10, 2005

I have also experienced an odd phenomenon of completely senseless comments on my blog. In the end, given the number of bored kids out there surfing the net, it’s probably to be expected … :)

Chris August 10, 2005

Also, I think we’re seeing a gen’l lack of humor and self awareness. Some of these people probably think they’re being funny!

Interesting what they can pass off as bitchiness or caustic humor just appears mean or idiotic online.

Hoedic August 11, 2005

Not so long ago the majority of the tribe ( Shameless plug to your other note ) knew about netiquette.

Don’t remember Usenet 10 years ago ? Most of the tribe knew the netiquette but few were using it ! People insulting each others on the Internet is not new (even if in the past, more people knew what mean netiquette and RTFM)

I mostly agree with Patrick : some stupid ass**** just don’t take care and find themself funny when insulting others. When you see some guys trolling on forum you guess what they can write in blog comments

me August 11, 2005

Net-étiquette. Là je comprend :)

karl August 14, 2005

Welcome to the social group.

There’s nothing new. The group was not better before, it was smaller, so it was more unlikely to cross the path of a moron, and more… there was time between attacks to deal with them (emotionally).

Comments can be senseless, as Steph said, but to who? Are there really senseless to the person who has written it. Some of us write personal blog with ideas, opinions, emotions, we share that on the public, the open space public. Our comments will not please everyone, people have different sensitivities, people will interact differently depending on the situation, again, their ideas, their opinions, their past.

I have been a moron.

because I was tired, because I was emotionally fragile, because I was not understood. I have very precise cases of things which happened in our small community of YULBlog where misunderstandings plus fragile emotions mixed together make a lot of troubles.

But what?

Yes this is the social group. The social group is hard and tough, it can create wonderful thing, and it can hurt badly… like love? :)

The main issue is social expectations of many webloggers. They think that should not happen. It will again and again, because it’s not related to weblog.

We are ready for full public disclosure on our weblogs but we don’t want the risk of the interaction of it: bad and good.

Imagine, you wake up, you put yourself in the best suit ever. You go at the corner of a street with junkies and drunk people. You start to talk about poetry to the group about poetry, about your last buy of geek things, about your holidays in France. What will be the interaction? What kind of things are you ready to expect of this? How violent do you think it could become?

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