Name-calling

I often cringe when reading some blogs but primarily blog comments and comments to newspaper articles. Why is it that so many people use such foul language? There must be so many people out there with horrible lives, since they need to vent their aggression in vile comments to newspaper articles or blog posts written in a perfectly polite tone.

Personally I try hard to write in a polite and proper tone and only follow blogs that do so – but of course I’m writing under my own name. Somehow anonymity makes people think they can write anything! Several of my favourite bloggers have had to restrict comments because of the awful language, name-calling and even threats in their comments section. Newspapers have to vet their comments too and spend ridiculous amounts of time doing so, because of all this foulness.

Here’s a post from one of the Slate blogs (science, tech & life), where they give an example of a post full of name-calling, but which doesn’t really address the questions raised. And this is among well educated people with cool jobs who really should have a life decent enough to allow for a proper tone.

A good principle, which I’ve read somewhere and made my own, is: If I can’t write it under my own name, then don’t write it at all. It’s not worth printing then.

I know this sounds awfully self-righteous. But it’s something that is almost always keeping me from reading comments to articles and blogposts, because I give up searching for the nuggets of gold among all the trash! And that’s a pity, because the gold is there!

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