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This brief article is taken straight from Wil Wheaton's blog: … hat-to-do/

Wil Wheaton wrote:
I’ve been talking with some friends about the increasing belligerence, toxicity, and general shittiness of the Internet lately. It seems like it’s just exploded in a logarithmic curve in the last week or so, and websites I generally enjoy browsing, like Reddit and Fark, and social networks I’ve always liked, like Tumblr and Twitter, seem to be overrun with real dickwagons.

“It’s like somone pushed a button, and unleashed a horde of … angry … children …” I said, the reality dawning on my as the words came out of my mouth.

“Oh god. It’s summer vacation and the children are online, unsupervised, all day.”

I’m going to sound like an old man now, but fuck it: I’m genuinely concerned by the lack of basic empathy and kindness I’m seeing online from the damn kids today. Maybe they’re not like that face to face, and maybe they don’t think that being online is “real”, but the cruelty and bigotry and misogyny that I see blithely spouted all over the place online worries me. Are we letting an entire generation grow up believing that behaving like the whole world is [whatever]chan? Is that healthy? The Internet has always had awful people on it, but the farther away I get from my 20s, the worse and worse it seems.

Maybe it’s because I’m a parent, and I know how hard I worked to help my own children develop empathy and kindness, so I have an observational and confirmation bias … but I’m genuinely starting to feel, for the first time in my entire life, like I don’t want to interact with people online. I don’t mean that in a flouncy, goodbye cruel world I’m leaving this forum forEVAR way, either. I mean it in a “man, what happened to this neighborhood? It used to be so great,” kind of way.

I’m looking at websites and networks and communities that I’ve been part of for close to a decade or more, and I hardly recognize them. Is that because I was just less touchy about people being shits back then? Or is it a real and meaningful change in the culture? For the sake of the damn kids today, I really hope that this is just me feeling touchy and overly-sensitive. Because I’m trying really hard to make the world a better place for this generation, and if the behavior I see online from them is indicative of their norm, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

I believe this is something that everyone one of us has felt at one stage or another. We are [mostly] the internet generation after all.

Is it just the influx of kiddies jumping on line trying to act like bigshots that are shitting up the internets? Are the good guys getting outnumbered, or abandoning their post, or just growing up and leaving it behind?

It's only going to get worse, too. As technology advances our privacy will diminish, and everyone will be more exposed to everyone else. But what can we do about it other than going tech-free in the bush while wearing a tin foil hat?

How can the government police the internet without controlling it? Even then, decentralised internet(s) will pop up and become more mainstream as internet speed and processing power reduces overheads making them viable to the masses.

The article above didn't open up my eyes or anything, as I've thought the same thing before.

But it did make me think of two things:

Firstly, for an internet-famous nerd who makes a living from the internet, it's kind of a big deal to put yourself out there biting-the-hand-that-feeds like that. 3 GBP to Wil Wheaton.

Secondly, I am proud of the Twelve community that we have here. We have our in jokes and sling shit, but contrary to the rest of the internet I feel as though we have been moving in the opposite direction. Our numbers might get smaller, but we aren't devolving like the rest of the internet. Instead we're a close-knit bunch of folk that sometimes care about things and each other. For that, I am thankful.
I disagree. The internet has always been like this, it's just a lot more visible now.

This kind of thing happens offline too. It's mainly when things get popular and you get a larger segment of people. This segment includes the nice people as well as the dick heads. Sadly the dickheads are usually a lot more out spoken than the nice people. An offline example are music festivals that start off small, then over the years get bigger and bigger attracting a wider variety of people.

This is what's happening to sites like Reddit. As it's gaining more and more popularity, more dickheads start voicing their opinions.

The reason small communities like Twelve aren't like that are because we filter the people who we engage with in conversation. When a dickhead has no one to talk to they generally leave. When it's a large community like Reddit, there is always someone willing to talk to the dickhead.
I think Kiral's covered most of what I wanted to say, but I just wanted to add for the discussion:

  • Political correctness is a malignant cancer that is eating away at many facets of entertainment and the online social narrative. Events like the tumblr faux-feminist movement and Gamergate has brought to light just how deep the schism is between rational discourse and hateful/threatening hate-slinging from both sides.
  • Reddit is basically 4chan now, and I'm pretty sure 4chan has more integrity because you can't downvote someone's opinion just because you disagree with it. The upvote/downvote system is meant to be used if you think it doesn't add to the discussion, but it's been mostly used for "He disagrees with me! Downvote!", making it pointless.
  • Moderate participants in the internet usually have better things to do, so they do not speak out against the fuckwits that have the run of the place as they spout inane bullshit. The result is that the moderates just move on with real life, and only the bad sections of a community are taken into consideration.
  • People are attracted to severe, and contrasting factions - because it allows them to label, categorize and slot in their ideas neatly with a certain camp. This may not necessarily stem from an inherent maliciousness to begin with, but eventually becomes real hostility once they've been exposed to the vileness of online interactions with members from the same and opposing camps.
  • I think people are generally quite capable of empathy, but because they are only presented with extreme views of a certain spectrum of commentary, I think that empathy then becomes either apathy or hostility. The environment dictates a lot about how new and fresh participants coming in will behave, the previous groups of people set the tempo and precedent.

I disagree with Wil Wheaton on his focus of accountability, because I think he is a bit too one-dimensional when he shoves the responsibility of the "degradation of the internet for the children" on popular hub sites like 4chan or Reddit. The older generation has always construed the younger generation to be narrow-sighted troublemakers and entitled little shits since the first Cro-magnon child refused to eat raw meat in favour of cooking it first.

On that note, if he is a parent - then the focus should be on responsible and proactive parenting. He needs to be vigilant about what's on the internet and what his kid(s) are consuming from the virtual world. He can't just expect to write some half-baked "for the children" blog post and hope to seriously change anything in the age of hashtagvism, it reeks to me of hypocrisy because he's masking an obvious social (and cliched) observation as a beacon of righteousness to purify the internet for generations to come. No, the internet won't change for him or his offspring, and although there are sections of the internet I despise - I admire their honesty in their (misplaced) convictions more than a hypocrite that has owed his otherwise obscure existence to the very thing he criticizes.
I suppose its like road rage. Yes the anger is towards people but there is the invisible wall so its human nature to express anger even if its evidently clear that the the person which that anger is aimed at will be offended by it. Almost everyone shows road rage, its just human nature. Maybe with violent video games for the first time humans have a way of expressing such anger with out fear of anyone receiving it because it isn't towards real people. Television and other media can act in the same way, news companies know that misery sells and it invokes angry emotion that people can express with out fear of a mandatory requirement to feel empathy. The problem is it desensitizes us, making us more reactive towards people who we can't see. More road rage, more internet hate.

This sounds really bad but I see a positive. For such emotions to be activated requires evidence of a conscious. I recently saw the movie Kalifornia and the clear message from that movie is that to be a mass murder you have to have no conscious. Trying to understand why people express so much hate on the internet is a very difficult thing to understand but trying to figure out a mass murder is simple, a mass murderer is filled with nothingness. Yes, I suppose you could say that desensitisation makes us more like mass murderers, but for desensitisation to occur we need to have something to desensitise in the first place which is the source of my positive.

There is an instinct in all healthy minded people to fight. If our ancestors didn't have it they wouldn't of survived. Once upon a time it was considered unethical to kill someone in battle when not face to face but modern warfare changed that. Maybe like the how industrial revolution changed warfare, the technological revolution has changed the communication. In both circumstances it has caused our healthy instincts to fight to be more expressive because we can no longer see who it is we are attacking. Its far easier for a healthy minded person to bomb someone in a plane than to kill someone face to face in cold blood after all.
I feel like this topic is relatable to all internet communities. When it comes to the MMOs I have played (WoW and SWTOR) I have noticed a fair amount of cuntiness and a significant difference between the way that people interact in each game. The extent of whether or not the cuntiness has increased/escalated over the years is debatable, but I feel like I'm either noticing it more now or perhaps it didn't bother so much before.

WoW - People are selfish cunts who don't like it when people waste their time. I am one of these impatient people. IMO the game has been around for long enough and if you're new to the game there are endless resources that can teach you how to do things. Private or retail, the vast majority of players are assholes who are snappy and quick to criticise and abuse anyone who gets in their way - even if they are the ones who are shit and failing. Absolutely toxic environment in my opinion, and in a game where you rely and interact with people constantly it really turns me off that I have to deal with a bunch of self righteous cunts (once again, I admit to be one of these unless I know the player/s).

SWTOR - Breathe of fresh air in this community. The population is tighter and the goal focus varies from WoW (people do things just for fun, not so much for loot). I would go in to pvp or pve with my WoW perceptions/attitude and start abusing people for under performing - most people would speak up and point out my cockheadedness. I found this quite surprising, and was delighted when people were willing to help me for no personal gain.
I'd say a lot of this has to do with [as Fork mentioned] the internet generation growing up. We participated in dumb shit when we were younger but now we look to more mature avenues (mostly).

Seems like it's analogous to any other activities throughout someone's life, doesn't really seem like some exclusive internet phenomenon.

If it is actually a case of more kids on holidays etc as Wil says, then this is basically just a case of the older generation shaking their sticks and telling the kids to get off their lawn,
Spoon wrote:
I'd say a lot of this has to do with [as Fork mentioned] the internet generation growing up. We participated in dumb shit when we were younger but now we look to more mature avenues (mostly)

Yeah, it isn't too long ago, I would get into CAP LOCK arguments on the internet for the jollies of it. It is just a maturity thing, as you get older you realize that it is less, you against the world. With most internet communities a cancer analogy isn't too bad(old school 4chan complaints), When you get a few malignant cells that aren't productive or helpful, the quicker you cut them out the longer the community as a whole will remain what it was, but if you let them hang around all of a sudden the have divided enough times and you become terminal. What makes twelve work compared to others is the silent benevolent dictatorship running behind the scenes. Our very own Illuminati of lymphocytes killing the rot before it grows.

TL;DR The youth of today is a cancer that needs to be eradicated by the administration of twelve. Which can be done by the everyday twelvian bringing them here (acting as dendrites bringing in antigens to lymph-nodes.) where, Shaunz will develop methods to fight them. (I suggest pornography, as an effective weapon of getting their hands of the keyboard.)
Malieus wrote:
TL;DR: get off my virtual lawn or I'll set my Twelve on you with bees in their mouths
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