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.