Monday, April 09, 2007

Civility among internet populations... right

In the past weeks, I've started a post label I call the "Decline of Humanity". I started this after visiting/reading comments at various sites - both left and right political leaning.

What strikes me as a common behavioral pattern between two political factions who, today, have little in common on any other level, is that both sides spew venom, threats and hate that they would never dare to do face to face. I've said it before and will say it again... this faceless moniker and user name anonymity we have in cyberspace is usurping genuine physical contact with one another. And as a result, common courtesy and social manners have all but disappeared. And I don't see that getting better.

I've gotten to the point that I have little desire to visit much but news sites anymore. It's too depressing seeing what social depths to which humans and new age denizens have sunk. Never have I been happier to be closer in age to the "golden years". For this new Internet generation is a social group I have no desires to be part of.

Turns out I'm not alone noticing the lack of civility and common manners on the Internet, and the issue is now debuting on the MSM. Today, NYTs Brad Stone wrote an article,
A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs.

Evidently "Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate."

While the suggested guidelines cannot be construed as legislated behavior, and will be subject to an Internet community policing itself, don't count it's ability to influence poster rudeness and behaviour modification. Nice idea for an Internet Utopia, but such attempts only promise to be ineffectual, and a possible stepping stone to a more serious cure involving an overreaching, do'gooder Congress. The fact is, you can't "guideline" or legislate courtesy, respect and manners. Such human attributes are taught from youth, and only honed with regular discipline from loved ones... i.e. parents and peers.

As the new age medium grows, and the only physical contact continues to be that of the user and his/her keyboard, social skills of the new "info age generation" will continue its downward spiral into total decline. And it's one sad commentary on humans and their chances for peace in the future.

HT to Mac at Macsmind

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