Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The internet makes us all bad people

I've just deleted and closed all comments in my previous post.  Someone was claiming to be someone they were not.  Details will not be discussed.

But this is not the only blogging adventure I've ever had, so I'll tell you a different story.

This one occurred off site.  Someone linked to one of my old physics posts.  Whenever someone does that, I'm flattered, but sometimes I question their judgment of sources.  This is a blog, after all.  Until recently, it was all just written by some physics undergraduate.  It's good for an informal physics explanation, but there are many uses which are inappropriate.

In this case, the person, a blogger, linked to my post to demonstrate that those crazy Physicists are just trying to bullshit us.  How can my explanation possibly account for observation X?!  So I left a comment on his blog saying that professional physicists actually have a much more precise theory than could be contained in my post.  In this framework, observation X is trivially explained by Y.

He conceded the point, but reiterated that Physicists are all bullshit because they can't explain Z.  Well, Z is also trivially explained, but I'm not going to waste my time.  I've browsed through his blog and I can see that there is clearly too much crap to correct it all.  He's trying to propose some grand theory of electromagnetism that doesn't contain relativity, but does contain lots of references to the visions in the Book of Ezekiel.  So I basically told him that I wasn't his personal physics tutor.

I also remember having a troll on this blog a long time ago.  He was arguing about how I was being really offensive to Christians, even though he himself wasn't Christian.  I think in context, I was just talking about how Christians aren't monolithic.  I've said a lot more offensive things than that!  He wouldn't know offensive if it slapped him in the face.

Anyways, this troll spent half the time insulting me.  I never got angry though, because I just couldn't take him seriously.  I just calmly shot down all his arguments as he got increasingly hysterical.  He also kept making food analogies, as if he was hungry or something.  The high point was when he started making empty threats--in rhyme!

Yeah, I just can't take trolls seriously.  Sometimes I wonder if this is a problem, if I should take them more seriously.  The thing is, I have a really slow temper, and I tend to project this onto everyone else.  So when someone gets angry, I tend to underestimate it.  I just find the insults funny, and I can't imagine that anyone should be upset by them.

But not everyone seems to react the same way.  I seem to recall that the aforementioned troll was also insulting my other readers, some of whom got a bit riled up.  I think he called one of them gay.  When I read that, I thought, "He's calling someone gay, on my blog?  How quaint!"  But maybe someone was actually upset by that?  I don't know.

I've always been lax about comment moderation, and this will continue.  I think it is both acceptable and inevitable that people get angry on the internet.  But my tendency is to let it go too far, simply because I can't see why anyone would get upset.  I make no promises, but if any of you regular readers ever have any complaints, let me know.

1 comment:

kevin miller said...

yeah, sometimes I read arguments on so-called "debate" forums. It's interesting to see people devolve into just making a bunch of ad-hominems, without realizing that it really just makes themselves look bad when they don't know how to make a proper argument.