In this Sunday blogpost, I am going to write about something that has been written a billion times since the Internet has become a thing. Because what is the internet for if not endlessly rehashing the same issues?*
Why are internet commenters so fucking mean?
Every Saturday, Gawker publishes a post by someone who is generally not a professional writer under the topic of "True Stories." I really enjoy this series. The writing is generally good and the topics, while sometimes lurid and confessional, are often fascinating, and never merely desperate-for-attention shocking.
Invariably, the first comment on these posts will be from someone complaining that the person who wrote it is either a terrible writer or a terrible person. Almost every time. And then the dogpile stars. And it's always so fucking MEAN!
Here's an example of comments to an essay that I actually enjoyed a lot:
I get the buzz for feeling smarter than someone else. And I understand that the commentariat at blogs like Gawker feel a more immediate ownership of the site than the commenters at something like CNN.com or HuffPo. But why so ugly, why so mean?
No one reads my shitty blog. I've gotten maybe 100 distinct views on my most popular posts. But I think the days of wanting a vast readership are done. I can't stand it when people come at me like that. I've posted comments at blogs like Pajiba and Gawker and had people come at me like this; been called an idiot and a cunt. And I just can't take it. It hurts my feelings.
My friend Paul has written (much better) on this topic than I have here. Go read it. But despite his good advice, I can't seem to stand having my feelings hurt by mean people on the internet.
*The internet is really for hilarious videos of sloths.