The internet is a great and powerful thing, but as we learn from the Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. The problem is that the majority of the people using this the internet abuse the power every day. While these people may be "normal" people in the real world (though many may not), when their online they just abuse the anonymity of their avatars and act like total jerks to complete strangers.
Last night is was just randomly surfing through a particular torrent sight (purely for educational purposed of course). While looking through the list of available files, I noticed one seed for a movie that I really wanted to see on the big screen. Since it was a "big feel" movie, I wasn't really interested in watching it on my little 20-inch Dell monitor, but I still clicked on the file to read through the comments. Here's what I found after reading just part way down the page.
Person A: "Quality, Someone please, Quality!"
Person B: "Download the sample you stupid noob"
Person A: "Oh I wish I was as smart as you, bet you have a small dick"
This is absolutely ridiculous. I literally burst out into laughter and couldn't believe the immaturity that could be displayed buy these two users in such a short time. Not only is this an example of how stupid people can be, but it shows how all it takes in one person to start it and then you just have this chain reaction of ignorant people who can't maintain a decent attitude within the digital space.
I would hope that both these guys would have been able to act normally had this same situation occurred in line for the movie at a theater, but online where each of them can hide behind a little screen name they feel they can just treat people however they want. Whether it's the mindset that the person they're talking to is just a name on a screen or whether they just feel safe and protected behind theirs, the net users get the false sense that they can do whatever they want without repercussions. While this is true, it doesn't give anyone the right to act in appropriately to anyone else just because they're not standing face to face.
I wish I could claim ignorance and say this case was isolated, but the truth is that this happens every day in forums all over the net. Maybe one day people will learn how to surf the net with respect.
posted by Christopher Schnese