Don’t Forget To Be Awesome ~alternate title~ Don’t Be A Dick

Good Afternoon, Mackromaniacs:

The internet is an interesting place, in that it allows people to pretty much say or do whatever they like… within what is held to be the general consensus of ‘reason’. This can go a lot of different ways, including anonymous charitable donations of food and medicine to forum friends in need, crowdfunding engineering projects in third world countries, or just allowing people to write pornographic fanfic involving Snape and Hermione. But essentially, the internet is largely self-policing, or when it fails to be so because a minority consensus on a site or forum you probably don’t want to be on anyway is that a largely-held-to-be-unacceptable taboo is being explored, and if you don’t want to see (for example) goats with butt plugs, it is generally understood that you should probably turn around and leave now.

[NOTE: If you Googled ‘goats with butt plugs’ and got my site by mistake, I apologize. No goats or butt plugs to be found anywhere on this site. No Snape/Hermione slashfic, either.]

So what does it mean to the world that groups of self-described nerds are banding together to push a movement that, back in the old days of the internet was simply referred to as ‘Netiquette’? Back then, there weren’t as many of us, and though that rapidly changed at the turn of the century, still, by and large, we all knew each other, or at least, we knew a small but significant fraction of the people who spent as much time online as we did. As such, very few of us took it upon ourselves to be churlish assholes whose sole means of self-validation was derailing conversations and pissing people off for no good reason. Oh, trolls existed, and some were legendary. They were legendary because so few of them had staying power. There just weren’t that many out there.

Nowadays, the likes of John and Hank Green, Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton (and their respective legions of fans) have to take such characters to task on a regular basis, because, now that the home computer has become practically ubiquitous (as I predicted over a decade ago, but who cares, because it was an easy guess), naturally, the quotient of asshaberdashery has become so high that it is necessary to redress the long-forgotten rules of Netiquette in a simple form that appeals to certain crowds and reinforces that self-policing principle that has long been the backbone of internet conduct.

Once upon a time, the rule was simply, “Do you behave like this when you are in somebody’s home? If not, then why are you doing it here?” The simpler way of saying it was probably, “If you said that to someone in person, you’d get punched in the face. So quit it, or we will track your IP, find your public address, and ruin you.”

In these days of dynamic IP addresses and proxy servers, it’s not as easy as it used to be, but as any B-Tard or non-member of Anonymous can tell you, nothing is impossible. But the internet is huge, and it’s largely trying to be non-threatening so your grandmother will feel safe, and the really scary places are kind of tucked out of the way where you have to know what you’re looking for to find it (and once you’ve found it, that’s your problem), so there isn’t as much open pushing of the concept of Netiquette as it was understood back in the day.

Which is what makes the success of DFTBA and DBAD as modern equivalents of Netiquette so nice. It doesn’t stop me from getting spammed half to death by Internet PR firms and Web Design companies from Mumbai who don’t realize I AM a graphic designer and like my site just fine thankyouverymuch. but it has cut a fairly large swath through the legions of asshats who still think it’s cool to make fun at other peoples’ expense because no one can see you on the internet.

Unless you left your webcam on, dumbass.

This post isn’t really about anything I do, but it occurred to me that I hadn’t really spoken out about internet conduct in a long time, and so thought it might be nice to present it here. So until they finally make an app that actually punches internet trolls in the face at the push of a button, Don’t Be A Dick, and Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.


Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.


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