November 24th, 2010

Steph Death Glare

On rudeness and the Internet, a rant.

I made a post at a community a few days ago that didn't go so well. It reminded me of why I generally don't make community posts anymore. Because people on the Internet tend to be at their stupidest, most annoying, and rudest.

There are many sides to this. I admit the request I made showed a distinct lack of understanding of the subject at hand, in that case the Latin language. And while the myriad people, not bothering to read the previous comments, adding to the "this is total nonsense" chorus was annoying, if that was all that had happened, I could have ignored it.

Someone made some reply along these lines and so I asked them to expand on it, and asked some pertinent questions. I was quite polite, and why shouldn't I be? I was not upset, merely curious. But someone misinterpreted it as rude and then a whole bunch of others jumped in to agree. This perplexed me. Nothing about my comment could, to my mind, be interpreted as rude. I would not have interpreted it as rude coming from someone else. We were having a discussion about Latin, and it was civil. So I asked what made them think I'd been rude, and they gave me some response amounting to "you didn't say thank you, nor did you ask please in the original post."

This baffles me. First of all, I made a post in a public community asking for assistance on something. It was not addressed to anyone in particular. Everything about it was voluntary: reading the post was voluntary, doing as requested was voluntary. I mean, this is a community of Latin geeks! I didn't think to ask please, and if I had thought of it, I would have thought it unnecessary. It was a challenge for anyone who wanted to take up the challenge, not a favor being asked. If you don't want to help, then don't! I should not have to put up with bullshit comments for crap like that. What, am I supposed to put please and thank you on everything I post ever again now? And for crying out loud, when I *do* think to say please, even if I don't think it's necessary, I do it anyway... AND I say "thanks in advance"!

Further, we were having a discussion wherein I asked for clarification on something the person said. I am in the habit of thanking people when their comments are helpful and constructive to me, when I understand what they are talking about. I tend to wait until I have full understanding before thanking people. And even if the comment is not helpful, I almost always thank them anyway. IE, "that wasn't much help, but thanks anyway."

*Sigh* So I admit part of it is forgetfulness. But I should not have to say please and thank you with every goddamn comment or post I make on the Internet. What, I should change my LJ handle to "In case I forget, please and thank you."? Good gods, learn how to give people the benefit of the doubt! I learned that years ago; everyone's an aspie on the Internet because we can't see each others' body language in text. So in order to avoid being an ass and picking fights because you've misinterpreted something, you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. Which I did even after being accused of rudeness. I was very patient and calm in explaining that no rudeness was intended. My comment should have diffused the mess, but it only made things worse because the person seemed determined to misunderstand. So I stopped responding to things.

And then a friend stepped in, trying to defend me with the comment "she has Asperger's, she doesn't always recognize when she seems rude." Which, while I appreciate the thought, was an inaccurate statement. It is other people being unable to read my face, literal or figurative, that is the problem. On the Internet, it's other people reading things into my posts that simply aren't there and not giving me the benefit of the doubt. In person, my face has basically one expression all the time, and smiling when I'm not feeling in a smiley mood hurts my face with literal pain. So in real life, it's people misinterpreting my expressionless face for rudeness.

And then the response by one idiot to my friend's well-intentioned if inaccurate defense was to suggest I not be online unless I do it through an assistant. I was so pissed off at the implication that I am some kind of retard that needs my hand held everywhere I go that it made me wish I knew where the person lived so I could go over there and beat the living shit out of them. Being arrested for assault would be well worth it to wipe the smug smirk off their ugly face. But having no other recourse, and knowing the futility of arguing with such troglodytes, I gave the whole thing up for a bad job and deleted the entry. But it continued to bug me, so I got on my laptop to rant here.

Crossposted from