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14 July 2008

keyboard calming techniques [More:]How do you not start furiously typing? What techniques do fellow bunnies have for dealing with selfish, destructive stupid ass posters on the internets? What stops your inner keyboard warrior from crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentations of their blow doll women? Damn it, what techiques do you use to stay "chill" when a firestorm of idiocy has erupted, pustule like?
A. Turn off the computer

B. Walk outside

C. Bask in the sunlight

D. Take a deep breath of fresh air

E. If you're feeling especially jaunty that day, have a brief conversation with a stranger, like giving directions, grumbling about slow bus service, etc.

F. Realize that doing all of these things, or any combination thereof, puts you head and shoulders above the person who's still online and still rambling on and acting like an ass.

It's just the frickin' Internet. There is no shame involved in walking away when people act stupidly. Your participation in any online forum is entirely voluntary.
posted by jason's_planet 14 July | 23:17
Giving up Metafilter, giving up caffeine, and getting rid of a lot of stress in my life has come very close to extinguishing my desire to argue with people online.

It still happens occasionally, but I find it's mostly when I actually think there's a chance I could change the other person's mind. I've found myself deleting response after response when I realize, halfway through typing, that it's not really worth it.

Though I suspect that at least part of that is that I no longer get that "OMG COFFEE KICKING IN AND I CAN TYPE REALLY FAST" thing any more. Stumbling around trying to organize my thoughts in a slower way often makes me realize that they're not all that necessary to express, or at least not in that context.

I also have started to avoid all but about three sites on the internet, because I'm just tired of listening to stupid people. That helps, too.
posted by occhiblu 15 July | 00:05
Type the full, slash-and-burn, corrosive, consequential, crushing condemnatory defeat that totally slays your internet opponet. Hit "preview." Preview it and marvel at the beauty, the rectitude, the unassailable ironclad strength of your logic.

Then stand up and walk away for a couple minutes. Go to the john. Check your cell messages. Walk out on the porch and breathe some air. Make a phone call for work. Feed the cat/dog. Switch the laundry. Then, return to your screen.

Then ask yourself "Do I really need to post this? What will I be proving, and to whom? What will I be saying about myself? How important is this? How important is my opponent?"

Sometimes, you still go ahead and post your response.


Other times, you will see that it's nothing but vanity. You'll see that 99% of the people inthread already agree with your cogent arguments, and the remaining obstinate 1% are lost forever to your logic or anyone else's. You'll allow that maybe, in this one instance, you don't have it all figured out.

You'll modify your post and then post it.

Or, you'll read it, still feel it's justified, and THEN post it, and then be ready to handle the consequences. You will calmly address the response.

I guess, most of the time, if you know a thing or two about your topic, it's pathetically easy to totally destroy an opponent in argument. The question is whether it's worth it. No need to bring out the chain-shot to take down a moth.

It's also helpful to ask yourself "If I invested this much energy into real-world, localized activity, would it be more helpful?" Often the answer is yes. If you invested a quarter the energy people often muster for an online argument into something like a letter to the editor of your local paper, or a campaign statement for your favorite nonprofit, or the design and printing of a pointed bumper sticker, or even just a beach cleanup or whatever, you might actually leave the world a lot better off than your angry internet screed would do.

A few thoughts from a battle-scarred ranter.
posted by Miko 15 July | 00:09
I forgot to mention that, after taking a break, I delete at least 50% of my responses.

Think of your vanished posts like good thought exercises. They were valuable to you in your thinking. They probably wouldn't have been seen by others as something of equal value.
posted by Miko 15 July | 00:12
This helped put things in perspective for me. It's funny when you see your thoughts spelled out, and realize how stupid they look :)

Print this comic out. When you feel the urge to post an angry reply telling people exactly why they're wrong, stare at it for 10 seconds.
posted by qvantamon 15 July | 00:26
Ha! I also thought of that comic.
posted by occhiblu 15 July | 00:27

And with that, I'm going to bed. Brilliant, qvantamon.
posted by Miko 15 July | 00:35
Personally, I think it's a function of time. Once you've been online long enough you sort-of-realise that there are things not really worth getting angry about. That's what's happening to me. Not that I don't sometimes flame out badly, but mostly I feel that I've been here before so many times I can't be bothered doing it all again.

I also feel that there is such a thing as an internet maturity and it's OK for noobs to blow off a bit of steam. Sometimes, you've just got to do it. They'll learn over time, we were young once, condescension, etc, etc...

Finally, if you want a sure fire way of stopping yourself looking like an idiot, use your real name (or a variation thereof) when posting. It's astonishing how much ownership of your own comments reduces the asshattery.
posted by seanyboy 15 July | 03:01
I must have an overly mellow personality; I've seldom really gotten upset by the Internet. I've never understood the whole furious flame-out thing, I can't get that worked up from reading random people on the Internets.
posted by octothorpe 15 July | 06:06
My cure-all for internet ferocity is to simply read any of the attached comments under Insert-Your-Most-Recent-Political-Article-Here.

A five-second perusal of the people who post on political columns convinces me utterly to devote my time to worthier, healthier pursuits.

posted by Lipstick Thespian 15 July | 08:52
I guess I just don't care enough. I care enough to answer, but I don't get worked up. I don't know the person. I guess I would get worked up if someone asked, "I'm thinking of molesting a child. How would I go about that?" That's about all that is going to ruffle my feathers. That, and someone personally attacking me. Which is very rare. There are always going to be stupid people out there. It won't be the first time someone didn't marry for love and it won't be the last.

Like, Miko and Occhi, I erase half of my comments halfway through composing. Their reasons are better, but mostly I erase because my comment isn't particularly helpful, is incoherent, or it's already been said. I wish I could delete post-posting. That would be good. Especially if you write like me, with millions of grammatical and spelling errors, or use annoying phrases that you don't use in real life. :-)
posted by LoriFLA 15 July | 09:21
I just got so busy with work that I don't have time for long drawn-out arguments on the Intarwebs.

Also, I delete at least half of what I type.
posted by dg 16 July | 04:45
I never stoop to calling the other person names, nor do I use the usual adjectives that reflect upon his or her intellect. Attack the words, not the writer.

I use profanity sparingly, like twice a month. Following these two rules will give the truly conscientious moderators many sleepless nights trying to decide whether or not to ban me -- not that banning really means much anymore.

I check my spelling and grammar manually, and I google anything doubtful. I also use the exact word I want, and I use a thesaurus regularly. Nothing embarrasses me more than a glaring technical error.

If after all that, I still feel that it doesn't read right, I delete it and move on. I have no problem allowing the last word to someone else. Besides, the issue will roll around my head and someday I will clarify my position to myself. Someday also, and this is inevitable, some other fucking idiot will write the same stupid bullshit, and I will be ready. heheh
posted by Ardiril 16 July | 05:45
Cross posting: -t in Fayetteville, Arkansas || Bunnies! OMG!