I read Colin Rule’s post and the article which it links to just after I read Java’s missive on the amount of abuse some of us face on (Sri Lankan) blogs. Colin and I have been associated with initiatives to introduce a modicum of civility into online discussions, a topic that interests me deeply.
This is also not the first time I’ve responded to a post by Java on this topic of online abuse in the SL blogosphere.
On the other hand, there was the recent story of someone killing himself because of content published online and ways that actually encourage people to be spiteful on social networking sites like Facebook.
I guess where I disagree with Paul Graham’s article is how it ends – “Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it.”
That may well be true in some cases. But most, if not all the instances of hate speech and abuse I face daily in response to what I write or edit are by those who engage in such behaviour by careful deliberation and choice.
For just one example out of many I have faced, I find it impossible to believe an Editor of a leading mainstream English newspaper in Sri Lanka couldn’t help but write this. Clearly, there are those in Sri Lanka who use a language of hate and harm to hide their own significant personal insecurities, fears and parochial aims. Perhaps like Java we should feel sorry for them,
“In the end, however, I guess we should feel sorry for these folks, as the dirt they dish out must fill their heads a whole lot – and that can’t be very pleasant for them.”