Thursday, 25 February 2016

Internet nasties.

There is a plethora of 'evil' that one can encounter on the internet. Classic examples include vigilante groups, websites vindictively trying to disable feminism and your standard troll. All nasty, all upsetting, all big wastes of time. Sometimes we feel that it's worth it to react against these unfortunate little pockets of hate, but when is it sensible to ignore everything or "fight back"?

JK Rowling is a good example of someone using their online status to trample on vermin. She picks them up and says "ugh look! Gross!", and we look and it's gross and the vermin loses its small influence. Sure, it may not always be worth it but if anyone was going to stand up to online nasties I'd take a leaf from her book.

What Rowling is able to do, which many of us aren't, is seem like the bigger person even when she's not responded completely indifferently because she has real influence. But it doesn't mean occasionally we can't do the same. One comment that pokes fun at someone's mean comment can be enough to weaken its effect. And there should only be one comment. More than that and it's an argument, and you won't be able to win anything against the mindlessness of trolling.

It's hard to know when to look away from something when it angers you. I stumbled across a website the other day that was so full of offensive slurs I couldn't tell if it was trying to be satire or just tripe, either way it wasn't clever enough or stupid enough to be funny. It made me quite upset. And annoyed. And frustrated. I wanted to do something about it, I couldn't find any information to tell me it was just a bad joke, but there was nothing that would work. I was just going to have to be sorry that I'd seen it and put it away from my mind. One thing that did soothe me was that there were no comments under the articles, which I'm hoping meant it was extremely unpopular. I don't know if it was or not, I'm not going to give it publicity here.

This is a great example of the internet bilge you shouldn't react to. It doesn't deserve any traffic, good or bad, so don't say anything and try not to click on a link for it again. It really, really isn't worth it. The best case scenario is that no one ever looks at it and the site is given up on, but ignoring it is good enough.

You can bump into horrors on the internet in the same way you can bump into weirdos in the street, but with the internet you actually have a greater opportunity to filter it all out. You can just ignore what goes on on here, you can choose what you do and don't see. You can work out who's sharing nasty stuff onto your timeline and clean it up and move on.

It hurts to see bad things online. I get angry about stuff a lot. But I have to get better at switching it off when I need to, because it is rarely worth any of our time.