Online manners, please!

Disclaimer: I have no complaints about manners on people commenting on this blog. Other than the spammers, that is. No, I’m complaining about some of the online forums I’m on.

My forays into online forums have been super-disappointing. People get tetchy about all sorts of things, and respond in an annoyed way, and next thing you know you have a flame war going. Even worse is that the only posts that seem to get attention are the ones where somebody is fighting. The ones where interesting questions get posed seem to die an early death.

Where, oh where, is the serious, thoughtful, polite discussion?

We totally need an Emily Post for online conversations. Weigh in, folks, what are some good online manners?

Especially manners that encourage online conversation – say what to do instead of what not to do. (As a side note, I read and respond to comments to this blog even if they’re a week late, or a year, or whatever.)

One of my favorites is Kloncke’s guidelines for dhammic posting, which she gave when she guest-posted at Feministe.

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/06/21/dhamma-comments-an-experiment/

The feministe comments are decent but IMO something is missing . . . tone, maybe?

http://www.feministe.us/blog/comments/

Here’s another comment policy from a fave blog, Zero at the Bone. I like the “be respectful” part and the “be nice” part.

http://zeroatthebone.wordpress.com/comment-policy/

There’s a bit about tone right here. Like the bit about “nobody can read your facial expression online.”

http://lifehacker.com/#!126654/special-lifehackers-guide-to-weblog-comments

One other gripe: conversations that die just as they get interesting. It seems like conversations often have a life span of a day or two. What’s up with that???

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2 responses to “Online manners, please!

  1. I appreciate your comments. This one especially is one of my pet peeves:

    “People tend to just stop talking with out a BRB, I have to go, good-bye or anything.”

    I haven’t had this experience in chats, but it perpetually happens in blog posts and forums – somebody makes a comment or forum post, and it’s not acknowledged in any way; you’re left wondering if a) it wasn’t read; b) it was read and laughed at; or c) it was read and enjoyed but the reader couldn’t think of anything to say in reply.

    I must admit, I’m guilty of doing this myself.

  2. I suppose the anonymity of the net is the down fall of common courtesy and honesty online. Maybe people think it’s not real, so they may feel like who are they hurting?
    People tend to just stop talking with out a BRB, I have to go, good-bye or anything. Even with people they know personally. Manners and politeness just die in any debate or confrontation usually spiraling into flaming, insults swearing and name calling. Of course we also see this in “talk shows” like Springer, Montel, Maury and Judge Judy, were juvenile, rude and abhorrent behavior are cultivated for entertainment, even manufactured. It seems so obvious that these people are many times coached in the things they say an dhow they say them, reinforcing white trash or ghetto stereotypes. Did this feed or stem from online behavior?
    Because of this anonymity we can be anyone we wish and in doing so we can end up building false identies we get lost in and misrepresent ourselves possibly deluding ourselves as well. I am suspicious of profiles with too many professional photos limited friends and sparse or “perfect” information, on social sites like facebook, twitter or myspace or most especially dating sites. do they start out to purposefully lie and create a false identity? Or is it a lonely possibly plain or unattractive persons way of emulating a semblance of real affection in an otherwise empty life? Are they taking out past hurts on strangers? “My boyfriend hurt me all men are pigs I’ll show them all”
    Then there are normally divisive topics like politics, religion, sex roles, guns, and even wingnut conspiracy theories. were any debate is just a childish insipid name calling circle or knee jerk reactions with no thought, logic or logical consideration. We are safe behind our screens, no one knows me, sees me, no one can hurt me punch me kick me. I’d wager that many cyber bullies are themselves victims, weak downtrodden with no recourse in their real lives except to sit there and take it. Now they have a forum, they may even be knowledgeable and they use this power to put down, crush and strike back. One cannot argue with this mentality, the troll we call it. Or we stick a quick label on anyone who disagrees with us, so we strike back with ad hominem attacks and no consideration that a real human being sits across from us behind that screen.
    Ask yourself, would you reply as such were I sitting across a table? Talking at a party? It is a new frontier out here but we cannot allow it to be devoid of compassion, understanding or common decent courtesy. Yes I am ashamed to admit I’ve been guilty of some of these things. But I am trying to remember I am talking to a person, no matter how divers our opinions.

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