PDA

View Full Version : Why the Internet is Bad



Rogue Janson
14 November 2004, 05:03 AM
I've been a bit bored lately, so I've been on the net a lot, mainly hanging around message boards. Doing so I've realised something that's been nagging me for a while - that a lot of the time people don't use the internet to really communicate, just to make statements about themselves.
(I'm thinking mainly about message boards when I write this, but it applies to other things as well.)

Let me explain:

Everyone in the world has a need to construct an identity for themselves. Even if no-one else knows what music I listen to on my own, or what I wear, it's a statement to myself about who I am. I know who I am because I do these things.

Everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, also has the need to assert their identity on the world, to make it known to other people, to make it concrete in the world through words and actions, creativity, and so on. So what clothes I wear are also a statement to others about who I am. People also need their identity to be recognised by others.

Finally, most actions also have a value apart from identity - this is what we normally think of. What clothes I wear depends on whether it's hot or cold.

So in this post, I'm trying to communicate an idea to you that hopefully will be useful and interesting; I'm also constructing my own identity (as a critical thinker, say); and I'm asserting my identity (reading this, you will presumably think I'm a fascinating, charming, witty, intelligent person).

That lengthy prelude over, how does this relate to the net?

How many times have you seen massive arrays of lists on the net, of things people like or dislike, they've done or would like to do, they've eaten/not eaten, etc. etc.. Or threads that seem like people just talking at each other, not responding to one another, but making unrelated statements on a topic.
People who participate in this aren't really communicating, having conversations or discussions. What they're doing is trying to make themselves known to other people. And not only this, they're trying to assert themselves on the form of the net itself - simply posting on a forum, or putting a page up on the net gives you a presence, some piece of the net that has been shaped by you, reflects a part of you.

Another good example are internet quizzes (www.quizilla.com). have you ever taken a quiz that told you something you didn't already know or couldn't have worked out easily enough? Have you ever disagreed with a result, but then said "well the quiz said so, so it must be true"? (Yellow lightsabre??)

There's some inherent fun in doing these quizzes, such as anticipating the outcome. Or just enjoying the randomness of quizzes like " Are you secretly a leprechaun?" or " What Canadian Province Are You?" (clearly better than "What State Of The USA Are You?"). But there are two main reasons, imo. Firstly they help you build and support your own identity. Having a third party tell you something gives it some legitimacy, even if it is just an internet quiz.

Secondly (more relevantly) it gives you a way of making statements about yourself to others. If I come out and say I'm thoughtful and restrained, or indecisive and morose it'll probably seem out of place, or feel uncomfortable. If I say a quiz says I'm Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Ikari Shinji from Eva, it makes it seem more appropriate (and I might be associated with some of their good qualities I couldn't honestly claim).

It's the way people constantly make these statements about themselves, without really engaging with and recognising one another. And perhaps this lack of recognition (which is an idea I've only just thought of) is why people keep on doing this so much, because it's never really satisfying their need for recognition.

Sooo, a bit rambling there... One of the good things about the holonet is that this sort of thing rarely happens; you know that every topic will be people really listening to and engaging with one another.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
14 November 2004, 11:30 PM
Wow.

What I am i think i already put in my rank title area :P Its an ongoing joke of course ;)

I agree with ya about the holonets. Its one of the few forums online where everybody almost knows each other's names / handles, and most of the time have great discusions, debates and disagreements without it dragging into a pissing contest or flamewar. This is a great comunity in every sense of the word.

Yeah I proudly and with good humor hold up the "Twi'liphile" sign. Though the more I interact & post here, the more of an online presence and profile is made of me indirectly & interpreted by others - by my own postings, whether i'm helpful or kind or knowledgable or just highly creative at times or whatnot ;) In those regards, i'm pretty much being my true real life self...

Its probably why i come back to the holonets several times daily. To see where i can contribute, and to see who responded to my ideas.

Though the net is also a conveniant mask for anyone, allowing anyone to be differernt than who they really are... This is bad when people are out for no good, or just simply "do" because they can since they're not actually there present and in person...

Theres a forum or two that i frequent on and off, usually lurk than anything. my member profile probably only has 500 post count in all of 4 years. Theres a big reason for it - its like a cattle corel "push & shove" ... Most threads can't exist without someone having to christen it by starting a flame war, pissing contest, or stirr something up that de-rails everyone off topic. Taking time to help either goes unoticed, or gets stomped on by someone or other. Theres also a great deal of imaturity.

Quizzes... fun - yeah... Done a tonn of them too. some results are surprising, some predictable...

nothing much more i can say or think of right now...

Wesly Senesca
15 November 2004, 11:35 AM
Yeah, most other forums are one big circle-jerk anyway. :sabersml:

Vive l'holonet!!







:rolleyes: Man, where would I be without Freud?

Kordeth
15 November 2004, 03:08 PM
And here I thought the internet was bad because it's full of fat forty-year-old men in Sailor Moon t-shirts who pretend to be nubile young cheerleaders....;)

dgswensen
15 November 2004, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by Kordeth
And here I thought the internet was bad because it's full of fat forty-year-old men in Sailor Moon t-shirts who pretend to be nubile young cheerleaders....;)

Ahh, stereotype-o-riffic. :p

It is true that on the Internet, one can represent oneself however they like -- truthfully, ficticiously, or a mixture of both.

My theory is this. The big thing about social activities on the Internet is that the playing field is, for the most part, compeltely level. There are no physical cues (that you can trust), no pheromones, no body language, no external tensions. All anyone has to survive by is their own wits, cleverness, and demeanor. There is no way to physically threaten one another (that anyone will take seriously), and no real power structure beyond that of, say, moderators and regular users. So everyone is pretty much equal.

In this kind of atmosphere, I think some people, who might have self-esteem issues or social problems in "real life" often find an outlet for their frustrations on the Internet, where they can engage in behavior that would probably get them punched in the nose in real life, and not worry about any sort of reciprocity. Other people might choose to mis-represent themselves in order to earn admiration from other people.

But, since there really isn't any social "cue" for people to give meaningful give and take besides a topical discussion, the Internet can steer one towards a self-absorbed mindset. After all, people generally don't surf the Internet in social groups, but essentially by themselves. And since, except in chat room situations, people are often on and responding to discussions at different times, any sort of "social group" on the Internet is a bit illusory, in a way.

A lot of anti-social people gravitate toward the internet to get their kicks by harrassing others, or misrepresent themselves for approval or self-satisfaction. That doesn't mean the medium itself is bad. The Internet is a medium for the expression of ideas -- both good and bad can come through.

But yeah, looking for one's identity or sense of self from the Internet is a bad, bad idea. I've been there, done that, once upon a time -- needless to say, it didn't work out.

Just my two cents :)

ij thompson
15 November 2004, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by Kordeth
And here I thought the internet was bad because it's full of fat forty-year-old men in Sailor Moon t-shirts who pretend to be nubile young cheerleaders....;)

Seriously? Okay, that's it - my mail-order wedding is OFF!!!!!!





(and I apologize for contributing nothing to this insightful thread but my own lame-o humour! :( )

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
15 November 2004, 09:59 PM
Originally posted by ij thompson


Seriously? Okay, that's it - my mail-order wedding is OFF!!!!!!


ROFLMAO!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D Good one man! I really need a good laugh tonight ;)

Well on the obscure things of the net, surprisingly online grocery shopping and even resturant delivery orders are becoming popular (which i still think is strange) ... but actual weddings over the net... still blows my realm of belief...

But hey, on the really crazy side, my friend's brother actually met a gal from overseas... got into a relationship, she came over here for a while then he went back with her and got married there and is still there... dunno how it worked out, hadn't heard from him for a long time either...

and if i thought those 1-900 phone chat & dating services were bad, those too went online bigtime...

is everyhing going way-wards to the net? from grocery shopping to dating & relationships to getting hitched it seems?


Well, i use several of the messengers and definately have made friends with several people over the many years which i'd rate as good or better than my actual local friends. I've probably got more good & best online friends than local friends at this point.

Rogue Janson
16 November 2004, 02:16 AM
Sounds to me like Kordeth is speaking from personal experience.

wolverine
16 November 2004, 03:29 AM
Russian mail order brides.... What else is there to say~

Vanger Chevane
16 November 2004, 09:19 AM
Originally posted by Terras Jadeonar & Raven
Well, i use several of the messengers and definately have made friends with several people over the many years which i'd rate as good or better than my actual local friends. I've probably got more good & best online friends than local friends at this point.
Thx, Chia. ;)

Realistically I think it's partly a matter of exposure. Online communities give you a chance to meet more ppl with a common interest than what's available in your local area. This in turn gives you more of a chance to meet & make friends with quality ppl. :D

Of course, the downside is there's also that many more idiots to ignore as well. :P

Darth_Cassed
16 November 2004, 09:59 AM
In my experience the more you analyze something, the more you ruin it ;)

Don't analyze my HNet!

Fingon
17 November 2004, 04:05 PM
Interesting thread...

I quite liked dgswensen's take on this. It makes sense, although I don't feel that way at all. I act on message board almost exactly as I do in real life. When I get beaten senseless in an argument, I feel like I do as if I had actually been talking to him. This is probably because I give most people the benefit of the doubt and treat them as competent human beings, a mistake on my part.

Remarkably, the Holonet is one of the few places where I can actually have an interesting conversation with someone, without 40 year old men still living in their parents homes (as well as 12 year old punks) babbling nonsense at me.


I would agree with dgswensen, that people who can’t find a real social life seek one online. They may find a group of peers on the internet, but ultimately perusing online relations and friendships will end up hurting the person further. 99% of the time, you don’t know who these people are, just what they tell you they are. Online, you will never get a full spectrum of social interaction, beyond the words.


And my vote for why the ‘net is bad is all of the

(edited by moderator)

guaeko
17 November 2004, 04:10 PM
|-|3Y /\/\4/\/ \/\/|-|47 Y0|_| 607 4641/\/57 1337?1?



...I'll never do that again...

neolink111
26 January 2005, 04:25 PM
1337!! |-|4|-|4, 101. 1 10\/3 1337!

(maybe i scored high on that geek test for a reason) :raised:

Grimace
26 January 2005, 06:37 PM
Hey, let's knock it off with the leet, please.

And Fingon, no cursing. Not even in leet.

Dr_Worm
26 January 2005, 08:19 PM
I have championed the internet for a few years now, and firmly believe that you can make real friends on it. One thing I am beginnig to hate, though, is the annonimity. I understand that many females should be careful, but at the same time the general annonimity brings out the worst in people. When people are relieved of the social restrictions with which they govern themselves, then they are more likely to be antisocial. It is almost as if there is an induced sociopathy that comes over some people. They insult, flame, troll, spam, and otherwise make jerks of themselves in ways they would never do in a face to face interaction because there is no real social implications.

That being said, quality communities such as this are so liked by the participants that they self-impose certain social structures. For example: I chat with Grimace fairly often (not as much lately) and consider him a good online friend. That friendship makes it at least a bit important how he views me. There have been a few times where I have written a post and while re-reading it (before posting), thought to myself that Grimace would probably not appreciate the tone or the implication, and have edited it. This is not a bad thing. It is not censorship. It is the social structure that we live in every day in person, and only serves to strengthen our social interactions. When a community is as high quality as this one the same social rules arise as we genuinly care about the opinions of those in the community.

Kyle Pantrakahs
10 February 2005, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by wolverine
Russian mail order brides.... What else is there to say~

LOL. I saw one of those sites once. I remember one of the first pictures I saw there...I coulda swore I saw the woman someplace before. Then it dawned on me. That picture was of Estella Warren! 8o Talk about false advertising. :rolleyes:

Yeah, there's definitely some whacked-out things there on the 'Net. Even the boards at starwars.com have more than their fair share of bad apples. The annonymity the 'Net provides truly can bring out the worst in ppl.

I'm really thankful for this site. I don't get to post as often as I used to, but it's nice to know that there's still one place online where the people are polite, friendly, and there to help, whether you're a untried noob or seasoned veteran. We may have different backgrounds, tastes, and beliefs, but what unites us all is The Game.

Heck, I've been playing the RPG for a good five years now and sometimes there's still things I wonder about. I know I can come here to ask, never having to worry about getting spammed by dumb replies of "Ha, u dum n00b u call yerself a veteran gamer!" etc.

Wow, hope that stream of consciousness I just let loose there makes some small degree of sense. *Raises glass* Holonet, salute!

Cheers,
Kyle

:) ;) B) :D

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
13 February 2005, 04:03 PM
Heck, I've been playing the RPG for a good five years now and sometimes there's still things I wonder about. I know I can come here to ask, never having to worry about getting spammed by dumb replies of "Ha, u dum n00b u call yerself a veteran gamer!" etc.

Wow, hope that stream of consciousness I just let loose there makes some small degree of sense. *Raises glass* Holonet, salute!

Cheers,
Kyle

When asking a question here, your bound to get at least one answer or a dozen - none of them wrong or always right, and often many bright thoughtfull ideas - be it just spur of the moment- a possible solutution or from actual experiance.

By the same token, its also nice to be able to try and be helpful to asnwer questions, and not get slammed for coming up with the idea or suggestion. While i may not have that many years of GM'ing or RP'ing under my belt, if i see a question that piques my intrest / attention, i like to try and help if i can nonetheless. Theres always that chance it may be the answer the person's looking for, or at least be helpful in some way, if even ny answer's slightly off the mark, then perhaps someone will do a slightly different or totally opposite take and hit it right on the mark. like i said - every little bit helps :)

You said it Kyle, *raises glass* Cheers!! :)

watanabe2k
15 February 2005, 09:12 AM
Originally posted by Kordeth
And here I thought the internet was bad because it's full of fat forty-year-old men in Sailor Moon t-shirts who pretend to be nubile young cheerleaders....;)

As a Japanese, Sailor Moon ranks right up there in biggest things I'm ashamed about Japan having created..........

That said, you gotta love these forums, cause there is not the damn flame wars that others have mentioned going on at other sites. That's not to mention the pure stupidity and amount of racism that exists out there in some forums that I have had to deal with.

darkforcerising
17 February 2005, 11:36 AM
Someone made a good point about the "level playing field" the Internet gives (all that you are judged by is your words, there are no sterotypes... well I guess except for the 40 year olds in Sailor Moon T-shirts). Anyway, my point is the reverse side; that is, people on the internet gravitate toward those forums, etc. that serve their interests. What you get is gamers who are on gamer sites and movie buffs on movie sites who (unless they share the interest) never interact with say... hunting enthusiasts. The Internet tends to compartmentalize culture.

coldskier0320
17 February 2005, 11:52 AM
What about the gamers that are also hunting enthusiasts?;)

But seriously, I know what you're saying. And one nice thing about these boards is that you can even find people with similar interests other than gaming here, becuase everyone is civilized. And becuase of that, you're more likely to befriend someone and learn more about them here.

Rogue Janson
17 February 2005, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by darkforcerising
Anyway, my point is the reverse side; that is, people on the internet gravitate toward those forums, etc. that serve their interests. What you get is gamers who are on gamer sites and movie buffs on movie sites who (unless they share the interest) never interact with say... hunting enthusiasts. The Internet tends to compartmentalize culture.
That's an interesting point.
We're all divided up in different ways in our social & cultural lives. We're divided up spatially by habitation patterns determined by class, race, income, employment, history, by travel patterns from employment, income, interests... and so-on. We're also cut up by corporations into target markets - lifestyles and ideals that are deliberately created by advertisers and culture producers.

In the real-world we can choose to interact with people with particular interests to a degree - through friends, clubs, work, education and so-on. But the internet - and other digital & modern media - lets us do this much more easily and to a greater extreme - we can compartmentalise our whole virtual lives. We can choose exactly what culture we want to consume, what we want to talk about without all the things that prevent this irl.

But at the same time the internet also brings together very different people. If I went to the gaming club at my university I'd mainly meet people who are students here, come from the UK, and so-on. As Coldskier says, what about the gamers who are also hunting enthusiasts? The form of the medium does not completely limit us to solely talking about gaming (limiting content); we are able to discuss other things. I'm a gamer who's also a politics student with an interest in society, culture and stuff like that - hence this thread. I don't know any other way I could get opinions on such a subject from such a range of people - in particular, people who I'm familiar with, to a degree at least.

I think it's probably wrong to look at the internet as a set of compartments. Everyone has a different set of interests and use the internet accordingly. It seems cliché but it is perhaps more appropriate to view it like a web, with every node (person) having links branching out to a number of different areas, which are connected in turn to more, and so-on.

Not entirely sure where I'm going with all that... it's more positive than usual, but that's how it's come out. It's basically what Mark just said, but with more waffle.

Vanger Chevane
17 February 2005, 01:54 PM
Janson, that's why all URL's begin with WWW - World Wide Web. ;)

Rogue Janson
17 February 2005, 03:07 PM
Is that so Vanger? I knew I'd heard the word 'web' in the context of the internet somewhere before. :P

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
18 February 2005, 10:21 PM
Interesting perspective... Being that yeah, WWW is for "world wide web" though that is for websites - tiny interconnected nodes that provide / host content to be viewed / seen...

But change that around to meaning as the people who surf & use the web. The analogy works just as easily.

As you said R.J., irl we live life acording to where we are and is exposed to, in comunities. Be it in the city or parent's neighborhood, or colledge / campus dorm. People living in an area, conveys as a general comunity. Alas. we're here on the internet, on a website / message board - forums, having formed a virtual comunity of starwars & roleplaying.

While irl, we get around by our own muscle power or vehicular form which infers some sort of expense, we can click freely around here as we please to visit, with only costs being time needed to spend, and good mannerisms that we normally should by default use in irl.