Satu Nuoramo

Haters Gonna Hate! Online anonymity causes problems

Blog post   •   Nov 28, 2011 14:25 GMT

Why online anonymity is less of a good thing and more of people’s dark sides.The world population “officially” hit 7 billion people some days ago and growing rapidly. Some statistics even show that the next billion isn’t too many years off. (we were six billion 12 years ago!) The sentiment that seems to very much be the theme du jour is anger and hatred. “We are too many people.” ”We cannot sustain food, space and clean living conditions for everybody.”Maybe I’m wrong, but I for one am filled with hope by the prospect of lifting the billions (majority of the world) out of poverty rather than sustaining our own good lives. In fact as the world plunges into an economic crisis we are seeing people become nationalistic in the worst case and locally-focused in the best case. Anger is giving way to mutual understanding.This brings me to my topic today. Haters.

Have you ever wondered who those people are that comment in online forums or articles? They are mean, hateful and just spiteful human beings. I’m often shocked by the vulgarity of some of the comments written after articles or under YouTube videos.

Ranging from “hate” to mean-spirited comments to just plain trolling and vicious. Wikipedia explains online annonymity as: Anonymity may reduce the accountability one perceives to have for their actions, and removes the impact these actions might otherwise have on their reputation. This can have dramatic effects, both useful and harmful. In conversational settings, anonymity may allow people to reveal personal history and feelings without fear of later embarrassment.

But why?

First and foremost

1. Anonymity. If you could wear an invisible cape in real life, so nobody knew who you are, I think most people would jump at the chance.

2.Perfect forum to channel anger and frustration. It’s not real life. It’s the internet. Are you angry? Great! Let the world know!

3. People are “too nice” in real life. Always smiling and asking how we are. If people were more inclined to be honest about how they really feel, there would not be as much hostility to burn in a place where nobody knows who you are.

4. No consequences. Whats the worst that can happen? The site admin deletes your post? Oh no. There are no real-world repercussions if you insult someone online. There are no fines, no bans (how could there be when most sites allow commenting without registration?)

Sweden has abolished internet anonymity on some of their sites already making them a forerunner in the race against trolls

Have you come across hatred or racism on the internet? Leave a comment and tell me about it!