One of the things I miss the most about living in the pre-internet age was the lack of anonymity. In 2016, everyone and their cat is online. Tossing up a few proxies, or registering with a false name on social networks isn’t cutting edge science. You can be as much of an asshole online as you want to. The odds of consequences happening are in most cases low.
It’s cool to be a dick, everyone does it.
If you don’t like what someone is saying, downvote their forum post or reddit piece. Hell, if you don’t like them or just think they look stupid, throw down those downvotes. Don’t bother with actually reading the piece. Don’t go as far as to actually think of how you’d offer feedback, because you won’t. Thumbs down, move on.
Disagree with the opinions or actions of someone more successful than yourself? Don’t debate, don’t discuss, don’t read up on the facts. Just call them names, post a couple of sarcastic pictures or gifs, and call them a fucking idiot. No one is going to turn up on your doorstep and punch you in the teeth for it.
I love the accessibility of information in the 2010s. I can look up most things in a matter of seconds. I have the whole world at my fingertips. Unfortunately, that also means that the whole world’s assholes are staring me in the face when I log into facebook.
It takes a lot of effort to sort through actual criticism and feedback, and utter waste of bandwidth. It takes a lot of mental surplus to keep coping with people spewing negativity at you no matter what you do. At some point, a straw breaks the camel’s back. People give up participating or creating. The confidence is gone.
Please, world, think about what you do online. You don’t have to piss on everything someone does. You have the same choice everyone else does: Don’t read what they write, don’t look at their art, don’t buy their product. If you want to engage them in debate, do it properly.
Hiding behind downvotes and memes doesn’t make you an internet warrior. It makes you a petulant child that has yet to learn to communicate.