Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

Eternal September refers to when the Internet became open to everyone to participate on (1993). Our communications capability has grown at an amazing rate since then. I marvel daily at all the things that are possible, just 20 years later, thanks to the Internet. At the same time, I cringe at the ugliness that the Internet has created in humans that was not previously possible.

There was a study, the link escapes me, that shows that the Internet allows like minded people to essentially isolate themselves from different points of view. A different study showed that people who discuss things that upset them with others end up becoming more upset.  The combination of these two factors result in people who are very angry and whose anger is reinforced by their isolated communities.

I purposely try to spend time on other communities – particularly ones where I don’t have any moderation power.  The Stardock and Neowin communities are very active, rich and fun places. But I make a point not to focus all my attention there because I don’t want to be lulled into a false sense that my opinions equate to some sort of universal truth.

But most people (i.e. normal people) don’t have the time to spread their activity across multiple Internet communities. The predictable result is that people are having their opinions reinforced by like minded participants and are increasing angry at those who don’t share their world views.

The problem I run into, one that wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago, is that people mistake their opinions as “truth”.  And it’s getting worse with no end in sight.

It does not bode well for the future.


Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 30, 2012

I purposely try to spend time on other communities – particularly ones where I don’t have any moderation power.

Ditto...for the same reason...

[and we don't do/host aircraft skins]...

on Oct 30, 2012

people mistake their opinions as “truth”.  And it’s getting worse with no end in sight.

It does not bode well for the future.

Agreed. This is catered to as well. Civility has devolved as well in public discourse, encouraged by anonymity. All rather sad developments...

on Oct 30, 2012

I believe the context for this post is that people are being rude to Brad on Reddit. Although it could be any number of forums.

on Oct 30, 2012

You could be right....that rubbish seems to be in more than one place out there.

I wonder if they're aware that Libel Laws where the Internet is concerned have been known to cross International borders......

on Oct 31, 2012

Actually, I don't think of reddit as an isolated community.

Here's a forum that's so toxic that I won't visit it anymore. Deranged doesn't even begin to describe it. I'll occasionally see their referrals and realize they're stalking another blog I've put up. They are really obsessed.

http://brokenforum.com/index.php?threads/brad-wardell-stardock-sue-employee-for-one-million-dollars.3087/page-55

If you're on a game site and there's some out of the blue "Brad is a horrible person" comment, odds are, they're on the above forum.

But it's a good example of what happens when a group of people are socially isolated and believe their world view equates to "truth" and lash out at those who don't share their views.  If you read that thread, note - I've never met any of them. I've never "done" anything to them.  Think of the energy they've expended.  Someone told me that they put my home address up in that thread.

on Oct 31, 2012

Frogboy
Actually, I don't think of reddit as an isolated community.

Here's a forum that's so toxic that I won't visit it anymore. Deranged doesn't even begin to describe it. I'll occasionally see their referrals and realize they're stalking another blog I've put up. They are really obsessed.

http://brokenforum.com/index.php?threads/brad-wardell-stardock-sue-employee-for-one-million-dollars.3087/page-55

If you're on a game site and there's some out of the blue "Brad is a horrible person" comment, odds are, they're on the above forum.

But it's a good example of what happens when a group of people are socially isolated and believe their world view equates to "truth" and lash out at those who don't share their views.  If you read that thread, note - I've never met any of them. I've never "done" anything to them.  Think of the energy they've expended.  Someone told me that they put my home address up in that thread.

Good god almighty. What a bunch of freaks.

on Oct 31, 2012

That is insane. I am not sure how all of a sudden a community can just decide to hate someone without hearing an entire story. I guess this is where the theory that anonymity gives power to the powerless comes in. I can hide behind a screen name and say anything I want with little to no repercussions. 

on Oct 31, 2012

Emperor_Nero
I am not sure how all of a sudden a community can just decide to hate someone without hearing an entire story.

To fit in with their peers/brethren/community.

Typically you need to gather such a 'community' in order for them to form a gestalt as they're incapable of independent thought.....THAT actually entails sentience and intelligence...

on Oct 31, 2012

I have to agree with this.  I suspect it's terrible with folks under 30 who don't remember the old days.

 

on Nov 01, 2012

to essentially isolate themselves from different points of view

I do this all the time... isolate myself from certain points of view. That's the great thing about the internet, if somebody is being a total effwit and their opinion sucks, I just close the page.... and there I am, isolated. I recall briefly visiting a forum where frequent name calling, spite and malice was the norm.  At first I thought it may have been just in that thread [about the 3rd I entered], but no, it was throughout several others and that's when i decided to leave and not return... and a lot of it was accusations and comments towards people the writers were unlikely to have known anything about.  Yeah, it makes you wonder... what exactly is in some peoples heads.

Thing is, I'm not able to get out like I used to, and sometimes would like, so there are times when I'm more isolated than I'd like, but I still see no reason to indulge in petty internet feuds or grievances to occupy my time or combat the loneliness when I'm here by myself.  I've got better things to do with my time than that, and I guess that's the key thing, I'm never bored.  No, life is too short to allow boredom in, so I try to keep myself busy with positive things/hobbies..... and given the context here, it seems more should do it.

on Nov 01, 2012

I pretty much agree with Brad here, regarding the social effects of internet, but I notice a lot of people (who also agree) seem to be taking this as "People are rude on the internet and that's horrible!"

I don't really agree with that. Some people, because of the culture on the forum or their real life culture or whatever, can espouse perfectly coherent views with language or an apparent attitude that might seem rude to you, and indeed might not be very polite. And people can seem mad as all get out when on the other side of the computer screen they're actually enjoying the discussion.

Even the people who are being hateful on their isolated forum community, there's a lot worse things in the world than assuming the accused is guilty (as in Brad's sexual harassment case) and considering someone arrogant, which seems to be the majority of what they're doing. Sure, making a big deal about it seems pointless, but there's a lot of weird hobbies out there.

 

As far as how this bodes for the future, well, there will certainly be some rough patches but on the other hand this same thing allows people with obscure interests to get together and make new things, so despite some caustic communities I really can't see this (even ignoring the effects of internet not related to interest-based self-segregation) as anything but a net gain.

on Nov 01, 2012

Frogboy
"Brad is a horrible person"

 

I have not posted or be around these forums in a while.  I still lurk from time to time.  I had no idea about any law suits until you posted something about it yourself.  So I searched it, I read alot of what was posted on Qt3.  The amount of vile and hatred that have been spewed in your direction from people who for the most part have no idea what they`re talking about is unbelievable.  

 

I`m a private person, I don`t use facebook or any other such site.  I don`t want my life put up on display.  I can`t imagine what it must be like to deal with something like this.  People who haver never met you posting threads to run you into the ground on a personnel level.  It`s disgusting, I couldn`t imagine participating in something like that.  It`s pure gossip, Do these people honestly not have anything better to do?

 

I read your post in the thread about Rock Papers review of FE.  I hope you don`t give up on PC games.  I really enjoyed GC2, If you make a third one I`ll pre-order it.  I`m going to purchase FE from steam when I`m done writing this to show some support, I hope you stick with us in the future.

 

Nick

on Nov 01, 2012

Frogboy
Actually, I don't think of reddit as an isolated community.

Here's a forum that's so toxic that I won't visit it anymore. Deranged doesn't even begin to describe it. I'll occasionally see their referrals and realize they're stalking another blog I've put up. They are really obsessed.

http://brokenforum.com/index.php?threads/brad-wardell-stardock-sue-employee-for-one-million-dollars.3087/page-55

someone should save a copy of that thread before one of them has enough self awareness to realize how sick it makes them look. or better yet, maybe someone looking to get their phd in sociology could interview some of them as part of their doctoral thesis. 

on Nov 01, 2012

maybe someone looking to get their phd in sociology

Psychiatry ...... Spell checker ....

on Nov 01, 2012

You're right.  There's a huge problem in the world, and on the internet, where a lot of people refuse to recognize my opinions as the only 'truth'. 

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