Articles

The lone keyboard warrior

In Life, Social Media, Technology on February 10, 2012 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , ,

Last night I had a strange incident and normally I would leave it alone but not today.

While on Twitter I noticed someone saying that Australia’s NBN is already outdated. I wrote a small note back explaining they were incorrect.

And their response? The lovely gentleman (whose Twitter profile says: ‘Father of 5 kids, Loving Grandfather of 10 Grandchildren,and 2 Great Granddaughters. love to give heaps to Pollies and Poofters) said to me: ” Go and lick Gillards C*** out U commie Prick” (I’ve edited the swear word but they didn’t)

Yup. They seriously wrote that.

In four years of being on Twitter it’s the first time I’ve been visibly shocked by a tweet.

I never mentioned politics.

I never mentioned communism.

I never mentioned sex.

Oh yeah and I’m Scottish and not a citizen in Australia so I can’t even vote here!

Yet there they were attacking me for correcting them. Which brings me to the world of the lone keyboard warrior. I spend a lot of time online and more and more I’m seeing this kind of thing. I’m used to it on forums where long-term friendships and hatreds are born. I’ve even been a moderator on a gaming forum where daily abuse was the norm but Twitter – where people are more likely to use their own names – I’m noticing a marked increase in the attacks.

Maybe it’s because I’m spending a lot more time looking at certain issues which people are passionate about but even then the debate should be cordial and without personal attacks. But on Twitter the area I have noticed the most hatred and vitriol is from the political area. It seems that when people start talking about politics there are those online who revert to the most vile and disgusting abuse … but only behind their keyboards.

I’ve never really had the urge to troll nor attack people online. I’ve occasionally defended myself but I see online and offline as two worlds that have less and less of a gap between them and people at some point will have to stop being keyboard warriors and start realising that what they say online can and will have repercussions for them offline. If you wouldn’t say it to someone in a street then don’t say it online.

Have you had any dealing with any crazy keyboard warriors?

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13 Responses to “The lone keyboard warrior”

  1. I’m lucky in that I’ve never had to deal with such hatred on line but the amount of hate that is growing out there is appalling. I (stupidly) had a look at this guy’s Twitter stream and now I have to wash my eyes out with dettol to clean the muck off them.

    Just by the bye – I have had to deal with this sort of hatred offline (perils of being a different colour to the neighbourhood kids when growing up) and there are definitely people out there who are happy to spill their bile off and online.

  2. I weep for his 5 kids, 10 Grandchildren and 2 Great Granddaughters. They all must be so proud.

  3. Thats awful man, and the thing that horrifies me most is that he is influential in the life of all his children and grandchildren…. that he has some impact on the lifes of those kids/adults is utterly terrifying.

    That he is old enough to have great grandchildren, and yet remains horrifically bigoted and hatefilled is even worse….

    and sadly i have dealt with the occasional keyboard warrior… though mine tend to be a bit more polite mostly coz i usually know them. You are in a much more public position and as such more likely to get the unbridled hate that can only come from complete ignorance; the absolute certainty that the person on the other end of the insult is not a human being at all and is only deserving of the worst hate possible.

    i am sorry you had to get that man… its made me angry, but whats worse it’s made me wonder if i might not know someone, or many someones just like this….

  4. This behaviour should never be condoned; however….there is actually more hate offline…you just live mostly in a world that avoids it…step outside the lives we live, where we reside with the 3%’ers (i.e. have full time employment, high school education, earn above $X), and you may well find that the outbursts on twitter are actually quite subdued and infrequent.

  5. Luke has a point, this sort of language is pretty common if you live in certain areas. I once lived across the road from some ‘housos’, and copped this kind of abuse just for walking past their house on what became known as ‘Methadone Monday’.

    Although I agree nothing justifies behaviour that is not cordial, there are many who have grown up understanding that attack in the best defence, he who shouts loudest gets heard, and a punch in the head is the easiest way to make your point.

    I’m just wondering, but if Twitter is becoming more mainstream – being used by all demographic levels, do you think this could this explain the increase in abusive language that you’ve experienced across the social web, Scott?

  6. […] version of this article first appeared on Scott Rhodie’s personal blog Kilt For Hire. His day job is as digital communications manager at NBN Co. He’s on Twitter as […]

  7. Wow, what a drop kick. I feel for kids who grow up in such an environment, being trained to believe it’s OK to attack people for daring to be a female role model, or for being a gay, or having a different colour skin. They are doomed to either being the same as their father having to relearn all their values when they mature enough to realize how wrong those values are.

  8. that should have been “or having to relearn….”

  9. I’ve just got into this blogging business, and finally jumped onto the twitter bandwagon too. I guess i can look forward to all of this. Seen a bit of it on forums, but generally you know you have the upper hand in a debate if people have to resort to that kind of bile.
    This is just another example of why I don’t like people.

  10. I don’t think this is uniquely Australian although the specific language might be.

    We see lots of similar language and sentiment here in New Zealand.

    My take on this is throughout the English-speaking world, in the absence of true ideological and policy debate, politics has become tribal and has descended to what amounts to just a form of name calling. Some players are more sophisticated than others.

    Of course this is the potted version, the whole story would take a book or a Ph.D. thesis…

  11. […] I will block you if you are a troll. I have been abused a few times on Twitter (this one comes to mind!) and I simply won’t put up with you being an asshole. I’ll accept it a few times as you […]

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