6 New Personality Disorders Caused by the Internet

#3. Online Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (a.k.a. The Grammar Nazi)

We all reserve the right to mock people who post 500-word blocks of misspelled nonsense. But then you have the situation where somebody posts a perfectly clear and clever message but within their well-articulated points they dare to confuse "your" with "you're." And then somebody will flip the fuck out.

Like a Mossad agent in rural America, you quickly discover that you've found a Nazi. Of the Grammar variety.

In Real Life it's Called...

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, or OCPD.

OCPD should not be confused with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (or, "The OC Disorder"). OCPD shares the obsessive component of OCD, but it is different from OCD in that OCPD has the letter P in its name. That and people with OCPD do not perform the weird ritualistic actions of OCD'ers, like opening a door four times or having to always eat Pringles with the concave side up.

OCPD types simply have an incredibly strict standard by which certain tasks be done, to the point that it literally can lead to violence otherwise.

So Why Does it Happen on the Internet?

At the heart of the real-life OCPD sufferer seems to be an irrational fear that the rest of the world is sloppier, dirtier and more disorganized than it should be, that it's rapidly getting worse, and that the world will fall to pieces unless someone straightens it up.

On the Internet, five minutes spent reading YouTube comments can convince even an average, level-headed person that the Internet is about to suffer the same fate. The old-fashioned holdouts who insist on typing in actual sentences see what seems to be an inexorable move toward a language based entirely on texting abbreviations. It's not hard to feel the desire to take up arms to defend language at all costs. Srsly.

#2. Low Cyber Self-Esteem (a.k.a. The Guy Who Everyone Hates but Who Never Leaves)

There's a place for everyone on the Internet to feel at home. When you can fill a message board with fans of The Wonder Years porn, there should be no such thing as an outcast.

Yet, each forum, chat room or other online community seems to have a person or people who just don't fit in. It's not that they are necessarily horrible people, they're just the square trying to fit into the triangle hole. They get ridiculed constantly.

Now you may figure this is no different than the picked-on nerd in high school, but unlike that kid always getting squished into a locker, these people are free to leave the website at any time.

But they never do.

In Real Life it's Called...

Self-Abasement and/or Attention Seeking Behavior.

Someone with the need for self-abasement feels that they should be perpetually punished for their wrongdoings. They're like the albino that whipped himself in The Da Vinci Code, only instead of drawing blood they draw "Fuck you noobtard" comments. It's either a subconscious way to feel like they're paying back the world for their sins, or they're just so out of self-esteem that they can't muster the energy to defend themselves.

If taken to an extreme, it can even turn into Online Erotic Humiliation where the abuse turns into sexual arousal. So the next time you tell someone to go fuck themselves, you might have just given them the material to do so.

But maybe more common than that is good ol' Attention Seeking Behavior, which every single person who's ever spent just one evening with a child will be familiar with. The outcast, like the child, knows that hate is not the opposite of love, apathy is. All that negative attention is still attention, and the abuse is still several steps better than being ignored.

So Why Does it Happen on the Internet?

So we've established that when you say, in person, "Jimmy, go away, you're a retard" that Jimmy is just happy that somebody used his name and acknowledged his existence. Even if the only reason you used his name was to tell him to go die in a fire.


"Who's a super fag? Jimmy's a super fag, that's right. Go Jimmy!"

But when you type it on a message board, it's that much better. This isn't just attention, but attention that's being broadcast around the globe via the World Wide Web. The "we hate Jimmy" thread on a popular forum might be read by thousands of people. If that many people are reading about him, he must matter (hell, think of all the TV personalities who have made a career out of being hated).

The attention-seeker gets what he wants, and the self-abaser gets an erection big enough to actually interfere with the signal on his wireless keyboard.

#1. Internet Asperger's Syndrome (a.k.a. The Troll)

We can't take credit for this one, blogger and Internet entrepreneur Jason Calacanis coined the term "Internet Asperger's Syndrome" to describe the utter loss of all social rules and empathy that seems to hit some people for no other reason than that they happen to be communicating via keyboard and monitor at the time.

We don't need to retell all of the horror stories. A kid commits suicide on webcam while the trolls cheer him on, Anonymous mocks a suicide victim, some kids fire a baby out of a giant slingshot for a YouTube video (we're not sure if that last one actually happened but it's really just a matter of time).

Normal kids, good grades, no criminal records... but get them in a chat room and suddenly it reads like the transcript to a Charles Manson parole hearing.

In Real Life it's Called...

Asperger's Syndrome.

This rarely diagnosed but often claimed disorder is a mild form of Autism that comes with what seems to be a biological inability to show empathy for other human beings, as well as (and maybe stemming from) an inability to recognize nonverbal cues. They continually do weird, upsetting things because they don't know it's upsetting you. That part of their brain is broken.

People cringe when they hear this term because they know that a large number of the teenagers claiming Asperger's are, in fact, merely dicks.


"I have a fucking disease, OK?"

So Why Does it Happen on the Internet?

Calacanis figured out that people who do all of their communicating online wind up mimicking Asperger's behaviors because they are imposing the same disadvantages on themselves. In both cases, when the ability to see nonverbal responses and facial expressions goes away, so does empathy. Soon the thing you're communicating with isn't a person, they're just a bunch of words on a screen. A bunch of words that the little bastard didn't even bother to spellcheck.




When not writing for Cracked, Jonathan writes for TheLastGaffe.com.

To see how we can stop these assholes, check out 5 Ways to Stop Trolls From Killing the Internet. And find out about some the stuff they can pull off, in 8 Awesome Cases of Internet Vigilantism.

Or, visit the Cracked.com Top Picks to see what we're looking at instead of working.

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