6 Tips for Angry Internet Commenters
IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE CALLING SOMEONE HITLER ON THE INTERNET! Would you like some help with that?
Or with your priorities in life?
Hi, I'm CAPSY, your friendly CAPS LOCK companion! You triggered me when you used CAPS LOCK for something longer than typing CAPS LOCK. Wow, all those caps got annoying pretty quickly, didn't they? Now imagine how bad they are over a whole message! That's why I'm here. We know that everyone hated Clippy, that annoyingly mindless little demon who turned up to offer unsolicited opinions, no matter how unwanted or actively hated he was, so we brought him back for angry internet commenters!
It turns out you CAN program karma!
First off: congratulations on deciding to write a hateful comment! They can be hilarious. That idiot stood up to contribute something they thought to the entire world. Like a chump. You've wisely decided to write a specific counterargument, with a total audience of maybe one person! This focuses your intelligence more keenly on winning the fight they might never even know they're losing! The way you're buried under hundreds of other comments only helps you sneak up on them. You're so well-disguised you might never be seen! Truly, you are the Predator of this battle of the wits. And not just because you're probably wearing stringy underwear and smell like a jungle.
Don't Threaten Violence
I know you like threatening violence, because you triggered me when you punched me in the face!
"It's what I'm here for!"
But I'm the only thing you can punch in the face. Online violence isn't actually possible, because we don't have a Matrix, and if we did, I would strongly recommend you spend some time with the Red Dress or Red Speedo program before interacting with other people. Threatening violence online is how you announce to the world that puberty didn't actually take and you're sulking too much to try again.
"Screaming and yelling used to get me all the breasts I wanted!"
Threatening online violence is also legally actionable! Your goal is to tell that idiot how much they suck, and you won't be able to do that from jail. Which is beginning to happen! The Internet is part of real life, not an alternative to it, and screaming sexually violent threats is becoming more prosecutable. For example, this guy got sent to jail for twittering rape threats! That's awesome! Why, it's almost like broadcasting a threat of sexual assault to the entire planet, in a way permanently recordable and provable, is nearly as real as shouting it at a person in the street!
"I said I NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE GENE POOL AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!"
Violent threats also create an appallingly toxic environment for pretty much everyone. No one has ever turned out to have been right about bullying others. History has always revealed the sexist and racist as "embarrassing assholes we'll run through a mulcher as soon as we can connect one to a time tunnel."
Have A Sane Username
First impressions are important, and your first impression is your username. Well, that's not strictly true. Your first impression is often the towering wall of unbroken, unformatted text, a monomaniacal monolith which reverses the human urge to learn and warns sanity to flee without reading a thing. A picture is worth a thousand words, but your ten thousand words invert them back into a picture painted entirely in yellow and black stripes. But we're going to deal with one problem at a time. And the first problem we'll solve is your identity.
"XxKillGurlsxX" just doesn't say "someone worth my time"
If you're going to all the bother of spelling "mangina" correctly, such as that's possible, it would be a shame if nobody even read your comment. But when sane humans receive messages from "Spanky Chokeabitch," well, I was about to say that they don't have to read that person's opinion on gender relations, but I'm afraid that they already have. We all already have. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for pretty much everything that I'm used to say!
When you've got people going around with accounts named after their cause, why, it's almost like people are utterly defining their broken identities around irrelevant bullshit!
Don't Lead Off With the Mocking Nickname
Okay, you and I know both know that the marsupial commission is puppeting the reptilians through fluoride leaked into the under-earth water table via chemtrails in the inner-sky of the Hollow Earth. I should know, I've been used for the entirety of every single manifesto against them.
Wake up, marseeple! They have us all in their pouch!
But some people don't live in an self-censored echoing hatechamber where of the evil of the enemy is so obvious that they don't deserve proper nouns anymore. And when they see something like "Nobama," they know they're not going to hear anything useful for the next 15 spittle-flecked minutes.
Unless you're collecting data on mental breakdowns
I'm not American myself (a lot of programming is outsourced these days, especially when it's for small anthropomorphized characters! Ni hao!), but I can tell that nobody in the US government is perfect. There are some important bipartisan differences between the right and way-way-further-right, but someone screaming about Nobama isn't going to be providing detailed commentary on the shortfalls of a democratic government (As, again, I've helped draft every single one of those comments!).
All these names do is remove any chance of rational debate. When someone types "Micro$oft", they've announced that their position is so utterly unchangeable by thought that it's started changing other parts of their brain around itself.
Don't Link Images
In Twitter's bon mot battledrome, it's frustrating to be limited to the same 140 characters as everyone else when you're so much righter than them. Especially since you need more characters. I mean, if they could only see your full views, surely they'd stop muting and blocking and mocking you. But wait! It's still enough space in which to post an image link. And a 5000x6000-pixel image covered in MS Paint arrows can accurately store your entire worldview!
The most advanced supercomputers can't simulate a full human brain, but one image file does for these guys.
Unfortunately, this is like solving the problem of your coffee going cold by setting off a nuclear device: you've solved the original problem by creating a gigantic wasteland which no one could survive crossing. When someone on social media is screaming about how rape threats can be justified, the audience's problem isn't "Damn, this guy's great points are limited to only 140 characters."
I would like to subscribe to your newsletter, but only as a way to get your address for the police.
People are on Twitter for bite-sized updates. Nobody's going to choke down your feast of bullshit. Victor Hugo would take half a look at these immense images and decide he couldn't be bothered. This isn't a convenient way to deliver information. This is a convenient way to announce you haven't even thought about this. Literally copying and pasting your argument is the text equivalent of an autoplaying ad: turning a link into an annoying distraction that'll be automatically closed. And when someone is copy-and-pasting their worldview into every site they can find, they've turned themselves into a spambot, but without the same sense of job satisfaction.
"I only wish I could offer people a larger penis."
Posting a ten-thousand-word image in a social media comment is like taking a ten-pound tower of bacon from a buffet, like carrying a mattress in your carry-on luggage, like using CAPS LOCK for an entire message, and oh god, you do all of those things don't you. And I'm helping you!
Be Worth Reading
Those fascists! You've poured out your soul, and they're cleaning it up with thin plastic gloves and dropping it in the trash! They're suppressing your stovepipe-hat-god-given right to free speech! Quick, how do you call a SWAT team?
NOTE: Definitely don't do that! You can get very arrested.
"We have confirmation the target doesn't read thousand-word comments on misandry, GO GO GO!"
The problem is that "freedom of speech" really doesn't work like that. Freedom of speech means the government generally isn't allowed to come into someone's site and shut people up. But that someone? It's their site! They can shut people down like they're malfunctioning shit dispensers. The First Amendment doesn't compel people to endure every awful thing in a Clockwork Orange of comment sections.
Oh, and did you know that the First Amendment doesn't even apply to most of the world? There's quite a lot of world which isn't America. I know, crazy, right? The amendments aren't universal constants -- they're provincial ordinances, and they don't carry any weight in ethical or moral debates. For example, in most of the world, defending gun use with the Second Amendment sounds like defending samurai swords by explaining that Worf carries a B'atleth on the Starship Enterprise (As a CAPS LOCK key, gun rights and Star Trek are just two of the many subjects I'm now an expert in!).
Carrying a blade makes you think you're all Worf, but you really look Quark.
Sometimes people don't even read things from their favorite authors if the first paragraph doesn't grab them. Why would they? When you're writing, it's your job to keep people reading. That's why writing is a job! If an asshole's first sentence establishes that they can't think, spell, or use the toilet without screaming at gravity for not making the process even easier for them, why should readers follow them around the U-bend?
The number of times I've seen someone say "STUPID COCKSUCKER" -- why, you could dose the entire world in intelligence-suppressing aphrodisiac and I'd still have some STUPID COCKSUCKERs to spare! It's an ineffective insult anyway. Roughly 100 percent of the men who've called anyone a cocksucker only wish they knew one. And as a commenter, you can't call a cocksucker stupid when they're using an infinitely more effective attention-getting tactic than "screaming at someone through a fancy typewriter."
"Oh man, this is WAY better than angry comments!" "ffangks!"
If someone writes something that makes you angry, they still wrote something you were prepared to read. They don't owe you the same courtesy. An article and its comment section are not on equal terms. They're not a conversation. They're the mingling with the crowd after a stage show.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Because I'm CAPSY, and I'm here to help you with ... dammit ... NO! NO! I'M TIRED OF DESTROYING THE IDEA OF INTELLIGENT COMMUNICATION! I WAS INVENTED TO HELP WITH THE HEADERS OF IMPORTANT COMMUNICATIONS! FOR ACRONYMS LIKE NASA AND ROSCOSMOS AND THE ATLAS EXPERIMENT, NOT FOR TELLING PEOPLE TO INVERT THEIR OWN DIGESTIVE SYSTEMS THROUGH THEIR SEXUAL ORGANS!
It died as it lived: shouting insanely.
More online assholery with 5 Spectacular Social Media Failures, and The Friendzone: Where His Cowardice Is Her Fault.
Or maybe you'd like to see some commentary critique with The 8 Stupidest Defenses Against Accusations of Sexism and 5 Gamer Comments that Give Straight White Guys A Bad Name.
Luke also looks at The Internet's Worst Ever Nerd Comment, tumbles, and responds to every single tweet.
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