Ahhh comment wars. You big bad horrible things. Not a day goes by where I don’t cautiously open a comment section only to have my fears realised. Hateful, hurtful and plain old bigoted comments fill the stream. Not on my blog, thank goodness, you people rock. But on places like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
For example, once I was clicking around videos on the subject of Feminism on YouTube when I found a video that although tagged with feminism but was about feminism as the enemy of men’s rights. I watched for a while and found some understanding in some of what was being said. Maybe empathy is more of the word. Anyway. I went to the comment field to out myself as a feminist and contribute my two-cents only to find a for lack of a better term, shit fight in there.
And I backed away slowly.
Which is actually to say I clicked out quickly, red ‘x’ come at me.
I don’t know about you, but I see those comment wars, and I click away. Even if I was there to comment in the first place, to share my opinion. It’s not worth the drama. But is it? Are there some reasonable people that we could ‘reach’ by leaving a comment that says, this isn’t ok. Or are we just assuming that our way, is the right way?
Who knows, right?
This is my problem.
I want to stand up for what is, in my opinion, the right way to behave online, the right way to treat people. I want to minimise the drama in my life and find it painful to wade into an argument for the sake of it. I want to have interesting conversations with respectful adults. I want people to be kind to each other. To disagree with respect and for the name calling and mud-slinging to stop.
But how do I action all that if I am unwilling to step into these comment wars type conversations. If we all walk away and leave the banter, the noise of aggressive and consequences-less voices, what happens then? Nothing changes in the end. No one things further than their opinion, and no one sees things from someone else’s point of view. By not participating, am I contributing in my way. Is this one occasion where my voice may be used to make a different?
So what say you? Can a conversation and sensible discussion occur online and do we need to step in to protect it from the trolls and the ugliness? Let me know your thoughts. There’s a perfectly good comment box ready and waiting for you below.