Always good to have a little post about netiquette I feel, as it changes by the week, or maybe by the day or the hour.
Let’s start with dirty linen. It doesn’t get washed in public. Or shouldn’t.
So that means:
1) If you know someone in real life and you have an argument, you don’t bore the rest of the forum with the sordid and – in some cases – sexual detail. It may well be amusing to the rest of the world, but you just end up looking a prat. However tempting it may be to tell everyone how horrible your former friend was, you don’t make the other person look small, only yourself.
2) On the other hand, if you are on a private forum, ie it is closed to the world and visible to members only, and you have a section where you are free to argue whether on a personal level or about controversial issues, then that is fair game. You can criticise someone on there, and wait for a response, a counter-attack, an apology, or whatever. But even if it is a special section on a forum – you may still find that you lose friends. Being able to insult someone on a forum without being banned does not mean you will win popularity contests.
3) Slagging people off on public facebook pages is puerile. In the extreme. In addition, when you are no longer friends with someone or have blocked them, having a go at them behind closed doors is underhand. Don’t deal from the bottom of the pack. They will probably hear about it anyway. And if that’s your real intention, why not just email said person?
4) If you find yourself host to some insulting and rude comments, whether on your facebook page or on your blog you have two choices. You can leave the comments as a record of what people said. You may think that is a wise idea, as once something has been said it can’t be taken back. Maybe people wrote when they were tired/drunk/stressed/who knows? And, other people may find it upsetting or annoying. Admittedly they can also choose not to read it. However, you can delete comments on blogs and conversations on facebook. The power of censorship on the internet is wonderful.
5) You can fall out and in with people a number of times on the internet. I know, I have done it, believe me. And, do you know what? When people have the courtesy to offer me friendship again after we have fallen out, I am happy and appreciative to accept that friendship. We all fuck up.
6) Facebook is not the most important method of communication on the internet. It may be the most used social network, but there are other places to go. Many of my internet friends use Twitter (unless it has changed, I found it too much like hard work) and Tumblr. Probably a third of my Facebook list comes from forums, another third is from blogging, and the last third is friends of friends of friends of friends who either have German Shepherds, huskies, play Farmville – or all three.
There are people who want to know the ins and outs of everyone who they have on their friends list. Are they safe? Who are they? Who do they know? Do your friends know them personally? (Yeah right). Me, I really don’t care. So long as they aren’t vicious axe murderers/Michael Vick/or similar lowlifes, I’m not too worried about them.
7) You can choose to be open about your views or not, depending on what you are hoping to gain from the internet. You would have to be more than half asleep if you look at my blogs and do not realise what my views are. I see no reason to write in detail on facebook and if you are so interested in what I think you can find my blogs and cheerfully send yourself to sleep reading about my views on the world and their dog(s).
Now for those of you who don’t know – here is the facebook fallout. In both senses of the word.
A month ago I asked about the proposed shutdown of the American government as I hadn’t a clue what it was about. When I looked it up, I found nothing helpful on the internet.
Hello US pals. Been reading about your proposed shutdown and don’t understand. I gather you had one 15 years ago. But what is it? And why is it? Please can someone explain either a) really simply or b) give some useful links rather than the crass media ones I have found. Even better, what does it mean to people who live there?
…..is my question.
There was a long discussion. I found it helpful and interesting, and other people also did. Apparently others didn’t as the following morning I noticed two ‘friends’ less.
I don’t know when I would have noticed, but ironically I was trying to comment on a wall post by one, which was a link to a good dog blog post. But I couldn’t comment. Obviously. And then I looked up the other ‘friend’ who had posted the same sentiments on the shutdown discussion. Yup, also gone.
Now while the first one was a relatively recent friend, the second one was a dog blog pal of four years, and a regular blog commenter, and an occasional pm/email friend. Not someone you would expect to drop you like a hot cake. Let’s call her Friend 2.
The discussion on the proposed shutdown seemed pretty reasonable in the internet scheme of things to me. There was only one rather rude comment (made by the first person I noticed who had defriended me) which was patronising and mocking towards someone else. I doubt either of them lost sleep over it.
So. What annoyed me about this? Well firstly, someone I had known – as well as you do in the dog network – for four years, dropped me without even kissing my arse goodbye.
More importantly, and I don’t know the reason, so I can only surmise, but it followed a controversial political discussion. Do you drop people because you disagree with their point of view or because you host a serious discussion on facebook? Because if that’s the case I could reduce my facebook friends to er one, maybe two.
Just to be clear, what has really, really, really got up my nose, is what seems to be a deletion based on personal views and opinions. Around abortion and military intervention. (By which I mean US plus poodle allies invading half the world in the name of liberation but in a real quest for oil).
Here is a quote from a pm I received:
It is totally contrary and bizarre of XXXXX to do this, because it is like she is saying “unless you agree with me, follow my religion and my politics” then you are not to be a face book friend.
And the day you delete people because you don’t like the way they think, is the way you go down a dangerous road. Actually, you have already gone there.
This is a woman who – in the words of another dog blog friend – ‘throws friends away like an old pair of shoes.’ (Thank you – you know who you are – for allowing me to use that brill quote).
Because I wasn’t the first to be deleted. Or the second. But at least the third that I know of. And why, might I ask? Because our lives don’t fit the ideal role model? Our views are unsound? Mine have been the same for some time.
There was just something about this whole thing that freaked me out. Deleting people that you have ‘known’ for years beacause of a political discussion? Freedom of speech? So long as they are the right freedoms maybe? Or the right speech?
Still here, dear reader? I deleted all the people who were friends with Friend 2. Why? Because as far as I could see I had been deleted by someone I considered a friend following a political discussion. That smacks of censorship and fascism to me and if you want to be friends with someone like that – fine by me. But don’t expect me to approve you sitting on the fence being friends with everyone, sweeties. Because one day, one day, those same people like Friend 2 will maybe decide they don’t like what you say either. They won’t tell you though. You will just be – gone.
The truth is – you just don’t matter and neither do your views. Older people on the internet may have even heard of the Nazis.
Perhaps we are all judged by the company we keep?? That’s why I changed mine.