Ranting and raving and carrying on

Just a few random thoughts about random stuff. Warning - may contain profanity

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Location: Toronto-ish, Ontario, Canada

Just a guy... Bit of a geek, but who isn't these days?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Internet civility?

LJ appears to be caught in a massive DDOS attack, and has been unusable for several days now. I might have to start posting over here again.

In the meantime, I wanted to point out this article, "Six ways to bring civility online". There's six great rules here to remember in order to not be a douche-bag on the Internet:

  1. Remember that there are real people on the other side of the computer.
  2. Never say something to someone online that you wouldn’t say to the person’s face.
  3. Use your real name.
  4. Sit on it.
  5. Or don’t respond at all.
  6. Say something positive.

Some good stuff there - too bad most people won't obey these rules. I know I've broken a couple of them now and then. Of course, I also have a meta-rule, "Stay out of the comments", which avoids much of the need for the above, when I remember to follow it.

On a related matter, this is why you shouldn’t try to argue on the Internet – the “backfire effect” ensures that nobody is going to listen unless they’re already convinced you’re right. Most tellingly, people tend to reject science if it doesn’t support their beliefs:

Geoffrey Munro at the University of California and Peter Ditto at Kent State University concocted a series of fake scientific studies in 1997. One set of studies said homosexuality was probably a mental illness. The other set suggested homosexuality was normal and natural. They then separated subjects into two groups; one group said they believed homosexuality was a mental illness and one did not. Each group then read the fake studies full of pretend facts and figures suggesting their worldview was wrong. On either side of the issue, after reading studies which did not support their beliefs, most people didn’t report an epiphany, a realization they’ve been wrong all these years. Instead, they said the issue was something science couldn’t understand. When asked about other topics later on, like spanking or astrology, these same people said they no longer trusted research to determine the truth. Rather than shed their belief and face facts, they rejected science altogether.