I continue to be amazed at how people are so much more willing to be completely rude when they're online. I was on a forum recently where there was a debate raging about a contentious issue. It was the kind of issue where people have very strong views and it was no surprise that it became heated as people became more passionate about defending their opinions. However, the rudeness was astonishing. People were calling each other idiots and morons and insulting each other personally, rather than challenging the opinion. They were saying things that they would NEVER be willing to say to someone's face. Is it the anonymity that makes people brave, and makes them forget even the most basic politeness and respect?

I do like the internet (obviously) and I can see great benefits from it, but this trend towards rudeness and online aggression concerns me. People are online for long periods of time, and getting into the habit of aggressive and confrontational behaviour there surely means that people soon will start behaving this way in their face-to-face dealings. I'm not sure that there's a solution, other than trying to set the example of respect and politeness when online. Would anyone even notice? I wonder...


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