Reminder: Not Everyone Online Is A Jerk

from the nice-to-know dept

Following the incredibly tragic story of Abraham Biggs’ live broadcasting his suicide, plenty of “web 2.0” critics such as Andrew Keen jumped on the chance to blast the “anomie, cruelty and narcissism that characterises much of the web.” Of course, if you think social networks are evil, you’re going to interpret events that way, but, of course, as has been pointed out before, communication tools don’t discriminate over who can use them — so of course there are some awful people who use them, just as there are many good people. Communication tools don’t change that. And, for every tragic Abraham Biggs story out there, it seems likely that there are many, many stories like Ayelet Waldman, who talks about how her online community of friends saved her from committing suicide. Of course, those stories don’t get nearly as much attention, so folks like Keen can pretend they don’t exist and that social networking communication tools are mainly used for shallow, meaningless conversations.

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Comments on “Reminder: Not Everyone Online Is A Jerk”

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ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re:

FULLY agree. The tree of the human race needs a massive pruning. I’d say we could do better with only 1% of the population, and 1% of that population could pare down the remaining non-desirables[dumb as a box of rocks, etc].

Yeah, yeah, yeah, some bleeding heart will say that we can’t get by without ALL of us or what-have-you but the truth is, we can and they’re just too blind to see that we are not currently IMPROVING our state of living, we’re playing catch-up at best.

Sean says:

Re: Re: Re:Killing people

And how do you propose we determine, first off, who the lame ones are, and secondly, how do you propose we kill these people?

What you are proposing is a very fucked up idea. Ironically, you’re conveying the idea of mass killing over the Internet because someone killed themselve while broadcasting on the Internet.

Basically your idea is jaw-droppingly stupid and ignorant and you should probably be one of the ones killed in your own plan.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:Killing people

We don’t need to actively kill people. We should just let them die. We need to stop actively supporting the population that can’t support itself and lives off the willing and able as parasites. I am not talking about children, they may have potential usefulness in the future. Why do we support the lame-o’s that are adults that never contribute a single thing to society except ‘diversity’ and a debit? Why do we make it more beneficial to take welfare instead of working?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:Killing people

Because of basic genetics dumass. Removing a genetic trait from the human race is a very BAD idea because you don’t know how it will effect other things. You had better bet that stupidity is partly a genetic trait, and you had better bet that there are environmental situations in which it’s downright useful.

So please don’t doom us all to extinction, dumbass. I admit I’d probably go to, being about as nutty as a bag of angry squirrels

moore850 says:


While the internet provides a way for people to more easily escape repercussions for their potentially harmful comments, it also provides a way for good-natured folks to reach out and help their fellow people in distress. Internet-related deaths are as rare and shocking as plane crashes, and as my friend is fond of saying, “the day I stop flying on planes is the day that plane crashes no longer make headlines.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Good bad, it’s all the same. Bunch of humans. Nothing more, nothing less.

That’s not entirely true. While I agree that you get a cross-section of humanity through online experiences, you do draw heavily on the group who likes to be immature, brave ONLY when out of range, and harbors the belief that they can never be caught. Then there are the people who prefer “real contact” who are more often than not better sorts of individuals in their demeanor, morals and conduct.

That said, there is a slant toward the perverse, the obtuse and the downright blisteringly irritating… but as the article suggests, not exclusively.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“That said, there is a slant toward the perverse, the obtuse and the downright blisteringly irritating… but as the article suggests, not exclusively.”

The world was the same way without the Internet. People are people.
Only difference now is that people can post their depravity online so they all get to feel like unique snowflakes.

bigpicture says:

It’s the same argument for lots of things, it’s not the tool it’s the person using it. A car in the hands of a responsible driver, versus in the hands of a drunk driver? Even though guns are designed to kill, it is not the gun that makes the decision to kill, but the person holding the gun. (I am not an advocate of guns, but just by way of responsibility example, I know persons who have owned guns all their lives, and never killed a living thing.)

mslade says:

It's a well-documented fact that...

Being a douche makes you louder. It happens offline and on. If you’re a douche, you’re going to be loud about it. This is the fundamental problem with making communication easier and through anonymous channels. I’m not saying it’s a design flaw of communication, just a design flaw of humanity: whose idea was it to put the douche gene so close to the loudmouth gene?

What needs to happen is one douche needs to patent being a douche. Then all of the douches online (who by nature must be loud about it and give themselves away) can be sued for infringement. This would reduce online douchery while fostering a brand new market: the douche market.

Alpha Computer (user link) says:

Tragic Story Amongst Many Great Stories

This truly is a tragic story and we all need to look at how we interact with others. Yet, we as individuals are truly capable of great acts of kindness if we choose to do so. The Internet, I figure is neither good nor bad. It’s kind of like money; it’s what you do with it that matters.

For me, helping others learn computer skills via my site is important. Maybe it will inspire someone to realize that they can learn these skills and get a better job for example.

Bottom line, we the people can really mess up a good thing or we can use it for noble purposes. Will we play nice with others or drag them down?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, but Hitler and Stalin’s plans were at least more well defined then the plans of these fucktards. Stalin’s plan was ‘get rid of anyone who disagrees with me’ and Hitlers was ‘remove da non caucasion idiots fags and cripples’. These guys it seems to be ‘randomly kill 99% of the population.’

See you all in hell

Wally says:

Blame to go around

So what’s the problem? I think it’s that Abraham Biggs didn’t have a two-way relationship with his parents, but instead found comfort in growing an online relationship with people he really didn’t know. This progressed to his single act of selfishness where it seems he took his own life. But he did so in the presence of those that he assigned value to, based on the absence of a parental figure.

Sure, Social Networking is great for work, business, and keeping in touch with old College buddies. But there’s this weird phenomenon where Social networking and technology in general, has the ability to replace in-person communication. But, it shouldn’t be that way. It will never fully take place of face. The sad thing is that Abraham substituted real relationship with some jerks online.

Does this necessarily mean it needs to be legislated? I don’t think so. But a starting point would be the idea that Parents should be equipped with what’s needed to be a parent.

I think it would start with valuing your kid over that 3rd Mercedes in the driveway used to tow the boat.

Yes- this idea would involve spending time away from work with them and being involved.

What a novel concept.

hyland says:

Dislodge your head from your own rectal cavity!

The ready availability of suicide, like sex and alcohol, is one of life’s basic consolations.
-Edward Abbey

A body builder on “supplements” with a history of faked suicide attempts and mental disorder finally offs himself on a web cam… and everyone but him is to blame?

Stuff happens – every day! There are people in this world dying against their will because of things they have no possible control over – people starving to death, people being tortured, raped, raved by awful and easily preventable disease, destroyed in a million ways more painful, degrading, and horrifying than this… and who speaks for them?

Yeah… perspective, that is what I have… Do you?

The guy chose to kill himself – the actions ALREADY set in motion by the time he turned on his web cam and “went to sleep…” Nothing anyone on the internet could have done would have changed that one bit.

God granted humans free will… FREE WILL… So you have to chose to live with the consequences of that, or continue to live your life with your head firmly shoved up your own ass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Dislodge your head from your own rectal cavity!

Uh, you failed to make any point.

So on a tangent, I share my thoughts of of those who have a love for money.

People who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that often plunge them into ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Duodave (user link) says:


This happened to me too, but I was at the other end. I was online with a friend who told me she was suicidal. I knew where she lived so I contacted the sheriff’s office in her town. She was pretty pissed at me when they showed up at her doorstep to make sure she was ok, but she told me later that anger snaps someone out of a depression pretty quick. So I guess I saved her life.

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