I agree with Obama. Our society has become too damn incivil. Today's opinion might seem a tad inconsistent, following my last post, an apologia for profanity. As well as a youthful tendency for occasional rudeness in my writing, but that was many, many years ago.
I've been writing for some blogs, and the reader comments never fail to freak me out. (Not the Fallen Princess commenters; you guys are a self-selecting, polite group.) But at these other blogs, which I don't want to complain about because they actually pay me, unlike the cheap-ass owner of Fallen Princess, the commenters are just full-on rude, illiterate and venomous. I expect that people will disagree with me, of course, but the hostility of the disagreement somehow still surprises me.
I've spent quite a bit of time pondering this feeling of being thrown to the psycho online lions. Also, I unsuccessfully tried to find studies about online incivility. This is the only explanation I could come up with: Obviously, the anonymity that blogs offer their commenters frees people to express themselves in horrible ways. So here's my solution: I suggest that when commenting, be brave enough to use your real name. If you wouldn't want your comment to be attributed to you, then don't say it.