WRONG on the Internet

WRONG on the Internet

I’ve been on the internet for a while now. Long enough to learn that most fights on the internet are not worth getting into. You see something stupid in the comments of an interesting article, you pass it by. Don’t read the comments. A few sites are exceptions, but mostly–don’t read the comments.

No, in my experience the place for debate, if it must happen, is possibly Facebook (where you are talking to friends and family, not anonymous potential trolls) and discussion forums where people want to discuss. (And then only in the appropriate places. Ask me how I learned that one.)

Then there are the discussion forums of online classes. A few points should be considered when planning a post in one of these forums.

  • Bad form to fight with classmates
  • Can you stand to just let the stupid go, when you’ll have to interact with this person a whole semester?
  • Will the teacher deduct points for your calling a classmate an idiot, if you then proceed to prove said classmate’s idiotness?
  • Will the teacher somehow, despite being intelligent enough to be a college professor, have a blind spot that allows them to be as much of an idiot as the classmate, so you lose points for being wrong when you are right?
  • Bad form to fight with classmates

I try to walk away. I take some deep breaths and ask if I really have to initiate the smackdown sequence. When I feel that I really must, I try to be polite about it, or at the very least subtle.

Like with the classmate who argued that geological processes (in a geology class) have never been witnessed and therefore are only guesses…you know what else has never been seen?

  • Your brain.
  • Electrons.
  • Some elements of the periodic table, when Mendeleev created it. But because of SCIENCE he was able to predict the elements existed, and leave space for them.
  • Also never seen, at a certain point? Evidence of the correctness of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Scientists knew it answered a lot of questions, but it wasn’t until we could get to space that we were able to test it more thoroughly. That’s how science works.

Ugh. And don’t even get me started on “it’s just a theory!” I pointed out, in an extremely polite fashion, that I felt the writer had a strong future as a physicist and suggested she go try to disprove the theory of gravity. >_>

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Writer, mom, widow. Anything else is transitory.

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4 comments on “WRONG on the Internet
  1. Bea says:

    Congratulations on TRYING to walk away and/or be subtle. Younger students who seem to be willfully stupid are definitely a trial. *HUG*

  2. Carole-Ann says:

    I’m sorry this kind of predicament happens – and that you (in this case) have to walk away.
    More and more, I’m of the opinion that there are some people who will ALWAYS try to rile their peers by saying (or doing!) something totally ‘out there’ – mainly to get a reaction – and with the prevalence of the Internet, it is happening more and more often.
    You have the RIGHT reaction – walk away, don’t comment, ignore the jibe, ignore the ignorance.
    Time (although it maybe a long time coming) usually outs these people as worthless of any concern.


    • KD says:

      “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
      ― Martin Luther King Jr.

      In other words, karma’s a b*tch. 😀

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