People Online Are Dumb, pt. 2: The Clearing-Upening
Wednesday February 16th 2011, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Better Than The Machine, Me, Myself, and Reid

Two nights ago I posted an entry called “Is It The Rest Of The Internet, Or Am I The Dumbass?” from which I cut three paragraphs yesterday. I did this because yesterday morning I found that I had several responses to that entry that, while supportive, did not address what I thought I had written about. It became very evident very quickly that what I had written suggested some things I did not mean to suggest. So I’m go to address a few things about that post, including what I meant to convey.

What I did not mean:

1) That I think all the comedy I make is good. I was sincere about taking responsibility for the bad videos I’ve put online, and I know there have been several. I mentioned Better Than The Machine putting up videos that we weren’t necessarily happy with because sometimes we just needed to put something up. There are a lot of comedy attempts both online and off that I look back on and wince.

2) That I am insulted by people that don’t understand or like the comedy I create. There have been times when I thought we had created a great video and then we put it on YouTube only to find out no one got it or no one liked it or both of those things. When that happens, I’m disappointed both in my inability to have pulled off what I was trying to pull off and that I had no clue that it wouldn’t go over well. That’s totally on us, though. It’s our job to entertain, it’s not the job of the audience to be entertained.

3) That I am offended by responses to our videos. I know better than to take all the things people say online to heart. Some people go out of their way to be mean on the Internet, and they feel comfortable doing so because they are relatively anonymous and not within close proximity to whatever or whomever they’re attacking. People attack our videos because they don’t like them, and being really mean about things you don’t like is cool to a lot of people on the Internet. Sometimes people attack our videos for no real reasonable reason whatsoever. So it goes. I’ve been on the Internet since I was six or seven; I know what to expect.

When I worked for the Huffington Post reviewing incoming comments people were trying to get posted in response to articles and blogs, I discovered a whole new level of horrible people on the Internet. They are racist, sexist and bigoted about anything else you can possibly imagine. These people threaten violence, and when they do, they go way beyond your run-of-the-mill Internet bullies that wish cancer or death or cancer leading to death on other people. There were explicit descriptions of violent acts they wanted to commit against other people, including child abuse and rape and murder, because these people are anonymous and feel empowered saying these things. (I must note that these sorts of awful comments don’t get past the diligent comment moderators of the Huffington Posts)

There have been nasty, personal comments made about all five members members of BTTM on YouTube and around the web. They don’t compare to any of the despicable things people would try to slip through the cracks on the Huffington Post, but there have still been some really terrible personal attacks for no reason. With no provocation whatsoever. We generally laugh at how messed up the people who make those comments are and we move on.

People can and do attack my material, and they can and do attack me on the Internet. And that’s it. I make it a point not to engage these people.

What I did want to express:

1) Nothing groundbreaking, nothing complicated, in fact, something you probably already know: lots of people on the Internet are dumb. I’m not talking about cyberbullies or the kinds of terrible people I described above. I’m talking about people getting online that are either natural morons that somehow managed to find their computer and turn it on, or people who are of average intelligence whose IQ’s plunge a good 70 to 80 points when they open their web browsers. That’s it. That’s what I was trying to say, but I built it up and I made it too focused on me and a project of mine. I was using that particular project to show people who weren’t reading an explanation and then were making weird statements because they didn’t know what was going on because they didn’t read a couple of sentences.

Thanks for your kind words and for giving me a chance to clarify the particular venting I needed to do that day. Ironically, I was trying to use an example about something being incredibly clear, but I did not write it clearly.


2 Comments so far
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I agree with you here Reid. I can’t remember receiving any constructive criticism from peope’s comments. I can’t read them anymore. I still think about making a video making fun of these people.

Comment by Christina 02.20.11 @ 8:33 pm

I feel like Paul had a really great idea about this that I was really into that he tossed out. I can’t really remember it, though. Hmn… I’ll have to go look through my notebooks to see if I can find some specifics.


Comment by Reid 02.20.11 @ 11:12 pm

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