Earlier this week, I got into a conversation with someone online. If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter, you've probably seen my ranting about this conversation. Please excuse the repeat of the information you already have.
I posted a completely innocent comment online about how Reidar doesn't like people food and how I found that odd since my last three cats have all had a fondness for various types of human foods. I had someone jump down my throat, tell me I was a cruel and irresponsible pet parent, how I must have killed my three previous pets (one vanished, one was hit by a car, and one is still alive living in Washington with a friend of Himself's mom), and how I was trying to kill Reidar. I should be arrested for animal cruelty and have Reidar taken away.
When I countered his arguments with the fact that I didn't let them gorge themselves on it, that I only gave it to them in small portions as a treat, he said that I should stick to what is in the pet stores as treats. Another thing he brought up was if I wanted to give Reidar a real treat, I'd give him wet food and I again was being a cruel pet parent if I was depriving Reidar of this. There was more but you get the general idea.
I'll admit it. I fed the troll when I got into the debate with him. But it brought a problem to light that I've seen all over the net. People are so much nastier than they would be in person to people they might not even know. They are judgmental, they don't want to engage in a reasonable discourse, and they're more determined to tear people down than actually talk.
I seem to be among a select group of people who doesn't like tearing people down online. I couch my responses to things in a civil manner, I don't (for the most part) swear, and I respect other people's opinions even when I think they're wrong. If I don't think I can stay civil, I don't leave a comment or respond to one left for me. If it's something I'm genuinely curious about the reasoning behind, I'll ask questions. If it becomes a bash fest I'll walk away.
There are times where I will post things that can be seen as controversial in some crowds. I fully believe that if you want to talk to me about it, go ahead. I'll talk to you as long as you don't attack me personally for my beliefs. After that, the conversation is over and if it's possible you're blocked. If it's on Facebook and we're friends, we're not friends anymore.
Why isn't this a common thing on the internet? Why does it seem that there are so many more people online willing to be assholes towards others? I really don't understand this. I've heard it called human nature, but what do you think?