When I say “Watch what you say in online spaces” I don’t mean censor yourself if you’re a polite user, you get down with your bad self. What we’re looking at here is public opinion and how that becomes exemplified when you look at it in an online space. Firstly you have a multitude more opinions to see / hear in an online space. You also have to deal with other peoples opinions of you. I’m the co-host of a popular podcast and we get a fair bit of feedback every time we release a new episode. For the most part this feedback is great, even if the listeners disagree, it leads to interesting conversation / discussion in the adjoining forums. Last episode though I managed to ruffle someones feathers, all because I had stated I didn’t like a certain thing. You would think I’d killed this guys mother, given the barrage he emailed. I would post it, but I don’t feel there’s really a need for that sort of thing, so I’ll say it was… impolite, aggressive and hateful.
I have to say I was taken aback that a complete stranger would not only have that reaction to what was essentially me saying “I don’t like X”, but also spending what must have been a good 15 minutes letting me know what an a-hole he thought I was. I tried to turn this into something of use to me and maybe others (in with hate out with love) by throwing this post together.
So how do we deal with people like this? It is easy to say “ignore it”, but sometimes all that does is let the person flaming you think they’ve made their point and its damaged you in some way. Personally I try and respond, even if the person is completely out of order and I do so in a polite manner. I’m not sure if this approach will change over time, but at the moment it is my strategy and I’m sticking to it.