Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Privacy Communications The Internet

Anonymous Anger Rampant On the Web 399

the4thdimension writes "In a story that may bring out the 'duh' in you, CNN has a story about how anonymous anger is rampant on the Internet. Citing various reasons, it attempts to explain why sites like MyBiggestComplaint and Just Rage exist and why anger via the web seems to be everywhere. Various reasons include: anonymity, lack of rules, and lack of immediate consequences. Whatever the reason, they describe that online anger has resulted in real-life violence and suggest methods for parents and teens to cope with e-aggression and to learn to be aware of it." I can't figure out what makes me angrier: my habit of anonymously trolling web forums, or my video game playing.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Anonymous Anger Rampant On the Web

Comments Filter:
  • Positive thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:19PM (#25613595) Journal

    Regardless of how extreme some people respond to some parts of anger, this is a pretty positive thing. I'd rather have someone rant about something online than go out and live out the murder they wished upon someone. /stabbity

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:20PM (#25613613) Journal
    Good. There is a lot to be angry about, and people have been far too sheep-like for far too long.

    Here's a fitting response to this article from the fictional Howard Beale:

    I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

    We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be!

    We all know things are bad -- worse than bad -- they're crazy.

    It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone."

    Well, I'm not going to leave you alone.

    I want you to get mad!

    I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

    All I know is that first, you've got to get mad.

    You've gotta say, "I'm a human being, goddammit! My life has value!"

    So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

    "I'm as mad as hell,

    and I'm not going to take this anymore!!"
  • by doconnor ( 134648 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:21PM (#25613639) Homepage

    Complaining about someone being anonymous to discredit them is an ad hominem attack. Hiding their identity doesn't make their argument any worse and revealing it doesn't make it any better.

    Hiding their identity only make people more honest and allows their foolish beliefs to be addressed and discredited, which may not have been possible otherwise.

  • by ronbohn ( 1352277 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:24PM (#25613709)
    Yeah it's really ridiculous how some people act. I've noticed racism is a real biggie for gamers. I think most people out there mean well, but it seems that sometimes this stuff can have a snowball effect...one person says something, then another. I say try to cut it off at the source so when somebody says something really ignorant, just be like "dude that's not cool"
  • Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:30PM (#25613819)
    When you say something in anger in meatspace, people hold you accountable and may consider what you say as threatening, and there can be consequences, especially in the workspace. Also, people want an audience, and when they're really pissed off they want everyone to know about it. This stuff can be healthy. Of course there are other people where the anger grows inside them and they just post snide remarks and try to piss on peoples' parades and ruin people's days, these people feed their anger and become bitter. It's all about why you're doing it and if you're trying to get rid of some angry feelings and vent, or if you're festering.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:37PM (#25613953)

    Yes, those annoying anonymous corporate emails with names and phone numbers.

  • by Indras ( 515472 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:41PM (#25614019)

    Yes, but the difference is, if you vent in public with friends or coworkers, there's no trace of it left behind, except only vaguely in your memories, which are difficult to search and compile into a nice report.

    Venting on the internet, however, is practically permanent.

  • Re:Positive thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:43PM (#25614083) Homepage

    Various reasons include: anonymity, lack of rules, and lack of immediate consequences

    Growing up, we are taught how to act "proper", and much of that involves keeping our emotions bottled up. Everyone gets frustrated with coworkers, on the road, etc. but rarely says anything for fear of consequences. Anger isn't any more rampant on the web than it is in real life, it is just expressed freely here.

    So what is the article really suggesting? That we make rules to have everyone bottle up like normal? A lot of what people say on the net might be exaggerated, but I'm sure this is merely a symptom of finally being able to speak your mind, with the oppression of society lifted. It's like kids cussing a lot with friends because it's forbidden at home, then they grow up and suddenly they don't cuss at trivial things anymore, because they're free to do it.

  • Road Rage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WorkingDead ( 1393377 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:55PM (#25614319)
    The same goes for road rage. You would never run down the hallway at work, while on your cell phone, yelling at all the other people who are not full out sprinting. But you sure would on your way there in the morning.
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:21PM (#25614751)
    Coincidentally, I watched "Network" again this past weekend and was really struck by how timely it was. Which is to say that anger is nothing new. (Nor are any of the other complaints Howard Beale verbalized!) What may be new is how mcuh more depersonalized we've all become due, in part, to the ever-increasing amount of time we spend observing machines - be it television, video games or computers. From the same period as "Network" I would recommend you rread "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander.
  • Re:Road Rage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:27PM (#25614877)

    But they would never cut right in front of you and slow down so much as to impede your progress while another person walked at a similar speed blocking the rest of the hallway. And at worse, if they did this (for instance, standing in a doorway) a mere "excuse me" would let you by to continue on faster.

    It's precisely because the roadway doesn't mirror the hallway that people get so frustrated. I have seen some pretty nasty episodes in the lines at Costco.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:29PM (#25614899) Homepage

    A "snowball" is a term used to describe an affect of exponential increase, not a person.

    Snowball was a character in Clerks - The opening plot point to a rather uncomfortable scene. I find it distasteful (pun intended) that you feel the need to bring him up here. However if you were instead referring to the Trotsky-pig from Animal Farm you are entirely forgiven - That is a fine example of a large group turning on their victim due to mob mentality and a malicious leader acting as a catalyst.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Machtyn ( 759119 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @02:19PM (#25615777) Homepage Journal
    It's interesting that you rate anarchy higher than order, or "efficient society". The rule of law and order prevent the anarchy that would, in the end, destroy everyone and everything.

    Yes, there are a bunch of problems with society. But these problems aren't because of the law and societal norms, it is because people are breaking the law and societal norms. You state "Dictator Bush"... yes, I suppose he's broken some of the law and that's why people are angry with him. I'm angry at McCain and Obama. Why? Because they break the rules or their platform is based on breaking the rules that are tried and true. (Change is not necessarily good.) People are angry with the financial markets. Why? Because the ones at the top are breaking the law and rules.
  • like road rage (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AdamThor ( 995520 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @02:29PM (#25615951)

    I heard about this one with respect to road rage: You're in your car, which you psychologically treat as your personal "territory". You act more dominant when you're on your own turf. So you get a bunch of people together who are acting dominant and the sparks fly. In this case it's your computer, in your house. Not too suprising that people in general might expect more deference than they otherwise would.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @02:56PM (#25616387)
    When a man is in fear of his life, fighting in the service of those who cannot defend themselves, it is glorious regardless of how ugly it is. Not because he overcame his enemy, but because he overcame his fear and made a sacrifice of himself.

    The sole and entire purpose of violence is to overcome an enemy. There is no other excuse for it. To glorify a courageous sacrifice, separately from any contribution it may make to overall victory, is to encourage entirely futile waste of life, and is to my mind wholly monstrous; that is why I say that people who put about such ideas and perpetuate 'the old Lie' are the ones who ought to be shot first when the violence starts.

    Now to sacrifice one's life in such a way that it does contribute substantially to the overcoming of an enemy, that might be something that should reasonably be encouraged - though I will not call it glorious, it is at least as sordid and horrible as any other violent death. But there are many who courageously sacrifice themselves for nothing. For example, there was nothing worthwhile at all about the sacrifices made by the kamikaze pilots. They died entirely in vain, for by that stage there was no hope that their deaths could ever save their country. They would have done far better to go home to their families and live out their lives there. Will you call it glorious?

  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cyran0 ( 628243 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @02:59PM (#25616447)
    Isn't it funny how everyone who imagines this kind of dystopian revenge fantasy imagines themselves as the victorious overthrowers, rather than the overthrown or as those who get caught in the middle? The truth is that the vast majority of those who think in these terms are too busy playing their dystopian video games to actually do anything. The few wingnuts who do actually try to act usually just end up shooting up their school, place of employment, or whatever, and either end up in prison or shooting themselves. The ones who post about it online at least provide a clue as to their intentions, increasing the probability that they will be stopped.
  • Re:Positive thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @03:06PM (#25616537) Homepage Journal

    I think you are right, in that removing the source of anger is important. That, after all, is the point of anger, isn't it? Except that in so many situations you can't remove the source of anger by being angry. That's civilization for you: you can't haul of and smack somebody you disagree with into submission.

    I agree that if continually provoked to anger (or tempted to do something you are addicted to), you'll end up giving in. But getting angry (unless you can remove the source of anger that way) is no more useful than getting drunk to relieve your alcoholism.

  • Actually I believe John Gabriel's Greater Internet Theory [tri-bit.com] explained the phenomena in the most clear and concise terms.
  • Re:Positive thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday November 03, 2008 @03:32PM (#25616937) Homepage

    I remember someone saying (maybe it's a famous quote?) something like, "Being angery is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies." Or maybe it was hate instead of anger or something, but the basic idea is that when you are angry at someone, sometimes your anger is hurting you more than it hurts them.

    I think anger and fear are useful emotions, but sometimes our reactions to them are not useful. It may be that you could argue the same thing about emotions like love and confidence. You can try too hard to hold on to the things you love, and you can get yourself into trouble by being over-confident, for example.

    I may be getting too philosophical here. I guess I'm just saying that there are things that you should get angry about, and so I don't feel comfortable talking about it as a wholly negative emotion. I think the problem is when people don't know how to deal with that anger, especially when that anger is rooted in some other obscure emotional issue that results in misdirected anger.

    And though it's true that acting angry may make you feel more angry, bottling it up or covering it with a smile won't necessarily help you deal with that anger. Ideally we'd all find the real source of our anger, deal with it properly, and figure out how to not get angry in the first place, but I wouldn't be on that utopia coming any time soon. In reality, sometimes finding an appropriate outlet may be helpful.

    On the other hand, I'm not sure being an angry troll on the Internet is an appropriate outlet. It's probably better to go to the batting cage, or whatever kind of meditative physical exertion you prefer. (That's not something I actually do, but it seems like an obvious example: go hit shit with a baseball bat in a socially acceptable environment.)

  • Re:Sad Really (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Achoi77 ( 669484 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @03:53PM (#25617171)

    Plus it gives you 10 strength and 50% damage resistance if your health drops below 20%.

    Not since the patch. :-( The buff was considered OP because it would proc passively when your HP dropped below 20%. They have since moved it to a Troll racial ability and made it so it can be cast at any time. But they only recieve the full benefit of the buff if they are badly damaged. Fortunately it's got a long cooldown so it can't be spammed.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @03:56PM (#25617211) Homepage

    Yes, there are a bunch of problems with society. But these problems aren't because of the law and societal norms, it is because people are breaking the law and societal norms.

    Quite frequently, yes, but hardly always. Laws and societal norms can easily be a problem unto themselves. Jim Crow laws, and the societal racism that created and justified them, were a very big problem. The laws of China, or the U.S.S.R., were a major societal problem even when they are being followed. There is no possible way you could say that the problems of society are only caused by breaking the law or societal norms.

    You are quite correct, though, in stating that this is better than anarchy. The solution to problematic laws is to correct those laws, eliminating or replacing them. Not to do away with the rule of law entirely. Part of the reason, aside from what any rapid descent into anarchy would do for the safety of the public at large, is that anarchy is unstable. Anarchy can last only as long as it takes for the wealthy and ambitious to decide that an absence of rules is a perfect opportunity for them to impose their own. The practical reality of anarchy is that it leads to war and dictatorship. The only exceptions are the same exceptions wherein Communism works similarly to its ideal: Small, isolated communes that exist as social experiments within an otherwise stable society of laws.

    You state "Dictator Bush"... yes, I suppose he's broken some of the law and that's why people are angry with him.

    I'm quite angry at Bush for things that are not against the law at all. Being such a frakin ignorant moron that you think you can invade Iraq without a plan for the occupation and think everything will turn out okay isn't illegal, and judging by the number who bought it at least at the beginning, isn't against societal norms either.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday November 03, 2008 @04:35PM (#25617701)

    No one need answer your agenda. We do so in the quest for communications and to seek common ground. We don't whip out weapons and start shooting.

    There is only rarely justification for violence of any kind. The Bush administration has abused this in the quest of fear-mongering. My long dead ancestors fought in Virginia, then years later at Antietam, Gettysburg, and so on. Some of them were caucasian.

    When I got my draft card, I burned it. I'd do it again. Vietnam wasn't justified, nor was Iraq War I or II. Capturing the madmen of 9/11 is justified; they must be brought to justice, and they so far have escaped, except perhaps one.

    In the interim, over 450,000 Iraqi fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and mothers, aunts, children have been killed because of Dick Cheney's ego, and George Bush's unwitting aid to the enemy. Yes, Saddam Hussein was horrible. But then, so has been the violence of Tutsis against Hutu, the red fields of Cambodia, and so many other horrible places.

    You stop violence one situation at a time. It can be done. There is no justification for taking the life of another except in self-defense. Only animals believe otherwise, not humans that can respect feelings, or choose to ignore seeming insult.

  • by dmizer ( 1081799 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @02:14AM (#25622933)

    That is not really true. The reality as internet usage spread is, more violent, immature and angry people are using. These people are already violent and will if they feel insulted in the normal interpersonal public space, lash act and attempt to brutalise and dominate those who they feel have insulted them.

    I agree to a certain point. However, online anonymity allows people to say and do things they would never consider doing in real life. Mostly because if they did so in real life, there would be immediate, undesirable, and often painful repercussions. People who are violent and angry will always be violent and angry, but the internet allows people who are normally passive to act out on things which society's mores [wikipedia.org] would otherwise prevent.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly