This Article is About
online communities
jot down
rest assured that
death of a child
text messaging
left behind
Feeling Judged? Why Our Online Communities May Make Us All Feel Free To Pass Judgment On Others
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Feeling Judged? Why Our Online Communities May Make Us All Feel Free to Pass Judgment on Others

If you want to feel judged, even raked over the virtual coals, wander to any online site, sign up and then start posting opinions. It does not matter if you just jot down the first amusing thing that wanders into your mind or you put careful thought into exactly what you are going to say, what words you will use and the tone of the overall message, rest assured that as soon as you click "submit" there will be several things that may potentially happen. You may get positive responses or you may get negative responses but rest assured, you will be judged, regardless of the outcome.

Any story, regardless of its source or its tone will lead to judgmental comments. If there is a death in the article or blog post, especially the death of a child, you can add in the maudlin, overly religious and self-righteous to those judgmental comments as well. The minute a child dies, regardless of the circumstances or the amount of detail included, the "better" parents show up to be as vicious as possible to the family that is left behind, even if its indirectly. Hopefully, these people never see the pure vitriolic comments that are being hurled at them in the name of "media attention", but it is likely that a few examples will make it through. That has to hurt and probably makes a difficult situation even worse.

And why do these people feel that they have the right to be so vicious to others? Experts studied the behavior of people who were discussing a number of various scenarios but doing so either anonymously (online or through text messaging) or face to face with the people involved in the scenarios. The study found that the group who did not have to face actual people were more prone to stronger words and harsher assessments than those who were looking right at the people they were judging.

Most of the comments on these boards are entered by people who use an avatar that gives no details about who they are as a person and use a screen name that is equally hard to read. They do not use their name or location, their gender or any other identifier so that they are detached from the words they are using- so that they can say whatever they feel about every topic they come across. We hide behind our fake names and fake photos and pretend to know everything about everything without fear that someone will call us out on any of it.

Street Talk

I so love your articles Amie. This is spot on!

  about 1 decade ago

Oh thanks! This one was an obvious one- we are really kind of vicious when we are online, especially when we are totally anonymous.

  about 1 decade ago
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