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Online people are real

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Dec 16, 2000 at 05:53 UTC ( #47009=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This was just brought home to me yesterday when I learned that someone I knew online just killed himself.

This really hit home.

Please remember. When you deal with someone online, that is a real person, with real feelings and possibly real problems. Think twice about that before hauling out the flamethrower.

(I had planned to meet Ben Kosse in person next summer. That won't be happening...)

Oh, and I would like to give a special thank you to ybiC for reasons that should be obvious.

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Re: Online people are real
by mrmick (Curate) on Dec 16, 2000 at 16:20 UTC
    My deepest sympathies...

    This is something that people often forget too often. I think it may be that when one is typing a message, they are looking at the computer and really don't appreciate that the target for their message is indeed a person.

    One rule that I try to follow is "How would I feel if this message were intended for me?". This sometimes prompts a change in the wording or even making a choice not to post.

    Stay strong, tilly .


      I always knew he was argumentative. What I had never thought about is whether that might be a sign that something else was going on. I seriously suspect that he had a borderline personality. But having had that driven home, I have to wonder about whether some others I know online have real problems. Stop and think. How would you feel if you just got through flaming someone then the next thing you hear, they committed suicide?

      Life is too short to waste fighting.

        Yes, he was the first one I thought of after reading your node. It is well worth it for all of us to remember that no matter how well we think we understand and know each other online, it's all just keystrokes and often filtered through personas designed specifically to hide what might be perceived as weaknesses or anything "abnormal". While I don't think anyone on-line should blame themselves for such a sad event because of how little we know, by the same token we should be that much more careful of how we deal with others online.

        Maybe we can add another commandment to Fastolf's list:

        Review all your writing as if it were directed at you, and consider the possibilities.

        I'd like to be able to assign to an luser

Re: Online people are real
by royalanjr (Chaplain) on Dec 18, 2000 at 21:45 UTC
    My sympathies as well.

    I have seen things like this before. People seem so willing to shred one another so viciously online.

    Remember that what you type is often taken much harsher than you intend it because there is no vocal tone or body language to help aid the other person in knowing just what you mean.

    Be nice, take a deep breath, and think before you type.

    Roy Alan

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