I Am Guilty, God Help Me

Xkcd, naturally.

Krissy used to worry that I got too wrapped up in absolutley pointless Internet slugfests until the day she realized that the reason I did it was because I was having fun, not because I was massively emotionally invested. I might stay up to thump on someone online, but once I step away from the monitor, it’s done. Letting people you don’t even know get you all wound up is no way to go through life.

31 Comments on “I Am Guilty, God Help Me”

  1. I used to get really worked up over that stuff. I had to step away for a few weeks. Then come back with a new outlook, and I just avoid conflict. My personality doesn’t let me have fun with that.

    Instead I seek out good discussions where it seem like both sides will benefit. As soon as I see it sliding away from that, I just walk away. Because you are 100% right – and that comic does such a great job of illustrating it. (xkcd is genius) It is absurd to get worked up over some anonymous interaction on the web.

  2. Yup. There are some things that are Internet-borne worth getting engaged in — the stuff going on with SFWA is one of them for me — but the vast majority isn’t.

  3. lol, that cartoon strikes amazingly close to home. Glad to hear that these slugfests don’t carry over into your “real” life.

    If I let half of the things I see floating around the internet get under my skin, I’d be even more of a psycho than I already am. :D

  4. Never thought of it that way, but yeah, it is kind of fun. Though, most of the people I slugfest with online are people I do know. Sometimes I get wound up. That’s probably no way to go through life either.

  5. My problem is exactly the opposite. I can’t seem to manage to argue over the Internet. Without seeing the other guy’s face, I quickly lose interest and go play somewhere else. Even when I should argue about something, I have trouble bringing myself to care.

  6. Heh, snap! (beat you by mere hours, but I do have the secret power of GMT on my side, I suppose!)

  7. I find that I’ve mellowed considerably over the years since I first discovered the Internet. Now, when I read some post that’s clearly in error, or that disagrees with my opinion–or, even someone who contradicts me–it just rolls off.

    I’m sure I have co-workers from back in my Customer Service days who remember me as a seething kettle of rage–but I’m convinced that had more to do with being forced to speak for the company, rather than presenting my own answers or opinions.

    Glad I don’t do that anymore.

  8. John,

    You ought to consider a side business as a “ghost flamer.” Someone sees a post that cannot be allowed to stand, but they lack the time or skill to give the offender the thumping they so richly deserve. That’s where you’d come in.

    You could bill hourly rates.

  9. Hi, my name is Rembrant and I am an internet argue-aholic. It all started when…..
    Actually I like a net argument better than a face to face. The net gives my slow mind time to ponder. The witty comeback I would think of a day latter is good to use on the net when it is just sad in face to face. I don’t think I have ever changed anyone’s opinion but I hope I have made a few think about thier opinions. Reminds me of that saying, don’t confuse me with the facts, I have already made up my mind. I made a few posts on Marlene Dotterer’s LJ about pimping. But mostly I go after points in the local papers blog. People have some pretty funny ideas.

  10. Back in the good ol’ days of the interwebs, you know, the mid nineties, I was full of virtual piss and vinegar and took every flame war as seriously as a paladin saving souls at Burning Man.

    Now, it is just good fun. And, my wife, also doesn’t get it.


  11. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in Japan!

    Women just don’t understand that someone on the internet always need to have their s f’ed up.

    And that’s why men like me need them so someone can drag us off the laptop before things get ugly. Or more often, petty.

  12. “Letting people you don’t even know get you all wound up is no way to go through life.”

    But is winding up people you don’t know any better?


    p.s. I’m just asking :)

  13. I’ve always thought that competitive sports are a way for humanity to satisfy its desire for conflict and violence in a controlled safe way (except for maybe (shudder) the child’s game of soccer. One thing most athletes learn is how to lose and not let it destroy you. The best athletes view a loss as an opportunity to learn.

    For me internet “sparring” is the same thing. One thing I admire about John is that he brings a gun to the knife fight so to speak. One can learn a lot by observing the master.

  14. ::whistles looking in the opposite direction::

    What’s worse is when I come home and my wife looks at me, squints and says, “You’ve been arguing on the internet again, haven’t you?”

  15. Most of the time I can just roll my eyes at certain things I read on the internet and move on. Sometimes, I feel the urge to respond to bad logic or posts and move on. Sometimes, I’ll get drawn into an actual argument and get frustrated when other commenters either don’t get my point or put words into my mouth.

    But every time, I just go do something else and I get over it. Life’s too short to be mad at people who you’ll never meet and are probably better people (excluding trolls) than their comments would seem to suggest in the isolated and short incident at issue.

  16. @18 Chang in Japan!

    I understand too well. And engage in it. Even though I should know better. (-.-)

    You’d think after 10 years of scrapping and hating myself even if I “win” I’d learn.

  17. “Women just don’t understand that someone on the internet always need to have their s f’ed up.”

    Uh, Chang? May I just direct you to the mommy/parenting communities on LiveJournal? Most specifically those that have anything to do with breastfeeding or clothdiapering? I’ve been laughing on the sidelines for about three years now, and the hilarity never stops. It’s an ongoing trainwreck of who is the “crunchiest”, and “fakers” will have their LJ reputations smeared to heck and back. Try ljusersecrets.suckafree.ws for several hours of a laughriot.

    Believe me, women are WORSE.

  18. And the T-Shirt should be white print on black cloth, with a pocket, ’cause that’s how I carry my cellphone. (I suppose I should write to the guy who does XKCD, but I’d far rather harass John.)

  19. I have literally had to ban myself from certain forums because I was going to lose my mind and/or my job.

    I need help. (This blog is not helping).

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