www != the wild west

by james mathias / 2008 / personal

Sadness prevails within me.

I’m tired of hearing: “Hey man, you should have known _blank_ would happen, it is the ‘web’ after all.”

Initially, I thought maybe this topic didn’t belong on leihu, but the more I think about it, this is exactly where it belongs. It concerns the Internet and that is exactly the place our industry calls home, so ultimately it’s about our home.

When I visit a friend’s home I treat them with respect and kindness. I just do it. It’s not an option to do otherwise. It’s not my home, and therefore It’s a privilege to be there, not my right. Treating them with anything other than pure undiluted respect is blasphemy.

Likewise, when I invite someone to my home I expect the treatment returned in kind.

This idea translates directly to the web. There is no acceptable reason for pretending to be someone other than yourself in every aspect of your life. The Internet is an extension of your “real” life, not another-slash-different life.

The Internet is not a free-for-all playground where you can assume any persona you like, saying and doing whatever you want. Yes, I know it’s possible and yes, I know people do it all the time. That, my friends is exactly why I wrote this.

As a human being it hurts to know that other human beings treat each other in such terrible ways on-line and off, but it happens. Constantly.

That doesn’t make it alright. Which brings us back to the web, where it is also not OK.

I believe, treating others with kindness, is a non-optional social convention and there is no acceptable excuse to do otherwise.

@jmathias 14 May, 2008

So next time you log into an anonymous web account to lay down some hurt on an unsuspecting n00b, remember you’re just perpetuating the myth that anything goes on-line.

Which is my cue to pull on my boots and grab my shovel.

I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s. I will not Reason & Compare; my business is to Create.

William Blake circa 1820