Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
Shannon writes, people are mean in response to a particularly nasty posting and related comments. She’s right: people can be mean, practicing random acts of meanness.
Sometimes, the acts are deliberate — nasty little cuts inflicted from the safety and distance that this disconnected environment provides. Mostly, though, the acts aren’t deliberate as much as they are accidental. Acts of humor become perceived acts of humiliation; a simple action of no consequence becomes a deep and painful wound.
The acts become warped and bent by our unusual perspective. We’re no different than a group of people standing in a room, each person facing a different direction with our backs to each other, and each shouting at the walls as loudly as possible: CAN YOU HEAR ME!
Yes! But I can’t hear you!
How can we possibly know or fully understand what will trigger pain or anger given this environment?
edited: It is true that people can practice random acts of meanness. What caused me to withdraw and isolate last week was one random act and what brought me back today was another. Yet, act of what? In addition to meanness, people also practice random acts of humor, love, arrogance, friendship, indifference, sadness, anger, despair, hope, joy, gladness, generosity, and even nobility. Unfortunately, sometimes when viewed through the quicksilver folds of this medium, these acts can also be viewed as mean.