How to Resist Drinking the Internet Haterade

Lately I have seen more and more rudeness online — or let's call it socially inappropriate or rude remarks, name calling, denigrating, lying — that is personally offensive. When the Internet first became open to the public, there were chat rooms that usually laid down a few rules to safeguard against obnoxious remarks, “calling out,” bullying, and downright illegal behavior like soliciting minors and stalking. Why is it that many people feel it is okay to say things that they generally would not say to a person's face? Recently, I was censored (comment deleted) for defending someone else's right to an opinion and said nothing inappropriate. Where do you draw the line between censorship and good manners?

~Miss Manners

All good questions, Miss Manners. Unfortunately, we live in an era where it doesn't matter what you say. The mere act of saying anything in a public forum (be it a blog, comment, chat room, website, whatever) regardless of whether it's controversial, is enough to incite the lynch mob, perpetually lurking, black eyes to match their black hearts aglow in the dim light of their computer monitors, which are, I imagine, filled with pictures of sad kittens.

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