Awkward things.

How do we Solve a Problem Like the Haters?

on October 19, 2014


I’ve got something important and angry to say and I will try to say it in the kindest, least confrontational way that I can, but sometimes I get the urge to just take certain people, slather their face in superglue and slap a picture of Nicholas Cage over it.

This picture of Nicholas Cage:


It would be a beautiful moment.

Anyway, what I want to say is this:

Stop saying mean shit on the internet!

Stop it. Stop it right now. This has really been bothering me lately, and I don’t know if it’s because there’s more evil, or because my eyes are more open to it. Maybe I’m wandering over to where the trolls hang out, or maybe the trolls have figured out that they don’t need to chill under the bridge and have skulked out to crash the party. Trolling really is the internet equivalent of rocking up to someone’s smart casual, lurching wildly at the host’s wife, (whilst burbling on about how she’s fat and has no boobs) and then pissing in the crème brûlée. It’s gross and it’s rude and, what are we? Five? Grow the hell up.

This is not kindergarten. You can’t just screw with everyone’s colouring, steal the red scooter and rely on your meagre IQ to get you off with a few secs on the naughty step. I mean you do have the diminished intelligence excuse, but really. If you know that you’re a few chips short of a motherboard, just stay away from the information superhighway. Maybe collect stamps or photograph birds or something? Surely there’s something completely harmless that you can take up your time with. Then again, I suppose that idyllic pastimes can’t really compete with telling eleven year old girls to go die in a fire.

How amazing is the internet? Actually think about it for a moment. Imagine explaining the internet to people from, say, Victorian times. Can you? If you’re super smart, probably, (go you! I am not jealous in the slightest of your genius. At all. Really.) but the best I could come up with is saying that it’s a computer magic thingy that allows us to send friends and strangers our feelings about Taylor Swift’s Tumblr and pictures of baby sloths. And then I worried about explaining Tumblr, and then I gave up, because there are seriously enough conundrums in life without having to make people time travel into a land populated by Lolcats.

I really do not know how this internet malarkey works at all, and that confuses and enrages me. But even though I have these crazy intense feels about my inferiority and inability to code, I have no intension of heading over to and flaming some adorable, unsuspecting internet-users. By the way, doesn’t seem to exist, so if someone makes zillions off my awesome idea, I’d appreciate the kudos. But as I was saying… I mean, there are no WIRES! The internet is an incredible (possibly Pagan) device and we don’t appreciate it enough. But do you know who really doesn’t appreciate it? Haters. They could be using it for so much good, but instead they want to hurt people, random people, people they don’t even know.

And I wonder what they’re like, these trolls. I wonder where they are and why they ache so much to scar strangers. In my head they’re the sorts of people who build their own sad faces – downturned mouths and frowns and this permanent misery etched in their skin like their personal dark cloud. They bend over their laptops and they mutter and snipe, clicking on every single thing that they can find to burn down. But how many people like that can there be? They can’t all be the stereotypical trenchcoated loner. I don’t know anyone who would do that. I think of each of my friends and I can’t imagine that they’d have the inclination, or even the time to screw with someone’s happiness. I bet that you’re the same. I bet all your friends are angels, right? Or at least half-decent folk. So where are all these haters hiding?

Wherever they are, we need to hunt them down, with our pitchforks and our torches and our battering ram. We will storm the castle and rescue the girl and- Hold on, that’s a scene in Beauty and the Beast. Scratch that. You kill more haters with pictures of Nicholas Cage than fire. What are these people after? They want to break stuff, right? They want to smash bottles and burn buildings and break bones. They want to screw society from their sofa, and by reacting, maybe we’re letting them. Every time you enter a flame war, every time you give in to Godwin’s law, every time you grab a tub of popcorn and settle down to watch the fur fly, you are saying that it’s ok. And it’s not. It’s so not ok.

So here’s what I think we should do:

  1. Don’t bait haters, UNLESS you are commenting on their bile with the cutest pictures you can find. I’m thinking sloths feeding hamsters, while kittens look on and cross-stitch motivational slogans for miniature llamas. Or something like that.*
  2. Spread the love, man. I’m talking about whenever you read something that you like, even a little bit, why not say something? Even if it’s just a simple ‘I liked this’, or a thumbs up, or whatever. Just make an effort to spread peace and love and smiley faces. If we all work together, we can start a kindness revolution.
  3. And don’t be one of them. Think before you comment or tweet or reblog the hate. How innocuous is what you’re saying, really? You might think it doesn’t matter or it won’t hurt, but stick on the other person’s shoes. It’s hard to put your heart on the internet. It’s hard to create something and set it free, only to have it shot down. If you don’t like something, stop reading. There’s no need to say. Maybe it wasn’t meant for you. Of course, if you have constructive criticism, word it well and send that shit out into the universe. Hopefully you’ll help. But if all you have to say is how you wasted five minutes of your life, YOU’RE WASTING MORE TIME BY COMMENTING. Grab some common sense and click on something that hits the right spot.

We need to remember that people are people, and people have feelings. So don’t trample over their feelings. Make love, not war. Appreciate, don’t spread the hate. And above all things, be as nice as nanas knitting in the snow to a Boyzone song. Or you’ll be waking up and looking in the mirror and seeing Nicholas Cage screaming back at you.

You have been warned.

*WARNING: The most evil people will not be deterred by this, and will possibly respond with comments or pictures about killing said cute things. Proceed with caution and the strongest of stomachs.


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