Irina has a post up, In Defense of Haters. I think she is being remarkably generous. Obviously she is not a hater of any kind.
I have a theory but no evidence. I suspect most social media negativity comes because people believe they are untraceable. If comments were easily traceable, there’d be a lot fewer bad ones. The anonymity of the net allows people to let their dark sides to come out and play. They like to make threats and start flame wars because that is a kind of power. I can manipulate you into behaving badly. Maybe I can even make you fearful at no risk to myself.
They can be quite persistent. Also, keeping the other person down is a way to keep themselves up. That show sucks and you are pedophillic hentai for watching it can be just a way to assert their own superiority. Or bait to get you outraged enough to play their game.
If you met them in person, they’d probably be tolerant, if not actually nice. IOW, the internet itself is to them like a game of GTA. Irina and Fred are naught but icons on a screen and not “real”.
These folks are nuisances. Delete their WP comments and block them.
Say much of anything even slightly controversial on Twitter or the other short form unmoderated social media and there can be a firestorm. That’s why I don’t go there.
Bloggers who present a female personna have a harder time of it. There’s a few guys out there who can’t cope with females. They get angry about it. Plus the female stereotype is one of vulnerability. It is an opportunity to take out all that anger on an icon on a screen or a post on a blog.
Blogs of mid range popularity are good targets for this sort of thing. The more followers, the more people will see the bile you spew. It is just an attempt to get attention. But too big and you get lost in the crowd. OTOH beginning bloggers are more vulnerable to the emotional hurt. That gives the spewer a great sense of power if they can cow someone into backing down or even quitting.
I’ve been leaving my exposed participle dangling out there on my blog for a couple years now and have never been nasty-grammed about it. Outrageous numbers of views but few comments and none of them “hateful”. Apparently frontal male nudity is cool but liking the wrong anime is a capitol offense?
I am of the opinion that drive-by threat-makers are failures and cowards siting in their parents basements in their underwear at 3 am. They fantasize about all the upset they’ve caused – even as their idiot comments get deleted and they are blocked.
Real threats take a more serious approach.
OTOH I have met haters *in real life*. It happens now and then, moreso if you don’t perceive emotional signals well. And it happens if you don’t cower when confronted by a true believer. There are people who treat their particular ideological view as religious dogma. They cling desperately to it like a lifesaver in the deep water and dehumanize any who differ in opinion. You are part of the problem and to be discredited any way possible. Sounds rather like political parties today.
Freud called it, “The narcissism of small differences.” Humans are all alike in 99% of everything. However, we find slight differences and magnify them because we need to differentiate between in-group and out-group. Our very identity hinges on this small difference as well as our status in our own subgroup. Once you have been changed from a fellow human into an “other” you can be judged without thought or consideration. To concede how small the difference really is would be an existential threat to the group and its membership.
Apes have troops, lions have prides, wolves have packs, neolithic humans have tribes. Our primative brain seems primed for tribes. Today we create artificial tribes and call them races, countries, ethnicities, religions, ideologies, genders, sexual preferences, sports franchises, and political parties. Conservative and liberal are artificial tribes. So are fascist and progressive. Capitalism, communism, etc. become violent and hostile to each other because of this narcissistic group identification or “in-group-ism”. Solidarity with our particular pseudotribe trumps objectivity, open-mindedness, and compassion. It becomes a peculiar form of self-inflicted mental illness.
Plenty of experiments have shown the people will often deny obvious reality if the rest of their momentary group deny it. Like which of two greatly different lines is longer. The mere creation of two groups of volunteers who compete in an experiment can lead to such violence the experiment has to be ended before anyone got hurt.
There’s another factor. When a bonobo encounters defeat or disappointment, it deals with the situation one of two ways. It may find another cooperative bonobo for a session of grooming and/or sex. But sex depends on status. Otherwise, it will just beat on a lower status troop member who is forbidden to retaliate. Guess what that lower status bonobo does?
Between those these impulses of groupism, pathological small differences, and shit rolling downhill-ism, we create every social, political and economic ill. None of it needs to exist but nobody will let go of their hostility.
The truth is that the reason behind the hate has become a part of the person’s identity. Losing the hate is losing a part of themselves. Even folks on the low end of the status curve can feel superior to the “other”. Hostility is developed from insecurity. If you think the “other” is stupid, evil or violent, losing that means you can’t be superior anymore.
I have met people like this; intolerant of differing opinions, immediately escalating into a personal attack when one doesn’t back down. Haters cannot simply agree to disagree. A couple of these people have even been teachers in college.
Thru them I have discovered I am a likely rapist, a raging racist, antisocial, stupid, an alcoholic, an enabler of gun violence, and a drug addict. I am why women are oppressed, children are molested, LBTQ+ are hated, and POCs are second class citizens. I am part of the reason for global warming and why we fight meaningless wars in far off places. I am a walking, talking trigger mechanism. I can resolve these shortcomings by accepting the correct dogma and dissing the appropriate selection of “others”.
I should be grateful to them for having saved me great efforts on my voyage of self-discovery. I have discovered all kinds of ways I am detestable.