To be or not to be... friendly?
There have been a few older threads discussing the value/necessity of saying "Hello" when entering a jam (or when someone enters a jam), and although the general consensus was that it is good form to do so, others made the point that some home setups might not lend themselves to chatting (drums in a separate room from the computer, etc). So I guess the upshot is... we can't/shouldn't take offense if someone does not return our "Hello", as they simply may not be paying attention to the chat. (I believe it was rAzzel that summed it up by saying "Making a sound is 'hi' enough for me.".)
This, and Andy's recent "Dr" initiative, has got me thinking again about Internet rudeness (aka YouTube Commentators Syndrome) and I've always meant to jot something down about it, so please pardon the stream of consciousness-ness...
There's a school of philosophical thought (tongue-in-cheek, I think) that says "You should believe in God" based of a risk/return assessment of your options, like so:
- You believe in God & God actually exists = You Win!
- You believe in God & God does not exist = Neutral outcome
- You do not believe in God & God does not exist = Neutral outcome (unless you count getting to feel smug as a positive)
- You do not believe in God & God does exist = You Lose!
In short, believing in God has no negative returns while not believing in God has a negative return, so you should believe in God. (Yeah, yeah, but which God, you say? A question for another rant...! :P)
I suspect that this same pedantic chain of thought can be applied to Internet rudeness, so let's see:
- Someone is actually being a dick & you think they are being a dick = You Win! You can be a dick right back with no trouble to your conscience
- Someone is actually being a dick & you do not realize they are being a dick = Neutral outcome, as your responses will not escalate any conflict (you may come off sounding like Gomer Pile, "Aw shucks...", but I wasn't sure if that counts as a negative)
- Someone is not being a dick & you do not think they are being a dick = Neutral outcome
- Someone is not being a dick & you think they are being a dick = You Lose! If you respond negatively, you are now the dick!
So does that mean, no matter what anyone says to you on the Internet, you should always assume they are not being a dick and respond positively, as this course of action has no negative consequences? Like Gandhi's policy of non-violence applied to written communication... (Gandhi didn't mind conflict/disagreement, though, hmm... maybe on the Internet words are actions?)