Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Why do people make hateful and judgemental comments?

Asked by GloPro (8213 points ) April 3rd, 2014 from iPhone

Why do so many people make such nasty comments on Internet news stories?

Here is a perfect example. This 55 year old man spent two nights lost in the woods in the snow. He was found alive and it was a wonderful outcome. Yet you scroll down to the comments and most of them are calling him stupid, ugly, and a waste of taxpayer money. The comments would really make you feel like crap if it was you. I hope I’m never in the news.

When did it become fair play to bash an innocent person for no reason? Why do people comment at all if they only have mean, uninformed things to say?

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83 Answers

janbb's avatar

I’ve read about this phenomenon and some of it has to do with the anonymity of the internet. People will comment differently online than they would in person.

turtlesandbox's avatar

These people don’t have the nerve to say these things to a person standing in front of them. I think they must feel little and not appreciated in real life situations, so they take out their frustrations on the internet.

Cruiser's avatar

I agree with @janbb as most of the naysayers criticizing this man are anonymous which I also believe encourages this kind of response. Anyone here at Fluther more than 48 hours knows this dynamic all too well.

I wonder what kind of take away Mr. Root will have from this experience. My GF and I went for a hike in a remote hilly terrain on a trail that was not maintained. It eventually withered away to nothing more than a rabbit trail and we got lost. For over 8 hours we wandered and it was getting dark and cold. I did have an apple and an orange. Eventually we came across a main trail but it was well after dark and thoroughly exhausted we found our way back to our car. It was scary to think what anyone who is truly lost and on their own has to contend with. That lesson taught me to be way more prepared not with only what I bring with me even on the shortest of hikes but to familiarize myself with where I was heading and to make sure a 3rd party knew where we were going and when we should return.

I hope none of those morons dissing Mr. Root ever get lost….it sucks!

ragingloli's avatar

Anonymity erases inhibition, and inhibition reveals the true nature of humanity. Always.

CWOTUS's avatar

The phenomenon certainly isn’t new, it’s just more public now that the internet is so widely used and most news stories have “comments” sections (depending on the moderation that they enforce) where people can express these kinds of thoughts more or less permanently.

If you were to have visited a playground, mall or office water cooler any time before the internet even existed you’d have seen men and women, boys and girls – and their nominal supervisors, teachers or anyone else who should have been in a supervisory or authority position over them making the same kinds of comments – or worse.

So the only thing new here is the semi-permanent nature of the commentary.

Jellies are not immune.

GloPro's avatar

But WHY? @ragingloli touched the tip of the iceberg here. What compels people to say really hurtful, mean things for no reason?

I mean, if I ended up on national news, for whatever reason, I would be compelled to read about myself. It’s kind of cool, I guess, to have your 15 minutes of spotlight. Even if it’s for a silly reason. But then you scroll down to the comments and easily 75% or more of them are calling you horrible things and attacking you. It’s bullying and would make even the strongest of egos feel bad. I don’t get it.

I just felt compelled to respond to every one of the negative comments, but all that would get me is them to attack me.

Jellies do pretty well, I think. I see disagreements, some emphatic, but not outright hateful comments.

hominid's avatar

As others have mentioned, some of it has to do with anonymity.
Keep in mind that the few sad individuals who are bragging about their lack of compassion may not reflect a majority in any sense. It may be that the people who are moved to comment in a local newspaper are primarily those who are dealing with their own issues. Most of us just read the article and move on.

hearkat's avatar

People usually put others down as a veiled attempt to puff up their own egos by implying that they are so clever, they would never find themselves in such a situation. In doing so, they simply demonstrate their lack of compassion and their egocentrism to the rest of us, which makes them easier to identify and block.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

People like to hide behind their keyboard and throw insults at others to make themselves feel better. It lets them imagine they’re too smart for that to happen to them. Guess what, it’s so frigging easy to get lost in a wilderness area. I walked into the Mt Marcy forever wild area and I was completely lost for a bit. It’s so wild it’s scary. I never go into some place like that without a compass now.

elbanditoroso's avatar

To answer your question:

because people are free to think as they wish. Our society is not made up of automatons. Which means that some group of people will say things that are odious and rude, and others will say things that are good and complimentary.

The facts is the people are all different and will react differently to stimuli.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Remember that the obnoxious people are saying more about themselves and their rudeness than the person they are disparaging.

Do you really want a society where everyone always agrees with everyone?

GloPro's avatar

Right? And people saying this moron should get the bill, blah blah, blah… Search teams are usually all volunteer and funded through donations. All of the equipment used is purchased through donations or personal equipment. Volunteering isn’t cheap, but unless someone donates it isn’t costing them a dime. Our team is blessed to have huge support in my town.

GloPro's avatar

@elbanditoroso No, I don’t want everyone to agree with everyone else. I would love a society that didn’t bully strangers, though. Did you read any of the comments section of the article? I think it’s very sad if what @ragingloli said is true. “the true nature of humanity” I just refuse to believe that is true. It makes me angry that people hate on strangers like that.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Because people are assholes. The end.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@GloPro – i read what you wrote, and I do think that the comments you alluded to are offensive and bullying.

But it doesn’t change my view. I agree with
@livelaughlove21, people are assholes. But what can anyone do about it?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@elbanditoroso Not a damn thing. People will always be assholes.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

People can be assholes, but they can also be amazing. Good and evil are just two sides of the coin. People can show either side, it’s up to them.

GloPro's avatar

Do you think being able to hide behind a computer screen has made them bigger assholes? They just seem so angry. I might not be paying attention, but I don’t see so many angry people walking around or interacting. Are they just pretending to be happy when you can see their faces? Would they harbor so much anger if there was no Internet?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@GloPro Absolutely, the computer has a lot to do with it. It’s easy to be a jerk when you’re not face to face with the person. I doubt half of these people would say the same thing if you were standing right in front of them. Cowards.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro Life can be tough some times. Shit happens. We can channel it to good things or to bad things. Some people blow off their anger by being assholes. I believe in kharma. I’m just waiting for my lottery payoff.

janbb's avatar

@GloPro I think some people do enjoy venting on the internet and are maybe either hiding their anger or just showing off. I don’t know. Or maybe just the idiots come out to play?

GloPro's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Oh, no… If money shows up in your bank account it is only disguised as good karma, I’m almost sure of it. It’s still there today, but I’m waiting for the hammer to drop. Now I want to pull it out and protect it so I can give it back on demand.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That might not be a bad idea. Then if they try to take it back, you have some leverage.

ucme's avatar

Some dumb pinheads will always see the negative, not happy unless they’re mouthing off like a demented parrot on steroids.
Pity the poor fu…oops, nearly ;-}

GloPro's avatar

Fudge packers? Yeah, I feel ya.

ucme's avatar

Heehee, there was this girl at school, her nickname was fudge.
Named after the song in the commercial, “a finger of fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I worked with a guy with the last name of Packer. My golf patner always called him Fudge.

JLeslie's avatar

Because insecure people make themselves feel better by making themseves better than other people in their own minds. On the Internet they can write the thoughts that make them feel better about themselves. In person they tell their friends or family how another person is to be ridiculed.

As far as this particular incidient, we just had a Q about people who take risks. I don’t think taking this run could be put on the scale of being a ten on the dare devil list, but it seems this path during that time of year is thought to be dangerous. Time and money and worry were spent trying to locate this man, when he can run somewhere safer. It isn’t like he was running on a very beaten path in good weather and God forbid, had a medical emergency that we all could empathasize with. They were running in groups, so I guess that should have created a relatively safe condition, this was a very freak thing. Still, people need to consider that if a bad thing happens in dangerous weather or circumstances they burden other people with their choices.

Still, no excuse to be nasty, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to point out that maybe during the winter months people need to be extra prudent.

I do think some of this need to boost ones own ego is taught in families. The way people do it can often be seen generationally, but not always. A parent talks like that and then so do some of the children, etc. if the person is put down a lot as a child, their method to feel better is to put others down, it is somewhat of a learned behavior. Just like children who are bullied at home bully other children. It’s not always the case, but is a lot of the time from what I have seen.

filmfann's avatar

Anonymity erases inhibition, and inhibition reveals the true nature of humanity. Always.

@ragingloli Did you mean the lack of inhibition?

GloPro's avatar

Mr. Root went running on a warm, sunny, dry day with 7 other people that are a running club. The area is remote and there is no cell service. The hiking trails intersect in several places and can be confusing year-round. They are kind of hairy in some places, it’s true. It didn’t get cold or begin raining, which turned into an unexpected lower elevation snowstorm, until the middle of the first night he was lost.
His biggest mistake was leaving the group. I never venture into the woods unprepared because of my experience on Search and Rescue, but I can easily see how this could happen to anybody that goes into the woods. The reason Search teams exist in the first place is because we gladly give our time to those in need. More people should put up or shut up and have empathy for anyone finding themselves in a bind enjoying nature.

I think you are right, being nasty is a learned behavior. It makes me wonder if, as adults, they gravitate to hang out with other nasty natured people, or if this is something they do only behind the keyboard. It also makes me wonder which type would survive if major shit went down… The inherently good, or inherently nasty.

filmfann's avatar

<—- Having corrected @ragingloli I can now die a happy man.

janbb's avatar

@filmfann And I corrected gailcalled. It is a red-letter day.

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here; Jan, thank heavens someone caught her. She can really be insufferable. Plus she is sneaking up on me and cutting my nails, French manicure and all.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Screens are two dimensional. It is easy to hate what you cannot taste, smell, touch, hear. People give the same emotion to people as to animals, or fictional characters. To many, if they can’t feel the warmth of someone’s body heat, they ARE a fictional character. For many these days, the news is little more than a busy comic strip.

GloPro's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers GA. That’s a good analogy.

kritiper's avatar

Superiority, control complexes. Denial of anyone being smarter or knowing more than they.

LornaLove's avatar

On the Internet we are exposed to large quantities of people at once. One’s we’d never meet in real life, thank goodness. This is just a taste of that strangeness. Also, I think today’s society thinks it is clever and cunning to be rude, obnoxious, self-serving and hateful. That behavior gets praise.

It is a complete reversal of other era’s, where self-sacrificing behavior was praised. As was good manners and kindness.

Symbeline's avatar

I would like to know as well. If you go on YouTube or ListVerse and look at all the comments for nearly any video or list, it’s so deplorable.
What causes people to be pricks on the internet, what I can only guess at is all your life you hold back to social standards, but since the internet is anonymous, you can let go. Well, there has to be some reason.

And lmao; fudge packer lol.

Symbeline's avatar

@Darth_Algar Haha Penny Arcade rocks. I love how they actually mention YouTube as example.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I find on social website it is the member with the biggest mouth that gets themselves the backing of others by saying mean comments. Everyone is usually afraid to stand up to them or disagree since that so called “member” can make life miserable if they don’t agree.

One thing for sure, it is difficult to have an opinion and state it in a nice way, IF the majority has a different opinion. so much for free speech…...

JLeslie's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Interesting observation.

eno's avatar

The comment section is open for feedback. They want to hear people’s thoughts on the news story. Even on live television, they encourage you to go and share your thoughts online.

What you find “hateful” is actually quite justified. I happen to agree with the “hateful” comments. This person who survived is far from innocent and those with “hateful” comments are actually informing the public of what the news story was lacking.

The runner did something incredibly stupid (went running in rugged terrain in a remote part of Placer County while it was snowing) and then because of his stupidity, he got lost, caused a lot of tax dollars to be wasted on him, and even more idiotic is that the news decided to share his survival with the world, even after it was known that his stupidity caused him to get lost in the first place.

The only thing the news should have shared with the world is how a stupid man made a stupid choice that ended up wasting a shit load of tax dollars to save him and that is the only reason we’re sharing this with you.

GloPro's avatar

@eno Everything you stated is incorrect. I know all of the facts because I personally found Bob. I didn’t see you there. I had not disclosed this fact intentionally.

Bob was not running in the snow. It was warm, sunny, and dry the day of the run. The sleet came in the first night, snow the second. The trail system is pretty complex in that area and it is pretty easy to get turned around. It is not as simple as getting lost and just turning around. Even with a Topo map and GPS I had to really think about my surroundings while on search.

As far as tax dollars, again you are 100% off in your thinking. Search and Rescue teams, including all of the equipment, vehicles, etc are funded completely through DONATIONS. My crew gets $7000 a year from state funding. All staff, with the exception of the Deputy Sheriff that leads us, are completely volunteer. My ropes trainer volunteered 2000 hours last year and got national recognition. The only way any money comes out of your pocket is if you choose to donate. In the event of a helicopter rescue, yes, the state funds a training budget, which is typically what is allocated for rescues. It’s a win/win, since training has to be done anyway.

So to reword your statements to be factual, a nice man made a mistake that led to scary consequences. A large team of like-minded selfless outdoor enthusiasts willingly gave their time and resources independent from the government in order to help a man in need. It was nothing short of a miracle that he made it two nights in really bad conditions. A lot of people felt incredibly happy and proud to have helped him.

We joke that if people weren’t idiots we’d be out of work. But sometimes things happen. People with rude, inaccurate assumptions should keep their opinions to themselves. But in the event one of those jerks ever finds themselves lost or hurt on a trail, I will gladly give my time to help them out.

eno's avatar

@GloPro The trail system is pretty complex in that area and it is pretty easy to get turned around. It is not as simple as getting lost and just turning around. Even with a Topo map and GPS I had to really think about my surroundings while on search.

You just helped prove my point. The guy went running in place that was already potentially life threatening. That isn’t a mistake. He knew the risks based on the environment he was entering. Why didn’t he check the weather conditions for the day before running? Negligence.

@GloPro In the event of a helicopter rescue

three dozen searchers and a helicopter Sunday—news

Helicopters aren’t cheap, neither are its pilots or the gas to fuel it——tax dollars.

The only thing I was mistaken on was the search and rescue source of funding.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s a way of saying “I’m so smart it would never happen to ME” (Just glanced through other comments….don’t have time to read them all because THE TWINS ARE ALMOST HERE!!!!!)

GloPro's avatar

@eno His mistake was separating from the group. It is possible to get lost on any trail. That doesn’t make them “potentially life threatening.” Hundreds of people hike there annually. I think your opinion of hiking trails being dangerous is odd. Could he have been better prepared for the unexpected? Of course. Was he putting himself in danger by utilizing a trail system? I guess it’s a risk thousands of people are willing to take. Getting lost is rare, but it does happen. It does not make someone stupid.

Yep, I repeat, the money used for helicopter searches are allocated from training funding for the most part. The 105 search volunteers brought their own horses, dogs, ATVs and OTVs. There aren’t any additional funds eaten up when there is already a budget in place. I am familiar with helicopter medvac operations if you would like to discuss facts. You are correct that it isn’t cheap, but you are making assumptions otherwise.

You may believe what you want, but unless you are actually involved in the daily operations first hand, I am confident saying I know more about this than you.

eno's avatar

You seem to claim to know so much about it yet you make counter-arguments to your supposedly expertise. @GloPro That doesn’t make them “potentially life threatening.”

Hazards_of_outdoor_activities

If people, as you say, are willing to take the increased risk factors as shown in the link, then they should have to pay the price for the consequences. It goes hand in hand. If you’re willing to risk, you have to be willing to die, but instead, this guy took the risk with negligence too boot, made a stupid choice, and other people had to finance his rescue (yes, i don’t agree with you on the tax dollar-helicopter topic).

Darth_Algar's avatar

Driving your car is potentially life-threatening as well. Maybe we should save other people money and not have police or EMTs show up if you get in a car accident.

eno's avatar

Necessity (car) v.s luxury (woods).

In general, I agree with your proposal. You know the risks, you’re willing to take them, therefore, you have to be willing to take the consequences. You can ask for help, or someone might be willing to help on their own, but it isn’t fair for a taxpayer to have to save you from your consequences.

Look at how pissed off American’s were when the banks made risky investments and the government (taxpayers) bailed them out. Same concept here with the car.

Darth_Algar's avatar

A car isn’t a necessity. You can survive without one. You just choose to drive a car because it is convenient.

CWOTUS's avatar

This thread should provide a microcosmic example of at least the “how” if not “why” the comments on news stories devolve into name-calling, defensiveness and belittling. And consider that this has happened in the fairly well moderated forum among relatively good-natured and moderately intelligent folks in a somewhat closed and self-selected community.

1. News story appears.

2. People begin to comment in various ways, pro and con regarding participants in the story, events that were reported, the reporting itself, the locale where the story occurs, etc.

3. Comments become sarcastic (and often off-topic) and devolve into side tracks and ad hominem comments regarding other posters, if not the original ideas and facts (or assertions of fact) in the story and related comments.

4. The comments go completely off the track.

… and the question is being asked about a news story that appeared to a national audience, with next to no moderation, and is presented to “anyone with an internet connection and the intelligence to log onto yahoo (or wherever the story appeared”. I’m amazed sometimes, given the level of maturity and intelligence that I grant to the mass of great unwashed that we call “the public”, that the comments are frequently as cogent as they are, whether or not I agree with them.

eno's avatar

@Darth_Algar

If work is not in your local town, how do you get to work if you have no other form of transport?

If you don’t work, you don’t get paid, if you don’t get paid, you don’t eat, hence, you can’t survive without the car.

I edited my previous post, read it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

You choose to work in another town. You could get a job closer to your home.

eno's avatar

How do you choose to get a job closer to home if no job is available? And how do you move to a closer location if you first need to work to save up to pay for the move?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@eno

Then that’s your problem, not mine, and I shouldn’t have to pay for your car accident.

eno's avatar

Thank you. I finally got it out of you. I suckered you into that to make my point through you.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yup, you sure did.

GloPro's avatar

All I have to say is that I go out and enjoy nature at least 100 times a year. That’s over 1,500 enjoyable, free outings I have survived in the ‘potentially life threatening woods’ without getting lost in the past 15 years alone. I was severely injured one time and could not have made it out without others. Sometimes things happen, and those are odds I am willing to take. You seem to imply that we should all sit safely at home unless we have a bankroll for accidents. I’m glad that, on this particular subject, there are people that are not as harsh as you.

Some people choose to give back. Others would apparently quite literally leave you to die, unless you pay. That just makes me sad. Life cannot be as satisfying when you go through it angry and critical.

eno's avatar

I’m not implying you should sit safely at home, I’m saying that you should take responsibility for your actions if you’re willing to take on risks.

I’m just curious, do you have a problem bailing-out banks who were about to go bankrupt for their shity investments? Some people were actually happy about it, most were pissed off. Which one are you?

I invested a lot of money into the futures/forex market in late 2008. The market could have crashed even lower, but instead it is at record highs and i’m making a killing. If the market didn’t go my way, and I lost all that money, would it be fair for you to bail-out my losses? I think not. I knew the risks, I took them. I could have invested safely into a CD or simply kept it on the account, but I didn’t because I’m greedy.

I have no problem if someone does drugs or goes hang-gliding, but I do have a problem when that someone wants me to save his life from an overdose or finance him to recover or rescue the hang-glider from the tree he/she is stuck in.

GloPro's avatar

I don’t believe that the bank bailout comparison is linear, and I am indifferent to it. I kind of live my life by worrying about the things I can actually change or impact.
I would help someone overdosing. I guess I inherently have an urge to help individual people that find their actual person in jeopardy (injured, lost, in physical trouble).

eno's avatar

Then it stands to reason that there are people out there that have an inherency to act indifferently or critically to the external problems of individuals. Just because you find such behavior displeasing, and are inherently different, it doesn’t mean such opposing mindsets should have their comments censored or discouraged from commenting. You might think it is hateful or uninformative, but others would disagree with you.

GloPro's avatar

Making unnecessary rude and hateful comments is not indifferent. Indifferent is not commenting at all.

eno's avatar

I said indifferent or critically.

That is your opinion. Noted. I think the comments are justified and informative/enlightening. I’m not about to suggest to censor those that disagree with me or discourage them from sharing their opinion.

GloPro's avatar

I have yet to see a situation in which calling someone an ugly fucking moron is justified.

ucme's avatar

@GloPro Yelled at Hitler?

eno's avatar

Well if you google his picture, he isn’t that good looking and looks like a dork, in my opinion. I’m sure the person who wrote the comment probably felt the same way. It might not be necessary to say that, but his opinions are requested and welcomed by the news site. It is feedback.

You’ll have to ask the guy who wrote the comment for his justifications, but I would say he is a fucking moron for the reasons I tried to explain to you above. You just have an inherent bias and thus find opposing answers displeasing or unable to see it from their perspective. Tough.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@eno

Who said anything about censoring such comments?

Brian1946's avatar

@eno

@GloPro doesn’t accept your oh so objective “observation” that “he is a fucking moron….”, therefore she’s the one with “an inherent bias”?

eno's avatar

@Darth_Algar

That is the implied message I’m getting from the details of her question.

@Brian1946

It isn’t my words. She said she has an inherent bias…
I guess I inherently have an urge to help individual people that find their actual person in jeopardy (injured, lost, in physical trouble).—-@GloPro

I’m merely saying that I believe such an inherent bias is preventing her from appreciating/being open-minded to someone else’s opposing perspective.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What happened to this thread????!

Darth_Algar's avatar

@eno

Nothing about the OP even remotely hinted at censorship.

eno's avatar

Ok bud, I’ll take your word on it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

You don’t have to take my word on it. It’s clear as day in the original post. There’s nothing in there about censorship, and nothing that hints of censorship. Unless you’re the kind of person who thinks that any questioning of any opinion is an attempt to silence that opinion.

eno's avatar

Just because you don’t experience that implication doesn’t mean I can’t perceive it that way.

If you notice, glopro didn’t actually deny it either when I mentioned such implication. If it helps, it is more of a “feel a person out” type of comment. Gives me a bit more info.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@eno “If you notice, glopro didn’t actually deny it either when I mentioned such implication.”

So? is that suppose to prove something?

eno's avatar

Not at all. If you notice, in no way did I accuse her of censorship. My intention was to get clarification with this “feel a person out” type of comment. No response just means that there is a chance that the implied message I perceived might very well be true.

GloPro's avatar

My personal opinion, @eno, is that you troll and try to manipulate people into saying what you want them to say to prove you are right. I don’t feel the need to be right. That is not my intention in conversations, so I stopped responding and playing your game. You may say and feel whatever you wish, which I actually said a few times already.
My OP was asking WHY people say hateful, inaccurate, judgemental, presumptive, rude things. I believe @livelaughlove21 gave the best answer: because they are assholes.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro No eno is a troll? How mean and hateful.~

eno's avatar

Oh, the sweet irony here.

@GloPro Why do people make hateful and judgemental comments?

@GloPro My personal opinion, @eno, is that you troll and try to manipulate people

GloPro's avatar

I’m sure you think so.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@eno You really are clueless aren’t you?

eno's avatar

Clueless of what?

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