Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

How To Promote Civility in Online Exchanges

April 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 129

Back in the 1970s there was a movement in called Transactional Analysis. Every year a Sacramento, California T.A. guru held a conference for interpersonal relations, focusing on developing understanding and a loving attitude between individuals.

Now in the 21st Century, we need interperson-e-relations, also about understanding one another and being more kind and loving.

Trouble is, few seem to be applying this level headed and generous approach to their online missives. Rather, you find them lashing out freely on-line in a way they would not face to face.

Most of us have seen blogs, comments and feedback online that are rude, hostile, insulting.

While everyone should enjoy the right to free speech, this tone within comments and other postings sticks out because of the sheer volume of people writing accusatory, hostile things online, and the context in which they write.

No matter the topic, you will find snide, incendiary comments. I don't know why people get so fired up about someone's opinion of Angelina's latest hairstyle, which Idol should win, their favorite ice cream flavor, or feelings about the Howard Johnson's on Route 1 in Pit Stop, Texas, when they don't even know the person, place or thing being discussed, and when it's a trivial topic to begin with.

Who are they, and what are they not doing that they have time to comment about such things? Are they teens, retired people, men, young boys, rich, poor...are there certain traits which explain their complete abandon of civility? That's a research project for some ambitious soul.

Whoever they may be, these ragers-and-insulters seem to have unlimited time, as if they don't have to earn livings or watch babies, or even feed their pets!

This phenomena is in every context--I would expect it within political forums and such, but it's on shopping sites, business reviews, every YouTube video--comments about sheet thread counts, bicycles, paint colors, appliances, vitamins, you name it. I say my son loved his t-shirt from the Gap and someone chimes in; "You idiot, you piece of s---, I got a shirt there and it got a hole in it in one week--how can you sit there and say their clothes are any good?"

Do people just think that what they say on-line doesn't count? Like that rule about dieting, if you drop it on the floor and then eat it doesn't count in daily caloric allotment.

What can be done to curb this unpleasant interperson-e-relations phenomena? Certainly we are capable of reconfiguring the e-race--the electronic version of the human race.

Since we are often rude in public, this is nothing new, these nasty comments and insults flung about like little wads of paper at classmates in the 3rd grade.

But does it not seem that it's much more prevalent online than in public? If this is our modus operandi for internet decorum (oops...lack of), hiding behind our e-devices, as if typed speech is merely for other computers to read, not other human beings, if this issue is not quickly remedied, it's likely that we will have a severe decline in the quality of the human experience.

Nothing new here, but people can learn to think before they type. Getting in the habit of typing whatever they please, figuring no one knows who they really are, is dangerous. Because with Skype and more advances, we are probably headed for an age when everyone talks face to face on video.

Let's do this:

Go back to that historic day when the internet became accessible to citizens. This is what happens. They boot up and before anything else comes on screen they see a message:

The internet is for us all. No one is better than anyone else on here. It is free to us all. It is a privilege to have this amazing technology--a level playing field for the first time in the history of humanity.

Let's not blow it by being inconsiderate, mean, and ignorant. Let's think about how each keystroke will be perceived. That way, we won't need the "powers that be" to rule in this new land. We will all agree to be civil, share and sell goods and services without restraint, and, yes, state opinions without censorship, save the application of a civil tone along with our opinions, and a willingness to agree to disagree when that's the best option. We agree to place a moratorium on name calling and cursing. Flinging insults can't be right: It's just too sad.

If we cannot agree to be civil, as least as much as we are in public, then this digital age will not serve future generations. We are the creators of it, so let's be the creators of a smart way of using it. Let's learn from the lesson of the automobile. We pushed out those cars and roads, not thinking they would multiply like ants at a picnic. Not predicting millions of people in their cars for hours every day, stressed out on freeways breathing truck exhaust, isolated within their tin boxes.

Just think: How would we have done things differently if someone had thought ahead 100 years, predicting that engine exhaust would cause disease and destroy the atmosphere, cars clogging our roads, people in gridlocked commutes, being robbed of precious family and personal time?

Let's agree to apply the same unwritten laws of civil behavior online that we do in public places. Imagine if folks talked in malls and at local eateries as they do online--it would be mayhem 24-7.

The inspiration for this article came from the Etsy site. Although I have no business on the site and am promoting absolutely nothing about it, they have an outstanding and rarely (never?) seen guideline page touching on these very same questions. Read it if you have a site and would like to set a civil tone.

Contact directly about writing services:

Or visit:

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Hostile Things Online


Civil Behavior Online


Online Product Reviews


Online Comments



After the classic Legend and after the modification, HTC now has launched HTC One V in the market. This is simply one of the most desirable looking phones available at any price.The HTC One V comes

By: Wilson Roy l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l November 24, 2012 lViews: 251

Nowadays, there has been a number of smartphones released from a number of manufacturers which share a lot of features in common. LG cell phones represent cutting-edge technology that brings the

By: Wilson Roy l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l November 11, 2012 lViews: 247

RIM stands for Research in Motion and this firm has truly been proving its name. One can see the evolution the blackberry brand has undergone and the new phones are simply a proof of all this. Now

By: jacke adoms adoms l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l October 30, 2012 lViews: 328

Nokia phones have made their impact in the mobile phone industry all over. They have something to do with every market. Now even the online markets are getting their top notch products and the whole

By: Olivia Slater l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l October 26, 2012 lViews: 329

Each phone in the market has its special characteristics that it likes to boast about. The Blackberry brand from the RIM is one of the world’s leading business phones and with each model being

By: jacke adoms adoms l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l October 18, 2012 lViews: 291

In fact, an information and communications technology explosion is taking place and the entire human society is becoming increasingly dependent on the internet and hi-tech phone systems. This

By: Jmsallen l Communications > VOIP l July 17, 2012 lViews: 378

Residence and travelers to the country of Australia should be excited about the many changes and upgrades to the nation's infrastructure. One such upgrade involves implementation and utilization of

By: Brian E. Lakemanl Communications > Broadband Internetl April 26, 2012 lViews: 212

With so many devices today requiring an internet connection, there has to be a smart way to share your internet allowance around. A Wifi Modem can do this for you.

By: Ranya Georgalasl Communications > Broadband Internetl April 21, 2012 lViews: 218

If your present broadband connection is starting to get slow because of your growing consumption needs, it may be time for you to switch to a faster connection. Switching to an Ethernet connection,

By: Jacob Richardl Communications > Broadband Internetl April 20, 2012 lViews: 149

The use of the internet has launched a much different approach to how businesses communicate and remain connected to their consumers and one another. This is a type of communication that is offered

By: Jacob Richardl Communications > Broadband Internetl April 20, 2012 lViews: 176

I know that I'm taking a huge risk here, it could possibly end in me being labeled as a traitor and exiled from my own generation, or being hunted down in the streets by an angry lynch-mob, wielding

By: Tony Croftl Communications > Broadband Internetl April 20, 2012 lViews: 348

This article offers advice on how to ensure that you find the best broadband deal based on your individual requirements. It explains that just by keeping a few simple things in mind, you can protect

By: Sian Hooperl Communications > Broadband Internetl April 19, 2012 lViews: 194

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus