It’s easier to be mean when you’re anonymous

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 in Life, the Universe, and Everything | 0 comments

I post from time to time on DeviantArt, which used to be a really great art community but in the past few years has become a somewhat juvenile competition for the most attention. But, there are a small group of people on there who have given me some great critique and encouragement over the past 8 years, so I continue to post.

I posted this photo yesterday, which was merely and experiment in masking using Gimp:

And you know, I did consider not posting it because I realize it is not the best photo I’ve ever taken. But it was the first one I had desatted and then masked to reveal some of the color in the original photo. I’ve seen it done before, but I was curious what people thought of the idea. And then someone says this:

“It looks like a snapshot and the angle used isn’t very creative. Also the B&W might not be the best option for your picture.”

Ouch? Calling a photograph a snapshot is sort of the ultimate insult in this kind of environment. Instead of commenting on the composition or something along those lines, she took the low blow option of placing it in the vague genre of the cell-phone snapshot. So thanks, stranger!

The best part is, when you go and look at her profile, she appears to be roughly 12 years old she has 18 relatively average (but quite nice) photographs of cats, and one exceptionally mediocre picture of a cell phone tower. Gives me the urge to passive-aggressively call her cell phone tower a snapshot (don’t worry I won’t).

But I always find it interesting – it’s so easy to be mean on the internet under the anonymity mask. I learned this well when my Lego Ship video went semi-viral and I was flooded with comments like:

“good lord the lighting on this video was so horrendous you could barely see what was going on”

and “FAKE!!!!!!!!!!” or “BORING” (4 times in fact)

or how about

“Some people have too much time on their hands”


“you realize this is just a less impressive version of the traditional real ship in a bottle?”

Do people realize that I read all of those comments? That there is a human who posted that video who put some effort into it. Would they be so comfortable saying those things to my face? Or posting them to my facebook?

Fortunately, it’s also easier to take insults on the internet, you can just ignore them and dismiss them as little 12-year-old jerks sitting in front of their computers insulting people for fun.

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