Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

May 26, 2009

Medical Diagnosis of Anonymity Abusers: Cyber Disinhibition

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 12:55 pm

It feels good to push back against a tidal wave of idiocy, or, as I’ve called a different form of idiocy “A Tsunami of Stupidity”. As someone said, “one man in the right is a majority.” And I think that this is an important web and blog issue, that the future of blogging will be decided for better or worse (I suspect for worse) if the cowardly anonymous commenters are allowed to prevail with their abusive bullying.

It’s satisfying to see how many of you abusive anonymous commenters I’ve put on the defensive. Surprising how many have come to the defense of the poster of anti-semitic epithets. I think, when I’m being charitable, that a lot of you have never stopped to consider how crude and offensive you sound when you’re sputtering with rage at the suggestion that you should examine your behavior and consider that it looks cowardly, sociopathic and subliterate to civilized people. But my intention was to draw out the dregs of the commentariat; I’m fully aware that most PJM commenters aren’t abusive cowards, but now we know which ones are.

I think deep down inside the ones who are, are not pure sociopaths or learning disabled because in their own inarticulate way they evince shame at their own conduct. (Again I’m talking about the anonymous abusive ones among you, we all know who you are now). Shame that they’re too timid to put their name behind their vicious posts, but rather hide like little cowards behind screen names. And I love the idea that it’s because you’re making brave political arguments that the State would otherwise persecute you for. Yes, the state really has reason to fear the likes of you. And it’s laughable when you consider the really high level of penetrating political discourse you’ve shown. LOL.

But I think the rage is derived from the shame they must feel, because many of these specimens, must have had respectable parents who they know would be ashamed of their childlike behavior. I can’t imagine anyone admitting to their mother, “Mom I’m a grown-up now, at least in age, and I’ve become the kind of loser who hurls subliterate obscene abuse at people I disagree with online, using a fake name in order to escape responsibility. Are you proud of me, Mom? Wanna here my latest insult?” Yes, I bet she’d be proud of how you turned out. Maybe one reason for anonymity among at least the more crude and vicious among you is that you’re afraid your parents might discover how you’ve turned out.

Well, sad losers, I have a diagnosis for your disability. It’s a phrase I’ve used before but slipped my mind in writing my last two posts on this subject: cyber disinhibition. It’s the devolution of civility (if there was any there before) that comes when conversations are not held face to face and one doesn’t have to take into account the presence, reactions, sensibilitities–being–of another human being. It ususally refers to e-mail, but it certainly applies to anonymous abusive commenters and the way they’re turning the web into a sewer. They’re dis-inhibited, their mouths are like pre-toilet trained children, they lose the inhibitions and self control that make civilized discourse possible, become verbally, socially incontinent, They haven’t merely lost their humanity, metaphorically they’ve devolved to a pre-civilized species of human. Gibbering like the cavemen over the obelisk in 2001. And of course what’s great is the transparent way they can dish it out but can’t take a critique. And yes, I’ve said some harsh things, but I use my name, andwhile thee are some defenses for anonymity for various reasons, but when it comes to abusive comenting it only exacerbates the hatefulness of the hater.

Anyway I’d hate to think the dregs of the anonymous abusers among the commenters here represent the norm of the human species. No I don’t think so. I think we’ve diagnosed the problem: cyber disinhibition is a kind of mental disease, that turns them from putative grown-ups into playground bullies and cowards.

I don’t think know of any cure for the disease of cyber disinhibition. It must be intoxicating hurling those half baked insults and then running away to hide your heads. But to judge from the comments it turns some people into depraved caricatures of their better selves.

What still stuns me is that some of them either can’t read or are reading- challenged or comprehension blind. Although I’ve repeated it in both posts, it’s not about politics it’s a dynamic, cyber-disinhibition, you see on both liberal and conservative blogs. It’s the race-to-the-bottom dynamic of commenter culture. Once again, for the extremely slow; it’s not the politics, its the anonymity that is key to the problem; the lack of responsibility, accountability, the mob psychology. You’ve demonstrated it admirably in this little experiment I conducted on you, (Keep it up and I’ll just have more examples to cite) and I’m grateful, but I still get commenters trying to make it a liberal and conservative thing, I know enough intelligent conservatives to know that the sampling here is unrepresenative and embarrassing to them. But to deny the majority of spittle flecked frothers here identify themselves as conservative is insane. What planet do you live on?

And to repeat I have no obligation to approve abusive anonymous posts, or abusive, bigoted, obscene posts of any kind. And I’ll delete any anonymous posts I consider to be so. Why don’t you run your next brilliant gob of spittle past your parents first, like the 13 year old boys you sound like should?

But the good new is your cyber disinhibition disease is not totally incurable. There’s a cure: just try posting something with your real name. You’ll discover something–well some of you are too far gone–but many of you will discover something you haven’t experienced for a while; self respect. it will feel good. You’ll be on your way to recovery. i wish you well.



  1. “One man in the right makes a majority”- Andrew Jackson, who, whatever his faults, was not anonymous although he did usher in the rabble.

    Comment by charlie finch — May 26, 2009 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  2. By the way, hooray for Sonia Sotomayor, she is the real deal. Too often the genuflecting to political correctness produces mediocrites. Well, I haven’t felt so proud of a Supreme Court appointment since the great Thurgood Marshall in 1967. And boo on stupid fart Roger Kimball for opposing her on PJM. Sonia is a true New Yorker, someone who, as she said today, “stands on the shoulders of so many.” She is a thousand times less manufactured than the admittedly courageous Obama, who queerly drags Biden everywhere as, I guess, the token white American (a pretty hilarious trope, if you think about it, and the President had to chastize Joe B AGAIN at today’s press conference for feeling up Judge Sonia right before she spoke.) I say it again, HOORAY for Sonia and the gentleman who appointed her, who definitely takes Andy Jackson’s axiom to heart!!

    Comment by charlie finch — May 26, 2009 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

  3. *waves at Delia* Hi there! Hope you’re feeling well today!

    Comment by Evil Pundit — May 26, 2009 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  4. As I recall, our old neighborhood paper used to run letters to the editor that contained controversial opinions. They were signed with real names. I guess someone could argue that those were more civil times, but we’d be talking about the Marquette Park area of Chicago in the 1970s, where civility was often forgotten.

    The intelligent conservative site Power Line now requires real names. Their comment sounded very similar to your posts here: “We’re serious about the ‘no anonymity’ rule. That means, for example, ‘Fred Johnson,’ not fpjohnson. A number of readers have spoken up for the value of anonymity. Those arguments are persuasive if you are satisfied with the current state of discourse on the web…”

    It would be nice if the pushback against mob mentality caught on.

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — May 26, 2009 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  5. “By the way, hooray for Sonia Sotomayor, she is the real deal.”

    What does this have to do with anonymous posting? Oh well, let’s take a look at Sonia Sotomayor. This is perhaps the most important thing we need to recognize: she does not believe justice should be blind! The scales of justice are supposed to be tipped in favor of so-called oppressed minorities. This should scare the hell out you.
    Either justice is blind and not a respecter of person, or it is tyrannical. There is no viable middle position. This is an all or nothing proposition.

    Comment by David Thomson — May 26, 2009 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  6. A racist President seeks to appoint a racist judge — no surprise there.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — May 26, 2009 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  7. Like so many of his illiberal ilk, sufferer of the FasciSSocialist Psychosis, froth-and-foam-flecked serial projectile projecter of its psychopathology and Pravda-like “progressive” propagandist, polemicist and pamphleteer, Herr Rosenbaum, uses the words “(he) thinks” to express, what “(he) feels!”

    So, please, dear Herr Rosenbaum, do us all the good service of ceasing your confusing the way intelligent lovers of Liberty and of America’s Founding Law make you feel, with “thought.” And also try and remember that your ability to verbalize the consequential burblings of your bowels — and to have your ghost type up for you what he hears you say you feel — does not you, a feeler and an emoter, a writer make!

    Brian Richard Allen
    Los Angeles Califobambicated 90028
    And the Far Abroad

    Comment by Brian Richard Allen — May 27, 2009 @ 3:36 am | Reply

  8. With all that’s going on in the world and in this country, North Korea testing nukes and threatening to invade the South, surging oil prices, a crumbling dollar, our exploding debt, Iran’s race to acquire nukes, Obama’s SCOTUS pick, to just name a few, don’t you have anything more important to comment on?

    OK, you don’t like people who leave comments here that you disagree with; we get it. You’ve gone over it quite a bit. And with all the crap that’s hitting the fan in the world, your incessant posts on this just become a bore. And tempts one to suggest that you’re using a fixation on this to avoid addressing these serious issues, a medical diagnosis of your problem here might be cognitive dissonance.

    Comment by Rob — May 27, 2009 @ 3:52 am | Reply

  9. I still don’t get it?

    *waves back at Evil Pundit*

    Comment by Delia — May 29, 2009 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

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