Remember this Reddit news item, wherein a bunch of people pushed their morality on someone?
At one point Mori asked “do you think the Internet should perch like an angel of conscience on your shoulder?” My response is — sure, why not? The internet is just other people…
To which I noted,
I in no way want to get comfortable with the suggestion that listening to what other people claim to think is “the right thing” on an Internet forum necessarily bears the slightest resemblance to the best course of action.
Well, now we have a real crime for Reddit to react to, and the “mainstream press” like The Atlantic are gleefully skewering it for its reaction:
The amateur investigators from the site — having served as a kind of unofficial proving ground for theories that made their way to the mainstream media, jumping on the clear photo, despite the Post story that had also spread on Reddit — were tying the FBI photos to a 22-year-old Brown student and this ABC News report about his having gone missing last month. There was pushback, even on Reddit — “Leave the missing guy alone” — but it was too late; the trolls on Reddit had fed an army of all-nighter trolls in the media.
Indeed the Internet is just other people – and this is what other people do. They are undisciplined, they jump on a quick solution to a complex social problem, and they find it easy to blame those who stick out – those not like them – because it feels right. By and large, people do not serve the truth because it is hard to serve the truth. They would much rather believe that the truth exists to serve them.
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. – Anatole France
For those who were not misled by the hoopla, I applaud you.
And for those of you affected by the bombing, particularly those who lost friends and loved ones, you have my deepest sympathies.