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A True face behind the grey

By: Beth Koehler/Copy Editor

I never understood the reason why people send anonymous hate to people online, and I do not think I ever will. Yes, people are ridiculously infuriating sometimes, but some people take it so far. It crosses into outright harassment.

The internet seems to bring out the best and the worst of people. While the internet holds some truly amazing things, you are almost guaranteed to find some jerk complaining or trying to cause drama. For some reason, when you take away a person’s ability to see someone’s face, people start to forget how to be nice or polite. They turn into mindless jackals, blindly going after people who have differing opinions, even if the person they attack has not done anything to deserve punishment.

While this problem is ever present in semi-anonymous forums, such as the infamously disgusting pattern that Youtube comments tend to fall into, these vicious attacks are never more obvious than in places that provide “true” anonymity, where there isn’t even a username to report.

Chat boards that allow anonymous posters are practically guaranteed for at least one ungrammatical, offensive statement that sparks controversy. Tumblr, which allows a person to send anonymous questions to its users, actually warns the user about the dangers of anonymity when anonymous questions are allowed: “Use at your own risk. Anonymity can be fun, but can also bring out the worst in people. Don’t feel bad about disabling anonymous questions if they turn nasty or inappropriate.”

This is an enormous understatement. Tumblr is infamous for people receiving anonymous hate and even death threats. Heck, it is expected for people to receive anon hate at some point. What I find most disturbing is that this is not the hidden dregs of the internet- this is a well-known, popular site that features users as young as 13 receiving these messages, whether or not they have said or done anything to deserve such harsh treatment.

So what causes this amoral behavior? Personally, I attribute it mostly to peoples’ fantasies. Be honest- at some point you have been in situations where you have wanted to say something rude to someone, but could not. We know that in everyday, social interaction, there are some things you just cannot say. Yet, when no one can see your face, anything goes. It is what you are in the dark, pure and simple, and most people do not pass the test of character.

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