I’ve been following Mr. Wheaton’s blog about as long as he’s had it. Went from the first page, to Wil Wheaton in Exile (when his site got gummed up and he migrated to a WordPress hosted site), and so forth. I’m a Trek fan who really appreciated Wesley Crusher. And I appreciate his openness in regards to his struggles with clinical depression.
Recently, there he crafted a blog post expressing his disappointment with Lego. They launched a Next Generation line of characters. Wesley Crusher is crying. I thought that was pretty petty of them, and was remarkably unimpressed with a company that, I feel, has done a great job in so many other areas. He and I agree, his fans had a wide variety of responses. What you should expect.
Today he posted an update to the situation. So, some crappy bloggers took his post, misrepresented him, and then invited the loathsome hoards to descend upon Mr. Wheaton. I’ve seen this so many times, and truly hate it. It’s a wearying exercise, trust me. In my decade+ of blogging, I’ve dealt with this myself. Fortunately (at one level), not at the scale he’s dealing with.
Sucky, crappy people seem to have the run of the internet and we have little-to-no recourse, save blocking and deleting each turd left in our blog’s yard. It’s annoying enough to deal with the petty negativity. Lately, this crap has been filled with violent threats, racist vitriol, rape threats, threats against families and children. This simply frustrates me to the point of near rage.
What to do? Well, we can report those who cross the legal lines (threatening to rape or kill some is a crime, dumbasses!). But, how often does anything come from that? I’ve long recommended ignoring them, yet that doesn’t seem to work all that well.
That’s the deepest frustration: our powerlessness to stop this nonsense. Not without damaging the free-speech quality of the internet. At least, I’ve failed to see a viable solution emerge. I’ve mostly abandoned comment-threads. There are days I want the old internet back. Where people were (much more) decent to one another. Maybe that’s me hearkening back to time that didn’t exist. But I will still wish for a world where people interact with respect and dignity. So I dream.