Mar 202011
 

Time now for a little bleat from me about the incivility within the online Australian circus.

My example is, as seems always the case, Twitter. Even Mark Colvin, of ABC Radio National’s ‘PM’ program has written:

@Neilc_au My problem is that I mostly have a policy of transparency which involves answering civil questions civilly. Sometimes what starts as civil turns out to be malicious, snarky or straight out troll-like.

I find precisely the same. There is no civil discussion with people on Twitter over matters of current affairs, politics or indeed anything of consequence where opinions are divided. Everyone wants to ride the horse, no-one is prepared to allow another their opinion without wanting to ride over them at the same time. On Twitter, I find two type of people. Those who use Twitter as a chat medium – even though it’s a very, very poor medium for that purpose – and those who use Twitter as the virtual equivalent of a urinal. A place to piss on the opinions of others for the express purposes of both unloading personal ideological angst, and attracting attention to their own ideals & beliefs at the expense of others.

I have quite a few ‘friends’ or followers on Twitter, but they are ethereal. About as real as the dreams one has. I also have several ‘enemies’ on Twitter, all of whom haunt the #auspol hashtag, all of whom are conservatively biased, all of whom have no intention of discussing any issue with anyone who isn’t clearly of their own world view. Under the #auspol hashtag no rational discussion takes place. #auspol is an ideological battlefield where one side has all of the weapons, the other – the habitual inhabitants – is completely unarmed. By ‘habitual inhabitants’ I mean those persons who do not tweet outside of the hashtag. Their sole purpose in being connected to Twitter is to draw attention to their sense of bitterness and loss at not having their side of politics in power in Australia. One need only watch the flow of bile to realise that.

It goes further. If, by addressing irrationality & illogic with civil discourse, not responding to personal abuse with personal abuse, and not surrendering to the inanity of ideology, one is seen to ‘win’ by these people, they do not accede with grace. There will be the gang-abuse, with multiple personalities all abusing you non-stop, and then there are the Machiavellian types who will impersonate you through creation of an account of a similar name, steal your avatar and basically confuse all & sundry who you might converse with across the medium. Not just confuse either, but abuse, insult and generally besmirch your real account. Try going back at them directly through the medium and they will lodge a complaint with Twitter admin to have your account sanctioned. These people don’t like to lose, but they can’t fight either. The really amusing part for me being that nothing is available to win.

This is the depths to which social discourse has sunk in Australia. There are folks like me who enjoy a discussion, even a robust debate, but it seems there are none who think differently to me who enjoy, or are even capable of entering into civil discourse, at least on Twitter. There are ways and means of handling these mental midgets, a couple of which I’ve already engaged in. It’s amazing how fragile a persona can become when its real-life details – available from the public domain, of course – appear in a hashtag. Yes, that’s right. I exposed the impersonators for who & what they are in real life. When reality confronts fantasy, reality will always win out. Isn’t that right, David Thiessen of Unit 1, 19 Tilyard Street, Montrose Tasmania?