Wednesday, January 06, 2010


There are many analyses trying to explain flamewars by the difference between face to face communication and textual communication via computer networks. What they don't take into account is that mailing lists are public communication - they should not contrast mailing list and face to face private conversations - but rather mailing lists and public speeches.

Off-line public communication is not very common, and when we do it we have a lot of strict cultural rules governing how we do it. Everyone intuitively knows that they are necessary. But on-line there is the utopian view that we can have communication unrestricted by any norms and rules. The best off-line example to show where it leads us is lynch mob. It is dangerously easy that any simple disagreement will lead to a vicious circle of growing frustration between the disputants, with anyone just looking for a way to discharge it in the classic scape goat manoeuvre.


More and more individuals polarize against fewer and fewer enemies until, in the end, only one is left. Because everyone believes in the guilt of the last victim, they all turn against him — and since that victim is now isolated and helpless, they can do so with no danger of retaliation.

Is Christianity Indistinguishable From Other “Pagan Myths?”


dj said...

Have you read any Rene Girard? His theories of mimetic violence would seem to apply here as well.


zby said...

Hi dj - maybe I should be a bit more explicite - but it is kind of extension of my thoughts from , so yeah I did read some of Girard's books and articles and all I wrote here was directly inspired by that :)

Anonymous said...


just registered and put on my todo list

hopefully this is just what im looking for, looks like i have a lot to read.

Anonymous said...

The art of speech making was developed for 1000s of years, whereas online we did not develop these rules yet.