Today on Dogwalk we started off talking about the Hunter Moore doc on netflix and somehow we meandered our way into some HEAVY discussions about the internet and it led us to this debate and question that I put to a poll earlier today.
The responses by people just show the level of toxicity on the internet
I think the fastest way to a better internet is people lowering their own ego and stop assuming that they know everything and that their asshole response isn't needed or justified. These people are too stupid and too easily triggered to realize that a) the poll didn't take a position. It was a poll. And B) I AGREE WITH THEM. Which they would know if they listened to the last 13 minutes of the show. All takes and no grace.
I am anti-asshole. I am anti-canceling. I am anti-troll. I am anti-burner. I am myself online if you accept the fact that I go by a stupid internet moniker of "Chief". Having said that, the entire reason I don't go by Barstool-Ryan is because when I started writing for this website 10 fucking years ago I didn't want my real employer to know that I was moonlighting as a blogger for free and probably put more effort into doing my then fake job than I did my real job. Having the ability to conceal my identity was helpful for me personally and I am sure it is for others also, but that is not my overall argument.
Dante and Eddie think that there should be real world consequences for being an asshole online. Dante used the example of saying hateful shit in the face and getting punched. An immediate feedback loop that is effective (but less so in this modern era unfortunately because society is too litigious and you never know who has a weapon).
I personally don't think someone having a verified ID on social media is going to stop people from being assholes. There are still no repercussions. People are assholes online all the time with their real names. I think people will be assholes regardless of whether or not they have their real name attached because they know that there isn't any enforcement. So then the question becomes 1) what does enforcement look like? Who is in charge of enforcing?
The only thing I could come up with is a social credit score as a real genuine enforcement. That is a NON-starter and a TERRIBLE idea that leads to 1984 stuff. It would take an unbelievable amount of people and technology to keep track of such a thing and NOBODY should have that much power. I do think that people should be capped on accounts they can have. I don't know what that number should be, but I don't think multiple accounts or bots should be allowed because they can amplify a message or amplify harassment.
As it stands right now the people who want verified social IDs are leading the way, but I don't think they have thought hard enough about the downside of IDs and what that'd look like in practice. Speech is akin to thinking. People need to have possession of their own thoughts and therefore their own words. I do think people should take more time to ask questions, have clarification, and remember that there is actually a real person on the other end of their comment, tweet, post, etc. A little more thought, a little more grace, and maybe that behavioral standard should be enforced by the internet "society" as opposed to governing body. Being anonymous online is fine and sometimes necessary. Being a dick for the sake of being a dick is not. I am just not willing to curtail or risk my own speech to rid the internet of people who are mean to me online.
Ultimately I don't know what the right answer is or even if there is a "right" answer, but I will be on the side of whatever policy doesn't lead to more speech and privacy being taken away.