Monday, August 10, 2009

Feedback, the tragedy

What is it with feedback?
Why does it bring out the worst in so many people?
Not all, I hasten to add. Not all.

But a whole new breed as been unleashed.

It is as if the anonymity of the Internet gives permission for behaviour your parents would never sanction. It is an excuse for releasing all the bile one has never dared expel, for fear of the terrible consequences.

So many people seem to have this inner anger.
All it takes is a blog or even an online newspaper report to fire up the demons of feedback, the instinct to tell the writer where to get off.

I recall when the LA Times tried the grand Internet experiment of opening up its editorials for the people to have their say. True equality. Absolute respect for the views of the readership.

But what did the paper get?
It got a deluge of vitriol. Such tirades of unspeakable spite and hatred that it gave up on the grand idea of the people's editorials and went back to the old ways.

People online are not content to disagree. They have to bellow personal insults.
As if they, themselves, are paragons of some sort, that they stand all-knowing in judgement, talented and wise. Well, the sort of paragons that can't frame a sentence let alone spell one.

Literacy and feedback do not go hand-in-hand.
And the worse the literacy, the more adamant the feedback sender is that they can tell the thinking writer that he or she is not worth the time of day.
Is it jealousy? Is it the tall poppy syndrome? The classic hostility of the under-achiever?

Whatever it is, it is bloody sad.
The feedback writers show a lot of cowardice. They think they can't be identified although, especially when it comes to newspaper feedback posts, guess what? They can.

The odd thing is that these people who have so much anger and such paucity of articulation also are out there actually reading.