Be Nice

by Ginger on January 31, 2013

in Becoming Myself

One of my least favorite places on earth is the comment section of just about any news article. The nasty side of humanity (or maybe it’s just an American phenomenon? I doubt it) can be found , intent on screaming their disapproval, disagreement, disgust. It makes me sad, and it makes me angry, and it makes me wish we were better as people.

It’s true, I’m too nice. I want the world to be NICE. Stop being such assholes and just be NICE. And I’ve been chastised for that. Ridiculed. Demeaned.

As if being nice means just giving in and giving up on things you believe in.

No. All it means is that the world would be a better place if we were NICER to each other. You know? There’s no need for most of the ugliness, and honestly when you start spewing that stuff I stop thinking your argument has merit. I stop thinking that you are actually interested in getting your point across and instead that you just want an outlet for the hate and anger and disgust you bottle up inside of you because someone cut you off and your boss is a jerk and someone didn’t give you the respect you deserve and your life isn’t turning out the way you want and you just want to blame someone else, anyone else, for all the things wrong in your life, and hey look a comment section on a news story seems like a good place for that.

Hmm. That wasn’t very nice of me.

This is why I don’t read the comments on news articles, because they start to make me an uglier, more judgmental person. And you know what? I don’t WANT to be an uglier, more judgmental person. I don’t. There is enough in this world that is ugly, there is enough out there that I already judge, that I already am disgusted by, I don’t want to add to that. One of the things about me is that I’m a nice person, who wants the world to be nice, who wants to believe that people are (or have the capacity to be) nice. If that makes me a sucker, so be it.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Shalini January 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Here here. I only listen to the news on the radio, and I only read comments on blogs when…you know, almost never. We all need to be nice as much as possible.

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April January 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I completely agree.

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Stephanie M January 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Yes! What happened to the days of “If you don’t have something nice to say…” etc?

For example, I’ll admit that I kind of (really) didn’t mind that Regretsy is no longer going to post. Yes, most of the stuff was just ridiculous, but…that’s kinda mean to point out, comment on, etc. I guess I think there are shades of grey to this, though, because I’ve been known to share an odd find from etsy on twitter. Hey, I’m not perfect, we’re all hypocrites sometimes, right?

Same goes for cakewrecks, which is at least anonymous…I do subscribe to it, but I mark it as read without reading all week, and only really look at the Sunday Sweets. I don’t really want to see somebody be made fun of.

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Ginger January 31, 2013 at 3:03 pm

You know, there are shades of grey. I’m not perfect. I’ve been known to laugh at that stuff, or to SAY that stuff to myself. Man, look, I’ve even snarked on people here on my blog. I’m not perfect, by any stretch.

It’s when it turns into the rage-filled screaming match that it really stops being something I think can even remotely be excused. Ever.

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Michelle January 31, 2013 at 3:11 pm

As someone who works in the news industry, I couldn’t agree with you more. I know newspapers have long struggled with what to do with comments. Leave them on all stories? Don’t allow commenting at all? Pick and choose? Don’t put them on crime stories since that goes to a racist place faster than you can blink an eye?
I really try to avoid reading the comments. On a big story that I’ve helped with, I’ll take a look until they turn ugly and then stop. I never look at it on national sites because there is no useful discussion there.
It just makes me think that there are a lot of people in the world who need more hugs.

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Erica January 31, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Dude, news article comments are a mess. This is why I get my news from fark.com.

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Jess @ Wrangling Chaos January 31, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I don’t really consider myself a super nice person. I’m sarcastic, way too straightforward, and my bluntness tends to grate. HOWEVER. I do my best to always be polite, and courteous, and to do no harm in the way I communicate with people.

I don’t understand ugliness for its own sake. It’s completely possible to phrase disagreement, discontent, even unrest, all in a manner that’s not contrived to hurt. It’s bothersome, to say the least.

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Joanne M. February 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

Just last week I decided that I’m not going to read comments on any articles other than blog posts, which I do occasionally. I realized I was probably wasting so much time reading the inane things people write. Now when I catch myself scrolling towards the bottom of the page, I stop and click on something else. It’s made me much happier:-)

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Christa the BabbyMama February 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Don’t read the comments is the first rule of Internetting, as far as I’m concerned. Unless it’s at nice blogs like yours!

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Cloud February 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I can tell you that it is most certainly not just an American phenomenon. The UK news sites have the same problem. In general I stay away from comment sections unless I know the site is well-moderated. But I recently consciously went off to read comments- on articles about the gun regulations debate, because I wanted to read the arguments for the viewpoint that opposes mine. (I’ve also searched for articles written in support of the opposing viewpoint.) It has been a fairly depressing experience, but I did accomplish my goal and learn something about what “the other side” thinks. And I even found one new idea I’d be willing to support. I still think it is a shame that people have to be so vile to each other just because they disagree.

But I, too, am far from perfect. I find I can usually be open-minded and generous to someone who recognizes a problem but disagrees with me about how to solve it. I really struggle to be open-minded and generous to someone who just refuses to recognize a problem exists, though.

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Classic NYer February 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

So how do nice people like you and me know when we’ve crossed the line from venting and/or expressing our authentic selves into unnecessary venom? I dare say, there isn’t a line so much as a massive field of gray.

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Kate February 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Kids bring this out in you, too – the niceness part I mean. I spend so much time preaching the golden rule that it becomes something to live by and believe in. Thank you for bringing some more “nice” to this world!

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San February 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm

If that makes you a sucker… I am one, too!
Be nice already!

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Hope February 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm

The only thing worse than the comments on news articles are the comments on youtube. :scared:

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