10 New Rules To Make The Internet A Better Place

As a blogger and social media junkie in general, I spend a lot of time browsing online, and sometimes I end up having to back away slowly because of the terrible things I read. Since when did it become okay to be so hateful and so open about your bigotry?

A certain subset of the population has always had racist and homophobic thoughts (and that doesn’t make it acceptable, it’s just a fact that some people are bigoted assholes), but they used to treat it more like a hemorrhoid; you didn’t announce to the world at every opportunity that you had it. Now there seems to be a daily contest to see who can be the most bigoted asshole. This is especially true of Twitter, which has become basically a cesspool of bigotry, condescending, and general ignorance.

We need new rules for the internet and social media to find some kind of middle ground where we aren’t censored China-style but we’re also not a bunch of jerks tearing each other apart daily.

New Rules:

  1. Stop presenting your opinions as facts. So you believe all gay people are going to burn in Hell? That’s your opinion, and my opinion is that you’re using your religion to attempt to justify your homophobia (it’s not working BTW, you’re still a bigot). You believe that biological sex is the same thing as gender? Also an opinion (a very scientifically inaccurate one, to be clear), and my opinion is that you’re an uneducated bigot who needs to learn what gender actually is. We live in America and you are guaranteed your freedom of speech, but your opinions aren’t facts, and no one will protect you from the kickback you’ll get when you share your decades-old KKK style speech publicly.
  2. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t hide behind your computer and say it online. That’s just cowardly. Either you’re so ballsy that you’re willing to make an ass of yourself publicly in person (and risk getting your face stomped) or you should just have a little decorum and keep your hate to yourself.
  3. Stop trying to tell others how to handle their sex life. You don’t believe in birth control and think sex should only be for having lots of unaffordable babies? Great, have fun changing the diapers from all 10 of your kids, but don’t tell others that THEY shouldn’t use birth control because it’s against YOUR religion. That’s like telling someone they’re not allowed to eat a donut because you’re on a diet. If I had a quarter for every time I read “Anyone who doesn’t want kids should just never have sex,” I’d have a nice big sock full of quarters to knock some sense into them. Way to slut shame every single person who doesn’t repress their natural and healthy urges, even married couples like us who *gasp* just don’t want kids (I know, how dare us?!). You’re against homosexuality? Don’t have gay sex, but also don’t tell others they can’t do it based on your beliefs. You’re against abortion? Don’t have one! But don’t stick your nose in other people’s personal decisions; often, they have to make very difficult decisions for medical reasons, and they’re already traumatized. Calling them murderers for having a life-saving medical procedure isn’t being helpful at all. The bottom line is that you only get to call the shots in your own bedroom and your own life, no one else’s.
  4. Stop implying that anyone who doesn’t vote for either the Corrupt Elephant party or the Corrupt Donkey Party is personally responsible for the downfall of society. Both sides are basically the Sith now, and that’s why third party candidates get support. The two-party system is doomed and people refuse to see it (yes, that’s my opinion as a libertarian). Republicans are red, Democrats are blue, and neither one of them gives a fuck about you. So give your third party voters a break; we have the right to vote for the candidate we feel matches most closely with our beliefs. Stop with this “lesser of two evils” business. There’s no such thing; they’re both just evil.
  5. Religion is like a penis; it’s fine to have one and be proud of it, but if you whip it out and start waving it in people’s faces without their consent, that’s a problem. And if you try to force it down someone’s throat, that’s rape. Unless someone asks you about your religion, don’t throw it in their face (especially as a means of expressing that you think they’re going to Hell). If someone really wants to hear about your religion or shares the same views and wants to discuss it, you’ll know.
  6. Stop with the small dick jokes in regards to anyone who owns guns. First of all, plenty of women (like myself) own guns and enjoy shooting for recreation as well as self-defense if needed. Gun ownership and penis size have absolutely no correlation (trust me, I’m also married to another gun owner 😉). If your best plan in the event of a home intrusion is to call the police and wait 30-45 minutes for them to come retrieve your body, that’s your prerogative, but I’d rather defend myself and my family, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
  7. Quit with the over-the-top misogyny. It’s not funny and it just makes you look like a jerk. If you really think women should still be subservient and stay home making sandwiches barefoot and pregnant, it’s probably because you’re intimidated by the thought of having to compete with us in the business world instead of having the business world handed to you just because you were born with a penis. If you just say those things because you think it’s funny, please be advised that it isn’t, and it makes women want nothing to do with you.
  8. Stop calling rape survivors liars and trash talking us. These awful attitudes are the very reason so many victims don’t report sexual assault crimes; not being believed and being slut shamed is a retraumatization of an already traumatic event. If someone is brave enough to come forward despite knowing they’re going to be treated like shit, believe them and be kind! They wouldn’t put themselves through that hell just for a lie. Plus, if you take the side of the rapist, you’re telling the whole world that you condone rape. Is that really the reputation you want?
  9. Before you post something inflammatory, reread it at least 10 times and wait 5 minutes to decide if you really want to open that can of worms or not. If you practice this regularly, you’ll probably end up changing your mind and posting things like that less often. Think of it as the same concept as writing an angry letter to your ex and never mailing it. You got your feelings out by writing it, but there’s no need to hit “post.”
  10. Post more pictures of dogs! My social media feed is constantly full of cute dog pictures, and they help me deal with the negativity by being so adorable!

See? Doesn’t all that cuteness make you feel more positive?

If we can all come together and realize these very attainable changes, the Internet has a chance to come back to a place of civility. Is this too much to ask?

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