How to Deal with Crazy People on the Internet

Crazies are always the loudest.
Crazies are always the loudest.

I’m not sure what it is about the internet, but comments, forums and question answers have this weird tendency to attract a special kind of crazy. We’ve all encountered it in some form or another (they seem to thrive in the politics and religion categories). Maybe it’s a person who shouts obscenities, thinks they’re always right, or just treats others like they’re children. Whatever the case is, these people are oblivious to their own brand of crazy.

A lot of people, myself included, think that, with the right logic, information and politeness we can enlighten these crazies. Not necessarily change their point of view, but at least establish some level of understanding so the hate won’t fly around so freely. So we respond to their posts, again and again. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned from crazy people on the internet, it’s that they are unmoving in their hate and have limitless energy. Where a normal person might tire of arguing, the internet crazy only seems to get stronger the more the fight devolves. You make an intelligent point, they dismiss it. You make a counterpoint, and they insult you. You get angry, and they point out how you, not them, are becoming hostile. It’s an incredibly poisonous situation to find oneself in.

There is a quote that I frequently like to reference for situations like these. I heard it from Carrie Fisher, but I think she got it from somewhere else. It says “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” I use that quote for internet crazies that are so obviously trying to hate something to death. However, by interacting with them, I realize that I’ve only managed to break this rule for myself. I end up getting needlessly frustrated, when these people aren’t worth getting frustrated over.

And in that, there is the beautifully simple solution. We just need to ignore them. It can be hard, sometimes, because the internet crazies like to push buttons. They know what to post that will incite the most backlash, allowing them to relish in the flame war that results. But we must remain strong, we must ignore. We can’t avoid every internet crazy, as they tend to pop up out of nowhere, but there are a few that we can identify. And, rather than be frustrated that we know regular internet crazies, we have the rare power to selectively ignore them. Kind of like unsubscribing to someone’s feed on facebook (which is probably the greatest feature of facebook).

Master the zen-like art of not caring.
Master the zen-like art of not caring.

Now, one might argue that if the internet crazies are dominating the conversation, then it could create an inaccurate picture to outsiders. And, that is probably true. For hot button issues like politics and religion, it can be very difficult to leave misinformation hanging out there without being contested. But we have to think of our personal health first and foremost. Maybe, by arguing, you will have balanced the discussion, but you certainly haven’t changed anyone’s mind, and the internet crazy has just gotten fat off of your rage. Meanwhile, you’ve got a brand new ulcer.

So, I’m writing this brief little hub, not just as a tip for navigating through the internet, but as a reminder to myself. Every time you see a hot button question, forum post or whatever, don’t take the bait. It’s not worth it. Nine times out of ten, if you can just manage to navigate away from the page, or close the browser, you’ll see that you have no desire to go back and find the offensive material. Your day will be infinitely better if you avoid it, and you will thank yourself later.

© 2013 M. T. Dremer

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Comments 12 comments

Thief12 profile image

Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

Gee, I never seen anyone like that around here.

;-) Good hub!

Borsia profile image

Borsia 3 years ago from Currently, Philippines

I have always found it easiest to just ignore it all and not become invested in the conversation even if I participate in it.

When you are talking to the religious especially they are never going to let logic or critical thinking into their mind. They depend on blocking out any view but their own.

Politics tends to be the same. Nobody wants to admit, even to themselves, that they have been duped or that they believe a lie. Most have never seen the world from any perspective other than the one they grew up in where their country is the good guy and everyone else is either evil or just wrong.

You aren't going to win because you are the only one who is actually playing.

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MysticMoonlight 3 years ago

This may be one of the best Hubs I've ever read! Excellent advice! Thank you for the reminder, M.T. :)

Maira818 profile image

Maira818 3 years ago from Los Angeles, Ca

I am a christian and post christian content on youtube, its incredible the hate i get towards my postings, I am sometimes guilty of answering back to hate comments, but after a while of back and forth debate, I ignore. Let them think they have won an argument. There's no other way to stop it.

M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 3 years ago from United States Author

Thief12 - There are certainly a few, but they will forever remain nameless. I'm probably on someone else's crazy list. ;) Thanks for the comment!

Borsia - Admitting when we're wrong is one of the hardest things to do, more so to ourselves than to other people. And, certain personalities refuse to ever admit when they are wrong. In some cases, there is the perception that a person who changes their mind is seen as weak in their beliefs or morals. Which I think is a major road block where progress is concerned. Clinging to failing ideas is going to hurt everyone. Thanks for the comment!

MysticMoonlight - Thank you for the compliment and the comment! :D

Maira818 - I've heard YouTube is a particularly bad place for comments; some of them get way out of hand. But you're right. Sometimes the only thing you can do is let the other person think they've won. It can be tough, but it just isn't worth the headache. Thanks for the comment!

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 3 years ago

This is great; I have recently acquired an 'internet stalker' a few weeks ago, she started E-mailing me with silly rants. I ignored a couple, I wrote her and basically said I got the message, she doesn't like me, and she keeps e-mailing me every couple of days. I have been ignoring her so hopefully she'll get bored and go.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very well said. I've fallen into these traps a few times, but I've learned to avoid them. Here in the forums, I simply do not enter any discussion having to do with politics or religion.

On Face Book, I'm a bit more politically active, and if I find a statement that is ridiculous in the extreme, I'll provide counter information. However, I then leave, and do not even re-visit the post, so I won't know if any vitriol ensued.

Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 3 years ago from United States Author

WiccanSage - If there is a block feature in your email provider, then you might consider using it. Internet crazies have an uncanny ability to push our buttons, so its best to never see them at all. I wish hubpages had a block feature for posts from specific users, because I frequently keep falling into the trap (hence why I wrote this article to remind myself). Thanks for the comment!

DzyMsLizzy - I've taken to hiding the feed of certain people on my friends list. Facebook has this annoying code of obligation where every high school friend and extended family member must be on your list. It results in a lot of clashing viewpoints. By hiding their feed, I don't have to see the offending posts, but I get to keep a cordial relationship with those people. Thanks for the comment!

unverm profile image

unverm 3 years ago

Thank you for this excelletn hub. There is some harmful signals of negative persons as for some internet craziness too. Maybe the best way for avoiding this is your advise here. Thanks for sharing.

M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 3 years ago from United States Author

unverm - Thank you for the comment and the compliment!

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Joshtheplumber 20 months ago

Nice one, m t. You've got a lot of hubs I plan to explore and gain from, but this one stood out to me for some reason ;-)

Did you know... Stephen Colbert is actually a democrat? He plays the part of a republican pundit rather obnoxiously for some reason.

M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 20 months ago from United States Author

Joshtheplumber - Thank you for the compliment and the comment! I did know Stephen Colbert was more left-leaning. I look forward to seeing how he handles the Late Show. :)

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