I was just reading another thread and was struck with the anger and blind vitriol of a few of the posters. I was even more surprised by the support
being given to the worst posters in the form of stars and supportive comments.
The book "Lord of the Flies" came to mind.
I know most of you have probably read that book or are familiar with it. For those who aren't, it is basically a group of schoolboys who are
shipwrecked on an island with no surviving adults. The book takes us on a journey in which these children change and turn into two groups. One is
trying to hold on to some of what they came to the island with. The other is a group of vicious little thugs who actually end up killing the most
innocent among them.
I was reminded of this book today while reading a thread here.
ATS seems to be the island. The absent adults are actually the absence of the real world. The rules of everyday life don't apply here beyond the
intervention of mods for t&c violations. People here can say things to people that they would not say to others that they see and deal with every day.
The topics are wide open; no subject is seen as too strange or odd to talk about. Much of what is talked about here would not be given any credence
in the real world and would likely be dismissed with odd looks or laughter.
We actually have a degree of freedom here that is unusual because there are enough open-minded members that we have free discussion on nearly any
subject. I think of this as an Island of strange and unusual subjects that the rest of the world has no real contact with. Some come and watch from a
distance out of curiosity or quite often morbid fascination. These would be analogous to those that read the book. The members themselves are divided
into multiple groups depending upon their interests and habits that are too numerous to mention but when it comes to individual threads I see a
pattern form quite often.
This pattern is often the same, the hostile or violent group versus the more reserved group. Usually this group dichotomy emerges in political
threads which are obviously a product of the already separated/ polarized groups that exist within the political realm. Another group that tends to
follow this thread is the real/ not real...advocate/ debunker groups that form within UFO/ alien/ cryptid discussions. The third that I notice is the
global warming/ climate change discussions.
These all seem to have the common trait of often falling into the angry split between the popular versus unpopular / cool versus uncool / strong
versus weak / and so forth.
What strikes me is that there is so often an identical group mentality. No matter what the subject, the discussions often devolve into a hostile
and angry group versus a calmer more reserved group.
I'm not pointing fingers at any specific group. Most end up on one side or the other eventually.
I have found myself in both groups on occasion and am not proud to admit that there are occasions where I could have been more thoughtful in my
The goal of this thread is to look into human behavior when it is in a new medium such as the internet versus face to face. What makes us act
differently when the environment changes.
I am curious to know if others have seen the same behavior. This isn't intended to be a book discussion but any parallels with the book or any
literature would be interesting.
This might be more suitable for social issues. If so please move.
edit on 16-9-2010 by badgerprints because: for note to mods.