the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Internet Thoughts #1 — How to Respond to Stupidity

We all are apt to say stupid or contentious things at some part of our internet lives. What should be the best policy for dealing with it? What makes the internet a better place?

Let’s come up an example.

I come home from a bad date, drunk and angry, and I write some insulting message on Facebook, “All women care about is money. Especially Canadian women. They’re the worst.”

Don’t worry. I didn’t really say that. Whether I believe it or not about our friends to the North — you will never know. But pretend I DID write this on Facebook. And this pisses you off. A lot. How would you respond, and which method makes for a better internet?

1) You immediately unfriend me.

2) You make the public comment, “Neil, are you drunk?”

3) You make the public comment, “Neil, as a Canadian woman I can assure you that this is false, and I am insulted by your comment.”

4) You DM me and ask, “Neil, are you drunk?”

5) You DM me and ask, “”Neil, as a Canadian woman I can assure you that this is false, and I am insulted by your comment.”

6) You write a public vaguebooking message of you own, some “The hatred of all things Canadian is alive and well tonight on the airwaves. I wish I could shove some poutine up this guy’s scrawny ass!”

7) You write a public blogpost, calling the person out, “Neil Kramer is a blogger in New York. He has a small brain and a small dick. He also knows nothing about women. Or Canada. Here’s why and here is his blog…”

8) You ignore it.

Which would be your approach? Which approach is best for the internet?   Does it all depend on our level of friendship with the writer?


  1. Shannon akaMonty

    For me, I’d say my answer could be any of those depending on my level of friendship with the writer. If you actually posted that, I’d probably comment on the post first and go from there. I *might* PM you to say HEY WTF, you’re right about Canadians but probably you don’t want to say that out there. 😉
    (Just kidding, Canadians)

    Also I like vaguebooking and ambigutweeting from time to time – usually it means absolutely nothing about anything, is merely but a random thought passing through my head, but people get all “IS THAT ABOUT ME” and that makes me laugh because I’m 67% evil (according to the quiz).

    You’d have to do something fairly heinous to make me unfriend you.

  2. Angela

    It does not matter, all your Canadian friends would immediately FB you, PM and DM you apologies.

  3. Danny Miller

    9) Stand back and wait for your own self-flagellation about your unfair and mean comments to commence.

  4. Mel

    I would go with the public comment: “Neil, as a Canadian woman I can assure you that this is false, and I am insulted by your comment.” AND separately DM you to express concern/check up on the writer. I’m assuming that this type of statement isn’t par for the course with the author.

    You started a public conversation so I would go with the method YOU chose to start the conversation. But I’d also take it off-public-screen so I could ask you what was up.

  5. The Animated Woman

    Being a Canadian woman, I’d be inclined to wonder if you’re having a “jump the shark” moment.

  6. Denise

    If it was Facebook, I would a) write a cheeky comment on the post b) scroll right by. If it was twitter, I would unfollow if I was really bummed out by what you said. However, that statement would not bum me out.

  7. Jules

    The Internet is full of people just itching to get into fights. If I didn’t know the person I would assume a blanket statement like that would just be someone looking for a negative response and would ignore it. The last thing we need more of on the Internet is inane fights full of snarky comments that don’t change anyone’s mind. If I knew the author, I would contact him privately to get the juicy back-story!

  8. elizaf

    I would publically recommend more protein in your diet and building up to 100 squats a day to fix that scrawny ass 🙂

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