Is usually followed by someone saying something offensive. But at least there is an awareness that offence is likely going to be caused.
Nowadays anything you say, especially on the world wide interweb, is bound to be deemed offensive by someone. There is no way getting out of or around it.
I don’t know if people have always been so sensitive (or overly precious and easy to anger in some cases) or if we’re only now letting it out, confronted by endless strangeness in the deep corners of the interverse. Perhaps people simply cannot handle it all and react badly.
The more cynical opinion would hold that we’re now simply able to let out the thoughts we previously had to hide or only confess to locked journals or priests.
At least a lot of repression would get dealt with.
It is probably a combination of both and sadly so.
Everybody has an opinion on everything and everyone. Myself included. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. How we address them and especially our differences counts above all.
Now, it doesn’t matter what your opinion is on any given subject, it better be two things: informed and flexible.
Get the facts and check the sources on whatever side you choose to settle your opinion on. For good measure make yourself familiar with opposing viewpoints. You’ll want to be able to counter those.
And since you can never have all the facts and everything is always changing (including, yes, people), allow new facts to influence or even change your opinion. You won’t lose face if you do so, you may gain respect.
These two rules are pretty much absolute, which means no opinion can ever be. Rest assured we can get close in some cases.
Offending someone online usually has to do with offering or defending an opinion. As long as you are not self-righteous or a downright jerk about it and continue to be reasonable and polite, you are on the right path. But trolls will be trolls and ignorance is a choice, too.
I have read my share of opinionated comments online on subjects that should hardly be argued about (vaccinations are popular) and it has left me utterly gobsmacked. Especially those that were full of caps and exclamation marks peppered with self-righteous entitlement.
And often not a single relevant or valid fact to back them up.
They are usually the most offended and most vocal about it. They make me want to take the next spaceship off this planet and deny any genetic relationship.
I admire the calm and sensible voices that try to push through the veil of ignorance, but find myself tempted to spew venom and let them dwell in that darkness of their own making.
Usually I don’t comment in any way, shape or form, but if I do it is to say something positive. Going with the old saying: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Unkind thoughts I can and will keep to myself (at least online). I don’t need to hide behind a username. Anonymity is in many of these cases simple cowardice.
I needed to get this off my chest, because I’ve been observing this for a while. I wish people would just get over themselves. None of us is so damn important to be extra carefully considered.
Common sense and common courtesy are both astonishingly uncommon. Sadly so. If we applied both more generously, we might accidentally create a better world for us to share.