The Internet provides the perfect resource to interact with strangers, express your opinions, connect with new friends and learn anything you choose. It is also the greatest opportunity in history to say the most racist, horrible, insulting thing you can think of to a worldwide audience in any language you learned online. Which is fantastic. I think we should keep this ability, but tack on the provision that you should also have to provide a compliment.
If you are a 14-year-old gamer, you can still connect via XBox to string the most horrific string of anti-gay slurs to casual video game fans twice your age. But I have a feeling the world would be an incrementally better place if the teenager also said, “Nice hat.”
Call me an idealist, a utopian or a dreamer. It sounds like I’m getting soft, but I promise, nothing should be done about the horrific things people say about each other online. Terrible people can still make fake profiles to make people feel popular, then publicly dump them. If you let Internet comments make you that depressed, all the compliments in the world won’t save your sorry ass.
But if your long and steady stream of slurs and bigotry were topped with something as simple as, “You have good grammar,” at the very least it would round out the constructive criticism.
I can’t post your average Internet comment or review without having my blog banned by WordPress (tragically keeping me away from the millions of dollars my blog generates). And that’s just the average, completely ignoring what the Internet is capable of producing. Your casual 4chan commentator can make the Aristocrats seem like a Disney Earth nature documentary. But I think the world would be a better place if they tagged a racist rant with, “You’re really good at receiving racist rants.”
It comes from a selfish place. As a person who creates content and throws it up online, it’s a nice welcome mat for people from all over the world to tell me how horrible I am. I will spend years crafting a book or short film and get it written off by a 10-year-old who says I suck and I’m a retarded pussy. That’s fine. It’s that sort of feedback that makes my work suck less. But the addition of the 10-year-old saying I suck less than my competitor would go a long way.
I believe that over time, one compliment for every Internet insult will preserve the web as a terrible place to spend a few hours. But at the very least, people can have a constructive way to give back. Plus it will ensure that content creators will continue producing material that gets eviscerated by pre-teens. For all the assholes out there who suck and are morons and are inbred retards. You generate creative insults.