4 Things You Should Stop Joking About Online [Opinion]

keyboard   4 Things You Should Stop Joking About Online [Opinion]No longer must we use smoke signals to communicate. Long gone are the days in which we used cave walls to document events.¬†It’s an age of technology, a time in which we are supposed to be¬†advanced. However, even in such an advanced age, it seems as though Internet society has become incredibly lenient about a variety of very important social issues.

I’m not a fan of making light of stuff that actually hurts people, and it’s not even a matter of being offended ‚Äď I’m not. However, I do worry about how desensitized we have become to these issues.

Pedophilia

pedophilia   4 Things You Should Stop Joking About Online [Opinion]

I really¬†don’t know when pedophilia became funny. Why is it okay to casually reference participation in sexual acts with children? Sure, I get it. You know that pedophilia is wrong, and for some odd reason, this is why you joke about it ‚Äď a possible way of coping. However, I believe that the more we joke about it, the more laid-back we will become around it. We don’t take it as seriously anymore.

Do I think this joking will lead to common acceptance of pedophilia? Nah. I’m not a conspiracist like that. However, I wish that just for once we can let the fact that there are people out there who want to have their way with children break our hearts a little bit. These folks want to rob the innocence of young boys and girls, and we make light of it by posting a picture of Chris Hansen or Pedobear. That’s kind of ridiculous.

Rape

rape   4 Things You Should Stop Joking About Online [Opinion]

Rape isn’t cool, and joking about it isn’t either. I’ve never been a rape victim, and I can’t say I plan on it. However, the word “rape” is thrown around too casually on the Internet these days. (Just to clarify, I don’t believe usages of the phrase such as “raped my childhood” or “raped my memories”¬†would fall under this category, but that’s really up to your discretion.)

Once again, this isn’t an issue of me being offended, because being offended does nothing in this world. However, I do worry that seeing rape jokes on the Internet may bring up some harsh memories or feelings for actual rape victims. If you’re heartless, you may believe that these folks need to get over it and stop living in the past. However, until you’ve actually had such an experience, I don’t want to hear that kind of opinion.

Killing

whitemendie   4 Things You Should Stop Joking About Online [Opinion]

Ladies and gentlemen, why must you insist on saying you wish someone would die? I don’t care if you wouldn’t actually do it, but have we gotten to a point where such hateful thoughts are acceptable? Behind the wall of the Faceless Username, cowardly individuals will come out saying that they wish that other individuals should die or, even worse, that they would kill them if they could. We’re talking about the removal of a life, here.

I’m not referring to the casual, all-in-fun, “I will kill you if you do that one more time!” Of course not, for people tend to rag on each other all the time and say this. However, what I am referring to are words that are obviously fueled by hate and anger. If the intention of this (non-fruitful) death threat is to emotionally hurt the person on the other side of the computer screen, then something needs to change.

Suicide

suicide   4 Things You Should Stop Joking About Online [Opinion]

Right up there with death threats, we have issues concerning suicide. I’ve seen a few instances where someone posts online about their thoughts of committing suicide, and then people will swoop in saying things such as “do it” or “if killing yourself will make you happy, then go for it”.¬†It’s akin to a person standing on top of a skyscraper with a crowd of people below, screaming for him to jump.

How disgusting is this? I understand that many folks have varying views on euthanasia, but here’s what I believe when it comes to the Internet. You are not a professional, you don’t know the context of the person’s situation, and you have no clue what their life is like. If anything, I would say report the post and provide them with words of encouragement. However, if you know that your words will seem condescending in any form or fashion… shut up. Please. You’re dealing with a life that has so much potential, and the slightest thing could ruin it.

Many of you may comment on here that folks that post these things are only seeking attention and won’t actually do anything. To that I say that you should treat every hint of suicide as if the person will actually do it. If you decide to make the call that they won’t, and then they do, there’s a high chance that you will live with blood on your hands forever.

Conclusion

These are just four things that I believe the Internet makes too much light of. Is it a perfect post? Of course not. However, I hope it made you think a little bit.

What other things should people stop joking about on the Internet? Do you disagree with any of the items mentioned here?

 

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93 Comments -

Joshua Clarke

Way to put it in perspective, guys. Well done. We all need to think before we post.

J. Lockhart

Much appreciated, Joshua. Very true. Too many people speak without thinking, and that can possibly end in negative results.

Haplo

Long time reader here: I really think this type of “article” (one has to call it something) doesn’t belong on MUO, because it falls so far apart from the sites’ scope.

That’s even after turning a blind eye on the fact that its writer is far too young to emit an opinion on all those subjects without falling prey of his own stereotypes and lack of objectivity, as most of us are; again, this site is not for this kind of topics.

Please, don’t make this a habit.

Best regards and holidays!

J. Lockhart

With all due respect, I don’t believe that my age (20) has anything to do with the fact the this desensitization towards pedophilia, rape, death, and suicide is unhealthy.

However, I understand that this may fall away from the original scope of the site, but we do try to provide a variety of articles including opinion pieces.

Fun Police

Humor is born from¬†tragedy, “Tragedy” is the drunk, touchy-feely¬†Uncle of “Humor”. It takes all kinds in this world, those that don’t get the joke also have a place, I suppose.

Haplo

I didn’t say that Josh. I said that your age contributes greatly to strenghten your stereotypes and it’s obviously a source for your lack of objectivity. As is for all of us. Please don’t twist my words.

You may be right, or not (this is such a gray area). That is beyond the point. The point that I made is that this type of subjects are far off their, say, natural environment on a (mostly) tech site. A personal blog would be more akin, a support forum, an awareness site… But, a tech site?
Then why don’t you MUO start posting little puppies, sunset pictures, pink ponies… I can think of ways to relate them to techology. And certainly I can think of ways to make them more engaging than your personal, biased, subjective dislike for bad jokes, black humor, or whatever you want to call it. Unhealty desensitization. What qualifies you to even try to clasify those subjects (on a global reach, as is MUO, as opposed to your own blog, or a related to those site)? With all due respect, you study video editing, and you’re 20, you should try to post, on a tech site, relevant news to the sites’ scope. I’m not saying I’m more qualified than you to talk about this, or that my opinions are more worthy (I haven’t even taken sides of what you originally posted, I may even agree with you completely!), please don’t fall for that logical fallacy, but neither of us studied sociology, nor anything even closely related… And, again, this is not the place.
It really comes down to: I see, and seek (and really think, IS), MUO as a source of tech news, your opinion on the latest gadget would be appreciated, the latest news of websites and tools is nice; I don’t want it to become a site where the autors of posts try to, mmm say extend, their own personal, biased and subjective opinions (an opinion, almost by definition, is subjective, as opposed to a fact) on social matters (indeed, matters that don’t directly relate to technology). And no, just because a subject can fit under the internet umbrella, that doesn’t make it applicable to a tech site.

Following thus, I’ve dedicated much time to a subject that shouldn’t even be here, for my part that is all. And if I’ve given you offence, please accept my sincere apologies; it was never my intent.

Best regards and holidays!

J. Lockhart

Haplo, I apologize if you believe I intended to twist your words. They are quite clear, but they are also rather irrelevant. Allow me to clarify, for this is an opinionated article. As a writer (period), I would have remained neutral if it were intended otherwise. However, I am fully capable of differentiating between different types of pieces. You assume too much.

As for the rest of your comment, point taken. You could probably have summed it up in a couple of sentences, but you must realize that we have more than just tech news and reviews on this site. The opinions section covers a great deal of articles. Allow me to direct you to a few more:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-annoy-tech-today-opinion/
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/annoying-people-twitter/
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/linux-good-opinion/
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-worst-computer-nightmares/

Also, here is the entire set:

http://www.makeuseof.com/service/polls/

We also have an assortment of offbeat articles that may or may not be “pure” tech:

http://www.makeuseof.com/service/offbeat/

If you would like to see this type of material removed from the site, I would recommend that you send a polite email to one of the higher-ups as they control the content. If I were to be asked by one of them to not write these types of articles, I would gladly do so. However, there are plenty of people that do enjoy reading them, and you are one voice among many (much like my own). Just keep that in mind.

peter101

qualifies ? every person have its own opinion and our experience help us shape our opinion that everyone is entitled to have, now if you agree or disagree you can state it on comments
i think that the site has every right to write this article because is about jokes people do ONLINE and because a big part of what makeuseof is today is their comments i think they have every right to say something about that
you haven’t even taken sides of what he originally posted ? [Then why don’t you MUO start posting little puppies, sunset pictures, pink ponies…] its sounds to me like you reject his article as an other unrealistic suggestion to how will the world be better? would you like it if people made jokes about terrible situations you were in and do you think is impossible peoples commentsto to have a real life effect on other peoples real lifes ?

Debblaclwhite

Also a long time reader and I loved this article. 1.It may have been off topic but who are you to say it doesn’t belong here? In my opinion an article like this belongs on every site. It doesn’t hurt to remind people to¬† show basic common curtsy and compassion no matter where it’s posted. Has it been written down in cement somewhere that web sites can’t¬† print a story that doesn’t fit with its usual theme. The writer may be young but it seems to me that he has a very good understanding of his subject and is being very objective. 2. I also feel that your statement “Please, don’t make this a habit” is rather presumptuous. Maybe you should start hosting your own web site then you’ll be able to decide what gets printed or not. 3. If you found the article inappropriate why didn’t you just stop reading it and go on to something else?

Christian Hagen

Thank you for teaching me something new today. I’m not talking about anything but your choice of the word “curtsy” here. I thought (not being a native English speaker) that it should have been “courtesy”, but according to Wikipedia on the subject, your choice is equally valid, as it is recognized as a syncope.

Before your choice of word, I thought “curtsy” was a woman’s (old-fashioned) way of greeting someone of equal or higher rank, and that “courtesy” was a shorter way of saying “good manners towards fellow man”. Turns out, a courtesy is a curtsy, meaning a woman bending knees and head before a social equal or superior.

No, I’m not being sarcastic, though I see my post could come off like that. I enjoy learning, and you did (unintentionally) teach me something. So again; Thank you.

Auth

Beth Grant Posted on Hey, I think this is really cool. I love the posts you make on dnfiereft things you blame Lupus for. It is a funny side of blaming stray things on Lupus. Thanks for sharing.

Ashik

Per ora, a parte il teaser che romtsa poco o nulla, possiamo giudicare solo la grafica dagli screen..b , dire che non ben realizzata non ha molto senso. Se gli sviluppatori puntano su una base grafica a “cartoon” poco importa, quello che conta che sia realizzata bene! E qui, secondo me, di atmosfera(come dice galilee) e grafica “tetra” ce n’ abbastanza..secondo me pi che soddisfacente

Leisi

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Captain Serious

We need to stop making jokes, period. Life is too short and serious to be treated like trivial nonsense. It would be much better if these so-called “comedians” got real jobs and contributed to society in real, tangible ways.

J. Lockhart

Nope. Jokes are great. It’s the desensitization I’m worried about.

Joel Lee

My reaction to this article is ambivalent. On the one hand, yes, some topics probably shouldn’t be joked about. On the other hand, who gets to draw the line on what’s acceptable and what isn’t?

It’s fruitless to say that we should stop joking about these things “online” or “on the Internet” because those terms encompass a broad community that has no real leader or law.

J. Lockhart

It’s a lot easier to say things online than in real person, Joel. As broad as it is, that’s why the target audience is the Internet, for there are many online communities that include similar actions by their users.¬†

I can narrow this article down to two things ‚Äď sexual molestation and death. You tell me if it’s funny.

Missy

Personally I appreciate this article quite a bit, and only more so because MUO is an unexpected place to encounter it. These kinds of off-hand jokes and references have become so pervasive, I don’t really see ANYplace as being an inappropriate setting to speak up against them. I’m no fan of forced censorship, but I do fully support attempting to inspire a liiittle more care and awareness of the ways that hate and hostility creep into casual expression, and the impact that such expressions can have on those for whom these things aren’t ‘just words’. Thank you.¬†

J. Lockhart

I hate censorship just as much as the next guy, Missy.¬†You can’t force it, but you can definitely influence others. The Internet is a grumpy place, sometimes. (Well, in some areas at least.)

Thanks for the kind words.

Jeff Fabish

Then stop taking things to hart (see what I did there?). I¬†guarantee¬†any of these ‘controversial subjects’ can be made¬†hilarious¬†if done properly. How about we (as humans) stop¬†committing¬†these acts? There’s nothing wrong talking about them, it’s when someone actually goes out and does it that it becomes a problem.¬†

As for suicide, if someone is going to kill themselves, it’s their life. It sickens me to hear on the news that “a police officer today pulled a man to safety after he attempted to kill himself”, well why the hell would you do that? He wanted to die and now your forcing him to stay in his/her shithole of a life and MORE OVER now he’s in trouble with the police.¬†Congratulations, but it’s not your life to chose the outcome of. I wouldn’t talk anyone into suicide, but I wouldn’t think it unreasonable to want to die either.

Life is a lot like gambling, you can play the game for a long time but it doesn’t mean it’s going to get any better, and gambling isn’t for everybody. ¬†My friend actually committed suicide about a year ago, I think it takes that to actually¬†empathize¬†with¬†someone’s¬†situation. Things don’t always get better. People that want to commit suicide, fuckin’ commit suicide. They don’t do it because some guy on a¬†message-board¬†somewhere told him it would be a good idea, if he did – he was going to do it anyway. If he actually was coerced into¬†committing¬†suicide, he or she was a fucking idiot and this world is probably better off without them anyway.

In conclusion, if what people say online offends you to the point you become even the slightest bit upset about it, unplug your modem and find something else to do.

That’s my $0.02

J. Lockhart

Jeff, you know that I appreciate your comments, but we disagree greatly here.
As for suicide, it frustrates me that you would say this. I could use the stock arguments of mental states or the fact that there is so much more to life, but you would likely have the stock responses to that stock argument. Plain and simple, we disagree. But I am sorry that you lost a friend, Jeff. (I believe I can say that.)

As for the other stuff, the first step of stopping murder and rape is to bring light to the seriousness of it. 

By the way, there was so much more you could have done with my name. C’mon dude. You’re good at this stuff. Show me some more.

Scutterman

I don’t know about stock answers, but here’s a non-stock answer on the subject of suicide.

I have been depressed in the past. I haven’t ever been bad enough to consider an end, but I’ve known people who have. I also know that during the whole time I was depressed, I wasn’t myself. I would do things and say things and think things that weren’t like anything about me.

I’m not looking for sympathy, and I agree that some comment encouraging is probably not going to make them more likely to do something, but sympathetic or encouraging words may bring them back just enough. And, in time, they may get better, their life may become not just bearable but happy.

That’s just a view from the other side. Think of it what you will.
-Scut

J. Lockhart

You said what I couldn’t, Scutterman. Thank you.

Sonny Bass

I have to agree with Jeff on this. Anyone who wants to die should.20yr ago a friend killed himself, after that parents and loved ones could grieve and go on with life.The few years before that he was¬†continually inflicting his misery on everyone around him. I had known him all my life, but his last couple of years I couldn’t be around him much. If life makes you miserable do those around you a favor get out.¬†

Timhole

So you know exactly how his life would have turned out if he’d managed to stick around long enough to see his own worth as a human being and eventually reconcile with his family?

creditcard holder

This is a very interesting topic and thanks for sharing this.

Sonny Bass

Any subject can and should be joked about,or is it preferred to hide possibly offensive subjects and never speak of them at all.
I also have to agree this isn’t the right site for this type of article¬†

J. Lockhart

Thank you for your response, Sonny. It’s not preferred to hide them, but it is preferred to see them for what they are.

Sonny Bass

The best humor comes from those who see subjects for what they are.

J. Lockhart

Well-said. But do we know what they truly are if we haven’t experienced them?

Sonny Bass

Possibly not,but anything that actually causes a person to think about a subject is good. In that scope this is a good article.

Anonymous

I enjoyed reading the
article and appreciate MUO for posting it; I disagree with those that believe
Joshua’s article is ‘beyond the scope of this site.’ On the contrary, this
‘tech’ site provides information about all aspects of ‘tech’ life; netiquette
is part of life online.

 

Again, thanks for the
great article; I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

J. Lockhart

Thank you for your response, Smokey.

pj

Great stuff man.

J. Lockhart

Thanks, pj.

Maksims mrvica

Great idea, and so terrible, but it must be a nice post, I like it.

Independent

In principle, I agree with the points made here, and tech being the medium, it IS relevant. Well done Joshua L, for having mature views, and writing something different for a change.

Afaq

Seriously, in India politicians are worried about discussion related to them and want censorship of facebook and other social sites which include jokes related to them… Now that is mean :X

J. Lockhart

I wouldn’t censor it, for that doesn’t cause much. It really does nothing. It takes a personal shift in view.

Abilty

Edno vreme kato malak si zapisvah kotnksureite nindja na video kaseti i mislq 4e gi pazq, 100 % sam siguren 4e q imam taq reklama na nqkoq video kaseta 6te se opitam da pomogna

James Bruce

I think what you’ve managed to do is demonstrate an absolutely profound lack of a sense of humour.

It’s not about de-sensitization at all – I’m the first to laugh at a pedophilia joke – but I’m also the most outspoken person I know in regard to the real world problems such as legalized pedophilia with arranged child marriages; or the disgusting behaviour of catholic priests to thousands of little boys. And I’d be the first to cut the dick off anyone who is actually guilty of subjecting sex acts on a child. But you know what? I’m still able to laugh at a joke. I would actually encourage you to seek out a copy of Chris Morris Brass-Eye pedophilia special, in which the entire episode is a satirical take on societies attitudes to pedophilia. It was very funny, and very clever – and as expected, there was a huge outrage. (not sure if you can view, but this is a link to it on 4od:¬†http://www.channel4.com/programmes/brass-eye/4od#2929844 )¬†

What you’re basically suggesting is self-censorship, and we had a similar request on Geeky Fun section earlier this month from a Muslim reader who was insulted by some Arabic text in the image we posted – and suggested we don’t post such insulting images (to the Islamic faith at least) ¬†again. Apparently, we were banned in pakistan for it. So I ask you – do you think it’s fair that because one person or group of people is insulted by something – for whatever reason – it shouldn’t be published? You might not be specifically asking for censorship, but you’re basically saying the same thing with “these 4 topics insult me, please don’t post them”.¬†

I’m curious also – did you run out of words or deliberately not include religion on this list? Do you genuinely believe we shouldn’t insult such “sacred” instituions as god? How about the following to add to your list too, obviously all horribly insulting topics that should never be joked about:

– gay marriage
– abortion
– eating foetuses
– cannibalism
– jews
– nazis
– anything depicting allah

One last thing, I was recently listening to the radio when the guy talked about a story of a remote african tribe he stayed with, during which he told them a story about a man who committed suicide. The entire tribe – without exception – burst out laughing. This wasn’t a joke you understand – it was a factual, genuine story – but they found it absolutely hilarious. Why? Becuase in their culture, it was so absolutely ridiculous the idea that someone might kill themselves because their life sucked. They just couldnt understand, and hence they had no reaction but to laugh. Perhaps this is how those of us who laugh at suicide jokes feel? Perhaps those of us who don’t laugh feel it is just a little too close to home – and that’s a tragedy, I’m sure – but does that mean I shouldn’t be allowed to post, or laugh, or react about the topic – does it?

J. Lockhart

Deliberately didn’t include religion on there, James. Pretty sure sexual molestation and death are two things that are universal.

Em07157

Can’t tell if dedicated troll or huge cock mongling newfag… But then I guess some things should just stay in 4chan…

J. Lockhart

I think we can agree.

Octavio

admin hovored:ŇĹiadny ritue1l. Mysledm si, Ňĺe je na prvfd poh?ad jasne9, o ?o sa jedne1, tak preto som nevysvet?oval ni? poodrbne. Vo viacerfdch Ň°te1toch Afriky majfa akfatny nedostatok vody a nie to eŇ°te nejake9 vane, ?i sprchy. Len som chcel, aby ste si touto fotkou d?a predstavili, ako to tam asi vypade1.

Chavez

?? ???? ?? ???????? ??? ???:This refers to your aicplpation for permanent residence in Canada. Please return this form with the requested documents:- Updated police clearance from Iran.- Updated Proof of funds (bank statements & transaction history)- Updated letter of employment.- Please submit a written statement indicating any changes since July, 2009 for you in: * Personal history (employment, education, membership or association with organizations, government positions) * Addresses * Marital status * Family composition * Please indicate all travels done since July, 2009 (dates, purpose of trip, countries visited)- Since July, 2009, if you have resided in any country outside of Iran for more than 6 months, please submit original police certificate from that country.- Properly completed Additional Family information form (missing signature: section A & B)- Your personal history (from Sep 2000 to May 2003)Please gather all requirements and submit ALL requested documents at the same time, in a single package. Do not submit documents one by one. Only send ORIGINAL documents when requested. All documents, in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by original certified translations into English or French, except the passports. If you are requested to submit a Police Certificate (see above), please send the original police certificate and the certified translation.Please be notified that if you do not comply with this request within 60 days of the date of this letter, your aicplpation for permanent residence in Canada will be assessed on the basis of the information already before the officer. Failure to provide the requested documents could result in the refusal of your aicplpation.Unless you live in Lebanon, your file is being processed in Damascus. No representations, faxes, telephone calls or correspondence can or will be answered by other Canadian Embassies; all inquires must be sent directly to the visa office in Damascus. Do NOT send your documents to any other visa office.Please quote your file number, as well as your telephone & fax numbers on all correspondence and on every document you send to us.Sincerely,

Hideya

just because im a fan of a wwe sutaesprr doesn’t mean im a fan of the wwe company. I mean i like the wwe i dont like it as much as i used too. wwe used to be just like this now it’s? a little kids playground. they can barely cut promos. the only exciting things that happened this year was the rock returning and the whole conspiracy thing well kinda. but either wwe isnt the same as it was back in the day regardless of ratings

Bben

I am a moderator on a large game site forum with more than our share of young members. Any of these will get you instantly and permanently banned. And then they make a new account (also against the rules) and squawk about how mean the moderators are on our site.

J. Lockhart

Understood, Bben. However, the forced moderation may not be key. You can’t change anyone.

J. Lockhart

Thank you.

Sheila Warner

I believe that the online world is a reflection of the offline world minus all the filters we would normally employ in a face-to-face setting. The supposed anonymity of this scenario means it’s a field day for a perverse mindset to (tragically) flourish.

J. Lockhart

That… is what I think.

Missy

Jumping back in somewhat late, but – there’s a number of comments here that (i feel) mis-identify the problem as one of *humor* – ‘you just don’t have a sense of humor’, etc – but the most pervasive reference to these subjects is NOT in a joking/humorous context, but rather, utterly casual hyperbolic usage – ‘go die in a fire’, ‘just go kill yourself’, ‘i raped that test/burger/etc’. To me, that suggests an abstractifying of the meaning – the literal meaning makes no sense in such a context (can one *literally* have non-consensual sex with a test?) so the usage seems to be negating the literal meaning in favor of an abstacted ‘you know what i meant’ application – simply as a signifier of strong/intense feeling or action. To me, a deliberately-crafted joke (George Carlin, myriad others) doesn’t strip away the literal meaning, but rather sharpens that edge to prompt a different realization or consideration of the subject – and humor IS a great vehicle for inspiring a new comprehension or perception of something. The laugh directly relates to the recognition of truth, or an unexpected connection, and *can* potentially lead to a deeper or greater awareness. Whereas – lazy hyperbolic use – if there’s a case that can be made to justify or defend it that carries *more* weight than the case for showing a little sensitivity and respect for the actual-literal meaning of these words, it hasn’t been made in the comments here yet. If the standard defense of ‘I didn’t mean it *that* way, quit being so sensitive!’ is considered valid, then answering that with ‘no, your choice of words is lazy and INsensitive, and you are responsible and accountable for the expressions you use’ is surely just as valid. ¬† ¬† ¬†

J. Lockhart

In retrospect, the title “Joking” does not seem to sum the article up well. I used it with the idea that people do not typically mean what they say, but this doesn’t take away the malicious intent of it.

I like to laugh. Honest.

Missy

Whoops, I wasn’t even considering the title of the article at this point! It was the number of comments taking you to task for ‘not having a sense of humor’ that made the distinction clear in my mind – framing the problem solely as a difference of opinion re what is/isn’t funny just seems to miss the deeper issue of casual hyperbolic misappropriation. The body of your article had the focus in the right place, I think – it seems like anyone who tries to speak up against casual misappropriation of ‘loaded’ terms gets a wave of ‘YOU JUST DON”T HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR’ in response, and that’s what I wanted to address. In any case, I do very much appreciate your post and your engagement with the comments – it’s clearly a relevant discussion, and willingness to wade in on any aspect of it helps to refine and clarify the discussion as a whole. ¬†

J. Lockhart

The title was my mistake, for what I was trying to convey went beyond joking (but joking fell under the category). I believe the message was clear. I also believe it’s almost like the adult world of cyber-bullying.

Thank you very much for sticking around the discussion!

James Bruce

Interesting point Missy, but I do think this article was specifically about humor rather than casual hyperbolic usage like “that’s so gay” or “go die”.¬†

Having said that, given that the kind of casual usage you’re referring to is only ever between friends and consenting parties, I dont really see a problem with it. If I want to tell my mate I’m going to “rape him in black ops”, thats a personal choice we can both consent to, and I see nothing wrong with doing so. Presumably, I wouldnt use that word if he had actually been raped before, as it would be thoroughly insensitive. It doesnt , *at all*, mean that I nor him don’t understand the actual ramifications of non-consensual sexual abuse though.¬†

Words are entirely what you make of them and what the listener contextualizes them to mean. And words can quite happily have multiple meanings without diminishing the ‘original’ usage.¬†

J. Lockhart

We can definitely agree on context, James. Let’s say that you and I were playing BF3 (gamer tag JxHart91, and I personally suck because I do not get to play games at university) I seriously couldn’t get too bent out of shape if you said you were going to rape me. It wouldn’t be my personal first choice of words, but I kind of get it.

What I get more concerned about (and you and will disagree, and that’s okay ‚Äď we’re on the same team, anyway) is just the blatant humor about rape itself on the Internet. I get that it’s an iffy issue, and often, it’s easier to joke about it so that we can be more comfortable with it ‚Äď kind of a verbal defense mechanism. My concern is how far we will take it.¬†

When people jokingly say that they would rape someone (in the actual context of rape), this is where it becomes a potential problem, and it’s so much easier to do so when you don’t have to own up to it face-to-face. When people see an article about the actual act of rape, and someone makes a joke about it, that also concerns me. Yes, anything can be made funny, but should it? Not always. The wall of¬†anonymity that the Internet provides can be a good force, but it can also be a bad force, too.

As users of the Internet, we set precedents for the future. We need to make sure that we don’t lose our humanity along the way.

(By the way, I’m pretty level-headed, James, and I honestly hate conflict. The irony is that I put out these opinion pieces, so I’m basically asking for it. I also do have a sense of humor. I mean, it’s awkward. Like family‚ÄďChristmas‚Äďcard awkward. I also may find some stuff absolutely hilarious that another guy wouldn’t. I just try to keep things in perspective.)

Timhole

So what happens if he was a victim of sexual abuse and you didn’t know about it? How are you supposed to know? What if, as a result of your ‘joke’, he decides never to discuss it with anyone, even when it happens a second time? It’s only a joke right?

devils advocate

All of your images seem to come from one source. I would counter that that particular forum site is one you shouldn’t read if you don’t want to see this stuff. Discussing it here isn’t stopping it, nor is discussing it in those forums.

Where were you reading these? Without context they are rather meaningless.

J. Lockhart

We can’t have two devil’s advocates. The pictures are merely visual aids, and that’s a community I just happen to use. However, you know just as well as I do that there is plenty of this stuff on the Internet.

When there’s a fan page for Pedobear on Facebook, I don’t believe I have to explain my case any further.

Debblaclwhite

Four points very well made. It may have been off topic,but I don’t think it will hurt anyone to read this.

J. Lockhart

Thank you very much.

TŇ°arikov

One should be able to have a mental filter between them and the Internet anytime they are online. It should be turned on as soon as the browser is launched, or, better yet, when the power button is pressed. That means, even if you see offensive jokes online, it should not automatically set you into an uncontrollable rage – one should always be able to set the online world apart from his/her “real life”.

You can’t affect, let alone change, the entirety of the Internet: black humour and bad jokes are always bound to be there for you. It’s a lot about the attitude, it’s about how you receive content. That includes pretty much ANY content online. I, for one, think that everyone has the right to be offended, but always have to be able to distinguish a troll. Black humour is one of the most effective ways of getting attention, anyway.

Certain things are not to be catered to just anyone. I consider the article’s subjects black humor. The Internet is not the place for any kind of possibly offensive content, but reducing such can be a double-edged sword. Trolls utilizing black humor would have an easy foothold and soon be back on their feet.

J. Lockhart

I’m a fairly passive person. I really hate debate, but as you can tell, this article has spawned a great deal of it. I really don’t “rage”, and I try not to get upset about much. Granted, I’ve been near my computer trying to answer everyone to the best of my ability, and it’s occasionally been frustrating.

However, I just think it’s something we shouldn’t let slide by. Too many people stay silent. I usually stay silent, and as a result, a lot of my opinion pieces are light-hearted or pretty tame. Honestly, I thought this one was (still do).¬†

You’re right ‚Äď I can’t change anyone. But if I make someone think critically about what they are doing, that’s good enough for me. If they change, then that is their own issue.

TŇ°arikov

I apologize if I sounded like I was pointing at you, specifically. It was not my purpose. I have to get rid of using the you-passive…

J. Lockhart

: ) Nothing to worry about.

draniqa

no , i definitely agree.. this is really happening in our society..

J. Lockhart

Thank you for your response.

Csalmon2

People’s posted comments can encourage others to do what is not lawfully proper. Rape is NOT having fun. Rape is forceable violation of an innocent person. Anybody that does that to another person is not human.

J. Lockhart

I don’t think so, CSalmon2. There’s really no correlation between someone posting a joke and someone going and doing it. I do think it affects our mindset, but that’s all.

Also, I would assume rape is not about having fun.

Anonymous

As a relatively new reader I have to admit I was taken aback by some of the negative comments. Come on, folks first of all, the item is clearly labeled “OPINION” – clue??? Second, this is the time of year it is traditional to plan changes for the new year, and frankly some very valid points were made IMO. See – another opinion. Thirdly, while this opinion piece may not be tech related directly, indirectly it is aimed right at the heart of the sort of safety warnings and courtesy reminders everyone needs from time to time. Online etiquette has been getting progressively more sloppy, and just as in the ‘real world’, discourtesy, rudeness, insensitivity to others and blatant nastiness are signs of civilization crumbling. Give us all a break – either take the suggestions as what they are – opinion based – and either use them or don’t, or if you see the warning ‘opinion’ in the title of an article – skip it! In the meantime, here’s wishing all of MUO and the rest of the world a Happy and hopefully civilized New Year!

J. Lockhart

Hi, slywlf. Thank you for that.

J. Lockhart

After all these comments, all this debate, all this controversy, your name is the only thing that I am currently worried about. It sounds like it should be the name of the villain on a kid’s cartoon.

Sonny Bass

@jlockhart:disqus Funny or offensive? 

J. Lockhart

Not really my taste, but I don’t know if it really falls under this.

James Bruce

It’s joke about 7 guys raping a hypnotist. How does that not fall under this!?

J. Lockhart

Take this video: http://youtu.be/OhwpqJDi0fo

It’s about a fellow whose mother raped him when he was younger. I looked through the comments, and I found this:

“well incest is the best”

This is where I have an issue, and it’s a fairly common occurrence on the net. Given your stance on this whole topic, you probably find it funny, and that’s fine. I can see where one might find it funny. Nothing I can do about that, and it honestly doesn’t change my opinion of who you are. You can’t drag personalities into something like this.¬†

You disagree with me. It happens.

I just personally believe that we should be responsible with this ability to transmit information on the Internet. Often, people will read or watch these stories because they are either searching for help or genuinely wanting to hear the stories of others. But then you get folks who leave comments like this.

That’s all. Can we end the discussion of this topic so I can go do some other stuff, such as redundantly notifying you about the site being down or coming up with nonsensical ideas for counting next month’s stats?

Stephen Rice

“Given your stance on this whole topic, you probably find it funny, and that’s fine.”

Whoa, hang on a second here. To paraphrase what you’ve just said:

I assume you’d like this video I found on youtube… but that’s ok, I don’t judge you.

J. Lockhart

Hi Stephen. I tried to handle that delicately, but I obviously didn’t do as well as I thought I had. My bad, and¬†thanks for pointing it out. Fortunately, James and I had some further discussion than that alone.

Jeff Fabish

CENSOR TEH PLANETZ!

J. Lockhart

Nah.

Neal Jordan

Joshua,
I liked your article,yes it doesn’t really belong in a techie publication like Popular Mechanics, but Make use of is a bit of a mish mash of different things with the Internet pirate spirit.Also it’s the end of the year when we all contemplate another year down what did I contribute or learn from it?
I love the ageism discrimination , in Texas  you would be old enough at 17 to be put to death, in all states at 18 you would be old enough to die for your country and in WW2 you would be a seasoned veteran by now.
The anonymity of the Internet leads to all sorts of jokes or pranks that people would never do in daylight or any other medium. One is these kind of jokes another is the E mail hate cartoons that have become prominent during President Obama’s term.When people send me these things I reply asking them if they would stand up in front of their family, co-workers or church and repeat what they had sent.I have never received an affirmative reply.
Finally the one that I lament the most is the lack of civility in discussions that has been lost.Every adverse comment is met by a barrage of personal insults interspersed with adverse political comments.Why can’t we have discussions without all this rancour? Why can’t we accept that other people have different opinions and respect their opinions.

J. Lockhart

Yep. Friendly discussion is fairly absent these days. Also, MUO covers a variety of stuff, and I try to do as I’m told.

Dwarfield2k2

I don’t know why Joshua’s age matters. ¬†He’s legal. ¬†I’m 50 and I’ve spent half my life on the web…Joshua’s spent pretty much all of his life on the web. ¬†Too bad for you, really.

Anyway, people ARE watching. ¬†If you want to make jokes about pedophilia or rape, go right ahead. ¬†Just don’t be surprised if you someone in the FBI starts to pay attention to you!

J. Lockhart

Seems like this article popped up somewhere recently. I’ve gotten a couple of comments in the past couple of days.

Thanks for the response, Dwarfield. I’ll agree age doesn’t matter in some cases. With this, I kind of thought it would go without saying. I didn’t expect this much of a negative attitude. People don’t like their views to be challenged, I suppose.

However, I doubt the FBI will be looking at anyone. Hopefully not, anyway. There’s a lot of great people out there who do all that I’ve mentioned.

stonrdude

Josh:

The suicide that continues to upset me and the comments concerning it, is the death by their own hand of young gay men that are victims of hate and bullies. One can not pick up a paper without reading another dude has ended his life. As an older gay dude, I chose not to be out, my choice at the time. Most guys my age did the same, I am 62 now and it is not an issue. But is must be a horrible problem for young men and women who are gay or different. 

I wish we could reach out more to disturbed young persons, its a family kinda thing and needs to start there, before it gets to the newspaper as a death notice. It is such a waste of a precious life.  One feels pretty useless when ya read about  another kid taking his life and leaving a U-Tube message or a note. 

Your 4 unfunny things are pretty close to being right and true.¬† Is it my imagination or are pedos everywhere now?¬† Only heard about it infrequently before it became a problem for ministers and priests, now it is eveywhere, schools, churches and on buses. I don’t know, Josh, maybe this was always an issue and not reported as such.¬† Thanks for your post, good blog, great topic.

J. Lockhart

Hi, stonrude. Seems like I missed this comment. It breaks my heart that there are so many bullies that would cause such a thing. It also breaks my heart that you’ve had to see all of this happen.¬†It’s also true about the pedophilia. I detest the things that I see, but It may just be the case that this stuff was just hidden before.

Hope you are doing well.

Jhezuz

In regards to leniency towards pedophilia, society is to blame. With all the jailbait and superstar (role)models trying to look 15 and as slutty as possible, it’s hard to “uncondition” or not think about smashing them. Kind of ironic that society is trying to discourage sex with minors when sex appeal standards are based on teenage girls..

This post left out another topic that shouldn’t be joked about: racism. Despite the whole “Jews did 9/11″ being a joke on the internet, some crazy fucks took it seriously enough that it reached the news, and I lol’d so hard at the fact that a socially constructed concept(race) is the source of all this controversy. The same goes with the profuse spamming of “niggers” over the internet.

Mitchdillon

¬†yet…..he allows himself the freedom to trivialise his caffeine use. Caffeine abuse (no, i’m not joking) is grossly underestimated in it’s effects on individuals and society as a whole. A lot of people are addicts, and knowingly so. Loss of sleep, lowering of sperm count, are just a couple of effects of this condition.
But of course, that’s a legal addictive drug, and therefore not nearly as bad as pedo stuff, or anything else in the south of the boys moral compass.
Really, what i’m getting at is the fact that what this blinkered boy thinks, isn’t necessarily what’s actually going on in the world, nor does what he thinks matter in the slightest.
All he’s after is censorship of humour. That is just plain wrong.
What’s the response?

J. Lockhart

My response is this: Find exactly where I called for censorship, which is Google-defined as “the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts”.

If you define censorship as that (something official, as in government official and actually suppressive), then your argument is redundant, not thorough, and is only supported by pseudo-intellectual uses of the word “boy” and “blinkered”.

If you so choose to count self-censorship in this (which is what I have had to do with every single comment that has come with this article ‚Äď as in not verbally tearing apart every single person’s argument that arrives), then all I can say is that you already do this in some form or fashion.

Granted, you’re right in what I think doesn’t matter. It sure doesn’t. However, it only doesn’t matter if you don’t let it. I can very easily say what you don’t say doesn’t matter, for I have my views, and because yours do not align with mine, I have the ability to just say, “Oh. Mitchdillon’s views don’t matter whatsoever.” So really, this goes without saying, I believe.

As for the caffeine analogy, it was weak ‚Äď just like the coffee I had this morning.

dn3s

actually it’s an opinion piece in which he says things he thinks people should voluntarily “stop joking about online”. i figured that out by skimming the article.

Isela Gevorkyan

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