An article by David Pogue in Sunday's New York Times asked whether the new social nature of the web is making us, well, antisocial. As a Web 2.0 site or...

An article by David Pogue in Sunday's New York Times asked whether the new social nature of the web is making us, well, antisocial.

As a Web 2.0 site or a blog becomes more popular, a growing percentage of its reader contributions devolve into vitriol, backstabbing and name-calling (not to mention Neanderthal spelling and grammar). Participants address each other as “idiot” and “moron” (and worse) the way correspondents of old might have used “sir” or “madam.”

Of course, as he points out, this “New Nastiness” may be no different from the rudeness we face in everyday life. Pogue surmises, “It may be inspired by the political insultfests on TV and radio. Or it may be that anonymity online removes whatever self-control they might have exhibited when confronting their subjects in person.”

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