What ever happened to kindness?

Psychologists have long worried about the difference between face-to-face communication and more removed ways of talking—the letter, the telegraph, the phone. Without the traditional trappings of personal communication, like non-verbal cues, context, and tone, comments can become overly impersonal and cold.

Just look at posts on sites like yahoo and QRZ.com.  It appears a lot of people attack from their computes.


If you are reading a post about ARES, RACES, REACT, or any others you will have people post negative comments about those organizations. It is like the old argument that such and such is not really amateur radio or you are not a real operator is if you don’t know mores code and heaven forbid if you bring up Citizen Band radio.

We have to be able to discuss things openly without getting bullied into not talking at all. Republicans and Democrats alike are all guilty of this. We need our politicians to get a long so things will get done. We may not like what gets done but things have to get done. Same in amateur radio. We may not like another organization because we think our organization is better than all the rest and the rest should not exist. If you like FOX or CNN then you may dislike the other and talk about them.

I once was in charge of a major fundraiser for two years and dealt with a lot of charities. I went in thinking there would be a lot of fighting on money and the chance to speak. I was surprised that all the charities worked well together and actually helped one another. Their common ground was to help the people in need. Amateur radio operators and organizations like ARES, RACES, REACT, or, you name the organizations,  don’t do that. It is not the organizations but it’s the people who are members of those organizations that are so set in their ways and say “it has always been this way and will always be this way” and that maybe driving others away.

You could make the same arguments about closed repeaters. Yes the owner owns the equipment and can do what he/she wants, but they don’t own the frequencies.

We have to stop the veil and vicious attacks on individuals and organizations and learn to work together for the good of the hobby and the communities. No one is better than anyone else. We may have a more important job or make more money, but we are no better than the next person.

September 24th 2013, Popular Science announced that it would banish comments from its Web site.  Here is what they said. “Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off.”

“It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.”

“Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself. Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.”

The editors argued that Internet comments, particularly anonymous ones, undermine the integrity of science and lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse. “Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story,” wrote the online-content director Suzanne LaBarre, citing a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as evidence. While it’s tempting to blame the Internet, incendiary rhetoric has long been a mainstay of public discourse.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study that Popular Science cited, for instance, was focussed on whether comments themselves, anonymous or otherwise, made people less civil. The authors found that the nastier the comments, the more polarized readers became about the contents of the article, a phenomenon they dubbed the “nasty effect.”

Large group environments such as twitter and facebook, in turn, often produce less than desirable effects, including a diffusion of responsibility: you feel less accountable for your own actions, and become more likely to engage in amoral behavior.

The social cognitive psychologist Alfred Bandura found that, as personal responsibility becomes more diffused in a group, people tend to dehumanize others and become more aggressive toward them. At the same time, people become more likely to justify their actions in self-absolving ways.



I guess one good that about QRZ.com is you can’t really hide who  you area since your callsign is linked to your comments.

If you don’t like the ARRL or QRZ then you don’t have to be on those sites. Being a member of ARRL is not a requirement to be a amateur radio operator and on QRZ you can have them hid you contact informant and address when every you  decide you have  had enough or you like our privacy. Your address will still show on the FCC site but not on QRZ.

I’ve never been attached on the radio, although I’m sure it happens, but on forums I see it all the time.

What’s worse is that, apart from the outliers or trolls, this effect could be hindering an entire generation of people from thinking for themselves. Writer Meghan Daum’s op-ed in the L.A. Times struck me as sad, mostly because it has a ring of truth:

“When I talk to students or young writers about the importance of being unafraid to take controversial positions, I’m struck by the degree to which they can’t entertain a thought, much less commit one to paper, without imagining the cacophony of snark they’ll get in response.”

Have you ever been silenced due to a fear of online bashing, whether as a writer or commenter? As tech fans, do you find it hard to form an opinion on a product, feature, company or something else until you’ve looked at other reader reactions?


The worse thing we can do is let others get away with it. If you see a comment that is attacking someone then report it or call them out on it.  Amateur radio is your hobby and you should enjoy it and not let others chase you away.

To know the truth you need to not have an opinion before learning the facts.


Lets see how many negative comments this gets?

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