Uncivilized Anonymity

I’m sure this is news to no one, but I am glad to have the opportunity to discuss it again:

MSNBC had an article about how the anonymity of the Internet (and telephone and car) facilitate anti-social behavior is otherwise perfectly nice people. Here is a piece:

“The environment affects how you behave,” she says. “Any time you go to places where you’re not known — even if it’s a hotel in another city — you might be more aggressive. So when you construct an environment like the Internet or long-distance call centers with a help desk worker in Bangalore, you’re creating an environment that facilitates uncharacteristic behavior. You’re not getting those nonverbal cues that calibrate your behavior and give you feedback if you’re going off track. Those people who do customer service for Comcast probably need double doses of Zoloft.”

Have you ever read the discussion boards on newspaper websites? The ones in the Tribune can make me ashamed of my own city. Ignoring the abuse of the English language for a minute, people are just mean.

I was reading a thing last night, it might have been USA Today, about a study on how people feel about their doctors. The results are that we generally think they don’t show enough empathy. Personally, that is not my feeling about my doctor, so I clicked in to get a feeling of how many people agreed.

Bad idea.

A couple of very brave doctors posted about how many patients they have to see in a day just to meet their overhead. And how angry patients are to be kept waiting when the doctor spends an extra couple of minutes with someone. One dared to add the cost of malpractice insurance and the monthly cost of his student loans ($2000!). The two doctors I read seemed apologetic, and I believe they were trying to say they wished they could spend more time with us but the system is broken. One even mentioned the relatively new phenomenon of concierge doctors.

They were reamed.

I realize this is a hottish topic, (I could do a post of my own on the health care system) but it was just uncivilized.

I’m not saying that we should all go out and hug a stranger today, but please. Might we respectfully agree to disagree?

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