The always amusing Gary Marshall has resurrected a nicely pertinent article that explains why some people can’t help being total arseholes on the Internet:
How to make everybody on the internet behave | Bigmouth Strikes Again.
He uses a driving analogy to explain why this is so:
What these various offenders have in common is that they can’t hear me or see me – and that gives me a licence to be utterly unpleasant, just like everyone else on the roads. It’s why people block box junctions, or cut you up, or drive at 200mph through primary school playgrounds. They’re not bad people; they’re just not sharing the world with the rest of us. Brits are particularly bad for it, because we’re so buttoned-up the rest of the time.
There’s a proper scientific term for this: disinhibition. In his book Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt explains that while we’re forced to interact with others on the roads we don’t – can’t – communicate with them, so we become overgrown toddlers, interested only in ourselves and reduced to eye-popping, throat-shredding, nappy-filling fury at the slightest frustration.
It makes sense, and explains how seemingly normal, pleasant people can say such horrible things on Twitter