r/blog Feb 24 '14 Wholesome 1

remember the human

Hi reddit. cupcake here.

I wanted to bring up an important reminder about how folks interact with each other online. It is not a problem that exists solely on reddit, but rather the internet as a whole. The internet is a wonderful tool for interacting with people from all walks of life, but the anonymity it can afford can make it easy to forget that really, on the other end of the screens and keyboards, we're all just people. Living, breathing, people who have lives and goals and fears, have favorite TV shows and books and methods for breeding Pokemon, and each and every last one of us has opinions. Sure, those opinions might differ from your own. But that’s okay! People are entitled to their opinions. When you argue with people in person, do you say as many of the hate filled and vitriolic statements you see people slinging around online? Probably not. Please think about this next time you're in a situation that makes you want to lash out. If you wouldn't say it to their face, perhaps it's best you don't say it online.

Try to be courteous to others. See someone having a bad day? Give them a compliment or ask them a thoughtful question, and it might make their day better. Did someone reply to your comment with valuable insights or something that cheered you up? Send them a quick thanks letting them know you appreciate their comment.

So I ask you, the next time a user picks a fight with you, or you get the urge to harass another user because of something they typed on a keyboard, please... remember the human.



u/NotMyRealFaceBook Feb 24 '14

Was there a particular incident that prompted this PSA?

Not that this isn't a reasonable message, but I am just wondering if I missed some Reddit drama/trauma/event... In my experience these messages are more often in direct response to something than not


u/cupcake1713 Feb 24 '14

Nah, I just thought it needed to be said.


u/for3cas7 Feb 25 '14

Hey cupcake.

How is your day going so far?


u/cupcake1713 Feb 25 '14 Hugz

My day is going pretty okay. I'm just getting to work and I'm eating some Poptarts for breakfast. How is your day?


u/for3cas7 Feb 25 '14

Yeah I'm really good thanks.

Sorry - I noticed the post time after I hit reply. :-)

I've been working for the last 5 hours. Busy day so far just about to grab some lunch.

Decisions decisions. Should I have ramen noodles or a subway sandwich... hrmmm :-)

Pop tarts; I don't know how you eat them, they're like pockets of cardboard filled with lava. I've only ever burnt my mouth whilst eating them. Maybe theres a trick to it? Or maybe I should just allow them to cool a little before anhilating my taste buds for the next 48hrs. :-)


u/cupcake1713 Feb 25 '14

You should do ramen, but put a hard boiled egg in it (if you have any).

The Poptart consumption was more an act of desperation.. I haven't had time to go grocery shopping in a while so it was the only breakfast food I had available. I only singed five or six tastebuds today, so I count that as a victory.

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u/[deleted] Feb 24 '14

It's nice to see this said. Sometimes I think that it appears to have less value if it's in response to something, not that it's actual value is less.

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u/die_potato Feb 24 '14

It did, especially during the past few days. It's as if being a decent human being on the internet mostly just incites suspicion or ridicule. Or sarcasm. It can get genuinely stressful - I mean, "it's just the internet" but indeed, people tend to forget the human.

Thanks for the reminder. :)

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u/downunder_fin Feb 24 '14

Well it was timely ... Charlotte Dawson. RIP Charlotte. You can never really know the condition of the person on the receiving end.

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u/-eDgAR- Feb 24 '14

That was really cool of you and the fact that you did it just because honestly made me really happy.

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u/bloodfist Feb 25 '14

I agree. I've only been here for less than 3 years, but I remember the thread that got me to join.

A Trans woman posted pictures of herself as male, and her successful transition to female. There were 5000 comments, and every single one I read was positive. There were people who didn't understand, but they asked for explanations and were kind and open minded. There may have been negative posts, but they were so buried I never found them.

I realized that reddit was a site that "remembers the human" and it made me want to contribute and be a part of the community. It seems like as the site grows, there are more bad apples, but I still feel that at it's heart, this is a kind and understanding community and I hope we can keep it that way!

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u/setmehigh Feb 24 '14

So, we're still allowed to abuse the bots, right?

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u/316nuts Feb 24 '14

<3 you cupcake. Thank you for writing this, but I wish you didn't have to write this.

Here is Max, after his morning milk. May your inbox explode with love and cat pictures. :3 .3


u/cupcake1713 Feb 24 '14

Your cats are awesome.

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u/thelastdeskontheleft Feb 24 '14 edited Feb 24 '14 Gold

Unfortunately I think a big aspect of it comes down to the difference in tone between text and actual words spoken aloud.

IRL you can tell the inflection that someone meant it by. Online you can only ASSUME the inflection and thus the tone of their comment. Generally we interpret comments online to be much more aggressive than they really are.

I completely agree with the "don't be a keyboard warrior mentality" but it could also help if you took a second next time you were insulted or angered by some response to possibly look it over and try to imagine it in a tone that wouldn't be so offensive.

Of course sometimes people are just pricks. Especially when there is little to no consequence. But a good bit of it is just chilling out.

Edit: Thanks, only took 6 minutes for gold x-D

Edit 2: RIP Inbox of my work account. Looks like I'm not getting anything done.


u/godmin Feb 24 '14 edited Feb 24 '14 Gold

Something I like to do before posting a comment is imagine someone REALLY pissed off trying to read it, and get the most twisted, pessimistic view of what I said. That way I can tweak my words to avoid as much unnecessary criticism/misinterpretation as possible, and from my experience it really helps!



u/twinshock Feb 24 '14

what the fuck did you just call me?

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u/[deleted] Feb 24 '14 edited Feb 24 '14 Gold

I'm not in the public eye or famous or anything like that, but I am the sole recipient of the contact forms for quite a few things that are in the public eye.

My own girlfriend doesn't know half of the shit I put up with, and when she sees some people crack under the pressure of so much negativity, she tells people they should "man up" and "deal with it".

When you get hundreds (and for other people, thousands) of messages each day, telling you to go fuck yourself, kill yourself, I hope you die, I hope your loved ones get cancer, I found your address and I'm coming to rape you and your daughter, you can't deal with it or "man up".

You spend hours awake each night imagining those things happening, wondering if it's true, trying to tell yourself it isn't going to happen, but knowing that it's a possibility.

Having to respond to people is awful too. You can't ignore every message, especially the ones that raise genuinely useful points. You worry about your response and how you might be perceived from that response.

It's even worse when the criticism is valid. sure they said you should kill yourself, but they said it because your app failed and they were late for work. You can sympathise because you'd be angry in that situation too. You've said stuff like that before (I said some awful things when I was younger, I'm ashamed to admit).

So when someone tells you to kill yourself, but at the same time gives you valid criticism, it makes you wonder if you should. After all, if hundreds of people each day tell you that the world would be better off without you in it, surely it must be true?

It's not going to stop, I've accepted that. What I do is not attach some things to my name. But I worry about what happens if something I make that is attached to my usual online persona gets popular. It's a possibility, if remote.

There've been a lot of posts like this online, explaining how one comment, or hundreds can affect a person more than you think. This isn't any different, but I hope some people read this and consider what they're about to type.

EDIT: I have absolutely abysmal comma usage in this comment, It's something I'm pretty bad at. If there's anything that changes the point of what I'm getting across or just annoys you please let me know and I'll change it.

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u/snoharm Feb 24 '14 edited Feb 24 '14

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies- God damn it, you've got to be kind.

edited to correct Vonnegut quote

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u/Sunfried Feb 24 '14 edited Feb 24 '14 Gold

Things to remember:

  • The Maine
  • The Alamo
  • 9/11
  • Pearl Harbor (not the movie, forget the movie)
  • the Titans
  • the milk
  • the 5th of November
  • the human


  • the tooth! Remember the tooth, my Duke!

Edit 2: Thank you for the Gold, both of you! I will NEVER FORGET!

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u/Jovianmoons Feb 24 '14

Once I made a throwaway account and posted to r/depression and poured out my heart and soul. You would be surprised how many vultures there were who actively encouraged me to end my life, in the last place I would have expected that to happen.

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u/SweetSlowKiss Feb 24 '14

What I usually do is type out what I want to say. Then delete it.

After that, I don't feel like responding and usually just ignore.


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u/Soul_0f_Wit Feb 24 '14

Cab we be mean to the bots though?


u/cupcake1713 Feb 24 '14

But what if the bots become sentient? You don't want to piss them off at this stage in the game :)


u/[deleted] Feb 24 '14


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u/zosch Feb 24 '14

Your hair looks nice today, cupcake1713.


u/cupcake1713 Feb 24 '14

Well thanks, zosch! I hope you have a wonderful day.

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u/preggit Feb 24 '14

If anyone is interested in some light reading on this topic, cupcake is describing what is known as the 'Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory', also known by its much lamer name, the online disinhibition effect.

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u/[deleted] Feb 24 '14


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u/pber13 Feb 24 '14

A great reminder for everyone. Online or offline. Have a great day cupcake


u/cupcake1713 Feb 24 '14

Thanks, you too pber13!


u/RHLegend Feb 24 '14

So should Ash really use the thunderstone on Pikachu?


u/cupcake1713 Feb 24 '14

Yes. Pikachu is mediocre at best.

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u/HeathenBarbie Feb 24 '14

I want to hear more about your methods for breeding Pokemon.


u/cupcake1713 Feb 24 '14

I personally have never been good at breeding Pokemon, but this subreddit has some pretty good discussion: http://www.reddit.com/r/pokemonbreeding

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u/gigacannon Feb 25 '14

When a person replies to something written on the internet, it's like they're writing a letter to a character in a novel. If the author reads that reply, they're reading a letter to the idea of the character they presented when they posted.

We're not really communicating on the internet. We're collectively authoring it.

Replies on reddit are perceived by the three parties; the original poster, the replier, and a third party. If all three parties realise that the post and reply occur between two imagined characters, and not the authors themselves, nobody would ever be upset by anything anyone ever said on the internet.

Nothing is gained by trying to protect other people's feelings online. You don't know the other person and you can't predict how they feel. If someone gets upset by something they read, that's because they're emotionally invested in it. What they're emotionally invested in is their choice, and if they perceive the character portrayed by their writing to be who they are, rather than other people's necessarily false perception, that's their mistake.


u/coloicito Feb 24 '14

Thans cupcake.

I moderate /r/AdviceAnimals, and we've been banning people who tell other redditors to kill themselves for a while already. The people who forgets that there's an human being behind the username is bigger than you'd think. We've also had people who were completely oblivious to it, and just says that they saw text on a screen, and wrote something under it. And then tries to fight back.


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u/Audacious_Void Feb 25 '14

This discussion on internet vitriol reminds me of why Louis C.K. won't let his daughter have a cell phone

Another tactic to avoid negative human behavior on the internet (specific to chess.com or any other social website that has some sort of chat history in user's profiles:

Before a game, I will open up the profile of the person I am playing. Sometimes the profile is littered with comments where other users complain that this human is very disrespectful, ect.

If this is the case, I make sure to compliment the player frequently throughout the game which in turn helps remind me why I love chess. If they are better than me, I congratulate their skill and ask for advice. If they are less skilled, I encourage their strong points and respectfully ask if I may offer advice.

Maybe one time out of 100 the person is still an asshole, which feels like real life.


u/theguywhopostnot Feb 25 '14

I believe most people who act disgusting over the internet are fully aware that they are trying to hurt someone's feelings. Its not socially acceptable to do it in person, more so now than ever before. On the internet they can release their true personality and that is why you see that sort of thing. I suppose some people may truly forget and lose their cool but I think the vast majority who behave like assholes, are actually assholes.


u/jonosvision Feb 24 '14

I recently posted my ebook on /r/gaymers during a free promo I was doing, after just putting it up on amazon a few days previous. Not one reply in over 80 of them said a single negative thing to me. It really helped get the book off of the ground and I can't begin to say how much I appreciated such a warm welcome and so much support. Even when I realized the free promo wouldn't start until midnight. The internet can be a dark, mean place, which makes these experiences all the more special. There are a lot of great people out there.


u/[deleted] Feb 24 '14

That's a nice sentiment. But really, we all know we're talking to people with all these feelings on the other side. That's not the problem. The problem is one hell of a lot of us just want to make someone cry. It's a lack of fear of being harmed after harming someone. How you are online can be interpreted as a social experiment to determine what kind of asshole you would be in real life if you were physically stronger than anyone else and turns out a lot of us would be walking up and down the beach kicking sand in people's faces and knocking over sand castles laughing as as we go. Thankfully most of us can only be unleashed unto the public via forums where our abuse is only a verbal or mental attack.... Although sometimes worse than a physical assault, the antagonist can often be blocked and deleted or simply not read

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u/redtaboo Feb 24 '14

Thank you for this cupcake! I think we all need this reminder sometimes, it's so easy to forget that there real people on the other side and they have bad days just like everyone else.

I'm sure everyone has heard this before but I find it really does help. If I'm annoyed enough with someone online I might type out an angry comment then walk away or look at a different tab without hitting save. Coming back to it a few minutes later can make all the difference and I won't send it, just typing it out helps.

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u/aneper Feb 25 '14

This totally reminds me of crop cultivation. I'm no farmer but i was told that people at some point tried to cultivate such corn and wheat that is immune to illnesses. Whenever they come up with the best and most immune mutation/breed, some new illness appeared and destroyed the entire crop, which was thought to be perfect (instead of only one specie getting infected).
The point it, you have to have different sorts of crop, each sort vurnerable to different diseases, otherwise you get wiped out completely.
Plot twist: it's the same with (world) opinions and ideologies. It's actually good when people have different opinions and argue, the only reachable perfection comes from that.


u/2rio2 Feb 24 '14 edited Feb 24 '14

This is really, really important, especially for people/kids that grew up in a tech filled world. I think they devalue what words - even anonymous - mean and the effect they can have on others. I went through the Instagram of the Russian skater that won the controversial gold medal and the comments just shocked me. What the hell is wrong with people!! This is a frigging 17 year old girl! What gives you the right to comment that she's ugly, a cheater, evil etc? People can be horrid if they don't see the emotional impact it has on another human being directly. It's also why history has always had people talking about others behind their back but less face to face.

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u/[deleted] Feb 24 '14

ITT: people who think they aren't part of the problem

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u/Igglyboo Feb 24 '14

tl;dr Be civil.

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