2 minutes

Why have we stopped being good listeners? We are turning into self-appointed gyanis (wise people). We update our status, we offer opinions, we debate in online forums and we write our heart out. But, why is it that we fail to tolerate multiple views on the subject we have a strong feeling about?

Raj is fond of commenting on sites where he feels the writing does not reflect his beliefs. At least he does it decently maintaining general decorum of a public chat board. Increasingly, however, a considerable number of web-visitors are turning offensive.

Why have we stopped being good listeners? 
We are turning into self-appointed gyanis (wise people).

Go to any article published on a news site. Just follow the comment trail following any news story. What do we see? It’s not only offensive but also reflects our lack of understanding as well as lack of tolerance towards differing opinions.

Some people use dummy ids, a few use original names to express themselves on web. The ones in bad taste merely reflect how poor our ability to think is becoming.

These people expressing opinions have stopped quality reading long ago, as an attempt at understanding issues in depth. Or, they never were fortunate to understand a cosmopolitan ambiance and the knowledge that comes with quality reading. The lack of substantiating material in comments is sufficed by abusive and derogatory language.

Making offensive comments comes easy. It may even divert the actual point under discussion or can halt discussion altogether. An eminent news anchor on a top news channel in recent times had raised this issue on air.

So who are these people and how do they manage to lose sanity while expressing their thoughts? “These are disgruntled individuals who lack digital social status. Therefore they have a tendency to remark against anything. These guys are early in their internet lifecycles. At times, these are guys who have overused internet. They could be professionals or college-goers. They have social stigma and want to be anonymous. They are attention seekers and want to engage you into conversation,” says a web-expert.

Observers feel that Web will always have all kinds of people. So don’t expect any refinement. The offensive remarks are meant to subdue a healthy discussion. But democratic set-up demands a pluralistic approach. Everybody should be given due chance to express individual opinions.

The rowdy mob will lose its importance among serious web-users. Nobody likes the mob-mentality disrupting any sane discussion.

As a web-surfer, we have a choice. Our behaviour defines us. Fake ids don’t help in the long-run. If we are seriously into debating and intend to put our point forward, we have to ensure that we do it following the minimum standards of decency. In the long run, there will be filters that can identify IPs and disqualify users from discussion boards that wish to avoid nonsense.

The intellect hates crap. Soon, there may be limited access to many such content-rich sites. The rowdy crowd will force itself out of many forums. It will be losing access to resources or rather not being able to find entry to a great club that offers quality and enriching content.

So, let’s learn to be good listeners. Being talkative is good for stress-bursting. It doesn’t make us intellectual a bit more. Read, write, discuss and yes ignore the crap. It’s the best remedy to tackle the non-starters and force them to go back to their books, if not completely change them.

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