Taking sides

This sort of thing just keeps happening:

Two people – let’s call them A. and S. – have a brief, tempestuous and profoundly dysfunctional relationship. Sometimes, it’s a personal relationship; other times, business. It starts well enough, but ends badly. Very badly.

One of the principals – let’s say it’s A. – posts a lengthy explanation of how it all went wrong, and why S. is to blame; and the internet erupts in outrage.

Some people believe A., and start hating on S. Others side with S., and start hating on A. Sometimes, a third party – let’s call this one W. – gets dragged into it, mostly to embarrass S., but also because there’s so much hate sloshing around the internet that it’s hard for everyone involved to stay focused.

After a while, S. posts a lengthy narrative of injuries suffered, not so much to refute anything in A.’s post as to protest the myriad dirty tricks perpetrated (on S.) by the anonymous horde of internet outrage junkies. This does nothing to calm the outrage; if anything, it fires off a new round of meta-outrage about the outrage.

Of which, I suppose, this post is an example, because my reaction to all of the above was: For [expletive]’s sake, people, grow up.

Here’s some advice – free, and worth every penny – to all the former teenagers working so hard to turn the internet into high-school drama writ large:


Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.

If your ex does it, don’t respond.

If a friend goes through a messy breakup, be caring and supportive – in person, not on the internet.

If a stranger goes through a messy breakup, stay out of it. Mind your own business.

Don’t violate anyone’s privacy.

Don’t post threats.

If a few thousand strangers on the internet are ignoring all of the above, and behaving abominably, don’t join them.


I’m not going to take sides in any of these internet-augmented breakups. I’ve reached the age where having opinions isn’t as much fun as it used to be, and persuading strangers that my opinions are better than theirs just isn’t worth the effort.