Every day I usually jump on my computer and let myself become devoured by the all-consuming entity that we call 'The Internet'. Lately I've been scrolling the MUFON-verse and reading through their plethora of UFO sightings and it appears that a trend is on the rise within their servers (or it's the first time I've opened my gaze to the monstrosity within MUFON).
It seems that ridicule and in-fighting have taken a bit of a jump in their comments section these days - as well as several reports of occurrences that do not seem all that strange. This is also at an all-time high in the field of apparition sightings. I've been reading several accounts where it seems that individuals travel to a phenomenal conclusion before even considering the mundane. I must point out that I have been a victim of this whimsical reasoning as well. Sometimes it becomes difficult and disenchanting to choose the less attractive route first, but most of the time the obvious choice is the correct one.
From my observations - on the outside looking in - these in-fighting battles usually blossom from a point of misunderstanding between two paranormal investigators of opposing views. Then other individuals ( usually other investigators and/or fans of the paranormal ) choose sides and the cage match of verbal jousting begins! Usually the originating comments become buried under piles of insults and redundancies - leaving the first points forgotten and critical reasoning tossed aside in the name of 'winning' the war of egos.
We all would like to believe that everyone thinks the same way we do, but the reality is that everyone has a different interpretation of everything around them and understanding that is the first step to empathy and respecting others' opinions and theories on various topics. The spawn of misunderstanding most often rises from 'conclusion hopping' - assuming a conclusive meaning to another's statements or actions without reliable evidence. To help prevent this, it is a good idea to play back the events - that lead to the argument - in your head and try to come up with an alternative interpretation of the events.
A particular post that I would like to comment on is a series of statements that was posted on ATS (Above Top Secret) forums. This happened a while ago, but I would still like to discuss it.
The person who goes by the name 'FlyingTeacup' posted a comment on ATS - followed by a waterfall of others - that tries to portray Micah Hanks ( the Gralien Report host ) as an arrogant loudmouth and picks on his neutral standings, afraid to pick a side and trying to please everyone. This really took me by surprise and I was upset by these statements because that could not be any further from the truth. Micah is one of the nicest people I've met and even if at differing theories, he still respects everyone's opinions and beliefs. I don't see how that's a bad thing, and to ridicule someone for that? I just don't understand.
A little later down the comment thread someone defends Micah and the FlyingTeacup replies:
"I really don't have a problem with him, nothing wrong with making a little money off UFOs"
And goes on to state that he did nothing wrong because that's just his opinion he posted on ATS - attempting to back-peddle. First of all, that isn't just an opinion. That is ridicule and name calling. I don't see how anyone can think that this is appropriate.
Internet bullying is a serious problem and I speculate that it may become even worse the more we separate ourselves from social interaction and become more reliant on technology.