comment on news websites. It doesn't seem to matter how carefully I word a comment someone will take offence.
This is particularly true of the Guardian website which, unfortunately, I need to look at. I say "unfortunately" because many of those who comment there seem to be belligerent and quite incapable of listening to anyone else.
Of course there are some intelligent and measured comments there but many more add nothing to any debate. I wonder who these people are and how they have time to do so much.
I look at the Guardian website if something comes up in a news feed I get. Their rolling coverage can be useful to me. I need to know what the news media is saying about an incident. It won't always be that accurate but it will give me a general idea. If there is an incident which is likely to become a major humanitarian disaster then I can prepare myself and alert other people.
But I am sometimes caught by an article on the website. I read it and I am foolish enough to make a comment.
Yesterday I asked a simple question. I made it very plain that it was a question and not a comment but someone almost instantly fired back and told me to find out for myself. I was accused of "insinuating" something simply by asking the question. It was rude. It was unnecessary.
I was waiting for a response to a message I had just sent someone so I did something I had not done before. I looked at the previous comments made by the same individual. And yes, as I suspected, there were many more similar comments. They were almost always rude or belligerent and, all too often, they were attracting attention from similar individuals.
I have not had time to explore further but I suspect other news websites which allow comment are similar. There will be individuals who comment frequently on them. They will rant. They won't "listen" in the sense that they won't read and take in what anyone else has to say or they will misread it so that it suits them and gives them the opportunity to cut someone else down, be rude to them and generally fail to show any common courtesy.
I can only suppose that some people get some sort of perverse pleasure out of such behaviour. Presumably they feel good - or just better about themselves - when they can do this.
I wonder though - would they all be like this in a face-to-face situation? Would they dare to insult and belittle others if they met them?
The psychology of internet commentary disturbs me. I really should try not to comment so I won't be (perhaps deliberately) misunderstood. It only allows and encourages some people to indulge in poor behaviour. I don't want to be responsible for that.