Saturday, December 12, 2015

Comments, Forums, Entitlement, and Offense

It's be so long since I posted something on here.  I suppose it's a combination of being busy with work and mostly being actually old now - it's not really because I don't have thoughts I want to jot down, but mostly because I just don't have the time or the energy to sit down and put in a couple of hours to "think" about matters that are of no importance to life except a simple observation of the human condition.

Besides the fact that my workload has increased significantly and all I want to do when I get home is sit in bed and watch tv shows, I'm also spending a bit of time doing things like co-running a travel blog with a friend, shopping, and selling my handbags on ebay.

In fact, I spend way too much time on the Internet in general, reading news and analyses via fb and twitter, watch tv shows, curating my instagram and browsing aimlessly in general. The thing about Internet these days is that what drives content isn't just a writer on a keyboard publishing on a blog or a online news/magazines (although who can tell the difference at this point?), but also the comments and general opinion. Opinions are not just saved for forums anymore, but anyone can say anything when someone writes something.

For news sites like NPR with a very niched market whose makeup are those who are generally liberal and highly educated, the comments act as a dialogue where most of the time people are debating using very relevant data, stats, experience, and logic. I often find those dialogues enlightening and they sometimes change my opinion or widens my understanding of something after reading them through.

For news publications like NYT, you still have a pretty good base of educated, thoughtful, and caring people, but they have a much wider readership and often times you do have to sift through some garbage opinions.

For gossip columns like People magazine (which is now more similar to Apple Daily in HK & TW, posting a bunch of sensationalized crimes), a majority of the comments are pretty garbage, though entertaining, when not outright anger-inducing.

But in general, I think the intelligence of the comments don't always have anything to do with education and has everything to do with a culture of entitlement. For example, almost a year ago (I think) I read an opinion piece on the NYT that resonated with me pretty strongly. This woman was describing a day when a guy who refused to keep a door opened for her and her stroller  and she was not upset at the guy, but was upset at the culture of mothers who believe that their children, and what their children experiences should always come before other people.

I can no longer find this article, but what resonated with me was her point about mothers buying ginormous comfortable strollers in NYC where space is limited, and goes about ruining other people's day by hitting ppl with it and taking up too much space unabashedly.

I recall reading the article and nodding furiously because of my experiences with people who have children who they think they deserve to accommodated without having to even politely ask first (e.g., taking my seat on a flight and then tell me to sit elsewhere cuz they have a toddler, someone complaining no one in Toronto lets his child have a seat on the bus when he never asked anyone to get up)

The idea here is not that one does not want to be nicer to a person with a young child, but that the parents believe that they deserve it and expect it and get upset if they don't get their way.

Most of the comments in the article were so illogical that I can't even remember any of them, except for one, which really stuck with me because of its level of ridiculousness. This woman commented saying that she spent years trying to get pregnant and after she has finally succeeded, she will now buy whatever it is that she wants and as big and comfortable as she wants for her celebration, and she is offended that the author tried to take away from that experience.


So because it took you five years to get pregnant, you "deserve" to buy a ginormous stroller and not be considerate of those people around you? Talk about false attributions! What does having a big stroller have anything to do with taking long to get knocked up? How does not having a big stroller take away your experience of raising a child???

Where do these entitlements come from?

When I am buying or selling items on ebay, I go to the the purse forum to read about people's experiences, and there's obviously multiple threads on the ebay sub-forums complaining about buyers on ebay. Some of them are legitimate complaints but some of them are pretty entitled.

When you sell something and you list a price for the item and enable "Best Offer," why would you complain about someone making an offer below your expectations? Why is it considered "rude" if someone offers you a price 50% off of your listed price? It's not personal, it's business!

If you don't want to sell it at the price, then reject it. "Oh what if i get a lot of bad offers and it's just a waste of my time to have to reject it" one might say. Well first of all, if you are getting a lot of low offers, maybe your price is much higher than demand. Second of all, eBay even allows you to set an auto-reject number, what exactly do you have to complain about???

What are you entitled to here, exactly? That the buyer can read your mind about your lowest price you are willing to sell your bag for? That you should be able to sell your USED item at a price you believe the item is worth without anyone suggesting otherwise?

At what point is someone being offended legitimately and at what point is someone just offended from a wrong sense of entitlement?

Am I being entitled because I'm complaining about all these people complaining? Wouldn't it just be easier not to read comments? Probably.

Btw, an unrelated thought from reading those terrible comments: I would never call my own child a miracle, unless the child becomes a quantum astrophysicist with a nobel peace price, because it would be a miracle for me to raise a child that brilliant and loving.

Also, quantum astrophysicist is probably not even a real thing, but I have no idea.