Here are a few simple rules that should be followed when tweeting or commenting online.
1. Don’t read someone’s entire world view into an article, blog post or tweet.
Believe me. There are people who do this. If you don’t believe me, join Twitter.
2. Develop a sense of irony.
They say irony doesn’t work on Twitter. I say some people simply lack this particular sense. But try to not respond to ironic tweets as if they are literal statements.
3. Read before you comment or tweet
Yes. This is advice that should be rammed down the throats of many. First, it is bad manners and can make you look daft. I have regularly had people criticise me for not discussing things that were in fact discussed over more than one paragraph. Second, if you haven’t bothered reading something, then why are telling your twitter followers to read it?
4. Don’t tell someone what they already know
I have lost track of the number of bores telling me wind farms are intermittent. I know, I know!!
5. If something is not mentioned in a piece, it is not always a sign of malicious intent, so don’t assume it is
This one is hard for many to follow. I have frequently been attacked for not mentioning this or that. And even if I point out that I wrote about it in depth two weeks ago, it never seems to satisfy a certain class of mind.
6. Apply Hanlon’s Razor.
There are many version’s of Hanlon’s Razor. But it goes something like this, “Don’t attribute to malice what you can attribute to stupidity or ignorance”.
And that brings me to a last rule.
7. Ignorance can be easily dealt with. Stupidity cannot. So, don’t mistakenly call an ignorant person stupid.
So, there you go. Follow these rules and the internet will be all sunshine and rainbows for the rest of us*. Or did I miss something?
*like Louis CK, I have a large number of beliefs and I don’t follow any of them.