Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.


I have a massive headache right now, so this will be short....but it was too long to fit effectively into 140 characters, so here we are. The point I wanted to make was just that important, that I feel like it needs to be said at length and with some background.

The point: the internet is completely voluntary.

Let me say it again: the internet is completely voluntary.

I could certainly be wrong, but I'm fairly sure that there aren't very many people who are reading or watching stuff on the internet with some asshole holding a gun to their head, making them do it. I'm guessing there are very few people who're tied to one of those internet exercycles that's wired to a bomb such that if they stop surfing, it explodes. I find it pretty unlikely that anyone out there has actually become dependent on the internet for life. So, yeah. VOLUNTARY.

So, when you get to a post that's rubbing you the wrong way, and it's not something you've deliberately sought out (like, say, my exploratory foray into the wilds of right-wing nutjobbery the other day), and it's not something that's making you think (like, say, my bumping into an essay about St. Patrick and being led to question what I thought I knew about him), and it's just not blowing up your skirt for whatever reason....you have some options.

You can choose to comment on it. Damn near every site on the planet has comments these days, and lots of good, productive, informative conversations get started this way. If you do choose to comment, maybe keep in mind, though, that making demands of content providers is kind of a jerk move. Nobody is obligated to provide you with the content you would like to enjoy, in the way in which you would like to enjoy it. At the end of the day, unless you're actually paying them to do it (and even then, there'd be some arguments both ways), someone who's putting stuff out on the internet doesn't really owe you anything. So, if you're gonna comment, may I suggest keeping it on topic, sharing your thoughts and thoughtful arguments and personal experiences, offering constructive criticism (if you feel you must offer criticism), and avoiding giving orders or bitching about what's being posted. 'Cause seriously, the internet owes you nothing.

The other option is a really simple one: surf away. Close the window, find another site, move along. Avoid whatever's pissing you off. Skip what's bothering you. There is no requirement that you read every site, or even sites you like if you're not feeling it. I usually like to keep up on news headlines, but this whole summer I've been only catching a few every now and then. I don't have the mental capacity to deal with much trouble beyond my own sphere, so I've just been, you know, NOT. And lately, I've even been avoiding blogs and bloggers I really, really love to read, because they've been writing about stuff that's triggering me. Since it's not my place to dictate their subject matter, I just skip the posts that I think will bother me. And you know what? The internet police didn't show up to haul me in somewhere for not looking at certain sites. Nobody gave me the stinkeye for skipping my usual reading list. I was penalized in no way. BECAUSE THE INTERNET IS VOLUNTARY.

To sum:

* If you don't like a blog, don't visit that blog.
* If you don't like a particular writer, don't read hir writing.
* If you don't like a website, don't visit that website.

The internet is voluntary. Your participation is not mandatory in any way. Humans lived for millennia without the internet, and it's still possible today. If you do choose to surf the internet, do so with the understanding that - excepting what you yourself create and publish to it - the internet may or may not be to your particular taste, and there's not a whole lot you can do about that. Except NOT SURF.


Yourturntohelp said...

Very well put!

Ska "T" said...

Hi, Tari. I still check in on "The New D-Land" (which looks exactly like the 2000 version that I signed onto), though I'm not there, either.

Glad you pulled up stakes and still continue to use your skills... and are still out there, literally speaking.

Rock On.

(the blogger formerly known as