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Faceless netizens
Ap Tsara, June 20, 2013
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Wai! As the general election approaches, the social media has become a heady mix of all sorts of people one can imagine under the sun. There’re the critical, the cynical, the boisterous, the disgruntled, the sick, the serious, the silly, and the downright ludicrous. The online community, if there’s a community as such, is chaotic and mad. Some people, including some serious bloggers, are trying to bring sense to the chaos, but their voice is often drowned in a sea of deliberately senseless comments.

It’s not easy to navigate this online world where faceless people sling mud and expletives at one another or at no one in particular. But if one carefully navigates through this seemingly unintelligible world, there’s some sense in it. Not all is chaotic, after all. The cynical, boisterous, and disgruntled fall into two neat political sides. The chaos is deliberately created. It’s not for nothing that people become faceless and nameless online. They are there for a purpose.

It’s not fundamentally wrong to fight a simultaneous battle online even as the parties and candidates fight it out, out there. But, like in the real world, the online battle can be respectable and dignified. Netizens can be highly critical of one another without throwing around derogatory words and comments. But to do that, they need to take off their mask first and look one another in the eye. It’s only when netizens are willing to engage with one another as real people that discussions will become responsible.

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