Whenever DreamHost has a massive screw-up of some sort, the thing I most notice about the customer response is the high level of animosity and aggression in the comments. People obviously have a right to respond to any situation in their own way, but still I can’t help but feel that some of them would benefit from taking a moment to step back, take a look at their actions, and consider if those actions are really the most effective path towards a positive solution for themselves.
Websites can be very personal in nature and it can be emotional to have something like that not functioning properly. Technical people in particular can become very frustrated when a technical issue is out of their control. They can feel powerless and in a situation like that anger is certainly an understandable emotion to feel. Still, it seems like an odd logic leap to me to go from feeling some anger inside to taking that anger and using it to fuel more anger and animosity. Ultimately, the goal in any problem scenario is to get to the solution as quickly and painlessly as possible. Obviously emotions can interfere with that but still most people can stay focused on the resolution anyway. The form that particular resolution or solution takes is obviously an individual choice.
What I see an unusual amount of online is people deciding that the best resolution for an unpleasant situation is to get revenge, no matter how much effort it takes. People decide that it’s worth hours and hours of their own time to start up ‘anti’ websites or to post message after message of spite and bile to message boards or blog comments. I get angry myself at times, but I just can’t comprehend expending so much emotional energy over something so ultimately minor. There’s just not enough time in the day.
What’s most unusual about this is that I feel like I don’t see this sort of animosity in my day to day life. When the burrito place up the street gives you a steak burrito instead of the veggie burrito you ordered, do you scream at and wish death upon the guy behind the counter? When the auto repair shop takes 3 days longer than they said it would take to fix your car, do you make picket signs and walk around outside of their business yelling at people walking past? I’m hoping not! What is it about the Internet that makes people exhibit such odd behaviors? Where does all the animosity come from?