The Six Definitive Rules Of Internet Behavior

Congratulations on finally getting a connection to the Internet! I foresee great things in your future! It was probably a good idea for you to get out of that doomsday cult that hated all modern things. Now, let me give you a few suggestions. If you want endless lists, quizzes, and personality tests, I suggest you visit the Buzzfeed website. If you want breathless, overly politically correct stories, spend a few hours browsing Upworthy. If you want news that is “fair”, “unbiased”, and “incredibly Republican”, I suggest you get to know Fox News. If you want crazy myopic coverage of missing planes, check out CNN.

But before you visit any of these sites, I need to brief you on the definitive rules of Internet behavior. These are kind of like Robert’s Rules, except for Internet usage. These rules are to govern all behavior, even though they seem very different from the rules of actual life. The rules are:

1) Say things you would never say in person

The beauty of the Internet is that you have the freedom to say things you would never say in real life. You can spew the most vile criticism at people without the slightest repercussions. Whereas in real life you would be forced to deal with messy things like emotions, relationships, and destroyed reputations, you never have to deal with that stuff when you’re online. You can’t see the pain your words cause people, which gives you the liberty to say whatever you want. You can’t see the utterly destructive power of your words. It’s a wonderful thing. That whole thing about treating others as you want to be treated doesn’t really apply on the Internet. It’s a dog eat digital dog world.

2) Assume the worst about everyone

When someone posts something on the Internet, make sure to assume the absolute worst about them. The safest route is to take the worst motives you find in yourself and then attribute them to everyone else. Assume that everyone has ulterior motives, and that nothing is really as it seems. Assume that everyone is corrupt, selfish, and, most importantly, much dumber than you. This cynical approach will keep you from being disappointed by people. Whenever someone fails, you can point and say, “See! I knew they were a sham!” Also, assuming the worst about others will help you maintain a constant posture of self-righteous indignation.

3) Skim read and then take out of context

Never read a full article or try to actually understand the argument an author is trying to make. Instead, skim read the article, focusing only on the points that make you really angry. Zoom in on the sentences that reinforce what you believe and skip over all the other stuff. Then, when discussing the article, make sure to quote the author out of context and completely misrepresent his point. The worst thing you can do is fairly represent a viewpoint that is different from yours. Only idiots do that!

4) Build straw man arguments

Whatever you do, don’t argue with real people who make real arguments. Instead, argue with people you have created. These created people have absurd beliefs, and can easily be refuted, destroyed, and made to look like idiots. The people you have created are unintelligent, and hold to strange positions that no real person actually holds to. Go toe to toe with these imaginary enemies. If you argue with real people, you may be forced to consider a perspective that is different from your own. You do NOT want that to happen.

5) Get your info only from those who agree with you

When trying to understand an issue or situation, be very careful. It is essential that you only get your info from people who will support what you already believe. Having to think through two sides of an issue is a nightmare you don’t want to deal with. Your best sources are Wikipedia articles, YouTube comments, and small time blogs written by your friends. If you can control the sources of your info, you can dial up your outrage to dictator-like levels.

6) Jump to conclusions

Don’t let anyone explain themselves. It’s best if you can jump to conclusions without getting the full story. And make sure that the conclusions you jump to are the absolute worst conclusions. Follow this motto: conclusions first, understanding later…or never.

If you follow these six rules, you will have great success on the Internet! You will be able to surround yourself with like-minded people who will affirm what you already believe. You will erect a self-righteous support structure that can stand against the strongest opposition. You will be able to constantly pat yourself on the back, grateful that you are not like those people.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I need to dislike a YouTube video and block some people on Facebook.

Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer, & Mixed Martial Arts Salsa Dancing Champion. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like.