So there's so much I want to do that doesn't get done. Posts not written, work not done. Things pile up literally and figuratively. But this, this I just have to respond to.
Someone elsewhere, I'm not saying where because I'm not looking to respond to the person but rather the sentiment, talked about the difference between real life and the internet and how ze, basically, felt entitled to be much more of an ass on the internet, and enjoy it, based on the fact that "it's not really...real."
This is wrong. This matters.
This is what BT gets wrong and Mimiru gets right and why BT will do awful things on purpose with no sense of guilt where Mimiru never would and if I can push myself to keep doing .hack posts I swear we'll get to it someday but sometimes it's a struggle just to move so the posts end up slow to come and erratic.
But this isn't a post about fiction, it's a post about real life. Real life is full of real people. And what is done to real people is real.
That's it. If you're doing something to real people it is really real. It doesn't matter if it's in person, or over the phone, or via physical mail, or email, or in a chatroom, or on a forum, or on a blog, or over the radio, or on TV, or via legislation. None of that makes the slightest bit of difference. What you do to real people is real.
This is something that some people don't seem to understand. The internet is not single player. Those other users, with the exception of spambots, they're real people. They're not NPCs cooked up for your amusement. They're real. And everything you do to them is real.
It IS real.
Now at this point a certain segment of the population will come at things with a, "But it's just words, words can't hurt," argument. Words can hurt. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can cut much deeper. Or, in the words of some poet or other*, "No iron spike can pierce a human heart as icily as a period in the right place." Or a slur in the wrong place. Or a campaign of harassment, or piles of verbal abuse. Words matter.
Words have rescued people from despair and driven others to suicide. Words have the power to inspire or disillusion, they can build you up or break you down. They can bring back memories, they can trigger physical responses, they can change people, they can change the world.
And words sent over the internet to other people are just as real as words spoken to those same people in real life. They are not the same, there is an entirely different quality to the two forms of communication as anyone who has had both experiences can attest to, but they do not differ in their realness.
It's still an interaction between you, whom I presume is a real person, and a real person. That makes it real.
It's the same rule with phones, just because you can neither see nor smell the other end of the line, doesn't mean you are morally justified in pretending they aren't real and acting as if nothing you say matters. If you want to use a phone for morally unfettered speaking, call an automated system**, not a real person.
If you want to use a computer for morally unfettered action that isn't really real, that's what single player is for. But as soon as you as you start interacting with other real life people it is real.
Why this is so hard for some people to understand, I have no idea.
* Isaak Babel, I'm told.
** The time and temperature automation (or whatever automation you first think of) isn't going to be effected by what you say to it.