An Ode to Netiquette

The internet used to be polite. Then it changed.


I’ve been moving house this week: packing boxes, throwing clothes into bags, ferrying things across town in feral traffic.

As you may already know, I accidentally became marooned in America a little longer than expected. I left New Zealand a little naively, perhaps — during the pandemic — not quite realising how tricky it would be to get back home. New Zealand all but closed its borders, and it was a mean game of lottery to get back in. Like most lotteries, I lost.

So I’ve been moving every two months or so, from short term lease to short term lease, friend to friend, couch to couch. And during this latest move, I noticed something special. I realised a bit of the noise had died out: the noise of the internet.

I’m not talking about Webworm; I love this thing as it lets me organise my thoughts, understand the world a little bit, and talk to you. No, I’m talking about the noise: Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Instagram.

The noise of arguing, yelling and ignorance: New Zealand lawyer Sue Grey yet again falsely claiming a kiwi had died from the covid vaccine:

(To be clear — they hadn’t died from the vaccine. A family member of the deceased cleared that up pretty quickly. It’s incredibly bleak they even had to. Let a family grieve in peace, Sue).

The stress and busyness of moving had inadvertently given me a holiday from all the heinous behaviour you run into 24/7 on today’s internet.

The comments section of that news site you read. Your uncle deciding to weigh in under that totally unrelated Facebook post you did. The sheer fucking insanity of the internet as we’ve come to know it in 2021.

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