Continuing with my established tradition to refer to inaccurate numbers when writing posts for this blog, I would like to share a totally made up and very vague statistic: that most people in the world are nice.
At least of the people that I know and interact with regularly, most are. From the members of my family to the bus drivers and cashiers whose services I depend on, they are kind people who help me along the path of life. The ones that cause trouble are usually not mean; they are either insecure, having a bad day, or in “survival mode”. There are a handful of people who are cruel, but even those usually have an explanation—they were abused as children, they were not nurtured throughout their childhood and teenage years, they fell with the wrong crowd, that sort of thing. In other circumstances, they would probably have ended up being part of the first group, i.e. the nice ones.
I don’t have actual statistics to confirm if these proportions can be applied on a global scale. However, I do know that human beings are inherently noble, that there are countless stories easily accessible online of the amazing things they are achieving around the world. There are also many inspirational stories of individuals who went from being mean and debased to noble and inspiring.
Which leads me to the entire point of this blog post: I believe that most readers are kind people. A very small percentage of them, I believe, are trolls. The challenge though is that trolls are louder, and their trolling stifles important conversations we need to have in order to overcome prejudices. The ability for people around the world to engage in constructive conversations is unfortunately at par with the ability to attack people more effectively, as explained in this post by Sarah Lacy.
However, there is an important first step that everyone can easily take: start flooding the internet with warm, friendly, encouraging comments. Most readers don’t comment because other than to say “nice post”, they don’t have thoughts or insights to share. But that’s not the point; it’s OK not to have much to share, as long as something positive is being said. If you read something you like, commit to always saying something nice, even if it’s a simple “Thank you for this great post.” As a blogger, it is encouraging, and as a reader, it’s nice to see positive, encouraging comments rather than constant vitriol.
We all know about how Gandhi’s quiet yet steady non-violent approach made such a historic difference for an entire country. Trolls are a source of frustration for bloggers and readers alike. But for the same reason, we would for the most part prefer not to engage in a fight with them. Why not then, in a very unique, non-violent way, start drowning out the hate with wave after wave of encouragement and love?
I also can’t help but wonder at why trolls are so angry in the first place, and if, when drowned up by all this love, they are going to be able to somehow find the help that they need to get out of the terrible place they must be in to spout such venom? Because if you believe that human beings are inherently noble, it isn’t far-fetched to posit that the venom is a direct reflection of some deep suffering.
And so, go and comment, nice people of the world! You can definitely start here **innocent smile**
Image credit: Chad Mauger.