Do we see others online as human?

Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge

I’ve often wondered if part of the reason that there is so much venom spewed on Twitter and other social media is that it’s difficult to actually recognize pieces of text on a screen as being from real, feeling human beings.

I was nudged into this thought by a recent Washington Post story about Brianna Wu, who had been the target of extreme harassment several years ago during the GamerGate situation. She is apparently getting contacted by some former members of that group, who are sending apologies and regrets for their past actions. The story reminded me of something that happened to me way back when, during the days of the BBS (bulletin board system).

Bear with me for a couple of paragraphs while I set the stage.

First, for those who…

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