I love this piece at Wired by Tony Long:
Before you can expect a bunch of utterly spoiled, self-indulgent bloggers (i.e. the kind who indulge in their online mudslinging) to practice civility, you might try restoring a bit of it to what passes for civilization these days.
It does seem like the anonymity of the internet has given everyone a chance to vent, and vent they do. Often without any basis for argument–but that’s fine, as long as it’s not offered as fact.
As Long brings out, the social circumstance in face-to-face dealings has long lost it’s sense of civility; writing to the entire world from a secure position has only made the dealings nastier since there’s little recourse to the offense.
Here’s where I’m at with this: I’d love to help everyone in the world too, but the ones who likely need it most are unreachable from either my little plot on earth or via internet. I’m trying to do it in my own small way, by not hurting, by helping, those I can. No sense ranting about how you think we should feed starving folk in Africa when there’s a beggar on your street corner you pass by every morning without offering even a smile.