Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Remote Strangulation Protocol

There's been a long running joke on the internet that if there was some way to throttle, punch, or otherwise cause harm or pain to people who act like twits, that fewer people would act like twits. After all, many studies have shown that anonymity plus an audience removes most of the social cues that we need to not act like a deranged chimpanzee. There's a reason why Lord of the Flies was mandatory reading way back in junior high school.
While I concede that that is true, and that the internet does suffer from the occasional person whose primary interest is a "freedom from being punched," there are also jerks who would abuse any given system.
Let us say we have a system whereby all computers have a large stick on a rotating pole attached to them, and a universal command to activate this stick so that it strikes the user of the computer. Let us also say that accessing the internet first requires a proof that such a device is active. People at first use this against spammers, trolls, and other obnoxious jerks of the internet. When someone posts "buy viagra" a billion times on your blog's comments, you thump them. When someone posts "F1RST LOLOLOLOL!" on every topic, whack goes the stick. Someone hijacks an interesting topic to whine about how "lame" and "gay" something unrelated is, they get slapped out of it.
Trolls, of course, deploy this against random people, snickering with glee all the while. Others note with horror that people, gasp, disagree with them! On things they like! There are religious haters who whack everyone of a different religion, political haters who whack everyone with different politics, fanboys (and girls) who whack everyone who dislikes their favorite media, haters who whack everyone who likes their most hated media. Also, I suspect anyone who gets thumped will probably feel that it is unjust and whack back. And some people are whacked by mistake due to a misclick, misspelling, or other kind of error.
Pretty soon, everyone gets attacked at least once an hour. People stop using computers because it is too painful, and because their noses are broken and they have two black eyes. A rash plague of offline player killing ensues. The authorities step in and order it to stop, but hurt feelings continue to nonsensically fester.
Another invention ruined by the dark side of human nature.

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