Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Not Sound Crazy - or - THE PARANOIDS ARE AFTER ME!!!

"Tips for Not Appearing Crazy on the Internet"
Frank J. Fleming, Pajamas Media (June 12, 2011)

"How conspiracy nuts, basket cases, paranoid loons, and other half wits can fool the rest of us into thinking they make perfect sense.

"Do crazy people have a right to be heard? I think they do - as long as they're American. But even with crazy people's well known infiltration of the internet - appearing in any blog or news comments section or online forum they can access - they still have a lot of trouble getting people to listen to them.

"In a recent column, I touched on the topic of conspiracy theories, which of course brought in lots of crazy people to the comments section. As I looked through the responses, I noticed how easy it was to scan them or just read the first sentence and say, 'Well, this one is a crazy person.' And lots of people scan like this, because crazy people have this habit of self-identifying on the internet that allows sane people to skip over what they have to say before even getting to the crazy point. Thus crazy people never even get heard.

The advent of the internet should be a Renaissance for crazy....

The problem, it seems, is that even on the Internet: crazy people write like crazy people. So, sometimes, do sane people.

The Lemming doubts that a crazy person1 will read Mr. Fleming's article, take careful note of his advice: and start writing in a sane, coherent way. Not often, anyway.

There's a list of points, each of which is discussed. Sanely. With humor.
  • Caps lock is your enemy
  • i can haz proper grammar?
  • No long screeds
    • Especially in comments left on other people's blogs
  • Proofread
  • Don't be surprised when people have opinions different from your crazy one
  • No living person is Hitler
    • And the world isn't ending
  • Respond to an actual point
    • Not just something that's been mentioned
Here's the final bit of advice, or, rather, encouragement, Mr. Flemming gives to crazy bloggers:

"...And yet he's still treated by many as a serious pundit because he has the discipline to make it so it's not blatantly obvious to a casual reader that he's Kleenex-boxes-for-shoes, the-squirrels-are-spying-on-me, kung-fu-fighting-invisible-ninjas crazy.

"So give it a try in the comments, crazy people. Use these tips to try and make yourselves look sane as you argue that we still need to investigate WTC-7 or that there are many signs that Obama's birth certificate is fake or that Ron Paul is the last hope for America. Get yourselves heard, crazy people! "


Not-completely-unrelated posts:

A tip of the hat to Londiniensis, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this article.

1 The Lemming's a bit "crazy," sort of. See:

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