The answer is simple: anonymity.
If you've ever seen a comments page on YouTube, or a Facebook wall post, you would quickly notice how social tact and a general proclivity for civility is thrown out the window. . . much like the toasters in my friend Brad Taylor's recent art piece.
Brad Taylor's "Toaster Defenestration"
Because the Internet allows us to state opinions from the comfort and safety of our homes, we tend to say things that we normally wouldn't say to a person face to face. In some cases the Internet allows us to say these things completely anonymously, and that is when all hell breaks loose.
In my opinion, arguing on Facebook is akin to shouting into the darkness and is pretty sad when you take a step back and look at the situation. It comes as no shock that the two subjects that stoke the flames the most are politics and religion. Now I am fine with conversations and civil discussions about both of these topics. But, it's the extremist political parroting, ad hominem, and useless trash talk that inevitably follows that really bothers me.
From the Left: "Republicans are Fascists."
"Gays are abominations!", "Christians are nut-jobs!" etc., etc., etc.
So my plan is that if anyone posts extremist political or religious fluff on Facebook I will just remove him or her from my friend list. (Note: Remember, only extremists get deleted; if you are civil and just keep an open mind, I will only hide you from my wall feed.)
Let's face it, and you can quote me on this,
"Posting extremist political and religious views on Facebook is like masturbating in public. While it might feel good to the person doing it, everyone else around you is uncomfortable and annoyed!" - Neil Hiatt
See, I even quoted myself (how humble of me).
Here is a song my friend Brad Taylor wrote on the aforementioned subject...
I have to say no one has put the subject in such an eloquent manner.
(Warning: Explicit Content - Not Safe For Work)
"Facebook" By: Brad Taylor