Welcome to the Internet.
No one here likes you.
We’re going to offend, insult, abuse, and belittle the living hell out of you. And when you rail against us with “FUCK YOU YOU GEEK WIMP SKATER GOTH LOSER PUNK FAG BITCH!1!!”, we smile to ourselves. We laugh at you because you don’t get it. Then we turn up the heat, hoping to draw more entertainment from your irrational fuming.
We will judge you, and we will find you unworthy. It is a trial by fire, and we won’t even think about turning down the flames until you finally understand.
Some of you are smart enough to realize that, when you go online, it’s like entering a foreign country … and you know better than to ignorantly fuck with the locals. You take the time to listen and think before speaking. You learn, and by learning are gladly welcomed.
For some of you, it takes a while, then one day it all dawns on you – you get it, and are welcomed into the fold.
Some of you give up, and we breathe a sigh of relief – we didn’t want you here anyway. And some of you just never get it. The offensively clueless have a special place in our hearts – as objects of ridicule. We don’t like you, but we do love you.
You will get mad. You will tell us to go to hell, and call us “nerds” and “geeks”. Don’t bother … we already know exactly what we are. And, much like the way hardcore rap has co-opted the word “fuck”, turning an insult around on itself to become a semiserious badge of honor, so have we done.
“How dare you! I used to beat the crap out of punks like you in high school/college!” You may have owned the playing field because you were an athlete. You may have owned the student council because you were more popular. You may have owned the hallways and sidewalks because you were big and intimidating. Well, welcome to our world.
Things like athleticism, popularity, and physical prowess mean nothing here. We place no value on them … or what car you drive, the size of your bank account, what you do for a living or where you went to school.
Allow us to introduce you to the concept of a “meritocracy” – the closest thing to a form of self-government we have. In The United Meritocratic nation-states of the Internet, those who can do, rule. Those who wish to rule, learn. Everyone else watches from the stands.
You may posses everything in the off-line world. We don’t care. You come to the Internet penniless, lacking the only thing of real value here: knowledge.
“Who cares? The Internet isn’t real anyway!” This attitude is universally unacceptable. The Internet is real. Real people live behind those handles and screen names. Real machines allow it to exist. It’s real enough to change government policy, real enough to feed the world’s hungry, and even, for some of us, real enough to earn us a paycheck. Using your own definition, how “real” is your job? Your stock portfolio? Your political party? What is the meaning of “real”, anyway?
Do I sound arrogant? Sure … to you. Because you probably don’t get it yet.
If you insist on staying, then, at the very least, follow this advice:
- No one, ESPECIALLY YOU, will make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
- Use your brain before ever putting fingers to keys.
- Do you want a picture of you getting anally raped by Bill Gates while you’re performing oral sex on a cow saved to hundreds of thousands of people’s hard drives? No? Then don’t put your fucking picture on the Internet. We can, will, and probably already HAVE altered it in awful ways. Expect it to show up on an equally offensive website.
- Realize that you are never, EVER going to get that, or any other, offensive web page taken down. Those of us who run those sites LIVE to piss off people like you. Those of us who don’t run those sites sometimes visit them just to read the hatemail from fools like you.
- Oh, you say you’re going to a lawyer? Be prepared for us to giggle with girlish delight, and for your lawyer to laugh in your face after he explains current copyright and parody law.
- The Web is not the Internet. Stop referring to it that way.
- We have already received the e-mail you are about to forward to us. Shut up.
- Don’t reply to spam. You are not going to be “unsubscribed”.
- Don’t ever use the term “cyberspace” (only William Gibson gets to say that, and even he hasn’t really used it for two or three books now). Likewise, you prove yourself a marketing-hype victim if you ever use the term “surfing”.
- With one or two notable exceptions, chat rooms will not get you laid.
- It’s a hoax, not a virus warning.
- The internet is made up of thousands of computers, all connected but owned by different people. Learn how to use *your* computer before attempting to connect it to someone else’s.
- The first person who offers to help you is really just trying to fuck with you for entertainment. So is the second. And the third. And me.
- Never insult someone who’s been active in any group longer than you have. You may as well paint a damn target on your back.
- Never get comfortable and arrogant behind your supposed mask of anonymity. Don’t be surprised when your name, address, and home phone number get thrown back in your smug face. Hell, some of us will snail-mail you a printed satellite photograph of your house to drive the point home. Realize that you are powerless if this happens … it’s all public information, and information is our stock and trade.
- No one thinks you are as cool as you think you are.
- You aren’t going to win any argument that you start.
- If you’re on AOL, don’t worry about anything I’ve said here. You’re already a fucking laughing stock, and there’s no hope for you.
- If you can’t take a joke, immediately sell your computer to someone who can. RIGHT NOW.
- Learn to type. Contrary to popular belief, “u”, “y” and “r” are letters, not phrases.
Pissed off? It’s the TRUTH.
We don’t like you. We don’t want you here. We never will. Save us all the trouble and go away.