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Headscratchers: The Internet
  • Why are so many websites going towards auto-playing videos and/or audio segments when users visit their websites? It's one of the cardinal sins of good design and development! Granted, it could be some case of Executive Meddling to generate better marketing, but common sense would seem to dictate that this strategy would only work well in very rare cases, if at all.
    • It's supposed to make the viewer want to continue watching/listening. That doesn't necessarily mean it works. More often the viewer is startled out of his chair, or annoyed because it's playing over his music in iTunes or WMP.
    • The idea's that most users have broadband now, and it's widely thought that the future of the internet is away from text and toward video. Broadband does no good if Flash is crashing the browser, and for a good reader, text is much more useful than video.
    • The Lowest Common Denominator and his cash are soon parted.

  • Why does anonymity make people obnoxious?
    • Multiple studies have been pursued trying to figure out the answer to that very question. All of them find it difficult to reconcile if The Internet just brings out the Jerkass in all of us, or more specifically the "true" side that we feel we must hide in public, or if the anonymity just appeals to the jerkass portion of society who then use it the most.
      • Read this tv tropes article, it's all right there, it's known as GIFT.
    • Additionally, communication is not transferred the same way without physical presence. Take sarcasm, for example, which is very rarely conveyed appropriately over The Internet, since most of the non-verbal cues (facial expression, tone, delivery) that sarcasm relies on are missing. The same thing happens in forums, discussions, instant-messaging, etc. Huge fights can spring from simple misunderstood jokes or off-hand remarks that weren't meant to be taken as in insult.
      • Re: the whole sarcasm over the Internet thing. I keep hearing a lot of quotations, but never any citations. I've never had trouble with sarcasm in writing, and I suspect not nearly as many people as is claimed do either.
      • It may depend on what parts of the internet you hang out on. I used to spend a lot of time on various political blogs where discussions would often get quite heated. Many times I saw someone post something meant to be sarcastic (usually parodying the other side of the political spectrum), and then end up with a long list of people treating their comment as if it were deadly serious and vilifying them for it. Even when they came back and said "Hey guys, chill out. I was being sarcastic." it would still keep going. Thus it became common for people to add /sarcasm to the ends of their posts, even if the sarcasm was so unsubtle a blind amoeba could see it.
      • Also, when you're talking to people you don't know too well, it's more difficult to tell when they're being sarcastic because you don't know if they actually believe the thing you're saying. When you're talking to your friends on Facebook, you know their speech patterns and general beliefs, so it's not hard to deduce whether they're being sarcastic or not. But if you go to a website where you talk to people you don't know (average internet commenter), you don't know what they believe in so you don't know what's sarcastic and what isn't. For example, if you're in rural Texas and I'm in Chicago, I could write a whole paragraph praising Obama in complete earnest, but if you read it in the context of your hypothetical conservative upbringing, you might assume I'm being sarcastic. Poe's Law is a variant of this idea, basically summarized on Wikipedia as "Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook."
    • Freedom from consequences. Anonymity tends to mean you can't do anything to them. They walk up to you and act like a Jerk Ass? well then you can kick them in the crotch. Or other people can give them a consequence that they didn't expect.
    • Loaded question, but anyway. What bugs me is: why do people blame the Internet or "anonymity" (now there's a boogeyman if I ever heard of one... by the way I've heard that video games make kids violent) for people's misbehavior? Maybe this is how all of us truly are, and the Internet is the first thing in history that allows the masses (as opposed to merely those in power) to truly express themselves. Humans Are Bastards afterall.
      • First, if the Internet is the first thing available that allows common people to act like bastards, and more people are acting like bastards since its advent, isn't that pretty strong evidence that it's at least an indirect cause and therefore not being misblamed? Second, judging by the page you linked, and your later attempts on this page to defang the dominance of the wealthy recording industry, I'd almost think you don't like it when people act like bastards. In that case, why not do what we can to prevent it?
      • And third, because lots of people simply don't agree that Humans Are Bastards. They have just as much evidence for their position as you do for yours.
    • Some people are bad people. They just don't care about others' feelings or well-being at all. Not everyone is like this. Most people are not like this. But a non-trivial number are. Of those people, many do not act badly in person, at least not all the time or even frequently, because they fear consequences. Given anonymity, however, those people will cease to fear consequences for their actions. And then there's the fact that all people, even those who are generally decent, still have bad impulses and will behave badly at times, and will be more likely to do when they do not fear any consequences.
    • It's probably because people tend to use the internet to elaborate on their opinions more than in real life.
    • A few things, 1) GIFT is actually much older than the internet. PLATO stumbled upon it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Gyges 2) Not only does the internet allow for a horrible "what you are in the dark", but we can't see each other, lowering the empathy value 3) The net, as it is will let jerk asses standout more. This doesn't actually mean they dominate the internet.
    • How about this for a thought? What if it's not just the Internet or anonymity specifically? What I hypothesize is that people who have weak social skills (the proverbial basement-dweller) are more drawn to the Internet than the average person. Consequently, there are a majority of these kinds of people on the Internet. If the Internet could only be accessed in the middle of a formal dinner that contained at least 20 of the upper class, I'd imagine that what we would see in the Youtube comments would be much different.

  • Why do kids try to get homework answers with Yahoo Answers? I have no problem with kids asking someone to explain a difficult concept from their classes in layman's terms.
    • Well lessee sometimes people are doing it because they're stuck and it's a last resort. Parents only can tell you what they can remember - ever read that Diary of a Wimpy Kid where Gregory hates having his dad help him because he has to relearn it himself? I tried calling my friends, except it does not help when they're about as stumped as you are or they're not in the same class you are. And tutors and counselors...You have 24-hour math tutors and counselors who can help you? And they're free or affordable? Where the hell do you live where that's an option? Because I want to live there - where I lived, the tutors had their own hours, the tutoring centre closed too bloody early, and the only people in the buildings with classrooms after dark are janitors and professors grading sheets or doing research late.
      • If you're in that situation, explain that you're in that situation. People are happy to help students learn. The internet can certainly be your 24 hour tutor. The OP's complaint is the ungodly number of questions that are simply copy-pasta of the question in the text book without any further explanation of what the problem is you're having, what you've tried, what you don't understand, etc.
      • The above I can totally understand. Seriously, it's one thing to show the internet what you're struggling with and the general/specific things you're not getting. Just copying/pasting the problem with no background doesn't help. Kids, we'd love to help you understand concepts you're struggling with at school, but you have to help us help you by actually taking the time to explain what it is you don't understand, even if you don't understand any of it. Explain it to us, and we can go from there.
    • Oh Gods, I remember that part with Greg's dad. He started trying to do things the way they were done when he was a kid... Ye gods, the terror!

  • Piracy. I must admit I do torrent my music most of the time, but why do people upload files that they've obviously purchased? It's incredibly addictive, but I do try and buy music I really like.
    • I actually think most people are in your boat. They buy music they really like, but get music they are only half-hearted about from their friends or torrents. This is why solo artists like MC Lars who produce music entirely online can exist.

  • Why do twelve and thirteen year olds feel the need to tell you how old they are? Okay, let me provide some context here. Suppose I trash an award winning book that I think is pretentious as hell. There will be at least one comment along the lines of 'I'm thirteen years old and I think you're wrong'. It's not like hearing that will make me change my mind - in fact I'm more likely to dismiss them, having been a pretentious thirteen year old.
    • I've never seen this personally, but I'm guessing the point they're trying to stress is that "Even I, a [12/13]-year-old, knows that is this quality work."
    • I distinctly remember being thirteen and thinking I knew everything. I believe these 12/13-year olds believe that by proclaiming their age and (supposedly) proving they are mature and educated, they have a basis for saying you are wrong.
    • I don't know in cases where they're just giving their opinion on a work, but in instances of making actual corrections I think the idea is that "you should have known this by the age of 12".
    • I remember being on Pogo as a kid (at least 14, but possibly earlier; this was 11 years ago). I'd get into a game of pool and drag the adults into a conversation. Later on when I would mention my age, people would act surprised/shocked, having not expected maturity from a child. The age proclamation should not be used until after you've earned a level of respect from people if you're going to try to impress them with your comments. Sadly, my maturity seems to have actually gone down over the years, so I'm more prone to hide my age. But, long story short, my guess follows the same line of thought as the person two posts above me: look at my age and look at this mature thing I've typed.

  • What's with the people on YouTube whose comments are just transcripts of something in the video?
    • They aren't transcripting things for you to know what was said in the video (though, you know, it can be useful to people aren't as familiar with the language/accents spoken as you are), they are putting them in the comments because they feel those things bear repeating. So, if someone copies lyrics of the chorus' part from a song into a comment, they probably liked/were impressed with them the best, same for the quotes.
      • Sometimes it's lyrics that they misunderstood - heck, look up One Winged Angel and see how many comments are about how they heard "Ed spawns chickadees, in a bell, ham and cheese" etc, or how many "O Fortuna" comments are "Sell some cookies, eat eat cookies, we'll eat your darn oreo"

  • Why hasn't a internet monopoly similar to Western Union or American Bell been created yet?
    • Some legal reasons, some technical. It's international, it rides on telephone infrastructure which tends to be regulated as far as ownership and access at the national level in most countries. In the US, which I will (typical American that I am) assume you were thinking of, antitrust laws are there for a reason. In the 80s the government disassembled the Bells, and any new real monopoly will be vulnerable to the same treatment. Admittedly a lot of the Bells coalesced T-1000 style back into AT&T by now, but new competitors still hold it in check. Any real monopoly will run afoul of these laws, but they can be unmade by Supreme Court decisions or new legislation. A lot of legislators (regardless of the letter next to their name) have shown a pro-corporate stance in this area, perhaps pragmatically given that they need to run their campaign ads somewhere. Currently, the industry has formed an oligopoly of big players on the software and infrastructure sides, and have settled at a point where profit is maximized by balancing revenue lost by competing against revenue lost by being sued by the government.

  • Why are there so many things about zombies and Nazis on the Internet?

  • Why is it considered annoying to type in all-caps? Aren't most comics like that?
    • It strains the eyes, and it makes it come across like the person is shouting constantly (which is very annoying).
    • Also, while it is true that comics are generally lettered in all capitals, they are also generally lettered by hand, so the letters don't have the mechanical consistency of type, and as such do not produce the same strain on the eyes. Also, it has long since been a convention of the medium, and as such is accepted.
    • Part of the way that people read is based on the shape that the letters make when they're put together into a word. All of these letters that stick up from the baseline or hang down from it help the brain to recognize in an instant what the word is. By putting something in all-caps, you remove that mechanism, making it more of an effort to actually comprehend what you're reading. And I don't even want to go into the reasoning that some people use for going into all-caps.

  • Why do people still insist on using IRC?
    • Because IRC is incredibly stable and is incredibly easy to set both permanent and temporary groups on. Compared to say, an MSN chatroom which will inevitably die out after just half an hour. Having a central server and room really does wonders.

  • Why are people so intolerant of younger kids on the internet? They're kids. 12- and 13-year old kids, in particular, tend to be the biggest targets. Sure, a 12-year old Furry girl with a pink sparkling horse fursona who loves Warrior Cats and Twilight and Hannah Montana may be annoying, but that doesn't give anyone the excuse to be a Jerk Ass. Just accept and acknowledge the fact that they'll grow out of it within a few years and be tolerant. For heaven's sake.
    • Same reason they're intolerant of children in real life anyways.
    • I suspect it's because a lot of 12/13/14 years olds act obnoxious. Take fanfiction, for example. 13 year old girl writes badly edited fic with a mary sue, all the older ficcers mention her mistakes, she flips out and tells them they're wrong/they're jealous/she can write what she wants and only wants to hear nice things. Or a young punk 14 year old proclaiming how badass he is and why a certain artist who has written a well-liked song is a fag/loser/idiot and the 14 year old's totally going to make a video of him burning the CD because it's hardcore. (I have actually seen latter example. Very annoying.) Their actions are a sign of immaturity; people latch onto the age of the kid because of that. TL;DR - young kids act dumb, older internet users want them to shut up if they're going to act that way.
      • Pretty much this. And if the kids are anything like Jessi Slaughter (and I've seen quite a few that are...), NOBODY wants someone like that around.
      • Ah, Jessi Slaughter. In real life, her being a child would be considered a mitigating circumstance. On the Internet, it's just an additional crime.
    • Most of the annoying people on the internet aren't kids. People just assume that because a person is annoying, they must be a kid, thus strengthening their belief that kids are annoying.
    • Comparing Warriors to Twilight and Hannah Montana? I'll give you the benefit of doubt this time, but you probably haven't even looked at the works page for it.
    • It is possible that the average internet user (young males, late teen early twenties) dislike the younger members of their generation. Usually, these individuals include those inexperienced with the internet and think they are brilliant trolls, in addition to younger individuals that only play games like Call Of Duty and Battlefield. They are typically unfamiliar with Nintendo games and consider them stupid and childish; despite that they are nothing as such. For girls, there are the bad fanfic writers and weeabos. Also, those who've have seen the Idiot Nerd Girl meme might be familiar with the fact that many girls consider themselves nerds even though the only Pokemon they know is Pikachu and the only anime they watch has been made within the last five years. The older internet users are annoyed by these people.
    • Its because the while a fair amount of younger people are going to be annoying, many of them also may go unnoticed because they may act more mature. The only 12-14 years olds they even notice are the ones making duck faces and shouting "YOLO", while their perfectly more mature peers are just as annoyed by it as you are.
      • This right here makes a damn good point, I have run into quite a few mature 12-14 year olds on the internet (I was one of them at that age myself) but because they are the smaller group, their voices are drowned out by the immature brats that we have come to hate.

  • Why do people insist on introducing themselves based off of their religion (or lack thereof) or sexuality? Do we really need to be told "I hate George W. Bush and btw I'm an atheist and a lesbian" or "I hate Obama and btw I'm hetero and a Catholic"? Does that ever actually tell people anything besides "hello, I'm obnoxious and want to tell you details you don't really need to know so that my post can appear biased"?
    • Most people do it to avoid awkward or ugly moments in advance, not to be obnoxious. Say you're a bisexual atheist with liberal views. You don't think anything of it. You're on a forum discussing a TV show you really like, and you meet a cool guy there who has a lot of the same interests as you and has a great sense of humor. You talk with him a bit, and you think he might be flirting with you. You flirt back a little and think that this might turn out to be something special. So one day you make a pass at him, whether in person or online. He freaks out and reveals that he's heterosexual and strongly believes in God and republican values, almost a polar opposite of everything you put emotional stock in. What are you left with? A broken heart, an ended friendship, and a bitter hole where a sense of happiness once sat. You know what could have prevented that? A disclaimer of some sort, perhaps warning people ahead of time that you have some views which might offend or be off-putting to others. It isn't to be obnoxious. It's actually an attempt at being considerate.
    • It's also probably because those people are trying to defuse popular political stereotypes. If you say you hate a certain political figure, most people immediately assume you're the other political party (often an exaggeration of said political party to boot!)

  • Why do people on Wiki Answers edit existing answers to give an answer that is less useful? I'm not talking about simply cutting down long, rambling answers, because that's understandable. But if someone asks a question that demands a certain amount of detail, and the first answer gives that detail, I don't get why people must delete it for a "Yes" or "No" answer (again, with straightforward questions this might be appropriate, but it isn't for every question).

  • This is something about YouTube...but how come whenever I look at a gaming channel, there are numerous comments asking the person to do Minecraft videos, even on stuff like Mario ROM-Hacks?
    • A surprising amount of Minecraft fans are underage and immature, and don't seem to understand how to look for a different channel for that stuff. For the top example, look at the Yogscast: They are a variety gaming channel, but because Minecraft is their "core" channel content note , Minecraft fans regularly spam and downrate videos they post that aren't Minecraft. The Cynical Brit, another YouTube gamer, has downright sworn to never post Minecraft videos not because he doesn't like it, but because he knows that once you post some videos, you'll always have people wanting more. It's kind of like with Call of Duty.

  • Why do advertisers think that an autoplaying loud, obnoxious, intrusive, or repetitive internet ad that pops up while you're trying to read an article or scare the bejeezus out of you if you have headphones on will somehow endear you to their product? I have made it a point to make a mental note of the sponsor of said ad and have resolved to never buy their product EVER. To me these are equivalent of going to a library, finding the book you want to read, sitting down, and when you open it having someone running in and screaming in your ear "HEY MAN HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE NEW CHEETOS?!?!!!?!?!!" Would you want to buy that product? I'm not talking about third party spam ads, either, I'm talking about normal ads from major companies. I remember trying to watch some news videos, and everytime I clicked on one, I would have to sit through the same 30 second spot for the same movie. After about the fifth video, I swore on everything holy that I would never watch that movie, ever, nor rent it, nor buy any merchandise associated with it. Or how about the ads that pop up and cover half the screen of what you are trying to read and have a microscopic 'X' somewhere in the ad to close it? Why do ad firms think that pissing off the consumer is now the way to go?
    • The key word in the phrase "bad publicity" is not "bad" it's "publicity". Advertising is sort of lose-lose for the consumer: Ignore the ad and they'll just shove something else at you. Complain about the ad and the advertiser tells their client "Great news! Someone was talking about your ad!" The only bad thing for an ad is for no one to buy the product, but all that does is get rid of that ad and replace it with another. This isn't saying that advertising is evil, it's sort of like lawyers - they have nothing to do with the cause and effect, they simply prop up the middle and get paid either way.
    • Really, the best thing to do with those things is don't talk about them. Do not buy the product. Do not talk about the ad. Do not mock the ad. Simply ignore it.
      • Seems to me that most advertisers are similar to trolls, except they get paid for it. Any advertisement which relies on loud noises or colours, eye-candy disguising reality (tobacco companies and hyperlinks, respectively) or even shock value to get someone's attention. The biggest thing, though, is that it is possible for advertising to backfire - but even then, only as long as people (or media) pay attention to the story.

  • Why is it the have-to-watch-this-first advertising video comes in clear and fine, but the actual news/TV video you were waiting for comes through choppy and stops dead?
    • Because the ad wasn't made by the same people as the video.

  • Are Ad companies ever going to learn that a computer is not a TV? And by that, I mean that you really can't get away with playing ads at the same volume as TV Ads. Most people watching YouTube are using these things called "Headphones". When you watch it on TV and they blare an ad twenty times the volume of the show, it's not nearly as bad because it's being played in a room, yet when we watch stuff on YouTube with Headphones, it goes right in our ears. I know they want publicity, but there is such thing as bad publicity when you get lawsuits for causing hearing damage.
    • Professional advertising is, by and large, still dominated by people who, while they may be experienced and fluent in using the Internet, didn't really grow up being immersed in it. Little things like this might simply not occur to them. Furthermore, the louder the ad is, the more you notice it.

  • A bit more about ads, why the heck do some ads have skip buttons and some don't? Does it have to do with the length of the video or how much the company pays or what, but usualy, I feel that ads which I find entertaning or funny are skipable and ones that I find annoying, loud, or generally bad aren't. Also, I don't know if it's a glitch, intentional, or what, but oftentimes, I find that youtube goes completely overboard in making sure that EVERY SINGLE VIDEO has an ad somwhere in it. Here's a worst case scenerio

    I load up a video and It starts without an ad.
    3 seconds later the computer remembers It didn't run an ad and runs one after the video starts.
    During the video youtube has to stop to buffer it, and afterwards, it runs the exact same ad.
    Repeat last step sevrel times.
    Finally, the video ends, but before I can see the other recomended vids, it has to, you guessed it, RUN ANOTHER FREAKING AD!!!

    • I don't know for sure, but I very strongly suspect that the skippable vs. non-skippable issue has to do with how much the advertiser in question paid Youtube to show that particular ad. Also, if it's showing you an ad after every buffering break, that's definitely a glitch. Another thing is that you don't have to watch the ending ad to get to the other recommended videos, because they're generally the same as the videos under the "Suggestions" column on the right hand side of the web page.

  • Why do people stretch out words on social media? Noxious examples include "summerrrrr".
    • I can only guess they're trying to put the same inflection on it in text that they would in verbal dialogue, maybe to indicate boredom, laziness, or sluggishness, or whatever.

  • Why does Google insist that we use our real names, and ban people who try and invent usernames? You'd think being one of the most beloved Mega Corp. in real life, they would realize that maybe, just maybe, some people actually want their privacy? I don't mean people who try to use a real life identity of another like say, "Barnaby Jones" or "Laurel Mipsum", but people who decide to use usernames like say, Little Kuriboh or "Jane Crane".

  • So why is it that whenever people are given the freedom of expression, so many people default to stuff like sex, swear words, racism, homophobia, sexism...
    • I assume what you're asking is why people online talk such garbage. I really can't answer that question other than saying that they have a lack of respect for how people feel for hearing that sort of thing. For instance, I find it quite annoying to go onto YouTube and the person suddenly starts saying curse words left and right, non-stop. I find that so annoying that I just turn off the video and look for something else. Of course, I heard one person (I'm keeping the name and website ambigous) say that those people who resort to those kinds of words have a lack of vocabulary skills. I usually ignore it if it's something minor (d**n), but if it's somthing like b***, s***, or f*** I turn it off immediately.
    • Could it be because those people are lustful, foulmouthed, racist, homophobic and/or sexist cants, and when given the freedom of expression, they, well, fell free to express themselves to their fullest?

  • Why do people post bullet-point recaps and discussions to episodes of shows they've seen in forums (examples here)? Wouldn't writing more complete discussions be more meaningful?

  • So on Tumblr, I offended someone because I referred to myself as a male, without specifying that I happened to be a "Cisgender male". Exactly how is this offensive?
    • It isn't. Some people are actively looking for reasons to be offended about anything. Best to completely ignore them.
    • Trans person here. No, it's not offensive. Some trans people prefer that cis people say when they're cis, to make it not seem like the default/normal thing to be (cis, that is). But it's not offensive if you didn't specify. Now don't get me wrong, there will probably be many or at least a few times when you accidentally say something offensive but in this case it's not offensive.
      • Different person - why do we have to specify? IF someone is say, a male to female transgender, then I'll just refer to her by female pronouns. How is it offensive to specify that they're trans-female?
    • Honestly, some people are just like that. No matter what you say, someone on the internet will be offended.

  • Why do we put up with Google? 1.) They take pictures of our houses and post them online 2.) They're trying to force us to use our real names 3.) They keep making unnecessary changes to you tube. They just get creepier and creepier.
    • You finally noticed? You'd think the original idea of looking up a keyword to find websites relevant to that is cool (and it is of course), but when you consider that you could find any info that was available on something or someone, and be able to know about it before without ever seeing or having anything to do with it. I would say even back in the 90's, that was kinda a creepy concept.
    • Google's been around long enough and offered "free" services that were reliable that they pretty much established a huge foothold into internet culture - this allowed them to do all sorts of stuff that Cyberpunk and dystopian novels criticize corporations and government(s) for doing and actually be praised for doing it. A lot of people are surprisingly ignorant of Google alternatives - or they use them and forget about 'em, even though they don't send your data to advertisers (Since remember - Google's primary source of income are advertisements.) Personally I found it quite hilarious when people started criticizing the U.S. government for the NSA - Google's been doing many of this stuff for years with no criticism whatsoever. (No lawsuits, nothing short of blog posts and Cracked articles. I can't wait until sexual predators or stalkers are caught using Google Maps and Google Plus to track down their victims - because Google's practically giving them all the tools they need.) Then again though, this is the 21st century, where people will complain at the NSA for spying on them while announcing their location for all to see on foursquare and announce to their facebook followers that they are taking a dump.
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