I remember 2003 being a particularly tumultuous year here on the Flob. That was the year The War About Nothing was launched in Iraq and tempers were running high. Posters were regularly disappearing into timeout for weeks at a time for something they said. In fact, I think that was when the seeds were planted for the great Forumosa/Taiwanease rift to come.
What’s different now is people are a lot more polarized and intolerant. At least back in 2003 you were either a liberal or a conservative – or at worst a neoconservative. Now it’s ‘snowflake’ this or ‘deplorable’ that, ‘SJW’ this is ‘covfefist’ that – and at worst you’re a closet Nazi or a black-masked Antifa terrorist. Nobody is just a liberal or conservative any longer. We’ve all been demonized.
I suppose the reason for that is the giddy euphoria of being able talk to anyone anywhere about anything has given way to the disillusioning reality that superior wisdom and enlightenment aren’t enough to convince the “other side” that they’re wrong. In fact, all that the free marketplace of ideas has resulted in is an alarming increase in the ranks of the “others”, the “spawn of Satan,” rather than the other way around. Now there’s a nostalgic yearning for the really good old days when only some people got to talk and everyone else had to listen. Hence recent grumblings about “fixing the internet.”