The Anonymous Hate Meme

People really do love to hate

Hate something? Tell the world.

Ah, yes. Memes. I’ve already explained before what memes are, right? It’s on the page solely dedicated to memes, right up there, next to the one labeled Events. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s kind of interesting. Or not, ahaha…

Anyway, it’s not about the meme page today. Today’s about hating people online. We’ve all been talking about how great being online is, how wonderful it is to make connections and form networks, how astonishingly smashing this internet thingamajig is. But what we haven’t seen a hair of yet is how the internet can utterly destroy common sense and reduce people into blathering pieces of self-absorbed morons.

So, for the sake of this epic discussion, I’m going to clear up some terms, like how it’s supposed to go in a proper argumentation.

Meme – a unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or in this case, the internet.

Hm.. I’m not sure what else needs defining..

Hate – to feel hostility or animosity toward; to detest; to feel dislike or distaste for.

And I guess this term, too.

Anonymous – having an unknown or unacknowledged name; having an unknown or withheld authorship or agency; having no distinctive character or recognition factor.

So as I was saying, before we proceed to the clusterfuck that is an anonymous hate meme, let me first clear up why hate memes exist and why are they [mostly] anonymous.

We go back to the assumption that the internet is the place for anyone to express their opinions. There is basically no figure of authority in the internet – there is no such thing as an internet police or internet guard watching us for the littlest misconduct. There are no “adults” to tell us what to do, no “guardians” to keep us from clicking shady links and posting those embarrassing [and sometimes racy] pictures. Yes, there are some censorship bodies, but really, for each content that gets censored, two more come in its place. We know that for a fact. Everyone knows that for a fact. And so we have the courage to do things we won’t normally do irl (in real life).

But the one thing that keeps us from chaos of anarchy, I think, is the fact that people know who we are. Regardless of all the anonymity and detachment the internet provides its users, it cannot totally cut us off from the people who know us both online and offline. And even if we don’t know anyone from the internet irl, the relationships that we form with other people virtually keep us from making asses of ourselves. It’s just like how it is irl; we are wary of saying some negative and judgmental things in the company of other people because of what they might think of us. It basically boils down to people wanting to project a good image (rather, an image of good) to keep others from hating them and saying bad things about them behind their backs.

It’s basically this: we want to protect our names, so we don’t tell it like it is.

And so, even if we really want to scream and shout and rant and rave and just basically shoot that person/institution/community/organization/object in the proverbial head, we don’t always do so. Majority of the time, we only go through with it when we think we are relatively safe from the anti-party, or when we know that someone else will support our cause.

Or, you know, when we can do it without anyone else knowing it was our doing.

And so we come to anonymous posters. Yes, the internet provides anonymity – but how anonymous is it really? I see my links list there to the side, and I know who these people are irl. Someone not from our batch may get confused with the names, but a simple mouse-over will give you the real complete name of the blog owner, and even the OC 152 class session s/he attends. A simple click of the search button in google will give you some 1000+ links, many of which may actually point to that person in my links list – to his/her Facebook, Friendster, Plurk, Livejournal, Multiply, etc. And those pages will contain private information, information that could potentially be damaging if accessed by the wrong types of people.

Or, you know, if accessed by a someone who has a personal grudge due to some random, but hurtful comment given in the past.

And so, not many people have the (excuse the sexist term, but) ‘balls’ to speak out and drop names when they’re not doing it anonymously. It basically stems from the fear of revenge, the fear of someone tracking (stalking) us and using our private lives to their advantage. We don’t want them to hurt us back, so we keep our names a secret (not unlike Rumpelstiltskin, don’t you think?).

Thus the need for anonymous hate memes. These are basically threads dedicated to people who want to hate just about anything imaginable without giving away their identities.

And when I say ‘hate anything’, I do mean anything.

Anything means anything – even the hate meme itself

Sometimes hate memes are constructive. It’s very rare to see this, but there are some situations where hate memes result in a relatively positive scenario. The most recent one I can think of is the one regarding the dubbing of the anime Hetalia, where in fans expressed their strong feelings about the quality of American dubbing. As a response to the news that the anime was going to be licensed by FUNimation, fans were quick to speculate about who the dubbers would be in the project, and how much they would suck.

But as if FUNimation itself was watching the threads (which is still the popular theory among fans), the line up for dubbers turned out to be quite okay – not exactly perfect, but definitely not a disaster, basing on the somewhat 50-50 reaction from the threads. It’s a really good thing for FUNimation, since the initial (almost like a reflex) reaction fans usually have to dubs is pure, raging hate.

But majority of hate memes don’t really end happily. They usually end up with two opposing parties going at it just for the sake of winning. Sometimes, even the original topic gets forgotten, and what fuels the fight is just the desire to avoid having that feeling of having been slighted, that feeling that just keeps festering in your gut. I refrained from choosing Hetalia again as an example, since I know I would be biased. So I chose a thread that I had no special feelings for, and this is what I got.

I suppose this shows that people are always attracted to hate memes, whether to participate in the mind buggery, or to just watch it all crash and burn. I have no idea why people like seeing other people fight, but it’s not just limited to the internet. The existence of shows like UFC, TNT, Raw, Smackdown, etc. proves that this behavior stems from people, not technology. I think the moral here is that technology is just as good as the people using it, and that although sometimes good may come out of it, fights are still generally unsightly and unproductive parts of our society.

Still, that doesn’t make it less of an amusing show to watch.

    • slightlydillydallying
    • July 22nd, 2010

    I must say that it’s sometimes good to hate on something or someone. It’s a form of release. This post reminds me of what we call Facebook wars–wherein people engage with skirmishes via placing offensive statements on their Walls. I certainly do enjoy reading them. It’s a form of entertainment just as it is satisfying for the perpetrators themselves. >:D

    • XD ikr, it’s very amusing to watch, specially when the name calling starts. It’s at best, as you called it, a form of stress release. >D

  1. When I read this my mind screamed “Kill annoying Cloud fanboys!!!”

    I’d do a blog on that but I just got over my obsession with trolls and I don’t want that to start again. I’m not really familiar with memes but from what I understand, you basically bash other people, an event, an icon, a place, a concept, or even a fictional character without any reparations outside of the internet (which can also be minimized by making yourself anonymous). The internet is a great place indeed. Can this be applied to an organizational setting? I feel a sense of humor is needed for this question.

    Great post Erose ( ^^)/\(^^ )

    • XDD just imagine it being applied in a setting like the University admin, faculty and staff.

      Or wait, better yet, just imagine if it were just in the DAC that they were doing this. Of course everyone would have to be anonymous… XDDD

      Not all memes are like this though. I’ve only ever seen this kind of behavior in hate memes. Other peaceful memes exist too, like a friending meme, or a song meme… :3

  2. Had I discovered hate memes earlier, it would saved me a lot of vague status updates!Hee.Hello Erose! I think to some extent bashing people, events or ideas you hate is good but as screencaps of hate memes in this blog post have shown, it creates anarchy and chaos when overdone. What’s worst is that people just hate for the sake of hating or for the sake of having the last say regarding an issue. It is indeed amazing how people can get lost in their emotions and forget about the need for reasonable judgement to put an end to an issue.

    • Isn’t it amazing, though, that no matter how good the technology is (meaning no matter how revolutionary, or how productive and enabling it might be), it will only be ever as good as the people using it. And what these people need is the proper education on the right values and mindset in becoming productive and proactive netizens… and not just become the proverbial “palingkerang istambay” online. :3

  3. @melem1: I think it could only work in an organizational setting if there is an internal social media site in that organization.

    By reading your blog post I remembered my blog post about anonymity dying with the advent of social media. So far, it looks like it. No one can now plainly hide his name online. With the net becoming social, and with everyone being connected somehow to each other, one couldn’t just forget his or her real-life personality and become a troll online.

    • It’s funny to watch how online fights erupt sometimes. But sometimes it just gets too personal when people start investigating and stalking their online enemies, trying to find out who these people are and attacking them “where it hurts the most”. Still, if we try to think about it, these aspect of digital stalking are present also in the real world – just as creepy and obtrusive. I guess that the characteristics that make up our real world can and are transcending into the digital one, even these ugly facets of our personalities.

      That, or people just need to learn tact. And know when to stop. XD

  4. It’s funny how hating is actually now a social act because of the Internet. Consider how somebody even writes “first!” in a comment box over YouTube, dissing Justin Bieber for how lame they believe he is.

    I personally don’t think the Internet is the place to do that. If we don’t like something, we can always express it in a way that will not stir any more hate. Second, if expressing your hate won’t really solve anything or give any more value to what you’re hating, why do it in the first place? If the Internet truly is a place for collaboration, I personally believe anonymous hating should not be part of our practice as OrCom practitioners.

    • Exactly! But I suppose since “hate” itself is an attitude that humans cannot seem to remove from themselves, it can even transcend into the digital realm. I suppose the risk of making the internet more collaborative and dynamic has made it more human; ergo, susceptible to hatred and acts related.

      As OrCom practitioners, we should be able to set examples as to why these acts and their effects should be minimized, if not possible to completely eradicate. But I guess to accomplish that, we would have to start in the real world… and we all know how hard that is to accomplish. So many differences between people, and yet, if we can all just look closer… we’re all really just the same. Sad.

  5. I think Anons hate because they think they can get some internet “coolness” by bashing something and acting superior to those fans of the things they bash. It’s like fighting against a popular trend because generally being non-conformist is viewed as being “cool” while just being a fan of something in these hate forums will lend you the label of fantard. Hiding behind anonimity, these people think that they can vent out their anger on the internet to compensate for the fact that they can’t show to the world how angry they are at how crappy their lives are.
    But they can always be tracked. Their ip address is one way of tracing them. If someone really has been enraged by these anonymous hate memes to the point of wanting to inflict physical harm, they can trace them and bash the hell out of them literally. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

  6. XDD Agree! There’s always to track down these people and hit them where it hurts. But we should also be careful, since we could be tracked back… owo and then it’s just going to be an endless cycle…

    @ the coolness of bashing: I’ve been guilty of this. Really. I’ve tried to cut down, and I think I have substantially, but sometimes the temptation to sound cool and all-knowing (and generally better and smarter than others) is just too great. However, I’m able to stop myself effectively by thinking that I really have nothing to prove to these people. And then, the urge disappears. owo

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