For a short while, Oxfeud was gone. Good riddance you might say. You might even go as far as to say it was an awful platform that allowed bigots and racists and sexists and generally angry people to be rude about anyone and anything with the protection of anonymity. As someone who used it regularly (mainly about cyclists), I must respectfully disagree.
I am not normally an angry person but if one more cyclist does not stop at a zebra crossing when I am about to cross, or – even worse – actually crossing, I may explode with fury. Oxfeud gave me the opportunity to express that rage at the inconsiderate behaviour of a cyclist without getting annoyed in the real world. And you know what? That’s important.
I am not saying I was ever going to punch a wall because I cannot vent my fury at nearly being run over by a cyclist anonymously online, but just that we all get angry. Things irk us, things annoy us, things frustrate us. Sometimes trivial, sometimes not, sometimes somewhere in-between. Whatever those things are, we like to know people agree with us without worrying about, for example, being judged for hating cyclists and their complete disregard for my safety. Oxfeud gives us that outlet. We can post pretty much anything and see how many reacts the post received. People could respond by tagging their friends in agreement or disagreement of varying degrees. People could call us out on our absurd anger. The response, or lack thereof, is a vital part of posting on Oxfeud. It is not enough that I become angry, I want to see how people respond to my anger and my post. Short of going up to people in the street, Oxfeud was the best way for this to happen.
You may say that my example is trivial and misses the point of the problem. Oxfeud allows people to post horrible things with anonymity and this, for whatever reason, is objectively wrong.
But I just do not see the link between posting horrible things and anonymity. Oxfeud is just like any other social media platform. Some of the things posted were especially awful and the admins of such a page have a role to play in altering the things that are posted, of course they do, but our concern cannot be with the posting of horrible things. The difference in the eyes of the world seems to be anonymity. But why does that make a difference? You can change your name on Facebook, make it effectively anonymous and do exactly the same thing. Let’s not pretend that anger is not a normal part of life or that seeing horrible things online is not part of life. If you do not want to see things being posted, then delete your social media accounts.