The internet is a parallel world in which we live. So in effect, we live dual lives, one in the natural world where we have our real persona (so to say) and the other is our virtual avatar where we may or may not be known by our real identities.

 So a Mithun Ivalkar in real life will be known as anything from Fancypanda to Ivalmi to anything. So when you don a mask of a virtual identity, our inhibitions are lost and we become more open to speaking. The internet that allows you posting what you feel through social media and blogs, also exposes you to being commented upon by others. Take any example, for that matter. Try posting a picture of a ship and leave it at that. You will at the most get a few likes, I doubt any comments even. Now caption it with something like “That’s how the Titanic looked like before it sunk”. Before you even blink, you will be bombarded with comments that correct your mistake. Some will say it’s not Sunk it’s sank. Some others will point out that this is just not the titanic. A few will make fun of your ignorance while some may pity you being pea brained.

Why do these people keep quiet when you posted the picture alone? That’s because people love to spot and point out mistakes. A few days ago, a viral picture showed a school teacher teaching the spelling of SCHOOL on the board. The caption has him say, “It should be spelled this way. Some people mistakenly put the first O before the second”. I had a hearty laugh seeing that meme because that strikingly portrays the people’s mindset out there – to point out others’ mistakes quickly. That, by the way, is known as the Cunningham’s law, named after the founder of Wikipedia Howard or Ward Cunningham who famously said that “The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.”Wikipedia, in fact, has thrived on user generated content, albeit with moderators taking over the approval stuff. With lakhs of pages allowing users to edit, Wikipedia is a live engine, a living breathing repository of knowledge.

Why do people point out mistakes?

Finding fault with others, commenting on others’ mistakes is a common human tendency. Those who realize its fallacy keep quiet while the others take much joy in doing so. The true reason why people do it is because a mistake stands out of the facts. Human minds have gotten used to spotting anomalies to escape danger. Take for example a school teacher who is traveling with some 20 kids in the bus. The moment she steps in, she knows there are two missing and who. If something doesn’t seem right, our eyes capture that error or anomaly and that is immediately registered with priority. This has enabled us to spot threats, camouflaged animals, prey and even lurking dangers. When it comes to the internet, these inherent qualities of the humans are in full display. That is how we spot the differences, pick the odd one out and in general know what’s wrong when everything otherwise seems perfect. Read more....