5 Things You Are Not Allowed To Do On the Internet

What would we do without the internet? Realistically, probably go to libraries and get regular vitamin D, but it’s really a moot point. The internet is not going anywhere without some horrific viral pandemic preceding it. But with this great power comes great responsibility, and we must accept that there are certain things we simply cannot do on the internet — for the good of mankind.

Go On Wikipedia Without A Specific Goal.

I am of the belief that Wikipedia should be used with as much wary discretion as prescription medicine. When used properly, it’s beneficial for all parties involved. When abused, you will wake up in a dumpster at 5 a.m. shivering and rambling about the War of 1812. And what makes this even more difficult is how innocuous most Wiki-benders seem at first. You have a paper to write, or an argument to settle, and you look up, say, John Locke. But then you click on philosophy, which leads you to Stefan Zweig, which leads you to pre-war European intellectuals, which leads you to Dadaism, which leads you to nihilism, which leads you to so, so much crying. Even the most simple of searches can leave you either reading about the reproductive processes of single-celled organisms, or reading a textbook-like definition of felching. So, to prevent this from happening to you (again), I recommend writing down exactly what it is you need to find out about and ignoring everything else, even the most tempting of links — even the one about toilet paper roll direction — and get to your goal. Clean, quick, painless.

Engage In Any Form of YouTube Commentary.

Amongst the most undisputed truths of the internet is the fact that any and all comment forums will, eventually, become a festering pile of human brain waste and our worst characteristics in their most uncensored form. And no comment forum exemplifies this better than those under YouTube videos. Without fail, a discussion about a video of a cat playing with a piece of popcorn will quickly devolve into a theological, political, and socioeconomic debate amongst the world’s least literate writers. It is my personal belief that the most militant racists, sexists, religious extremists, and Luddites coalesce on YouTube to disseminate their propaganda and scream at each other in all caps. And, in perhaps the most unfortunate feature of YouTube’s comment section, one only sees 10 comments at a time, so the vast majority of the time, one has absolutely no clue why the first three commenters are screaming about France banning the veil under a video about leg exercises. And, should one be tempted to engage in this discussion (as there is no forum-like reply format for people talking to one another) you actually have to scroll through comment after comment to find the person towards whom the previous commenter was hurling his vitriol. Scrolling, of course, that leads you past a veritable smörgåsbord of paranoid theorizing about global warming, Islam, and the Illuminati. For your own sanity, it is in your best interest to keep your eyes glued to the top of the screen and just watch your video.


Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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