Individualism development via the Internet
By Dwyn

The Internet is, in many ways, the ultimate tool for individualists.

What do I mean by individualists, and individualism? Here, individualism is letting people try to figure out themselves by letting them find out about all kinds of ideas, so they may continue figuring out where they belong. Individualism is allowing a person to be who they want to be (that is, to not deny them the right of being someone/thing one does not agree with.).

Next is community, which will here be defined as a continually interacting group consisting of three or more people. The "continually interacting" is important; it separates groups such as message boards from simple crowds at a mall, or 'those guys playing Dungeons & Dragons at the game shop'. If that was a one-time affair for those D&D players -- that is, they played together that one time and then broke apart and did other things, or played with other people -- then that would not be considered a community. If they played together every week, however, that would be a community. A very small one, yes, but they still show qualities of a community.

The Internet is a huge opportunity for people seeking communities, and is an idea-spreading machine; anyone at least a little computer-savvy can write up and show their ideas, thoughts and beliefs for all the world to see. The communities and message boards sprinkled all over the Net are sometimes the perfect way to look for others' ideas and to get feedback on one's own ideas, stories, art, anything.
And that's another excellent thing about the Internet -- that it can network people from all over the world, people who would normally never get the opportunity to speak with each other; one gaming community has had members from the USA, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, all over Europe, Australia, and more. If someone in, say, Alaska wanted to talk economics with somebody knowledgeable on the matter, they could look online and easily find a message board dedicated to it.

It's also nigh impossible to censor something over the Internet's entirety on a large scale, and if one person finds something interesting but controversial, chances are others will have found it too, making simply deleting the page (through whatever means) an insufficient means of stamping out the idea. The large number of hosters -- places that host other peoples' personal webpages -- also make it unrealistic to attempt to ban a site from one hoster.
While this is invaluable to fringe groups such as Otherkin, it also lets terrorist and hate groups organize and exchange information easily (such as diagrams showing how to construct dirty bombs, making drugs, or the infamous site Portal of Evil).

So, the Internet is an invaluable resource for individualists, or anyone who likes to read others' ideas and opinions on practically anything and everything. The freedom of thought and speech available online is unparalleled in the real world.

Which is not to say that it's wrong to debate, just that forcing one's beliefs on someone who is genuinely disinterested is not going to make that person happy. Granted, it is hard to tell when someone is really not interested, or is actually afraid to show interest, but I won't get into that now.

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