From Matt Gemmell:
I’m also letting go of second chances. One strike and you’re out. We all make conscious choices, all the time, regarding what to expose ourselves to – and I think we should be doing it for people too. In fact, we already do: we pick our friends, and our partners. We choose who to talk to, or not. I think it’s alright to also approach the problem from the other end, and exclude those who make life a bit less enjoyable. There’s a taboo about excommunication, but that’s overstating what is actually a simple opt-out: unchecking a checkbox. No thanks, I don’t want to listen to you anymore. I have things to do.
You definitely can’t work effectively when you’re angry, or drained, or upset, or depressed. I don’t subscribe to the ‘acquired immunity’ theory of personal experience, where we must be endlessly tempered by disagreement and adversity; that’s another thing that we take too far. I don’t want to be exposed in the first place – because I’d rather be making something I truly care about. If I have to live in a clean-room environment to do that, then so be it.
I like this line of thinking.
I've met some really great people on the internet and some truly bizarre whack-jobs. It's odd how much more emotional and conscious weight an email or tweet from a whack-job has. Luckily, for me, the ratio of interesting and thoughtful stuff I come in contact with far outweighs the petulant. It still takes effort to avoid it though. The real trick (and in no way have I made this trick work) is to not become so jaded that you pro-actively avoid people with interesting and inspiring things to say.
I'm more cautious than ever about the people I willingly interact with on the internet. I've developed close relationships with some and casual friendships with others. But some people are just poisonous and don't deserve the space they consume.