One thing that I find interesting on the internet are the multi-faceted ideas of personal accountability. I will not make this a political critique. Instead I am looking at the ways in which individuals chose to either accept or reject responsibility for what they do and say while online.
Those of you who have read my views on snark might see how this line of thought relates. To my mind personal accountability is a hard road to take while engaging in the online environment. I'm not sure what this avoidant tendency is a function of, perhaps either socio-political self-identification or self-actualization though shared language.
The basic distinction can be understood as cause spokes-person versus cause-supporter. The context of the internet often voids this distinction. Under normal circumstances (ie protest settings or TV/Video interaction) the person "with the mike" is often either introduced or else obviously in a position of leadership.
Most "introductions" to causes online involve a google search by the would-be supporter. This very fact as innocuous as it seems is the crux of the matter.
The need to search for the inflammatory information that motivates one to a "cause" has a number of pitfalls.
One, the information may be there but the readers relationship to that information is not part of the context, for example, a college student is motivated by a video that a working tradesman is apathetic towards.
Two, the viewer's relationship context to that information is what drives the supporters of a "cause" to insist that "visibility" itself is all that is required.
Three, lack of personal accountability in the the online environment washes away individual attempts engage others in that cause in a manner of leveling.
Four, The attempt at leveling, if acknowledged by both parties, breaks down the language between self-identification and self-actualization to the extent that the spokes-person is now in the position of "just a supporter."
Five, Communication during the leveling process involves the exchange of links and other information that itself often starts the process over again at One. Either way this is a systemic way for those involved in the leveling process to pass off any personal responsibility or stake they have to the illegible "group".
In fact my own experiences and attempts to level with those of differing views online has had a dismal record. This is true even amongst those who seemingly listen to what I say, either way we all seem to dig our heals in.
In the end the inability to accept that someone holds views (and dare share then on "your" turf) on information differing from ones position is the hallmark of internet culture as it exists today. It is the unwritten rule of the Silent Majority.
As it is practiced any engagement on any website seems to come with the caveat that the commenter accept a certain baseline position, or else they risk being censored, snarked, or ignored by the prevailing group. This is all the while as the prevailing position remains unspoken (or "read between the lines") and thus illegible.
Now I am at a loss as to how address this abhorrent cultural norm. The only angle that I can think of is through that of the individual and his or her own willingness to acknowledge that they do not have patent rights to the moral high ground. Anything past these observations quickly degrades into debates over political morality, and I wish to avoid such a discussion altogether.
Alas, I too am just one opinion.