My ex-boss, internet etiquette and unfortunate placement in the Korea Times

I worked for 2 years at a Min Byoung Chul English Hagwon in Seoul.  As hagwon jobs go, I was treated well and learned a lot about Korea and teaching there.  Dr Min, a minor celebrity in Korea took pretty good care of us.

I thought he had lapsed into obscurity, but perhaps not.

From the Korea Times:

The “Sunfull” Campaign began as a preventive measure to combat cyber bullying by removing anonymous negative comments on online message boards and to encourage people to instead post positive ones. Since it began in May 2007, the Sunfull Movement Campaign Office said Sunday the number of “Sunfull” or positive messages, posted on its website (www.sunfull.or.kr) exceeded 500,000 as of Nov. 1.

“It is remarkable that we can gather together such a high number of online comments. The Internet is a very strong communication tool and many still fall victim to cyber bullying. This campaign is about etiquette education,” said Min Byoung-chul, founder of the Sunfull Movement.

Also from the Times and, in fact, in the article just above Dr min’s:  Reckless Driver apologizes after online posting.

Netizens criticized the reckless driver. “It was ridiculous. It seemed like he was intending to cause traffic accidents,” a person using “Hayannunmul” as an ID said.

Another netizen “Uro” said such reckless driving is an out-of-bounds behavior. Others sought legal punishment as the driver threatened other people’s lives.

As the cyber attacks increased, the troubled driver posted an apology on an Internet community message board.

People again criticized him for not showing enough remorse and he apologized again, saying what he did was dangerous and cowardly. “I will behave appropriately next time,” the driver said.

As the cyber attacks increased, the troubled driver posted an apology on an Internet community message board.

I hate some of the driving practices I see here and part of me rejoices in seeing this guy dragged through hot coals.  Another part wonders if it is ever possible to apologize enough to satisfy enough netizens to allow life to return to normal.  I would hate to see myself caught running a red light (as I did in the spring, because tree-leaves obscured my view) and being hounded for it.  Not everyone who behaves badly is guilty, after all.

On the other hand, I approve of anonymous comments to some extent.  I prefer that commenters here consistently use the same pseudonym, but am not fussy about knowing precisely who they are.  If the price of internet freedom is some impolite commenting, that is fine with me.

On the first foot (I have already metaphorically used both hands) driving someone to suicide is probably too much.  I only use ‘probably’ as no one can say how sensitive a person is or what his/her mental state is from the internet.  Sometimes a strongly-worded comment is appropriate.

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