With the dawn of the YouTubers era has come a brand new generation of warriors – fearless, unyielding, and ultimately, brainless.
Introducing the Keyboard Warriors, the band of little people who wage war on the Internet with unwarranted, vitriolic and indiscriminate criticism of any material posted on the Internet.
Attacking the work of others online, and especially on the YouTube comments section, while hiding behind their keyboards (hence the term). Their vengeance knows no bounds, and indeed, they mostly just know nothing, period.
Malaysian filmmaker Khairil M. Bahar has faced the wrath of the Keyboard Warriors many a time throughout his career, and he never gives in without a fight.
“I always like to respond to people like that,” he said with a mischievous grin. “But for Relationship Status (his highly-acclaimed recent film), the team was like begging me: ‘For the sake of the film, please don’t respond!’ I guess it was a more high profile film.”
“People can still be very vicious on YouTube! I used to see it all the time in forums, but not so much on social media because people feel that’s who they are, that’s their identity.
“On YouTube, however, there’s still a lot of anonymity.”
Unfortunately, we can’t publish any of the examples he gave of the nasty comments his work has received online. Let’s just say they weren’t very constructive.
While Jin Lim from JinnyBoyTV says most of the comments on their My Generasi viral hit were positive, they did get their share of Warriors spoiling the party.
“The worst was something like: ‘That’s six minutes of my life I’ll never get back again’,” said Jin, who just laughed it off as part and parcel of being a YouTuber.
BMW Shorties 2011 winner Quek Shio Chuan is also philosophical about the Warriors: “That’s the thing with YouTube. It allows freedom of expression, but there’s no accountability. You can just get an account and start commenting.
“It’s good and bad – it can help to gain publicity. It gets people talking, like Namewee. A lot of people commented saying how much they hate his videos, and that gave him great publicity!”
Up-and-coming Malaysian YouTuber Dan Khoo says young people should learn to be more constructive. “Don’t lah say things like ‘the actor is so ugly (Dan acts in most of his own films).’ That’s not something I can work on!
“All they do is just complain, but they don’t do anything themselves. Sometimes I feel like just replying: ‘Why don’t you try doing it?’”
Khairil has some rather more choice words for these flamers: “Well you can flame all you want, but someday, someone is going to call you out on it, so you better make sure you know what you’re saying and you’re ready to back it up.
“Ten years down the road, you could be working for the same guy you flamed, and he’ll be like ‘hey, aren’t you the guy that called me an @$$hole on YouTube?
“So if you’re going to say something, make sure you’re ready to stand by it, and that it’s something you’d say to our faces, not just something you’d type behind a keyboard.”