The specter of Covid-19 hovers over Martha’s Vineyard like a swarm of gulls at a Menemsha clambake. Our Island setting, remote but not enough to ward off infection and fear, has all the ingredients needed for a sociological study.

Take about 20,000 Islanders and an undetermined number of off-Islanders, throw in the usual mix of spring wind, rain, and cold, tell everyone to quarantine at home (the winter lifestyle many followed before the virus), limit interaction to social media: What you get is a hundred-square-mile social media Petri dish.

Islanders can handle disruptions caused by hurricanes, power outages, and presidential visits. Now we get to see how they react to a pandemic. And it’s all playing out on Facebook and in our local newspapers, where commenters may choose to hide behind a screen name — it’s so much easier to insult your neighbor.

I am a member of Islanders Talk, a Facebook group with 15,435 members, when last I looked. That is an astounding number and a testament to the foresight of Lori Robinson Fisher of Edgartown, who created the group in August 2012, as a venue where Islanders could, as she describes it, “hang out and vent, share whatever you want without tourists interrupting.”

Her rules are simple enough and spelled out clearly: “No politics. No disrespecting others, including the President(s), no name calling, no bashing . . .” You get the idea.

But you’re stuck at home. Your spouse, housemates, or dog (cats don’t care about anything but themselves) are tired of hearing your views on the Steamship Authority, Donald Trump, Republicans, Democrats, New Yorkers, Islanders, etc. But wait, all you have to do is go to the computer where you have more than 15,000 “friends” to whom you can vent.

Needless to say, Lori has had her work cut out for her riding herd on a Facebook site that comprises just about the entire year-round social-media-savvy Island population, the bulk of whom appear happy to watch a small nucleus of regular posters grapple with one another over the hot issues or irritants of the day. Or hour, or minute.

For weeks, self-quarantine-ing has inspired among Islanders an unprecedented level of bread baking (just look at the flour shelves in our local markets). But, how much bread can you bake? Social media is a welcome alternative to Netflix and baking, but you wonder, what are people talking about? And then you are tempted: Why just be an onlooker?

A thought pops into your head about how to make the Island a better place. “I just moved here, but . . .” You type a few quick lines. Then, post.

You read the latest Trump missive. Your blood pressure spikes. Tap, tap, tap, post. A “friend” states a position. You don’t agree. How can he or she be so stupid? Tap, tap, tap, post. You saw a person cough in the parking lot and then get into a Tesla with New York plates. Tap, tap, tap, post. It’s simply luscious being able to respond emotionally this way from the comfort of your living room.

A bit of advice. Resist the temptation. Better yet, read a book.

Now, I just moved here (just kidding) but there are some tips you might fall back on if you cannot resist the siren’s call. They will, I think, help make the Facebook forum a better place to hang around. (Everyone just plain knows how to make the place a better place, don’t we?)

Obscenities make you look ignorant. Avoid them. Don’t engage in name-calling. This is a small Island, and that insult could come back to bite you when you need a plumber. If you must jump into a discussion, take a break and reread your comment before you share it with the world.

Ask yourself, would I say this if I were sitting in Linda Jean’s?

Do not post something you would not say to your mother, or better yet, your spouse’s mother. (And I mean your current, not your last, spouse’s mother.)

And for God’s sake, use spell check. If you’re too lazy to correct words, why should I take your advice about anything?

Nelson Sigelman is the author of Martha’s Vineyard Outdoors and Martha’s Fish Tales and a contributor to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. He lives in Vineyard Haven.