What I find weird about how virtue signaling is used now is how can the shame it’s supposed to produce in others be effective if you are not operating from a microcosm? It makes sense for in person interactions, but less sense for online ones. If we are not direct authority figures over the people that we are critical of, what makes us think we have any sway over them or their behavior?
What I thought of was your classic schoolyard tattletale, like Nelly from Little House on the Prairie. The virtue signaler would be the one who told on you for your shenanigans and the teacher would criticize you and praise her as the symbol of what a “good child” was supposed to be.
As a fully certified and card carrying old maid, I am of course horrified that people now believe that they are entitled to force their way into the domain of my people. We were the originators of judgment and criticism in our communities because what else were we suppose to occupy ourselves with without families of our own? Pettiness was our bread and butter! How dare they steal it from us????? 😉😂