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  1.    #1  
    I never really participated in discussion boards after a bad experience on the Dell Support site about two years ago. I got on there with a legitimate question, I and got chided and insulted by complete strangers who were also giving other people a hard time just for kicks.

    Once I started writing I decided to start participating in these groups and I eventually started doing it across the web...but I keep noticing the same stuff. Many people don't respect anyone's opinion. PC users say Mac users are fanatics, but PC users are just as fanatical about their products. The whole argument over Mac vs PC is all chicken and egg...it means nothing. Same with a lot of these hardware software issues. You prefer what you prefer. But I am not discussing that issue...

    I wonder why it is that people on discussion boards feel they can be rude, insulting, degrading and unpleasant. You can't even have a good debate half the time without one person calling another an *****. It seems to me that with the anonymity of the web, many people have a certain bravado that they wouldn't normally have in person. I have met very few people in my life that were as rude in a live discussion as in some forums. I am six foot, 240 pounds...I doubt that many people would give me any trouble or be disrespectful in public. I certainly respect the opinions of other people in forums all over the web. So why is it we've lost our civility? It is computers? Is it staring and dealing with computer frustrations that make us take it out on each other?

    Seriously...why is it that you can't write anything that doesn't get completely dissed even if the fact of the matter is...we are all just discussing our opinions? I generally try not to predict the future...but I do like to discuss technology and debate things. However, none of us are in any position to post our opinions and predictions as anything other than that. When I write an op/ed piece, it is just that, an opinion. The simple fact that people can get so irate about technology is ludicrous. It isn't food...it isn't religion, it isn't even politics. Nobody is debating your right to have an iPaq or a Palm. So why do we often see so much frustration? What a waste of time. Is it so hard to say to someone, I agree or I disagree...without saying their idea is stupid?

    Sigh.

    Does anyone else fell this way?
    I saw that everyone else had a signature and I felt left out, so here is mine.
  2. #2  
    You are completely WRONG!!

    Just kidding...

    I agree 100% with you about how poorly behaved people are on/in discussion boards. I truly believe it is because all of us are really just big jerks with a thin veneer of "civility". As soon as you give us a tiny amount of anonymity, we rear our ugly heads and our true natures shine through.

    If people out there don't believe me, think about all of the things that you think to yourself that you would never verbalize... "wow, she's fat!", "his BO is nasty", "what a jerk", "i'm better than him", etc.

    Chat rooms & discussion boards allow us to vent our pure, unedited thoughts without fear of reprocussion. It is a scary glimpse into true "human nature".

    Reminds me of the book, "Lord of the Flies".
    --
    ThirdMan
  3. #3  
    No, and I think that you are really stupid and too thin-skinned (Not at all true, I just couldn't resist).

    Actually, I agree with you. I think that it comes from at least three main conditions. The first is one that I have been guilty of. I am so anxious to make a point that I don't pay enough attention to someone else's feelings. It is not intentional, but is still hurtful.

    Secondly, there are people that feel that they can say whatever they want without repercussion because they are anonymous. I try to ignore comments from these people and picture them as brow-beaten wimps that need the anonymous outlet to keep from snapping. This is certainly not fair, but it works for me.

    The third group is composed of people who just don't give a damn. they would probably be just as offensive in person. You can't do anything about these people except ignore them or quit using the board. Kind of like commercials on your favorite TV show - about the only things you can do are turn down the volume or change the channel.

    The different mixtures of these attitudes comprise most of us at one time or another. I'm certainly wouldn't be surprised, or concerned, if other some of the users of this board put me in a different group than I put myself. That's part of the fun of an open discussion.

    The scary thing is that the most offensive obnoxious person in a thread may also be the one that makes the best point, or has the correct information. This sucks because it means that you can't just ignore posts because you don't like someone's online persona.
  4.    #4  
    Good lord...is that Orson Well's Third Man you reference? Can it be I found one other person who has seen this masterpiece?
  5. #5  
    Originally posted by agraham999
    Good lord...is that Orson Well's Third Man you reference? Can it be I found one other person who has seen this masterpiece?
    Brother! Kinsman!
    Strike up the Zither and let us speak of cuckoo clocks!






    (for all of the unwashed heathens out there: http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/greatm...third_man.html )
    Last edited by ThirdMan; 04/13/2001 at 02:47 PM.
    --
    ThirdMan
  6.    #6  
    I agree so far...see how well behave I am?

    What bothers me about it...is that when someone makes an inflammatory comment...it makes their point...as good as it may be...seem less insightful. At least Oscar Wilde had the wit that many people lack...including myself...that he could wrap up the nastiest little insult in the prettiest package. So most people try to use their sarcasm as a funny way to make a point, but it isn't really that funny if a) you lack the subtlety and b) you direct it internally at someone else. Then it just comes out as mean spirited. I participate in these discussions because I love a good debate. It seems many people direct their viciousness towards the people they are debating and not the issue itself.

    I know when I first started on the net...oh more years than I will admit...I did my fair share of faux pas. But I really try to be careful now to ensure my ideas are solid and remove my personal remarks. You may disagree...hell I want you to. What fun would it be if we all had the same ideas? Why do you think I write opinion pieces for this publication? Because talking about it is more fun than just reporting it.

    I do think that many of our worst human traits are exposed in these forums...but it doesn't take much from a comment made in passing...to an act of violence. Road rage is a good example. People in America are way too highly strung. I have lived all over the world...I have never seen tensions in many of the countries that I see here (not that it doesn't exist).

    I really like the VC forums...I don't want to see them degenerate into some of the forums I see on ZDNet, MacWorld and c|net.
    I saw that everyone else had a signature and I felt left out, so here is mine.
  7.    #7  
    Not only brilliant minds on VC but cultured ones as well.

    Third Man...have you seen Kafka? Similar themes...old haunting scenes, haunting music, black and white. Not the best reviewed film...but I think brilliant. Jeremy Irons and Sir Alec Guiness. Plot is enjoyable...and quite funny...while also horrid...but a joy to watch in the dark.
    I saw that everyone else had a signature and I felt left out, so here is mine.
  8. #8  
    Originally posted by agraham999
    Third Man...have you seen Kafka?
    I have not, but I will add it to my list!

    Speaking of old movies, have you ever seen the ridiculously silly "Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer". (Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple)
    Speaking of silly and Myrna Loy, how 'bout those 'Thin Man' movies?
    --
    ThirdMan
  9. #9  
    Originally posted by agraham999

    However, none of us are in any position to post our opinions and predictions as anything other than that. When I write an op/ed piece, it is just that, an opinion.
    That's actually a big issue IMHO. Since we are all talking about just opinions and personal preferences, there's not necessarily good technical basis for saying "You're wrong." (In fact half the time the people haven't even tried the products/ideas they're bashing.) The next attack or defense is then at a personal level; if the poster can be portrayed as a schmuck, then surely his/her opinion is also rife with schmuckiness.

    Originally posted by agraham999

    The simple fact that people can get so irate about technology is ludicrous.
    You could also say that people are "passionate" about technology. Again things like PPC vs. Palm, Linux vs. Win, vi vs. emacs are all very personal choices. You'd think people would live and let live, but look at how "passions" about things like soccer matches can erupt into brawls, stampedes and murders. Irate flames and personal attacks on boards are the same thing in cyberspace.

    Overall I think VC is a great place. I haven't seen many fights in my brief time.
  10.    #10  
    Thin Man rules! I have seen seven or eight of them...I believe there are around 12-14. Classics! Have seen the Carry Grant flick as well...silly...but entertaining. I'll watch anything with Cary Grant in it.
    I saw that everyone else had a signature and I felt left out, so here is mine.
  11. #11  
    I bought a refurbed Dell 2 1/2 years and went on their forum - I'm still smarting from that bunch of trashy yahoos...I never got slammed myself, but there was so much nastiness that all the valuable help and experience available was overshadowed. I just got another Dell, but I doubt I'll even look in there again...

    This forum is worlds better, but I certainly agree that the users and the moderators need to guard against that trend...good point!

    ( And I love the Third Man too!)
    Life is not a dress rehearsal!
  12. Rob
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    #12  
    Originally posted by lowtech
    This forum is worlds better, but I certainly agree that the users and the moderators need to guard against that trend...good point!
    I was going to make the same comment...although there have been a few notable exceptions (I won't name names), folks on the VC forums tend to be far more civilized than on other discussion groups. Take for example palmstation.com, in which I used to enjoy participating, but now I won't bother reading the comments (they really should institute a register-before-posting policy).

    To some extent, this is also a consequence of the popularity of VC -- as newsgroups or forums become popular, and therefore large, the likelihood of a few bad eggs becomes greater (and it only takes a few 'negative influences' before a discussion degrades into mindless flames, trolling, or off-topic rants). If VC continues to grow as it has, it may eventually be necessary to implement a more sophisticated moderation system (maybe something like /. uses, although that may be overkill)...the current rating system, while a step in the right direction, isn't really sufficient because it doesn't separate the interesting, informative, on-topic content from the childish, inflammatory nonsense within the same thread.
  13. #13  
    Well in a sense you can say how valuable a thread is by rating it. I'm glad to see more people doing this.

    We try to keep things civil. We recently changed the review pages so you cannot make an anonymous junk posting, and the forums allow you to block people that you don't want to see postings for.
    James Hromadka, TreoCentral Editor
    Houston - EST. 1836
  14. Rob
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    #14  
    Originally posted by JHromadka
    Well in a sense you can say how valuable a thread is by rating it. I'm glad to see more people doing this.
    One request -- is it possible to show the ratings on threads after clicking on 'show new threads' or doing other searches?

    We try to keep things civil. We recently changed the review pages so you cannot make an anonymous junk posting, and the forums allow you to block people that you don't want to see postings for.
    Really? How do you do that? When you look at a member's profile, you can see 'add to buddy list', but I don't see anything about 'block this member's postings'...didn't see it in the FAQ, either.
  15. #15  
    If you check YOUR VC user profile (not the other guy's), there is an option near the top of the screen to "Edit Ignore List."
  16. #16  
    While this topic has been discussed inside some other posts, I'm glad that you brought it up in it's own post. This happens to be the only discussion board I've ever posted on, and I agree with you all have been saying so far (esp. bradhaak's breakdown of personalities).
    What we are missing from this discussion board is someone's parent yelling occasionally, "I've you kids can't play nice with each other, somebody is gonna get a whuppin'!"
    Later,
    Michael
    "I am a debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish."
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by agraham999
    Once I started writing I decided to start participating in these groups and I eventually started doing it across the web...but I keep noticing the same stuff. Many people don't respect anyone's opinion. PC users say Mac users are fanatics, but PC users are just as fanatical about their products. The whole argument over Mac vs PC is all chicken and egg...it means nothing. Same with a lot of these hardware software issues. You prefer what you prefer. But I am not discussing that issue
    It helps to look at the form rather than the specific content. Mac/PC, Palm/PPC, open-source/proprietary -- it's irrelevant; what matters is the meta-pattern: X sucks/Y rules. Once you recognize that strain of "discussion," you find yourself skipping it more: after all, it's usually no more than white noise.

    I wonder why it is that people on discussion boards feel they can be rude, insulting, degrading and unpleasant. You can't even have a good debate half the time without one person calling another an *****. It seems to me that with the anonymity of the web, many people have a certain bravado that they wouldn't normally have in person. I have met very few people in my life that were as rude in a live discussion as in some forums. I am six foot, 240 pounds...I doubt that many people would give me any trouble or be disrespectful in public. I certainly respect the opinions of other people in forums all over the web. So why is it we've lost our civility? It is computers? Is it staring and dealing with computer frustrations that make us take it out on each other?
    In many cases, it might be something as simple as being unable to add the verbal and nonverbal inflections we take for granted in face-to-face communication. But that's no excuse: rude is rude. I find myself paying less attention to meaningless messages and more attention to meaningful ones. It's no coincidence that obnoxious posts almost always have nothing to say. If you can't be right, be loud.

    Seriously...why is it that you can't write anything that doesn't get completely dissed even if the fact of the matter is...we are all just discussing our opinions? I generally try not to predict the future...but I do like to discuss technology and debate things. However, none of us are in any position to post our opinions and predictions as anything other than that. When I write an op/ed piece, it is just that, an opinion.
    You're a professional writer with standards and scruples to abide by that, for better or worse, the general public does not, even on the level of, say, correct grammar and spelling. For non-writers, almost anything goes. The New York Times publishes very few letters to the editor: publication is a privilege. On a discussion board, it's perceived as a right. If people don't have to think twice to see their opinions published, they often won't think once.

    The simple fact that people can get so irate about technology is ludicrous. It isn't food...it isn't religion, it isn't even politics. Nobody is debating your right to have an iPaq or a Palm. So why do we often see so much frustration? What a waste of time. Is it so hard to say to someone, I agree or I disagree...without saying their idea is stupid?
    People get irate by having their judgement called into question; the subject matter is irrelevant. When that happens, their self-esteem -- not the issue -- is at stake. At that point, the best strategy is to calmly stand your ground, like Beethoven: "Does Abrechtsberger forbid parallel fifths? Well I allow them!"
  18. #18  
    Originally posted by BobbyMike
    What we are missing from this discussion board is someone's parent yelling occasionally, "I've you kids can't play nice with each other, somebody is gonna get a whuppin'!"
    "If I have to pull this car over, somebody's gonna be sorry!"


    In one recent thread, I began to wonder if one user was registering under different aliases and posting "support" for his/her first alias. (The grammatical errors, misspellings, and signature phrases were suspiciously similar.)
    Could VC implement a "one name per email" rule? I know that you can go get free email addresses, but the extra hassle might discourage this.

    Kelley
  19. Rob
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    #19  
    Originally posted by K. Cannon
    Could VC implement a "one name per email" rule? I know that you can go get free email addresses, but the extra hassle might discourage this.
    I thought they already had this restriction. No? Oh, boy! Time for me to go grab some more handles!!!
  20. #20  
    Originally posted by Rob

    I thought they already had this restriction.
    I don't know if they do or not---maybe I'll try to register with a different name. I can use that one for obnoxious posts and K. Cannon for the others.
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