See, this is why I can never have anything nice.

When am I going to learn? I go through this every few years. I get interested in some forum with what seems an amiable atmosphere. The topic might be guns, or prepping, or outdoor living, or something else that interests me. Chickens, maybe – it doesn’t matter. And there aren’t many progressives about, so I’m unlikely to pick a fight in the first week.

And then just as I’m kicking off my shoes and feeling fairly mellow about the whole thing, I’ll get in an unexpected fight with a conservative who’s just as big an ass as me, but far more wrong. And I’ll end up flouncing off.

Forums really don’t seem amiable to out-of-box thinking, at least in the long term. Or maybe I’m just a jackass who doesn’t play well with others. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, I suppose…

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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15 Responses to See, this is why I can never have anything nice.

  1. Bear says:

    So you’ve become the GunKid of prepper forums?

  2. Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. That happens to everybody.

  3. Jean says:

    I believe it was Chico Marx, (possibly from the movie “Duck Soup”,) who said “Join da club. We beat you ova da head with it”.

    Apologies for my punctuation. I can’t seem to remember what goes where.

  4. -s says:

    Why flounce off? Not responding to an asshat is extremely effective, and can become entertaining. If the forum is one I frequent, and the asshat says something I find deeply offensive or so stupid it’s not even wrong, I leave it for a day. Usually, others in the forum dispose of the matter. That’s why I frequent the place; like-minded folk.

    If after 24 hours I still feel a need to respond, I’ll take the time to compose an especially thoughtful and carefully worded response. One is my limit for asshats. Then I leave my comment standing there, where others can read it. The asshat typically flails, rages, and foams.

    I write for those others, not for the jerk.

    Many forums have an “Ignore” button so you don’t have to read drivel posted by morons. I use it with enthusiasm. It doesn’t stop you seeing the nonsense when others quote it, but it cuts the rate of blood pressure spikes way down.

  5. Joel says:

    Truth is I had been thinking of just taking this forum out of my bookmarks for quite some time. I get little benefit from listening to the same people bleat about bugout bags, $600 knives and the perfect bunker they’re gonna build someday, and may have been just looking for a fight at the time. Something I might usually have let pass unremarked rubbed me the wrong way.

    A couple of people emailed me today, quite to my surprise, asking me not to leave. Dunno where those people were while the shooting was going on, though…

  6. coloradohermit says:

    “Or maybe I’m just a jackass who doesn’t play well with others.”
    IMO, standing up for our friends is a sign of integrity and there are just some folks in this world who we shouldn’t bother trying to play well with because that demeans us.

    I only go by that forum every few weeks anymore because there’s only a couple of folks whose posts I find valuable, but did go by at your mention. That sanctimonious prick deserved far worse than the calm reasoned response that you gave him. Good on you Joel!

  7. Claire says:

    So is anybody going to tell those of us in the know where we can find this too-close encounter?

    FWIW, Joel, I’m quite predisposed to think you’re actually quite sociable, reasonable, and patient for a misanthropic hermit. :-)

  8. Claire says:

    Gnrrr. Those of us NOT in the know …

  9. Zane says:

    There are three problems with internet forums in my opinion.

    Number one: They are anonymous and this leads a small section of their members to feel they can do and say whatever they want. They will lie, they will act entirely in their own best interest, and they will not give two shits about your opinion, even if they asked for opinions.

    Number two: They are all about a specific topic, say prepping, guns, cars, computers, religion, etc.. So all the members who aren’t asses tend to just agree with each others opinions, to be respectful, and it becomes a massive circle jerk around a set of ideas. Kind of a religion on whatever they subject at hand is. There is no room for disagreement.

    Number three: They tend to have a knee jerk reaction to anything new and either say it’s bad just because it’s different or say it’s the new standard and everything that came before is now shit. Take the Marlin forum I’m a member of. One guys posts a picture of his new gun with a bit of bad machining work that he thinks might be unsafe. Everyone agrees that it is poor work and unsafe, he should send it back. Suddenly everyone else with that gun posts pictures of their guns, and they all more or less have the same machining. Suddenly all these guns that everyone has been shooting happily for years are pieces of crap, unsafe, and it’s completely unacceptable for them to have ever made this gun like this.

  10. Joel says:

    Claire, this particular kerfuffle is below the fold. To see it you’d have to register as a member, and I can’t promise it would be worth your time.

  11. Mutti says:

    Sometimes ya’ just grow out of the process. Really enjoyed one, but found after
    6 years the SSDD got under my skin – like splinters that were never removed, but just kept being twinged by new members year after year who couldn’t be bothered to verify, search or have discussion outside of their comfort zone.

    So I checked out and have missed it less than I imagined.

  12. coloradohermit says:

    I agree with Joel that it wouldn’t be worth pursuing. At some point, every forum everywhere will have it’s own internal brouhaha where someone comes along and criticizes a respected long time member and the fight is on. In the real world it’s of no more importance than our varying opinions of Robin Williams passing currently occupying all the airwaves, but it’s just not right,IMO, to let bullies go unchallenged.

    Anyway, like mutti said, same stuff different day. And isn’t it great to see mutti!

  13. Alan says:

    Ah Joel, you put up the good fight, and ultimately the mods jumped in, got trolled themselves, so they locked down the thread. Thanks for hanging in there for a few days. Yeah, there was definitely a jackass involved, and it wasn’t you.

    There are times when I feel like dumping that forum too. The technical stuff keeps me coming back though. The couple of times I’ve posted pictures of plants to ask “what is this?” people have tripped over each other to help. Outside of most of the garden or tech stuff though, I don’t do much else there.

    Oddly enough, there’s a book about trolling coming out soon called “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” Made me laugh when I saw the title of your post. Here’s a link to the author’s blog post about the book: http://billions-and-billions.com/2014/02/13/my-book-officially-forthcoming-with-mit-press/
    From what I’ve read by that author, her anti-troll strategies come down to:
    (1) Don’t feed the trolls. (what I was trying to do)
    (2) Constructive engagement / shaming. (what you tried to do)
    (3) Counter-trolling, i.e., jerking the troll right back. (takes a special kind of person)
    (4) Moderator hammer. (what finally happened, way too late)
    Trolling’s become a serious problem, it’s taking a lot the usefulness out of the web. Too bad the old-fashoned fix for IRL trolling’s off the table these days:
    (5) Dueling.

    Well, thanks, and I’ll stop by from time to time to keep up with your blog.

  14. Bear says:

    I hadn’t really thought about it until I was going through comments here, but I am no longer a member of even a single Internet forum. While it was really one particular forum that soured me*, I’ve found that forums celebrate groupthink. They’re cliquish and insular (even as they pride themselves on being “welcoming”). And the same crap gets posted over and over and over and…

    Heh. The last forum I joined (an interesting experience, not meant to be permanent; I wanted to counter some outright lies being spread about a friend) garnered me a few death threats. I annoy people, but those were the first overt online death threats I’d gotten since my old Compuserve (remember that?) days.

    Forums are good in theory, but they’re a lot like global warming computer models: they look cool, but they just don’t work in, or apply to, the real world.

    =====
    It started when I was foolish enough to send ‘em money to get their own dedicated server; after they received the cash, I was locked out. I could read public stuff, but couldn’t post or reply; couldn’t even access my own user profile. No mod would answer my calls for assistance (I had nonforum emails for some); I couldn’t find out if I’d been banned, or if it just some sort of glitch. But they wouldn’t fix it. I got talked into coming back later (under a new account), but the S:N was horrible, and long time members could be downright hostile to anyone they perceived as a newby. I even took some crap over my screen name (which happened to be my longstanding meatspace nick). Navigating new posts got to be a bitch because one idiot, who never learned how to bookmark a thread he wanted to look at again, would go through and post “ping” on dozens of threads a day, bumping them up above actual new posts.

  15. PJ says:

    I wrote about provocateurs, a special sort of asshole, here:
    http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2009/tle524-20090621-06.html

    I was invited off Stefan Molyneux’ forum because I didn’t kowtow properly I guess. Anyway I didn’t fit in. I ran screaming from the freebsd forum, where a real fascist runs the show (or did anyway); the moderating was ugly. I bailed from the mental militia forum because I wasn’t quite 100% anarchist at the time I joined and I did not enjoy the abuse I received there for that defect.

    You just need to keep trying this and that. I’ve got a few where I fit in reasonably well.

To the stake with the heretic!