Judgement Day

Judgement Day

Judgement Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

is every day, here on the www.

I’ve talked before about how much I love the internet, the people I’ve met through it, blah blah yawn.  It’s a funny thing, though.  I continue to get lulled into a false sense of happy happy joy joy free love and learning, and then get biffed upside the head.

Not everyone you meet online is someone you’d want to sit and have a beer with.  So what?  Just like the offline world, smile, nod, and move on.

Except, online there seem to be a lot more people who don’t want to move along.  You know who I mean, the ones who paint themselves as experts in X, and believe it is their great duty and privilege, perhaps even an obligation, to engage in argument.   It took a bit for me to catch on to how this works for these cyber types.  When I first became engaged with online communities where you saw this type of action, I took the bait.  Argued back to explain my position, and proclaim my rights to my opinion.  Then I learned a bit more about how socializing through a screen works/can work, and would attempt to steer the discussion with a more civil tone.  Yah, done with that, too.

Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology

Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From there you find the people you enjoy spending online time with, and figure out how to narrow your interactions with others while still remaining engaged in the greater community.

Or not.  I no longer visit most of the forums I’ve joined over the years, because I found my “peeps” and we now interact in smaller groups through Facebook, email, sometimes even *gasp* face to face.  Let’s be honest, here, do I need to post questions and have discussions with 8000 other navel gazers?  Thirty, twenty, even ten can be sufficient for a lively debate and interesting discussion.  Every so often someone new gets brought in for fresh air and new perspectives.  Not only does everyone involved not have to agree, it’s a more productive discussion when they don’t.  I learn other people’s opinions, new facts, and my mind gets opened a bit wider.  As long as it’s all conducted with respect and basic courtesy, it’s all good.

Let’s look at that word again.  Respect.  It doesn’t matter if the poster is 14, 40, or 80 (and often you don’t know).  It isn’t my job to slam anyone else in a personal way.  I’m not talking about engaging in debate, but attacks that can/will be interpreted as personal.  You know what I find to be one of the best parts of being a grown up?  Understanding that not everyone will like me, and I won’t like everyone, and that is just fine.  In person or online, still fine.  Remember, I live in a small space.  I can’t fit an entire forum around my dinner table.  My laptop is old and cranky.  A reflection of me, it stops and freezes every time I click on a new post or thread.  It can easily take me 30 minutes to read two short threads, 45 if I want to reply.  In many ways that’s ok, it forces me to choose carefully before clicking.

There are internet trolls who are obvious trolls.  Fine.  Some are annoying, some are amusing.  But the tricky kind are those who don’t seem to understand

English: "Wikipedia troll at play" s...

English: “Wikipedia troll at play” sign, based on a yellow “Children at Play” sign that symbolizes a child kicking a ball. The ball was replaced by a Wikipedia globe, and the child’s head was decorated with unruly “hair” reminiscent of troll dolls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they’re trolling, and are passionate about their way/belief being THE way.  The ONLY way, for everyone, and they must “correct” any and all who question a different path.  Personally, I’m a silly, flighty gal.  Know what I do when I see a question/thread/post that seems pointless to me?  I don’t click on it.  Forgive me, I’m such a radical.

Mmm hmm.  Would you and your hand like a room, buddy?<< phrased respectfully, of course.

Homestead-Nowhere-Motel

Homestead-Nowhere-Motel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 comments

  1. Does this mean we’re breaking up? Some of my students told me about text break-ups, but they had a catchier name for them, and my brain is more corroded than the drivers in your cranky computer. I’ve never had an online argument except for the times I put on my rusted armor, kicked Sancho Panza in the pants, and crashed my way into a conservative chat group for some anger management back-sliding. The guy who told me I might be the worst author ever has been the only one, and how easy to laugh off is that? Maroons everywhere, I guess. Fringe on…
    Later….

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    1. You and me breaking up? You and your Mrs are stuck with me. Otherwise, how would I live vicariously?

      I don’t argue (did a few times in the past), but wow! On occasion my shock at the ego of some when safely behind a keyboard runneth over.

      Yet another positive I’ve found from running Mrs Fringe. This is my (cyber) house, I can mutter and grumble to my heart’s content 😉

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      1. That’s one of the things I always questioned my students on when giving them my first essay assignment of every semester…how do you learn socialization on electronically mediated communiction devices. Nobody EVER said just cut them out of the loop. That nerd I wrote the Social Media Maniac piece about, arguing with a guy who told him he was not a good poet… he was ignorant of the unfollow tab, or a masochist.
        Later…

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        1. I assume your students were all young/young adults.

          These types of things bother young people more/for a longer period of time. I choose to disengage and grumble to myself (and my fringelings) when someone crosses my lines–because I *know* it isn’t truly personal. How can it be, when it’s someone who doesn’t know me?

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          1. Yes, there’s probably the grandest canyon ever between those who learned to socialize before and after the commonality of EMC devices. It replaced the Industrial Revolution even, when people replaced themselves with machines and started stacking up in cities. Being around them on a day-to-day basis and trying to get them to understand why, “I worked 4 Microsoft…” does not show well on a resume was frustrating. A truly different world that will cause serious trouble when they have complete control of the aging pre-techies.
            Later…

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          2. Sigh.
            Didn’t Robert Heinlein predict all of this?
            One thing I wonder about and recently discussed with other friends from the >40 crowd; were there always this many people with poor grammar and spelling, or is it just that we see it now because of social media? This is, of course, putting actual txt spk to the side.

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          3. Don’t know about Heinlein, but I read Future Shock on a plane to London @ 1984 and he predicted it, as well as the Balkans, Arab Spring, and the demise of ETA in Spain, just before I ran into a bunch of gun-toting rebels in the Pyranees. Spelling…always bad. Charles Ferrar, the guy Twain stole his whole act from, made a living off it, as did Petroleum Naseby, and all the writer/speaker humorists of the 19th century…couring the undeducated audience.
            Are we arguing yet? This is weird, since my computer goes through spasms and piles up screens, then shuts everything down like yours does…we should get a pair of new computers from Gates for persitance.
            Later

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          4. I never read Future Shock, adding it to the list.
            I’ve been thinking recently about wanting to go back and reread Heinlein. Once upon a time I was a devoted fan. I bought Stranger in a Strange Land for Man Child about a year ago. A very different experience to go back and reread old favorites that seemed so radical 20/30 years ago, with the lens of age and changes in society.
            Nope, not arguing 🙂
            I’m all for a new computer, but I’m holding out for a new Macbook. 😀

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          5. MacBook on the Terrace, feet up on the marble table, gazing out over the Capital of the World, hoping the doorman can keep the Donald at bay, keeping the turtle eggs at proper temp. A true member of Thorstein Vevlen’s leisure class.
            Later…

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  2. I’ve completely abandoned the forum community. We have a local forum that served as a place to find out if everyone was OK in after an accident and to stay in touch during severe weather – community stuff that a small town with only a weekly newspaper really needed. Of course there were discussions of politics and religion – some heated, but there was also a sense of community. About 2 years ago the forum owners removed the requirement to have a non yahoo or hotmail email account – this opened the forum up to trolls and multiple accounts – what began as conversation devolved into bullying and bashing. Most of us left and migrated to the kinder and gentler world of Facebook (at least it seemed gentler in contrast). Now I find WordPress to be like the best of both of those worlds, at least for now. There is open frank dialog and respect – I hope it stays that way.

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    1. Yes, I like (some) forums as a jumping off point to find people with similar interests, and then moving on to FB with the few you develop relationships with is just fine. WP is great, but sadly, not all of my cyberfriends are here. 🙂

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      1. I post my blog on FB on my timeline and on my Photography page so I have additional conversation over there. It would be nice to play in one pond and right now FB seems to be the most conducive to that.

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