Moved by the way that people occasionally misconstrue each others intentions on message boards I wrote this.
At potential slights I sometimes take offence
And am roused into immediate defence.
The best defence they tell me is attack,
So straight away I start my fighting back.
The trouble is the other fellow meant
Nothing with the slightest ill intent,
So now it seems to him that the first blow
In our war of words has come from me, and lo
He too is roused to ire by what I've said
And escalates the conflict in his head.
He responds to what he sees as provocation
With unequivocal sharp condemnation
That seems to me to be a touch unjust
So my new response is even more robust.
Before we know what's happened there's bad blood
Pouring out of both of us a flood,
A torrent of ill-feeling and invective
As our memories become a touch selective
At who started what and when and why
And we'll fight each other till the day we die,
Like Hatfields and McCoys with no good cause
Of such are made too many frightful wars.
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
My current blog.
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My photoblog The World Through A lens
I love it. Good job!
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
I'm really offended by that. I hate you now Bob.
Message boards can be pretty bad. I have a rule of thumb: the more technical or scientific the subject matter of the site, the higher you can expect the misconstrued emotions to run.
But there's nothing like watching a black SUV come up from behind you and cut in front to begin once again experiencing how powerful those misconstrued emotions can be.
I haven't been on that many boards myself, but I am surprised to hear that, Frank. Why do you think that is?
I know there are many flare-ups on OEDILF, but that's partly because of the workshopping, which of course is a prescription for hurt feelings, either by the workshoppee or the workshopper.
I also haven't been on many boards myself, but I used to participate in "newsgroups" related to databases and mathematics a long time ago which is where my, highly subjective, rule of thumb originates.
What I have seen on technical boards are people who are "newbies" asking questions because they really need an answer either for their homework, that's due the next day of course, or to keep some software running at their place of work. They are stressed, needy and easy prey.
There are also "gurus" who love to answer these questions and then as a sort of payment imply that the newbie is a moron and should just read the manual. You must have heard the acronym "RTFM". Imagine it used with scorn and without smileys. There are also other gurus who will then scold the first guru for acting immaturely or claim that the first guru gave the wrong answer. Then the first guru will defend himself. That cycle can go on indefinitely.
It's all quite funny actually, as long as you're not the newbie.
I haven't been on OEDILF or even this board long enough, but I don't expect to see any such flames, because the "need" isn't critical and so the "guru" has no easy prey. People might be annoyed that their limerick is not approved, but it doesn't really matter.
I've been on this board and on OEDILF since their beginning, and that's about it. I have known only 1 or 2 other boards. One is a beer board that is quite tame most of the time. Another, however, is a word board that continually is in an uproar about one thing or another. The difference in the 4 boards seems to be that the word board is run by about 20 or so regulars. They will never allow newbies into their inner circle. The other 3 boards, however, enjoy new people and the freshness that they add.
On the other hand, I have also seen that all boards have their ups and downs. Just recently I think this board has been a little intense.
After thinking about it, I don't think there is anything specific about a technical board that might make it more prone to bizarre flames. It's just human nature.
I do recall wondering when I was reading the database newsgroup how people could get so emotional about something so trivial.
The technology has changed, though, and most software companies have support sites that I suspect have replaced the usefulness of these technical groups.
Sometimes I think that people don't read controversial posts in depth. They just review them, as they seethe, and then quickly respond in kind. If people took the time to ponder the post, look up a few facts on it, and then wait to answer it until the next day, flamewars would plummet.
Sometimes I need to take my own advice.
That would take all of the fun out of life. I've been in quite a few flame wars, including one which lasted months, utlizied many topics, and eventually spread across much of the forum. Nothing I've seen on this board has come close to what I consider a flame war.
Kalleh, your approach doesn't really work for all flame wars, because many flame war transcends factual information. I mean, "Who would win in Millenium Falcon vs. Enterprise?" is not a question that has an answer that is sufficient for rational people. Of course, at some point you cross over into a Holy War
Yes, Sean, you are right. There are some subjects where we're just not going to change our minds.
While it is hard for those of us who like to get in the last word, the best action is to just leave the thread alone when it starts to get out of hand. That happened recently on realbeer.com. A couple posters started to get a bit personal, and I just stopped posting for awhile. I eventually went back, and things were back to normal.