I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who tries to figure out places like Reddit as though they were logical worlds. Social media sites like Reddit are amazing places to see what people are thinking – even if sometimes that means rolling your eyes and sighing at the inanity of it all.
One thing I’ve noticed is that forum sites are examples of what is good about the interwebz and what is truly bad about it.
What great places to make your point of view known, to gather like minded people into discussions and groups. No matter how out there your point of view – or how profane your language – or how explict your fantasy, there will be a sub-reddit or Goodreads group or Kindleboards thread where you can at least start a conversation.
Freedom of speech at its best. Regulated by input and up or down voting. Ah utopia.
It gets ugly when someone gets on a high horse. They down vote your comments with no indication of what geek rule you may have violated. This is ugly because there’s no way to fight back, most of these forums are anonymous for voting.
Ugly comments appear in response to any questions and flame outs are initiated almost randomly. If you don’t like the latest trend you are condemned as hopelessly ungeeky.
No different from any other format of open discussion, people will take stands and expect others to simply agree. Any attempt to put forth a reasoned (okay maybe ‘you stupid’ isn’t that reasoned) argument is met with verbal attacks and bullying. As though some participants are joyfully taking revenge for slights in high school – on anyone who comes within range.
While it does drive me crazy, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Unlike the physical world, I can completely withdraw when things get too hot for me. I can observe a flaming more safely than I can a riot – not that do much of either.
Part of free speech is being able to air opinions that are not popular, or particularly sane. Engaging in discussions is optional and if you don’t like your current forums, go find or create new ones.
For me the major learning curve has been Reddit, what forums baffle you? Do you keep trying?