Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Flame Wars

I have never really hung out much on bulletin boards or chatrooms, I guess the closest I have come to it in my net experience is blog commenting and hanging out a bit on Flickr. I don't do the whole facebook thing, or really even post comments on Flickr very much anymore. But of late I have spending quite a bit of time on the knitting social networking/database website Ravelry (still in beta testing and with over 100,000 users, but not yet open to the public).

One of the really active parts of Ravelry are the Discussion Threads in the groups.

Oh my gah.

I've discovered the art of the Flame War. You'd think knitting, that's like really genteel right? Wrong. 99% of the threads are great, and there is a group I love called "Completely Pointless and Arbitrary" where any seriousness is actively discouraged, but the other 1% is amazing. Stuff that makes you want to bang your head on the desk in frustration (or theirs). Threads that started about poor customer service from on-line sellers for example, that degenerate into name calling, legal threats, accusations of bad parenting/poor personal hygiene and even cheap shots about religion.

It's kind of horrible, and I can't stand to read much of it, but it's hard not to. Some of it is so amazingly stupid it makes me sit here with my mouth open. I know this is nothing new to people who frequently read bulletin boards, and it really is only a tiny % of Ravelry, but it's kind of like a train wreck I can't drag my eyes away from.

Of course I've been smart enough not to add to these particular discussions. I don't want anyone attacking my personal hygiene.


knitguyla said...

I can't stay away either. It's insane and so over the top. I actually have to look away from the monitor occasionally because I'm embarrassed for some of the participants. I love it!

The Other Andrew said...

I know, right? MADNESS. But, so hard to resist.

thombeau said...

People are intolerable. I recently changed Fabulon settings so that people had to register in order to make comments. I am so over people who feel compelled to spread their hateful messages in an anonymous manner. At least have the creativity to make up a pretend name!

The Other Andrew said...

It really is weird, all the hate. There must be a lot of very unhappy people out there. Taking out there unhappiness on others.

Why can't we just have one great big group hug? Does anyone one know the words to Kumbaya?

M-H said...

The words to Kumbaya... sure do: "(Kumbaya, my lord, Kumbaya)x3, Oh, Lord, Kumbaya. Someone's [crying] [singing] [knitting] [whatever] Lord, Kumbaya)x3, Oh, Lord, Kumbaya." Repeat ad nauseam.

Does that look like a knitting pattern or what?

The Other Andrew said...

You just need repeat from *s!

John C said...

Penny Arcade summed up the situation perfectly with this gem:

I'm a mod in a small gay chatroom and I've been reading forums for years now so I'm very used to the situation. Nice thing about chatrooms is if they're properly moderated you can either kick or ban troublemakers pretty easily; as a result people tend to be better behaved. Forums and blogs are worse since the hatred has more of a lifespan. The Boing Boing solution is a smart one which is to leave the comments but remove all the vowels.

One thing I've noticed is that you gradually get used to the unbridled spleen and start to tune it out. The initial urge is to want to argue back at people but that tends to make things worse. Any time I feel that urge now I immediately close whatever window I was looking at and do something else. Life really is too short and some people are simply loonies that can't be reasoned with. Look at some Lolcats instead, they're better for the soul. :)

Mel said...

I stick to fairly civil forums on Rav. Though I've seen a few heated discussions, they've tended to be reasonably civil, at least. I'm not sure where the nasty ones have cropped up, but I know at least a couple of the people who have been unfairly targeted for vitriol and it's a bit distressing, to say the least.

The Other Andrew said...

John, there are plenty of locats on Ravelry forums too! It does balance it out nicely!

Mel, whenever I feel like my head is going to explode I go and hang out with the bad kids on Completely Pointless & Arbitrary. We generally talk about cake, boys, Brewergnome's nude pics (OMG), boys, more cake. It's like sitting up the back of the classroom.