Tuesday, 07 April 2009

When Did it Become Acceptable?

Did I miss a general netiquette rule change that states in online conversation it is acceptable to be a stark raving bitch if the poster asks a questions about something that may or may not be a controversial topic? If I did miss this rule change I apologize; however, I'm pretty sure that general netiquette rules still apply in online conversation.

Don't get me wrong, I like to snark and complain about things as much as the next person. I can be downright nasty too. However, if someone asks a question because they want an answer I'm not going to be an asshole about it. The exception to that rule is if the person asked the question to intentionally stir up shit and cause drama.

Some of the problem comes from people who ask for advice yet do not take the advice. This happens all too often on the message boards. The way I look at it is either a). don't give advice or b). give the advice and realize that it may or may not be taken. If the advice is not taken and you put in your 2 cents worth; is it really skin off YOUR back if the original poster didn't listen to you? No. This is the Internet for crying out loud!

The other thing that cracks me up is people giving advice when they actually don't have a freaking clue what they are talking about. Some of them have a small inkling of a clue and nothing more; however the Internet makes them feel as if they are the "authority" on all things horses. Get a grip people. There are hundreds of different ways, methods, and techniques to achieve a desired result. You just have to find the one that works for YOU. My methods may not work for some people and may work great for others.

My favorite is the mob mentality. Seriously. When did it become ok to personally attack other people? I'm not saying I have never done it; I have. But you live and learn right? The more I learn and interact with people from all over the world, and apply their online behavior and mannerisms to my psychology studies; the more I realize how truly fucked up some people's reasoning processes are. When did people stop researching and drawing conclusions for themselves? Why follow blindly with leaders that conduct half-assed research with the intention of stirring the pot? All that does is get many people (not all) following along blindly, not knowing all the facts, and forming biased and inaccurate conclusions. Has the general population lost the ability to conduct informed, reliable, valid, and accurate research? How can you judge a person online when you only know their online personality and have never met them in person?

I have really lost interest in several message boards. It's a shame too. They used to be a place to relax and have fun and maybe pick up a tip or two. Now they are a place for bitching at, to, or about other people and attacking their personal character. I'm losing faith in people. Maybe this is one reason I got into the field of study I did. To figure out how and why people can be so cruel.


spazfilly said...

You bring up a good point. Sometimes I guess it is a blessing that I don't have enough time to be on the message boards as much as others. I get on there for a sense of community, which is something I no longer have at the barn.

When I was growing up, there were a whole bunch of us "barn rats" that spent all our time out at the stable, messing with our horses, goofing around, and learning stuff. Most of us weren't even friends outside of that circle, but all bets were off at the barn. Now, as an adult, I find that going to the barn is a very solitary activity for me. Not because there aren't other people out there, but because my interests are very different from theirs, and I'm usually out at different times. Also, when people do talk to me, it's usually to ask questions about training young horses because I'm the only one out there who has a baby. It's scary to me that they might see me as some sort of authority on training. I am far from perfect, and all I know for sure is that there are plenty of mistakes in my future.

I do hope someday to make more horse friends, whether in person or on the internet. But sometimes it can be very hard, especially if mob mentality becomes prevalent online. I hope people will read this blog entry and feel compelled to try and help people rather than cutting them down.

Toni said...

I completely agree. It seems like every time someone posts somehting there is someone else out there just waiting to bitch at or point out that what they said is wrong. Or if you decide to not take a certain persons advice they assume you are not serious about what you were asking about. Did it ever accure to them that their advice may not be right for you? Some people really need to get a grip and realize that they are not the know all, see all of the equine world.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Well said!!

Cooper's Fan Girl said...

Gulity of being a bitch, but trying to change. ;)

Cowgirly said...

Well put. I think one of the main complaints among horse owners about having to board is the barn politics. And yet when we get out of the saddle, we hop online and argue, politic and berate. I used to think some of it was funny or interesting, but it is damaging and stressful.

One thing I appreciate about this blog is that the author has credentials. I don't know about anyone else but I'm growing weary of people whose only credentials are the experience they claim to have, but you never see evidence. They're armchair judges and back seat trainers who couldn't get hired as a real judge or trainer.

I am working hard not to engage in it, I have a hard time not standing up for people when I see a feeding frenzy of commenters (and true, when someone is allegedly abusing/neglecting horses it's hard not to join the feeding frenzy).

I find I am most successful when I trust people I know are qualified, require evidence before I assume someone has done wrong and remember that there are millions who hide behind internet profiles (as Brad Paisley says), especially when they make money doing it.

Thanks for this post, it's a good opportunity for people to consider what they're putting out there. :)

success in the pen said...

I think we can all be guilty of being a bitch online. What I have a difficult time grasping is the people that jump on the bandwagon to flame someone else for alleged reasons that have yet to be proven. Take Fugly's blog as an example, while I read the blog, I rarely comment. She does make an effort to research, but I feel that often it's only just enough research to back up a furious opinion.

One thing I have learned in my years of schooling is that if you wnat to write about something and have people follow it with their hearts, you need to be able to present both sides, be able to refute opposing opinions with unbiased facts, and have enough facts on which you can then make an accurate opinion. If those facts cannot be cross-referenced easily; and cross-referenced with material that also has authors with good credentials, you don't have much of an argument.

For example, back when the BB drama went down on the Free Speech board, I admit I jumped in and started bashing away. Then I realized something. All these people were making assumptions, calling names, and seemed to have concerns, but no one decided to just call and find out THEIR side of the story. So, I called, expressed my concerns with her mother, and have sveral phone and email conversations with them since. BB will be making her trip down here Memorial Day Weekend to attend the Memorial Day Classic with me, hang out, and just observe and soak up the ins and outs of the industry. I think this method did, and will accomplish much more than peole bitching and complaining all the time.

I think a lot of people use the internet as an excuse to let their own insecurities, abusive nature, and personality disorders come out to play.