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moof's prattling


July 12th, 2002

drama. real life. online. vent. @ 03:26 am

Current Mood: venty

Within the past week, two disparate social groups I'm familiar with have flared up with all sorts of whinging and drama online.

One of them had someone on IRC acting like an utter cretin and dork and getting ejected from the channel, with his girlfriend the next day getting all defensive about him and whining, "But he's so much different in Real Life! It's just IRC!" I've now heard at least four different people claim that it's OK to be an utter flaming asshole if it's online. That's complete and utter bullocks. I don't care if you're a genuine pope; to misbehave in a given community is rude and it's to be expected that somebody will take offense and call down their wrath. The particular medium this happens in makes not a whit of difference.

The other had one person lambasting another in LJ (after some party mishappenings, I gather) and blaming the world's ills on the latter. When a few people said that perhaps the berating was a bit harsh, the reply was "perhaps I was meaner than I meant to be." That's some pretty awful schadenfreude there, with a loaf of hubris on the side. If you want to constructively criticize, you have to speak in a fashion the other person can understand and deal with. Boasting about how you make people feel uncomfortable is just childish.

In other news: the frozen tazoberry thing from starbuck's is pretty tasty, and my little sage plant shriveled up and died. Wah.

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Date:July 12th, 2002 09:08 am (UTC)
The culture of Pigdog, a crew of folks I do stuff with, is highly flamy.

...yet, somehow, people are surprised when their upsetting behavior is upsetting.

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Date:July 12th, 2002 09:55 am (UTC)
See, the thing about "perhaps i was meaner than i meant to be" wasn't me being bitchy. I honestly still don't think I was being mean. I didn't say anything to try to hurt anyone, and I really don't get why it would be taken that badly. I was trying to explain why I was upset. So, I said 'perhaps' because everyone else seemed to think I was being mean, so they're probably right. That's one communication flaw I have - I can be pretty harsh about stuff and not realize exactly why other people take it so badly. It doesn't happen often because, well, people don't usually piss me off. Really, I'm kind of puzzled that everyone took it so badly. I am so not boasting about making people uncomfortable, nor am I blaming the worlds ills on anyone.
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Date:July 12th, 2002 11:46 am (UTC)
Sure, it's okay to be an utter flaming asshole online...*if* that's the kind of image you are trying to convey. However, any person worth being around does not want to be thought of this way, and therefore should not act as such.

Nowadays, especially in our peer group, one's online persona is an extension of themselves. We are so familiar with technology that we cannot use the excuse of being "so much different in Real Life". Sure, it's not really possible to be *exactly* the same, given the medium, but you can be close.

All that being said, it's really sad that some people crave attention so much that they resort to childish dramatics without even realizing the results of their actions.
Date:July 12th, 2002 05:11 pm (UTC)

That's funny, until the person mentioned posted I thought you were talking about Hep/Gweeds. 8-)

I it's interesting how people on-line make comments that are quite easy to trace to the source, but leave out the name of the source. It's like old letters that say "I had an argument with J---- today."

I'm not saying that your making comments that way is good or bad, I just see a lot of people in Livejournal doing it. I think it's probably an avoidance mechanism. We all (usually) like to avoid direct confrontation.

But, I think a community without a formal moderation system or rules system, like an open IRC channel or LiveJournal, is prone to flamewars and abuse since the subject of abuse is removed from the abuser. In a real-life community, if you flamed someone face-to-face and called them names, you would have to deal with them, their families, and their friends directly the next day. In an on-line community, it isn't the same. It was "just" an on-line experience, people didn't see the guy get abused. Also, members of the community may have not been present to the abuse and might not be as concerned.

It would be interesting to apply an e-bay style approval rating to a livejournal-style community. This would be very subject to abuse, and also would take the risk of becoming very isolationist. (If you only talk to people with a 75% compatibly rating to you, for example, you're not going to get many alternative viewpoints.)

I don't see many good examples out there of on-line communities attempting to use any sort of control, voting, approval, or rating system to run the community. Does anyone know of anything? Slashdot/Kuro5hin is a very broad-brush attempt at this, but I don't see anything more sophisticated than basic "karma" systems. I think this is a really interesting aspect to on-line relationships.

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Date:July 12th, 2002 05:18 pm (UTC)
They were two incidents; the former was (in fact) gweeds and hep; the latter was autumn and lisa. I figured I may as well not name names as they'd be completely meaningless to half the people, and it's not that I find just their personal behavior odious, but that I find it odious in pretty much anyone who displays it. I think the ambiguity lets you cast your mental net further than you would normally, rather than classifying it as "oh, it's just J. Random Idiot again."

And as far as rating's people's posts, it comes down to the FOAF problem. You like your friends, and they like theirs, but you don't always like your friends of friends. In the case of publishing, this was solved by scarcity of resources: you like this magazine, or this other magazine, but not that one. This is not too hard to do when the set to choose from is small... but when you get into the thousands/millions of people, how do you filter that?
Date:July 12th, 2002 07:22 pm (UTC)

It was hep/gweeds? HA.... oh that's really funny.

I love hep. Actually, hep's right, one-on-one Marc is really nice and fun to talk to. In a large crowd or on-line he, um, changes. It's a shame really, he's a smart funny guy, he just has no filters whatsoever. I can totally see how he would be banned quickly from a friends-only type channel.

I agree on the rating system, it would have to be something pretty lightweight, automatic, and very configurable without a lot of end-user tweaking. If you configured your "Bullshit Tolerance", let's say, to 0%, the question would be how the poster would get a "Bullshit Rating". Since this would be a community rating, it would make sense that the community would decide,but getting quality ratings from the community would be the big trick.


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Date:July 13th, 2002 12:03 am (UTC)
HAH! How did I know that's who you were talking about? Oh, wait, years of experience, that's how I knew.

Anyway, amusement level aside, the bullshit tolerance system seems all paradisical, but as with every other seeming utopic ideal, it completely falls apart in practice. Been there, done that, currently in self-imposed exile from the monster that got created when people's bullshit-meters got highly selective and hypocritical. Oh, but wouldn't it be grand? When I'm rich and famous, I will make an AI that impartially grades everyones bullshit level and maintains the society appropriately. I figure we've got about a good 6 months max before it goes all dystopic and 1984 on us. You're welcome to join up if you want!
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Date:July 13th, 2002 12:17 am (UTC)
iirc, greymatter actually has something like this. and hey, suggest it to the lj-dev people!!@

--t, back to isolationism with blogger and movabletype :>

moof's prattling