Dopefests, etc. (or why is meeting people from the net laughable?)

Inspired by Lobsang’s What percentage of dopers are willing to go to dopefests? post. And more specifically something he said within it.

So, what is it about this that makes people laugh? What’s so stigmatic about meeting people you’ve had contact with online? Are you one of the people who laughs at friends who do this, and if so why?

I think that the people who laugh just don’t understand.

For one, people who are not “online” people won’t get it because they’ve never experienced the message board community before. They don’t realize that meaningful relationships can be had with people who you have never met before. They laugh because they picture a bunch of computer nerds getting together and discussing unmeaningful things such as computer upgrades. They don’t realize that the message board users of today are everyday people who discuss everyday topics (with a “Hi Opal!” tossed in for flavor).

I have been to a couple dopefests and I can tell you that once you are introduced to people you’ve known for years (odd concept, I know), its just like any other group of friends with a common interest getting together.

And besides… Those who laugh have never had the joy of contemplating the existance of Cecil…

I am not saying they are right to laugh. Just that they will laugh. Amongst the non-computer-literate there is this idea that anything connected to the internet is geeky/sad. This may not be the case (or maybe it is. maybe we are geeks but we don’t know it because we cannot see the wood for the trees. let’s just say we are not geeks, for now.) But they still think it.

Oh, and I think that’s the first time I’ve ever caused a thread (that wasn’t in the pit). I am flattered (I think)

My parents worried, because I’d be meeting unknown people ! They figured that anybody who wasn’t an insane axe-wielding maniac would find friends the ‘normal way’ and not through the internet. They were convinced I wouldn’t make it home in one piece. :smiley: They are very conservative and technophobic, so it was to be expected.

The only friends who laughed were those who didn’t ‘do’ message boards, and had the idea that I was going to meet up with a bunch of 40 year old men who had told me they were all 17 year old schoolgirls :wink: They were imagining the worst of chat rooms and picturing that IRL, without understanding the differences between message boards and chat, the months of e-mailing, picture exchanges, phone calls, etc…

The fact that I was meeting up with a bunch of people in public who I could walk away from at a moments notice was lost on them… I truly wonder how this is any more dangerous than striking up a conversation with somebody on a train, but of course it is, because we’re talking about ‘people on the internet!’ :eek: [insert spooky music here]

Give em a big laugh, Lobsang, and tell em I met my husband online. I won’t mind at all :smiley:

I did explain to (extended) family MANY TIMES that I wasn’t meeting people I had just made acquaintance with, I was meeting people I’d chatted with for YEARS. The weirdos tend to come out of the woodwork after a couple of months :wink: Now, of course, I’m an adult and they tend not to worry quite so much.

This thread certainly wasn’t any kind of a dig at ya Lobby. Your comment just got me thinking about this, since I too know people who just can’t wrap their minds around it.

Personally I go to the dopefests and whatever else because I want to go. Anyone that laughs at me for it can kiss my little white butt. :smiley:

I just replied to that thread, and I mentioned similar sentiments as Lobsang.

I think that it is just that people who have never done much on the net don’t realize that there actually is a community. Or, if they do imagine a community, it is of a bunch of 20 - 30 year old troglodytes who haven’t bathed of seen natural light for several days, if not weeks. While I haven’t seen sunlight for several days, it is only because of this blasted snow, and not due to any antisocial tendencies, or at least not any major ones. :slight_smile:

I think a large part of it might boil down to the fact that we are communicating with people through a non visual medium. I believe that people place a lot of emphasis on first impressions, especially when it come to looks. We make judgements, and interact based on those decisions. I’m not saying whether or not this is a good or bad way of doing things, but we (or at least myself) do seem to be hardwired this way.

Over the net though, we have no easy way of assigning someone to a pigeon hole. We instead must actually read what they write, and make our judgements based on their thoughts alone. A much better way to do things, as you can truly get a better “feel” for a person. The argument can be made though, that no one knows you’re cat on the internet, so to speak… What I mean by this is that people feel that it is easier to deceive someone when you are not interacting directly with them. Whether or not this is the case, I’m not sure, but this seems to be the basis of a lot of peoples fears. Non-net savvy people are worried about friends who hook up over the net meeting up with some psycho killer, or other such deviant. While this is not outside the realm of possibility, I think it is a largely unfounded fear. As more and more people sign up and sign on to the internet, this attitude shall eventually go away., but until that day, I feel that there will always be a stigma associated with meeting people you know on line.

As far as laughing goes, I feel that it is largely a case of computer = geek, geek = someone you can laugh at… Mind you, it seems that these are the same people who later come crawling to you to come and fix their computer after it crashes. Personally, it doesn’t bother me too much. I enjoy the boards, and I like spending time hear. It actually has played a huge part in my life. Because of these boards, I wound up coming out of the closet. That isn’t to say I never would have without the boards, but it did provide a supportive community where any questions I had were answered, even without me having to ask (Thanks mostly to the Ask the gay guy threads). I think anyplace which can provide that level of support, without anyone asking anything in return in a place which should be treasured

I did not for one second see it as one. I really was flattered.

In fact I apologise if I made it seem like I thought your thread was a dig.

I have never had someone start a thread inspired by something said by me in another thread. It was a pleasant surprise.

My friends would probably laugh too.

Probably because none of them are active online. Despite one of my very close friends being an IT professional, NO ONE I know is involved in an online community. As a group, we’re very much “going out” people.

Heck, no one I know (besides you guys) even knows that I participate here. (Ahh, the SDMB, my secret shame! :D)

Not that I’d be adverse to meeting Dopers, of course. I’d have to sneak out alone, however. :wink:

My workmates know I use this. In fact they are probably sick to death of it. This is all I ever seem to do (apart from work of course)

It’s just that nothing else on the internet interests me in the slightest.

Having said that. my work colleagues all have their internet vices. one spends all his time browsing e-bay, another spends a couple of hours oggling the ladies on the sun, and fhm websites, a third is all over the internet looking for things to spend money on, and the last looks for a new bride to buy.

Just today I was telling my former boss Larry – a 60-year-old, not-especially-tech savvy guy – that I met my boyfriend online. This concept is so foreign to him that at first he didn’t believe me and then he was a bit scared for me. I had to explain a) what the SDMB is and b) how a Dopefest works – how I could’ve easily gone home had I not liked anyone. Also, that I’d known my boyfriend about a year before we started dating. That calmed Larry down, but I’m sure he’s still skeptical. Like others have said, people unfamiliar with the online world have strange ideas about it.

Well, let’s be honest and admit it IS different that most ways most folks meet people.

Most other ways one typically encounters new people involve physically seeing them from the outset – which allows you to judge a whole lot of cues (appearance, behavior, manner of speaking, bitchin’ camaro, etc). Whether at a bar, at work, at a party, through mutual friends, etc.

I think people chuckle because the closest analogy (and only one I can think of) is the blind date – common fodder for jokes and horror stories.

I’m not saying they’re right to laugh and/or ridicule it. Frankly, I think the argument is highly supportable that’s it’s a superior way to meet people and get to know them first without it boiling down to “hot or not.” Certainly so for non-romantic/erotic relationships, I think.

But I think the jury’s out on meeting people online for romantic relationships: mutual attraction DOES play a key role for those. For every one that can cast aside the physical, I’d venture that there are many who can’t get mutually attracted by mind alone – “if the bod doesn’t fit, you must a-quit.” Sure, there are cases of it having worked, but I wonder what the ratio of happily ever after to Oh My God! is…???

But I will say people ARE right to recognize it as a truly different mechanism to encounter new people… If they fall into that “I ridicule what I don’t understand” contingent, that’s their problem/loss.

i’m guessing its because people fear new technology. People also complain that kids today play video games instead of read books. And old people are not nearly as keen on the internet as the younger generation.

So i’d guess people act that way because its new and feels artificial. People haven’t fully adopted the internet as a venue of life yet (its only about 7 years old).

Plus, internet people almost never meet in person so i guess they aren’t considered real friends. So that is a detriment, meeting people you don’t ‘know’ (even though you invariably learn much more about a person through emails & message boards than you ever could via casual conversation in person).

Point of order, Calculus: the Internet is far more than 7 years old. Even the Web (perhaps that’s what you really meant?) is at least 10 by all accounts… Technically a few years older, even, but commonly available and widely used since 1993 at minimum (I was putting up sites then, anyway, and it wasn’t the era of ‘there are 17 guys using this thing’ even then)


Gracious, I was using Bulletin Boards 15 years ago (GEnie). I had AOL at least ten years ago.

I’ve met several good friends online, and participated in three weddings resulting from online introductions.

Most of my closest friends I met through this very board.

Here’s the weird thing. My family is constantly amazed, and fearing for my life when I tell them this, or when I take of for a three day weekend in NYC, or when I drive 700 miles to Niagara to meet up with people I’ve never met face to face … but I know all of these people ahead of time.
Before I’ve met them … I know them.

On the other hand, my dad will strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger, any where, any time, any place, for any reason.

But I’m the one tempting fate by meeting “internet people”.

Other than all of that, I couldn’t give a rodent patootie who laughs at me about this.

My boyfriend goes to Celica meets all the time, and all the people there met on message boards. I don’t think its weird, really - I just make fun of him because he goes ALL THE TIME. I never go with him though - too much car talk…ick.

I’d go to a Dopefest, but theres some facrors in my life that would make that impossible for a while. Plus I’m pretty sure that I’m quite a few years younger than most of the people that visit these boards. I might feel kind of weird.

I call it “the look”.

C’mon, ya’ll know it, it’s the look on other people’s faces when they ask you how/who you met/are meeting whoever, and you say,

“Well, there’s this online message board…”

THERE! That’s the look I’m talking about!

It is getting a lot more common to meet people from online, however, and I thing the stigma has faded a lot.