Fear and Loathing in SDMB

When I was 17 years old, I discovered local BBS systems on my parents 286. I discovered that I could be somebody else there. I was slick. I was smart. I didn’t stutter and I could take my time and say something witty, unlike IRL, where I would always think of the perfect thing to say in a situation…one hour later.

But on the BBS, man, I was it. Hell, I even got laid IRL twice by girls I met on BBS’s.* See, they got to know me first. They met me only after we had established some groundwork. No pregnant pauses, no sounding like a complete and total geek. And if I did, well hell. Those boards were full of geeks anyway. I learned from those experiences. I actually could talk to girls.

The point of all this being that is was a different world way back 9 whole years ago. The Internet is different today, and I am a different man today as well. Today, that “anonymity” doesn’t exist. A great deal of you could probably find out who I am, or at least what my IP address is, fairly easily. This is also a different kind of board. One must take one’s time and pound out a clear, concisely worded post to be taken seriously, even in the Pit.

For myself, I’m married now. I am not on the 'net to get laid. A different type of validation is needed.

So why do I come here? What type of validation, if any, does one find on the SDMB? I dunno. People get it in different ways.

The troll, well, that’s easy. If I piss you off and you feed me, bingo. Instant gratification, instant validation.

The One-trick-pony is a different animal than the troll. By using the same schtick over and over, I get attention at first. Then I get called what I am: OTP. I then drop off the SDMB, to use the schtick elsewhere on the 'net, or I stick around and develop a personality. Then again, maybe I don’t. :frowning:

There it is. Develop a personality. On the SDMB, you will eventually be no one other than yourself if you stay. If you post. And that can be hard for some, being yourself. Some have a good deal of success here, some don’t. Some find validation here, some don’t.

Some of us invest so much of ourselves in the SDMB that we become fragile here. I can understand why we do this. This place is full of smart people. Beautiful people. Witty people. Funny people. I can see why you all love it so much. I love it too.

But I don’t post that often. Why? Because I don’t want you to judge me too harshly. I don’t want to offend Esprix. I don’t want to pile on His4ever. I would loathe feeling the lash of jarbabyj’s acid keyboard. I don’t want Coldfire to step in and tell me that, “that’s quite enough, thank you.”

These are just examples off of the top of my head, and I don’t mean to single these posters out. Not trying to make enemies here, that’s just the point. (OK, well, I did mention Esprix because I know he does vanity searches, and I wanted to get his attention. I think he’ll post here that way. ;)) I respect you all immensely.

I guess this rant was brought on by the now locked Google Search Mod Orgy! thread. Yeah, that one. I slogged through that whole damn thing. I’m not even sure why. I guess it was morbidly fascinating to me, watching egos get crushed on the 'net. The formerly “anonymous” 'net. And in the SDMB. Watch out gang, we eat our own here. I dunno why. But I do know that it hurt to read. Every post of it.

That’s the kind of thread that scares me here. Look, I understand that some people need a good old fashioned pile-on sometimes. I understand that there will be debates that people line up and choose sides for. But it seems to happen often. That is why I read often, post infrequently.

Maybe this is just another Plea for Tolerance and Understanding. But I’m putting it here because, hey: It’s just IMHO.

So do you post here too much maybe? Not as much as you’d like? Why? Do you find that the SDMB validates you? Do you think that too much of your validation comes from here? Just the right amount? (That makes it a poll, I guess)

My God. If this was /. this post would be rated -1(Flamebait).

Thanks for reading this.


*They were sweet girls. Really. Maybe “got laid” is a mischaracterization. Well, no it isn’t either. :wink: The point is, they were both very sweet and good girls, and I am sure they would/do make excellent wives.

I’m here because it’s a lively board, and most of the regular posters are reasonably intelligent, educated people. There’s interesting opinions here.

That’s a comparitive rarity on the internet.

Interesting question.

Well, my tastes and interests are pretty damn eccentric, and this is one of the few places I might run across some people who’ve even heard of some of them. But there’s more to it than that. I used to work with a Software Engineer, and he told me about inviting one of his wife’s friends (a chef) to a party. She said that she knew most of his friends would be other engineering geek types and all she knew about was cooking. She didn’t think she’d have anything to talk to them about. He said it didn’t matter what she did, cooking or anything else; what mattered was that there was something she knew about, and cared about, and could talk about. That’s the way it is here.

And I also think it’s easier to be funny by being smart than by being stupid. It’s only in the last few years I’ve realized how few people think that way, but the idea seems to have taken root here.

I wouldn’t mind tapping into the social side of things more than I have, making a bit of a name for myself, but haven’t quite managed that yet.

I am sooooooooo offended by the OP.

Vanity search - indeed!

( :wink: )


gotcha ya.

I continue to be amazed by the knowledge and wisdom of dopers. I am here because I want to learn and I want to contribute. I read most of the mod orgy thread and the stickey Scotticher posted. I was happy the mods made the thread a stickey.
A few dopers are intelligent, witty, and extremely egotistical. The good thing is that there are many more dopers that are intelligent, witty, and are seemingly committed to making this a friendly place.
I have had only one incident where I felt personally offended by another poster’s comments. Overall, I am very pleased with the attitude and tone that exists here. Then again, I confess that I am sometimes amused when one of the egotistical, superior, dopers gets checked. I follow some posters around because I am a fan of theirs and I enjoy reading what they post.
I find some of the pit stuff disturbing at times. I think we cross the line too frequently in that forum. Hopefully, Scotticher’s stickey will make an impression.

Moving rant to Rantland(The BBQ Pit).

It is possible to post here early and often without leaving much of a discernible persona in your wake. Many do.

But some do leave a taste in your mouth; that Pit thread you mention was just plain sad, for the OP as much (if not more) than for the object of her attempted vilification.

The original post was baseless since the answers given by DDG are virtually always informative and helpful. Not every thread is a gem. Being around here will thicken your skin a little.

I sympathise with the feelings of being inhibited. Sometimes it is as hard as hell to post what you want to say because you know it goes against the popular grain or because it contradicts a popular poster.

But then again, I end up feeling cowardly if I don’t stand up for things - or people - that I believe in.

d_redguy wrote:

[hijack]I’m just wondering why anyone might assume that “girls” (women, maybe?) who like to get laid would not make good wives.

There’s no rule that says only “bad” women like sex, y’know. The old “virgin” or “whore” characterisation is getting a little old.[/hijack]

I’m here because it’s the first message board I ever read. Since I started to read the SDMB I have checkout a lot of other message boards and have not found anything that holds a candle to this place. We have alot of very intelligent and insightful people on the SDMB. I don’t post much because I have problems expressing myself in writing. while I’m by no means a stupid person, I am afraid to come off sounding like one. I have seen other people here ripped apart because of spelling and grammer mistakes. I don’t know if I thick enough skin. I guess I will have to start chancing it, and if I end up looking stupid I can always go back to lurking mode.

  1. yes
  2. yes
  3. undecided :wink:
  4. usually
  5. no
  6. yes

:slight_smile: Many times the SDMB is the one bright thing in my day; where I can enter into a lively, ongoing conversation with folks who are interesting. Other times, days go by without my checking the board. Re: the flamings ~ I tend to take these with a grain of salt, even the above mentioned thread ~ although I understand why Scotticher felt the need for the “tolerance” thread. In other words, its a lot like a family: boisterous, loud, quiet, loving, hating, messy ~ but also like family, near and dear to me.

There was a thread a while back called, “He looked at me funny. To the pit.”
IIRC, the point of the thread was that pit rants are often generated before any attempt is made to resolve conflict by other means. I agree.
There’s a lot to be gained by not starting a pit thread. Sometimes another poster simply has a different point of view. I’ve noticed that, as basic as that is, many posters cannot grasp it.
If someone annoys you, consider a few things before you squeeze the proverbial trigger.
Maybe you are wrong. (It is possible)
Maybe you and your target simply disagree.
Is your target “fightin’ on the side of the angels”? If so why pit them? I’m sure everybody here annoys somebody, but most posters are pretty good citizens. So some poster, otherwise entirely worthwhile, has a quirk that you don’t like. Big deal. If they’re generally a good citizen, why the venemous pit thread?

I know what you mean. I often feel that I’ve failed to properly express myself properly.

Virtual wounds heal quickly.

Spelling and grammar ain’t everything they’s cracked up to be, 'ceptin some folk holds up they ignorance like a badge of honor.

It’s still fairly easy to be an anonymous geek in geekland – just play Counterstrike or some other shooter game, and type “lol lol lol u r gay” every time you kill somebody. Sure, somebody might type back “u fag I’ll come to ur house and kill u,” but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that it’s just some 13-year-old who couldn’t trace your IP with a Cray.

Bear in mind that I’m a relative newbie to SDMB, so my answers apply to this and all other messageboards I’ve ever posted on…

  1. Nah, if I’ve got work that needs doing, I do it. If I’ve got playing that needs doing, I do it. Messageboards aren’t an interference with real life.
  2. Nah, if I spent any more time on messageboards then they might start to interfere with life.
  3. See 1 and 2.
  4. Not really…
  5. No.
  6. No. The reason that I enjoy messageboards is that I get along with most of the messageboard personas that I meet (and it’s easy to ignore the ones that I don’t like) – some are funny, some are great debaters, some are just interested in idle banter. I’m “validated,” I suppose, by the level that other posters find me funny/intelligent/friendly, and “invalidated” by the level that other posters find me dull/stupid/unfriendly, but it’s just not the same as it is IRL – my online persona is not an exact replica of my IRL persona, and I realize that the online personas of many posters bear even less resemblance to their IRL personas, so if a 13-year-old Counterstrike player tells me that I’m a gay fag lol lol then it doesn’t really strike a nerve with me.

mhendo wrote:

mhendo, I agree. I guess that upon previewing what I wrote seemed a bit callous, and I felt the need to make the distinction. So I guess that caveat was more for me than anyone else. Oh, and they were girls. I know this because I was a boy.

Tinkertoy wrote:

For someone who claims to have problems expressing themselves through writing, you managed to say what I meant with far less! :smiley:

Oh, yeah. One more:

Czarcasm wrote:

That’s cool, I guess. It is a rant. I just opened it in IMHO, because I didn’t want this post to come off as, well, a Pit rant. Can’t see as though I am surprised though.

Thank you all for your replies. I have just been thinking about the SDMB quite a bit lately, and how different it is here than the places I “grew up”. Don’t mind me, I always get contemplative and funky in January.:slight_smile:

I’ve been here for over 3 years and have very few posts compared to many others who joined around the same time.

I’m here because the topics are so varied and most posters are intelligent and witty and I enjoy reading them. I’m also here to learn a thing or twenty about politics or history (as I’m not as up to date as I should be)

However, I feel like Tinkertoy in that I’m not a stupid person, but I don’t want to come off sounding stupid. It’s not grammar and spelling that are my problems, but I have a hard time picking a side and staying with it. I always see the other side of the argument, which is why I stay out of GD almost completely. I have very little information about many topics, rather than a lot of information about a few topics, so I feel that GQ isn’t the place for me either. My favorite places are Cafe Society, MPSIMS, IMHO and even the Pit for lively mundane conversation.

I don’t feel that the SDMB validates me because, as it was in high school, I am sort of a wallflower. I’ll lurk until something piques my interest and then I’ll post a “me too” or something which seems to add very little to the conversation.

I’ve only started about three threads since Nov. 1999 and when I do, I break into a cold sweat as I’m about to hit “Submit”. Even when I post to a thread, I’m always afraid of offending someone. And sometimes, I have. Unless the person is unreasonable, I always see their side and apologize. I’ve only taken part in one pile-on and I felt dirty afterward. I don’t take part in chat because of the “cold sweat” thing again.

I noticed the recent crankiness of the boards and feel like my post will be someone’s “last straw” and I’ll be torn a new one, due to my posting style or that I use quotes and parentheses too much (which I do, btw :wink: ).

Another thing I’ve noticed is that some people have a hard time fighting ignorance at times. Sometimes, it’s more like “beat the poster down for being an idiot until they see ‘our’ side of things”. I wish that people would be a little more understanding when fighting ignorance. There are times when I would like to post a question about race relations or the middle east, but I chicken out, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m stupid just because I posted a question, when I’m actually interested in knowing the answer. Some posters can be very judgemental up there on their high horses.

Even after all that, I absolutely love this place. And even with all of the reasons why I don’t post, I still love the the various personalities and viewpoints. Heck, I even love me a good fight in the Pit–as long as I’m not involved.

I just thought of one more “rule”.

How is your ox being gored?

If you don’t suffer some injury, then just keep your crappy comments to yourself.

That’s a fascinating question: how does participating in the SDMB validate me? I would like to think that it doesn’t, but I’ve certainly found myself getting my nose out of joint when I post something that actually had me laughing out loud at my own brilliance, and it’s completely overlooked in the thread I posted it in. I still do get a slight thrill when someone quotes or responds to something I’ve posted; I guess I’m not completely immune to getting some validation here.

On the other hand, being a low-profile poster means I can post almost anything I want and get away with it. Anonymity does have its benefits.