how to behave in online groups

Pardon?!

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I’m not sure if it was my admission to being a techie dimwit, but all of a sudden I’ve got piles of Spam with the letters RSS in it. Not to mention bullies holding forth around and about. For example:

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Well… I couldn’t have said it better myself. Quite right you are dear Spammy. The internet never ceases to amaze me. I suppose that it’s similar to “real life” where you get thieves and violent hoods who get up to nasty physical shenanigans. These guys are on the same level of pond life in the virtual world. I don’t know if these blog messages are harmful – I’m sure that they could be if you approved them. I think it was blog spam that ended in me having to bin a perfectly good computer because of one of those guys that worm in and hijack your system to beam out who knows what onto the world wide web, so I’m a bit more careful now with regular scans and so on.

Then there are the meany trolls who pop up on threads in various groups around and about, and viciously attack some poor innocent for no reason at all. This seems to me particularly true in writers groups. You’ll have one guy who just knows he could write Stephen King under the table and out of the door, and he will just as soon as he finishes his seven year edit on his first chapter. He will pick any random post and rip it apart, often insulting the scribbler of said post at a much deeper level. If this sort of thing isn’t nipped right in the bud I believe it can cause much harm to the person so attacked. This could totally shatter a newbie’s confidence.

Group moderators who condone this behaviour by continuing such “discussions”, and thereby giving credence to this troll’s vitriol are just as much to blame. Nope. There is never a place for this sort of behaviour and it is the job of moderators and admins to stop it right there. If what someone has posted offends you so deeply that you want to poke your own eyeballs out, get in touch with a moderator and tell them. Don’t just let rip with something like, “You rotten, disgusting, pompous idiot. My scrofulous green toenail has more talent…..”. Have a little compassion.

I don’t believe that ripping anyone to shreds in any public environment makes you look any better. Kind advice, well worded and not intended to insult goes much further. When I see that type of thing on any group I’m involved in, my blood boils, and I have to generally walk away for a bit to prevent myself sinking to levels best not plumbed and blasting the nasty sod off the face of the planet.

I reckon we should all stop taking ourselves so seriously that we feel justified in spamming and trolling – or whatever you want to call it. If the spammers spent as much time as they do spamming doing honest work, and used their tech savvy to try and build something instead of breaking things down, and the trolls spent more time eyeballing the boulders in their own eyeballs before spending so much time on the specks in others, they might get to create something brilliant and have people actually like and respect them, rather than quivering in terror whenever they enter a room. Life is just way too short. Now. I’m off to smell the roses. Flowers. Stuff.

Succulent Flowers

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