Author Topic: Is being too insensitive to being flamed and criticized on forums a bad thing?  (Read 5683 times)

blackomen

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I've been using the internet for 18 years (starting before high school) and I've been using forums ever since my first few years online.  Early on, being attacked, flamed, criticized, etc. was a big deal psychologically but over time, I realized there was little the other person behind the screen could do no harm to me in real life.  Maybe only if I had said something illegal and got reported or if they went through a ton of trouble and had some hacking abilities to track down my address.

I generally speak my mind on anonymous forums and don't purposely go around flaming others or causing trouble but I do get nasty remarks on a regular basis in response for speaking my mind (that's what happens when you participate in 20+ forums.)  Unless the person attacking me clearly misunderstood my message or they're offering constructive criticism, I often don't even bother defending myself anymore in these situations anymore.

In other words, unless there are real world consequences, I generally don't care what happens in response to me speaking my own mind online, particularly on anonymous forums (not just this one.)

Thoughts?

sheepstache

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Personally I have a pet peeve with people bragging about not caring what others think. 1. I find it harder to care than not to care about things in general. Not caring about things doesn't seem like a positive virtue to me. 2. If they really didn't care what other people think, they wouldn't bother going around announcing it. 3. Why interact with people at all if you don't care about the response? 4. It just sounds 14-year-old-ish.

...but like most pet peeves that's probably based on the specific circumstances in which I've experienced it.

Personally, I post on the internet because I'm interested in what people's responses will be to it. I don't just post to hear myself type.

If people respond negatively, I'm interested why. Is it a fundamental difference of viewpoints? That's interesting to me. Is it the way I worded something? That's interesting to me.
You mention 'flaming' which suggests a malicious intent. I can see why you wouldn't care about flaming or trolling. To my way of thinking, the problem with those is they aren't personal nor are they actually engaging with you.

marty998

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Take a contrary view on anything and you're likely to cop it. Very rarely you might be able to get people to stop, turn around and change their point of view.

I tend to miss out on engaging in long discussions here because of timezones. I'll post, switch off, someone will reply and 12 hours later how do I respond to a post that is 20 replies ago in a thread, conversation has moved on. So pretty much I disengage and go to whatever next thread is there. The people on the other side must always think they've won the debate LOL. Don't mind if they feel good about themselves, doesn't affect me at all.

Sometimes I can be insensitive here, but that's just who I am at times, but only to those who make poor decisions and blame others. Yes I probably don't know all the facts (how can you), but sometimes it's hard not to be judgemental.

Beric01

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One thing I really like about online forums is that you can really speak your mind. I, like the OP was very sensitive when I first started posting online, but now I just don't get offended anymore. I generally try to avoid controversial topics because no one ever convinces anyone to change their mind on internet forums, but occasionally I get drawn in, even on the MMM forums. :P

In person, I'm overly cautious about what I say so as not to offend, and I'm also not so articulate compared to my writing. I really like the ability to think carefully about what you're saying in online writing. With that being said, I also do value in-person communication (we have a local MMM meetup in a couple weeks, after all!). :)

Personally, I post on the internet because I'm interested in what people's responses will be to it. I don't just post to hear myself type.

Actually, posting in the internet can be very similar to journaling - very therapeutic. I also really enjoy what other people have to say and love learning from them, but at the same time posting your own thought processes in a comprehensive form can really allow you to check your thinking and make sure it is logical.

arebelspy

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Ultimately you shouldn't care what anyone else thinks.

However if you are constantly getting attacked, you may want to look at how you are approaching and wording things.

You can be frank and speak your mind without being offensive or being a *.

:)
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gooki

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I think you have the right approach. I wouldn't go changing anything.
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Elderwood17

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Maybe i am wrong, but to me on line forums can very immensely in the level of community they represent and my level of caring varies accordingly. For example, go online and comment about a team under an ESPN article and watch the vitriol that flies out (just try criticizing Alabama football or Kentucky basketball for example and see how long it takes to be called a name).  At the other extreme, there was a forum for our old neighborhood where we all pretty much new each other.  At the one extreme you cannot help but find haters and trolls, so don't worry about them.  At the other end, or in the middle, like the previous poster said if you are getting lots of negative responses check and see if your approach might be modified.  But at the end of the day, you can't let some anonymous voice run your day.

iris lily

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I am fond of a little forum rock ' roll now and then, so don't mind being blunt and taking the consequence of that.

MMM is refreshing in that face punching is already an established form of response, and one need not tiptoe around here. Sure, that doesn't mean be deliberately rude, but neither does it mean coddle those of a whineypants nature.

I spent 10+ years on another forum with a similar theme to MMM, and it's disturbing to me how sensitive that population (which has dwindled down to very few) remains.  It's pretty much an Agony Aunt forum any more. But you know, maybe there needs to be a place where sensitive people who are easily hurt, or always in need of (((hugs))) hang out. 

I'm a great believer in internet posters finding their way to the best place for them to hang out. Not all website are appropriate for all posters. And that is ok.


southern granny

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If you suspect you are being insensitive you probably are.

sheepstache

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One thing I really like about online forums is that you can really speak your mind. I, like the OP was very sensitive when I first started posting online, but now I just don't get offended anymore. I generally try to avoid controversial topics because no one ever convinces anyone to change their mind on internet forums, but occasionally I get drawn in, even on the MMM forums. :P

In person, I'm overly cautious about what I say so as not to offend, and I'm also not so articulate compared to my writing. I really like the ability to think carefully about what you're saying in online writing. With that being said, I also do value in-person communication (we have a local MMM meetup in a couple weeks, after all!). :)
I do think it's good that people feel more comfortable arguing online. I wish people were better about speaking their mind in real life. And I think part of that might be associating disagreement with abrasive speech. So I think it's good practice to strive for pleasantness in online arguments. But, yeah, there's definitely a different style in online speech that's more direct, so I generally err on the side of assuming people are trying to be direct rather than rude.
(I actually have the somewhat opposite problem which is that verbally, in real life, I come across as charming and can get away with saying all sorts of shit that, in print, sounds more combative.)

Personally, I post on the internet because I'm interested in what people's responses will be to it. I don't just post to hear myself type.

Actually, posting in the internet can be very similar to journaling - very therapeutic. I also really enjoy what other people have to say and love learning from them, but at the same time posting your own thought processes in a comprehensive form can really allow you to check your thinking and make sure it is logical.

Sure, if no one responds directly to your post (which is true of most), you still benefited from the exercise of spelling your thoughts out to an imagined audience.

But there are those people IRL who talk just to think out loud...and they end up not adding much to the conversation :) So I try to be sensitive enough not to be "that guy."
Plus if I'm journaling, things get spelled out comprehensively, but there's a lot of mental shorthand and personal references, so I figure making sure my ideas would be clear to others is a form of consideration.

If you suspect you are being insensitive you probably are.
Ha, my observation has often been the opposite. It's like Alzheimer's. If you're worried you have it, you probably don't, because having it means you've lost the faculty to notice what you're missing.

Ultimately you shouldn't care what anyone else thinks.
The pendulum swings back and forth on this one and at the moment it's a trendy thing to say. I would happily encourage anyone not to live their lives according to what everyone else thinks, but don't see a need to go to the opposite extreme which is at this point being extolled as a quasi-religious virtue. It's as though having the least concern for others has become as terrible a sin as coveting your neighbor's wife used to be. I think it's complicated and difficult to process that we can do things just for the sake of others but still be responsible for our choices. But I have faith that people can comprehend ideas even if they don't fit on a t-shirt.

Dr. Doom

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If you suspect you are being insensitive you probably are.
Interestingly, if you suspect your posts represent a flawless collection of sensitivity encrusted sentences, you are also probably insensitive.

arebelspy

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Ultimately you shouldn't care what anyone else thinks.
The pendulum swings back and forth on this one and at the moment it's a trendy thing to say. I would happily encourage anyone not to live their lives according to what everyone else thinks, but don't see a need to go to the opposite extreme which is at this point being extolled as a quasi-religious virtue. It's as though having the least concern for others has become as terrible a sin as coveting your neighbor's wife used to be. I think it's complicated and difficult to process that we can do things just for the sake of others but still be responsible for our choices. But I have faith that people can comprehend ideas even if they don't fit on a t-shirt.

Based on your response, I'm not sure you fully understand or grasp the implications of what I said. 

Do whatever works for you, SS. :)
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sheepstache

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Ultimately you shouldn't care what anyone else thinks.
The pendulum swings back and forth on this one and at the moment it's a trendy thing to say. I would happily encourage anyone not to live their lives according to what everyone else thinks, but don't see a need to go to the opposite extreme which is at this point being extolled as a quasi-religious virtue. It's as though having the least concern for others has become as terrible a sin as coveting your neighbor's wife used to be. I think it's complicated and difficult to process that we can do things just for the sake of others but still be responsible for our choices. But I have faith that people can comprehend ideas even if they don't fit on a t-shirt.

Based on your response, I'm not sure you fully understand or grasp the implications of what I said. 

Do whatever works for you, SS. :)

Yeah, I included the mention of trendiness because I think I am responding to the general cultural theme, not your individual philosophy. I know what it's supposed to mean, but the ubiquity of the sentiment suggests something more to me, unquestioned assumptions of our culture, blithe oversimplifications that create an unnecessary binary. More concretely, everyone loves to look at the heretics and apostates of western history and conclude that their independent thinking is the main source of progress and happiness for all and that that is what good thinking always looks like, but I think that's a great thing to teach kids up through middle school and after that we can get into more complicated, more human stuff. (/thinking out loud)

arebelspy

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I agree, it's become a popular and mostly meaningless sentiment.

That doesn't mean that for the tiny percentage who take the time to understand and live it, it's not meaningful.

And doing so certainly doesn't preclude helping others. I'd argue it leads to more empathy and caring for others.

Anyone interested ought to read Harry Browne's How I found Freedom in and Unfree World.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

naloj

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Helps to think of trolls like this:



And if it gets too bad, consider this wisdom:

« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 08:12:26 AM by naloj »

Louisville

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Tyler The Creator FTW!

Spartana

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I am fond of a little forum rock ' roll now and then, so don't mind being blunt and taking the consequence of that.

MMM is refreshing in that face punching is already an established form of response, and one need not tiptoe around here. Sure, that doesn't mean be deliberately rude, but neither does it mean coddle those of a whineypants nature.

I spent 10+ years on another forum with a similar theme to MMM, and it's disturbing to me how sensitive that population (which has dwindled down to very few) remains.  It's pretty much an Agony Aunt forum any more. But you know, maybe there needs to be a place where sensitive people who are easily hurt, or always in need of (((hugs))) hang out. 

I'm a great believer in internet posters finding their way to the best place for them to hang out. Not all website are appropriate for all posters. And that is ok.
Ditto to this - and why I am also more comfortable over here at MMM then I was at that same forum that Iris Lilly was on. Love the wonderful caring people on that forum but like to face punch (and be face punched) on occasion, and like to not have to couch my words in niceties all the time for fear of hurting other's feelings.  Spartana does not always play well with other's and, while I don't like snark and rudeness just for the sake of snarkiness and rudness, I do like strong opinions and the discussions that surround them.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 01:14:45 PM by Spartana »

dragoncar

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This one's my favorite:


hybrid

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This is my one and only Internet forum. I only very rarely post comments on other sites (like our local paper) because the quality of the thread and the random BS of strangers usually makes me feel like the comments section is nothing but a waste of time.

Here, however, there is a degree of accountability, it is much more like a community. Sure, there are a few asshats in the community, but those fools are usually put in their place fairly quickly. I appreciate both the level of intellect and the quality of writing here. When folks disagree with me, as is often the case, I relish the debate. And sometimes I come away from it with a different perspective. The thing I appreciate the most in these threads is hearing the viewpoints of people in different circumstances from me. Too often I see the world through my own filter (I imagine we all do, it's the only filter we have) and these forums open up my eyes to how others make it in the world. It's just plain great stuff here.

To the OP, I don't worry about being flamed here, it just plain doesn't happen by and large, and never from folks whose opinions I have come to value. As for criticism, if one cannot bear to have their ideas critiqued, well, better to just lurk I suppose. But that seems like a shame to me.
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