No . . . not just forums . . . the ENTIRE INTERNET. It provides a home for crazies that can hide behind the ANONYMITY of the net.
And I wouldn’t say it brings out the “worst” necessarily, but it DOES accentuate whatever personality traits that, say, booze does.
If you are a well mannered, courteous, civil, positive person, then you’ll likely be a "happy drunk", but if you are an abrasive moron, then you’ll likely be a “mean drunk”. Same goes for forums and the Internet in general.
One of the reasons that the loonies thrive on the Internet is because it is . . . ANONYMOUS. You will NEVER know if the other fellow is what he SAYS he is, lives where he SAYS he lives, is the age he SAYS he is, etc.
There is no doubt in my mind that some live in the basement of their parents’ house, some have spent time in loonie bins, some have done time in prison for felonies, and some drool and swat at imaginary flies (btw, I have seen forum members admit to most of those things). One guy said that he was posting from prison, where he had been incarcerated for felony fraud. Another fellow said he was living with his parents because he was on probation and couldn’t get a job because he had a felony on his record. And then there was the fellow that said he had to take strong psychotropic drugs in order to post coherently . . . and it showed in his posts dramatically when he was off his meds. Of course, some of them could be lying anyway. Who knows?
For example, I am north of 70, have owned my house outright for the last 17 years, have been retired since 2000, am severely physically handicapped but still above ground, am a VietNam combat veteran (USMC), have a Masters in Chemical Engineering, and have worked in refineries and taught high school (didn’t last too long in that because I couldn’t handle the liberal education system).
Now for all you know, I could be lying about all of that. I could just as well be a 16 year old posting from my parents’ computer in their basement where I live.
My point is that you absolutely do not know who is behind that keyboard making the post.
The best you can do is make some reasonable GUESSES based on the posting style. For example, if grammar and syntax is mangled, then you can either make a guess that English is not the poster’s first language, or the poster does not have the education he claims, or the poster was schooled in the liberal education system (btw, I attended Roman Catholic schools in the 50’ and 60’s. For all their faults and flaws . . . and they WERE psychopaths . . . the nuns, priests, and brothers gave me a sound education in the three R’s.)
In any case, you have no idea I am who I say I am. I can hide behind the ANONYMITY of the Internet.
I’m probably preaching to the choir, but we often forget this basic fact of Webby World. It is a magnet and a safe haven for crazies that on the street would be wearing straight jackets if they behaved as they do on the net.
By responding, you are giving them what they crave and what they can get on the net WITHOUT any consequences: ATTENTION.
Some, like one of our moderators here, RwNj, are mellow (just about the most good-natured guy I’ve ever seen on the Internet . . . have never EVER seen him get his shorts twisted). He probably will live longer because if it. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of amiable approach. Eliminates stress.
And then others, like apparently the person you spoke of (who it sounds like baited you, and you took the hook), are the shrill nutbirds that hang out on the Internet, looking for decent but naive people like you. You are prey . . . STOP RESPONDING TO THESE SCREWBALLS.
(Yes, I know that’s easier to say than to do . . . but remember, you’re giving them what they want: ATTENTION. What they don’t want is to be IGNORED.)
If that type of behavior surprises you, maybe you shouldn’t be hanging out on the Internet. People ARE GOING TO CALL YOUR BABY UGLY . . . count on it.
Big mistake, although I myself have done the same thing.
If you’re asking that question, again I’m wondering if you should be hanging out on the Internet to begin with.
Having a “thick skin” is absolutely necessary. The Internet is no place for people who expect courteous behavior from all. If you’re easily offended, or otherwise overly sensitive to insults, this is not the place for you.
Because, if that’s their “normal” way of acting, they can do it on the Internet WITOUT consequences. They can let their natural tendency to be malevolent and obnoxious run wild with no restraint. Ultimately, they may get banned, but they just move on to the next forum, or maybe even a newsgroup, which are notorious for being unmoderated.
Well, if those “aliens” looked ONLY at the Internet, you would likely be right.
If you want “light at the end of the tunnel” on the Internet, find a forum that’s well moderated (not too heavy handed, but yet not wimps), and settle in there. Yes, those kinds of forums are hard to find, but the mods here, while not micromanagers (which I like) will keep any lack of civility down to a low roar. The rest is up to you and that thick skin I think will serve you well.
My own “policy” to avoid the abrasive behavior that can get you banned? I have two rules for myself.
RULE #1: NEVER POST IN THE HEAT OF ANGER.
However, I have on occasion (very rarely) violated this rule. Sometimes I get angry at these nut cases and give them the attention they crave. The better approach . . . just shut 'er down, go do something you know you’ll enjoy, and your cooler mind will prevail.
But if I violate my rule number 1, my second rule pops up.
RULE #2: ONLY POST 3 TIMES WITHIN A THREAD IF ARGUING. THEN WITHDRAW.
That’s because if I can’t get my point across after that, then going beyond three posts will only inflame an already heated dispute. The duscussion will degenerate into pointless ad hominems. Just be done with it and get the heck outta’ there.
It is perhaps a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth to it:
“Never argue with an idiot! They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience”.