Monday, September 20, 2010

Online, I Prefer Puppies & Rainbows

One of the mommy boards I visit regularly recently had some drama. Here's my very-generic-incredibly-brief rundown of what happened.

Poster #1: I think this.

Poster #2: How dare you think that?!? This is my experience, and because it differs from yours, I'm gonna call you out publicly on a message board! Because I have a right to think & feel what I think, but how dare you express what you think!

Third of remaining posters: {{take sides & join in the bickering}}

Third of remaining posters: {{back out of posts & refuse to respond either way}}

Third of remaining posters: {{didn't log on over the weekend & missed the drama altogether}}

I'm gonna be honest, although I don't mind the occasional intellectual debate, arguments like the one I've summarized above, which seem to happen frequently on message boards (some more than others), really irritate me, for a couple of reasons:

#1 - I get irritated any time someone attempts to put their thoughts / feelings over another.The original poster was posting regarding something that occurred in her own personal life. She was sharing her experience, but apparently used the "wrong" words to describe the event. She was not passing judgement on anyone, not commenting on anyone else's experiences, nothing. Sharing her own personal experience. And whether I agree or not, whether it's online or in person, the fact that someone would call her out for using the "wrong" word to describe something personal to her just irritates me.

#2 - My momma taught me that "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"
Am I perfect in this statement? No. Do I try? Yes. Do I have this crazy idea that those around me should try? Yes. Do I think that constructive criticism, while it can be beneficial, should be delivered with common courtesy, and preferably in private when possible? Yes.

#3 - I prefer my internet to be full of Puppies & Rainbows
and unicorns and butterflies and kittens and anything good & happy.
I have enough drama in my real, in-person life. I don't need any added drama in my online life. And I can't imagine anyone who actually does.

Now, my confession: on this particular message board site (because it contains multiple boards, not just this mommy one), if I notice a particular user is being particularly negative all. the. time. (with me, or with others, or both)... I block them. On that site, it means that I no longer see anything they post. And I think they can't private message me either. And probably can't see my posts anymore. Which means that I can go back to my puppies & rainbows internet world.

I don't block many users. Honestly. Only those that have a pattern of being negative, and sometimes even abusive, towards other users. Not just one incident. We all have bad days, right? Over the past three years since I've belonged to these message boards, I can only think of three users that I've blocked. Which really is a testament to how awesome these boards can be.
But alas! message boards are comprised of people, and people are imperfect, so...

I may take a day or two off from the boards until I think my puppies & rainbows are back.

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