Insanity Through the Keyboard
- Disclaimer: Neither Dick nor Pat have asked me to type this, and if
it meets with their displeasure, I'll promise never to send something
like this again ... :-)
We've had a couple of instances of late where long-time posters have
found themselves "unsubscribed" to this group for comments related to
another poster. These "unsubscribed" members appear to have
expressing frustration over the attitude and tactics of someone
else. This clearly is outside the bounds of the charter of this
group. And I do not disagree.
I've been posting on discussion groups since 1995, and it's been my
experience that there is an element of people who find great pleasure
(in a negative way) of living through their fingers. It provides
them with a social mechanism to do things that they cannot or will
not do in a face-to-face public forum. And many of us have troubles
dealing with it.
Posting here on Civilwarwest (or any other open discussion group) is
an odd situation: it's like having a private argument that everyone
gets to see. Let's assume that you are so frustrated that it's just
not worth arguing any more. So, in a private argument, if you choose
to simply stop responding, and walk away, no one knows who got the
last word in but you and the other person. Any pleasure derived by
that other person is reflected in the gloating look they give you as
you walk away - but since no one else was privvy to the conversation,
you let the little man have his day (and understand this discussion
is *not* gender specific).
But here, should *you* choose to walk away, everyone knows who got
the last word in. And let's face it, there are plenty of "I'm
getting the last word in" types around here. I think it comes down
to two things reflected in the ability to "walk away": confidence in
your own side of the story, and belief that others understand the
futility and silliness of the other's argument.
I used to worry about the "lurkers," since I think we all know that
these groups are dominated by the 80-20 rule: 80 percent of the posts
are made by 20 percent of the members. What of those just lurking?
Could they be swayed by some fundamentally flawed, or simply long-
argued, boring and pendantic poster's arguments?
I have had to conclude that if you post, make cogent, well-reasoned
arguments, and simply stick to your points, people will see the value
in your contribution. If someone has hero-worship for a Civil War
character, or has a deep-seated, fundamental hatred for another,
readers will understand quickly. And they understand overkill - that
almost paranoic need of these people to reflect in their postings the
motto on the desk of former Procter & Gamble CEO John Smale: "It's
not only important that I be right, but someone be wrong."
So my advise, born of over seven years of seeing posters come and go,
is that those that have this seeming need to argue ad nauseum over
the most trivial of things will fade away when their respondent
audience gives them a push.
This is an absolutely wonderful group - one of the best I've seen.
Dick and Pat are to be commended for their efforts here. Let's don't
let it get away from us.
Villa Hills, KY