Why You Suck

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AuthorTopic: Why You Suck
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #50
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's not what you do, it's how you do it.

I can agree with the essence of Alec's complaint. The choice of method, if intended to be effective, is baffling.

But, yes. The SW environment is presently frivolous and tedious to me. It has been much more stimulating in the past. It will change again tomorrow. The in-jokes are celebrated beyond merit, and are more typically non-sensical than clever. Dikiyoba's story is heavy on excessive name-inclusion and light on anyone doing anything witty or relevant to one's actual personality. Are we really that easily bought off and entertained by ourselves? The obsession with how long people have been here and how to categorize members is glaringly irrelevant to, well, anything remotely important. As I commented, I'm much more engaged by the quality of anyone's posts, than how long they have been here or what kind of virtuall-reality icon status someone deems them to have earned.

It's an online forum. It's fleeting. It hopefully is one little part of a well-rounded existence for a person and little more. It's certainly nothing to get precious about. It's not actual community or real relationship. It's not unlike watching people online dating who are imagining that they are falling in love. There is an absurd self-obsession and fantastical wankiness about it all. It's laughable and tragic at the same time.

I'm here because I like the games, and sometimes enjoy the other inanity, silliness, or seriousness that can occur here. At the end of the day though, it all amounts to nothing really. Bits and pixels that will all cease to exist one day. It's very low on the scale of what is meaningful in my actual life. I do enjoy it though. Sometimes. Somewhat.

The criticism is valid. But it's also entirely unimportant what does or does not happen here. If I want it to be different, I poke at it with some wry commentary, and I proactively do something to create what I desire in the environment. When I graduate in a month, I may, for instance, yet revisit the epigenetics topic I would like to present much better than I did on my first attempt.

What I find both amusing and appalling at times is how seriously people can take their internet interaction. I think Alec is conveying similar disgust at the glaring superficiality at present.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #51
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Are we really that easily bought off and entertained by ourselves?
This Sunday, coming up, you have the opportunity to watch the Oscars. It is a celebration of celebrity, complete with life-time achievement awards. Most of normal television is structured to entertain by being something with which the viewer identifies and enjoys.

So in short, despite this community's averred aversion to all things television, we perhaps garner the same satisfaction from the totality of the forum that those couch potatoes receive from their mindless, ad-driven drivel.

:D

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #52
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

It's an online forum. It's fleeting. It hopefully is one little part of a well-rounded existence for a person and little more. It's certainly nothing to get precious about. It's not actual community or real relationship.
In what sense is real communication between real people not a real relationship?

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #53
Before I really delve into this post, a brief justification:

quote:
Zeviz:

Everybody posting here is wasting time that could be more productively spent elsewhere.
Alec makes a point. He's making it in an embittered way and fills it with invective, because debating high-brow intellectual matters in gutter language is a Desp thing, but his point stands. We - the community of General - have a problem. It's not as bad as Alec paints it, but it's there.

And that I argue this - when last week, I'd have said "shut up and let the turtles do their work" - shows the flaw of your "wasting time" conclusion. Since we are still establishing and convincing each other, this thread has a purpose. We can't jump into possible treatments until we've finished the diagnosis. Claiming that we've all decided on our views and we don't need to debate this further chokes a very interesting and hopefully productive argument.

I'm even willing to look past Alec's "You". It isn't easy to accuse a group from inside - on the ego and on the tone of your accusation, which assumes a kind of defeatist attitude that doesn't help the argument. So he takes an external perspective.

---

I found this paper a year ago, which seems very apt to the topic. A group is its own worst enemy, by Clay Shirky at http://www.shirky.com.

For example:

quote:
(explaining group cohesion)
You are at a party, and you get bored. You say "This isn't doing it for me anymore. I'd rather be someplace else." [...] And then a really remarkable thing happens: You don't leave.

[...]

And then, another really remarkable thing happens. Twenty minutes later, one person stands up and gets their coat, and what happens? Suddenly everyone is getting their coats on, all at the same time.

The base patterns are all there. Alec (and everyone who agrees with him) cannot deny some hesitation in getting their coat. For a variety of reasons, including nostalgia and the hope that the problem disappears - but adding up to the basic concept that everyone who's been here for a year or two feels somewhat at home here, and doesn't want to leave just because the quality has lessened.

The other base behavior patterns that Shirky quotes W. R. Bion on are also present. External enemies, religious figures (ironically, Jeff Vogel fills both roles for different people).

Now, the paper really deals with designing software for use by social groups. That doesn't really apply here; we're dealing with finished products.

But it mentions a few points in passing. Ironically, what it claims is counter-intuitive: Postcounts and karma are useful as an incentive to participate and maintain a single identity (and face it, who wouldn't post as a guest if it was possible here and didn't mean you missed out on $posts++?). Barriers of entry (which would be summed up as "fluffy turtles" here) serve their purpose too, in distinguishing between members and outsiders.

So there's some consolation - Spiderweb is not necessarily flawed from the outset; it doesn't contain the seed of its own destruction.

But we have drifted in a direction that isn't beneficial in the past three years. Maybe four.

I remember this board was interesting when I came. Fast-paced, hard to keep up with, easy to get insulted on (courtesy of Alec, Djur, TM and Scorp), but interesting. Somehow, over the past four years, this has steadily drained away, to be replaced by vague and hollow mutterings. We've replaced whatever this community used to talk about with talking about how great this community used to be.

The RPs are another indicator. We haven't had a new RP in nearly a year now, and the last RP we actually finished was three years ago. In fact, I know of only three that were finished in the time I was here.

But do you know what stopped RPs from being completed? Back in the day, it was when they got flamed to hell and eventually locked. This was back when "Zephyr et al need not apply" meant something - Spiderweb was so fast-paced and volatile that something as fragile as a roleplay had a hard time weathering this environment. We got a lot of flamewars, and some diamonds.

But what now? Roleplays no longer explode. They fizzle. They slow down and eventually fade. The same goes for other conflict topics - debates, for example.

I'm rambling on about symptoms here. This is because evidently, a lot of the "there's nothing wrong with us at all" side just doesn't see any negative symptoms in our current situation, and the ones I brought up hopefully show that yes, something is "wrong" rather than just "odd" about our situation.

Alec also names a symptom, but no diagnosis - in spite of the "why" in the title. A group identified by references to itself is a result, but what is the cause? That is what we need to know before we can take measures to make things right again.

And I'm sure that I'm not the only one who would like to do that. Alec himself is here, after all, and presenting and defending this topic - when anyone else who suddenly had this enlightenment might have posted it and vanished, or just vanished without explanation.

Do we stand a chance? Or is it time to get our coats and move on?

[ Wednesday, February 21, 2007 15:00: Message edited by: The Sorcerer ]

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #54
Said Thuryl:

quote:
In what sense is real communication between real people not a real relationship?
Online communication is fraught with illusory qualities galore, because it involves perhaps one-tenth to one-one-hundredth of the communication that in-person communication affords. Gone are tonal qualities, facial cues, eye contact, body language, and many, many nuances of communication that occur in person, including things that may be communicated through proximity below the level of consciousness.

Until we've actually met someone in person and begun to establish a relationahip based on some semblance of reality of who each person is, it's something largely surreal and vaporous. Much of the "relationship" is constructed out of imagination, rather than any reality, because we have to imagine so much of what that person is actually like. It's communication with virtual strangers with the sometimes treacherous illusion of intimacy.

If you can settle for that as a meaningful and "real relationship" in your life, then you have my sympathies. It's fun bantering about with people from around the world online, and I do develop an affection for many people I may never meet. Relationship is what I have with the friends I have coming over for dinner tonight.

EDIT: In fairness to your point, it's all relationship of some kind. But why focus unduly on relationship which can never be satisfying a tenth of the richness or in the way real world relationships can be for us?

-S-

[ Wednesday, February 21, 2007 15:08: Message edited by: Synergy ]

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Nuke and Pave
Member # 24
Profile Homepage #55
Alec, I partially agree with your point and wouldn't have complained if you didn't lapse into your usual pattern of insulting everybody and then being offended by response.

Dintiradan, complaining about lack of RPs will not get you a good RP thread; complaining about lack of political discussions will not start a thoughtful political discussion, etc. Everybody here has work, college, and other things to do besides this board. Don't expect somebody to start a thread just because you complain about lack of them.

Nioca, Salmon was trying to say that the reasons you say "most people" come to these boards apply only to you. I know a lot of people who come here for occasional serious and thought-provoking discussion in addition to just "talking about games" that you seem to prefer. So don't use phrases like "everybody" or "most people" unless you've personally talked to everybody and they've told you their opinions.

Ephesos, these boards are currently far milder than most other online forums. If you think discussions here are too rough, you'd really hate to see what 95% of the rest of the internet looks like. I am not saying that flames are ok, but there really is only so much civility you can expect in a semi-anonymous online setting.

PS I'll reply to Aran's dissertation later, because this post is already getting too long.

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Nuke and Pave
Member # 24
Profile Homepage #56
quote:
Originally posted by a ton of people:
The boards were so much better several years ago.
Thanks to Web Archive, it's possible to see exactly what many web sites looked like at various points in their history. So let's take a look at the golden age of these boards, the famous Misc forum from February 2002, the time when men were real men, discussions were real discussions, and flamewars were real flamewars: http://web.archive.org/web/20020212081118/www.ironycentral.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=12

Let's take a look at the threads captured by the archive on a typical day:
- Three threads talking about computer questions and OS preference.
- Nine! topics that Alec decries as meta-posting. (Topics that talk primarily about board members and board events.)
- Several threads that were probably pure spam (considering that they were started by Shotts).
- Several threads that would be locked as spam if they were posted here today: example, another example.
- Several threads about musical preference.

As you can see, "meta-posting" has always been a big part of these boards. Even if we ignore all Shotts related posts, vast majority of posts from the famous golden age of boards consisted of "meta posting" and "spam".

This is the thing with all "golden ages": They happen only in our imaginations. The more years go by, the more does the past look like an idyllic mirage, with all bad memories carefully suppressed. No wonder people always dream about return to past golden ages.

However, thorough analysis of Web Archive of these boards shows that the golden age never happened. The boards were always filled with at least as much self-reflection and outright spam as today. The only difference is that there was more flaming and no reminiscing about "good old days".

PS As for political debates and RPs, we had even fewer of them five years ago. All "debates" deteriorated into flame wars before reaching end of page one. And I can remember only a single notable RP from the first year of these boards.

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Shaper
Member # 7472
Profile Homepage #57
quote:
Originally written by Zeviz:

Nioca, Salmon was trying to say that the reasons you say "most people" come to these boards apply only to you. I know a lot of people who come here for occasional serious and thought-provoking discussion in addition to just "talking about games" that you seem to prefer. So don't use phrases like "everybody" or "most people" unless you've personally talked to everybody and they've told you their opinions.
There is only one thing I said about most people that applies to me, and that's this:

quote:
There isn't a rule stating that topics must be philosophical/scientific/etc. Frankly, if there was, I wouldn't post very often in the General Forum, and several others PROBABLY wouldn't either.
Please note that I said 'probably'. I don't know that for a fact, and it would likely be very difficult to know unless that came to pass. So I'm fully ready to admit that I might be wrong there. I don't think I am, but I still am ready to admit otherwise. The other one is the same way:

quote:
Besides, many people PROBABLY come here after a stressful job or such, and probably wouldn't be interested in discussing such matters anyway.
Again, probably. This is simply what I've seen from observing the boards. So again, I may be wrong. In fact, there's a good chance I'm wrong on this one. Take that as you will.

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I tried to think of something witty to put here.

Needless to say, I failed.
Posts: 2686 | Registered: Friday, September 8 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #58
quote:
and no reminiscing about "good old days"
Perhaps you hit it there...

Edit:

quote:
Stareye - Switzerland (In the middle of everything, has moderate power but rather than using it, promotes peace)


[ Wednesday, February 21, 2007 17:00: Message edited by: Dr. Johann Georg Faust ]

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My BlogPolarisI eat novels for breakfast.
Polaris is dead, long live Polaris.
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #59
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Online communication is fraught with illusory qualities galore, because it involves perhaps one-tenth to one-one-hundredth of the communication that in-person communication affords.
The way I see it, 100 times the amount of communication just means 100 times the capacity for illusion and deception. When communicating online, people at least have more control over what image they're putting out, so if they lie they do so consciously.

*shrug*

(I should add that I don't believe it's possible for one person to ever really know another person, and so I don't think that's a realistic goal for any kind of relationship to achieve. All personal relationships are built on self-deception and constructing images of people as you wish they were; believing that this isn't so, or that it's even possible for this to not be so, is just a second level of self-deception that helps prop up the first level.)

[ Wednesday, February 21, 2007 17:22: Message edited by: Cryptozoology ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #60
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

But why focus unduly on relationship which can never be satisfying a tenth of the richness or in the way real world relationships can be for us?

Why not? If we're communcating and relating, no matter how attenuated those relationships may be, it's worth the time to make them good relationships. Otherwise we should all give up and leave.

—Alorael, who thinks people are more likely to successfully but accidentally and subconsciously misrepresent themselves online. It's much easier to put your best (or worst) foot forward when you are responsible for every single thing that you say and you have a much greater delay in which to say it without scrutiny.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5754
Profile #61
You know, if real relationships were so much better than here nobody would be here. Why would somebody be here if they could be doing something far funner with someone in person. I only come here when I have nothing to say to the people around me in person, and most other people probably come under the same circumstances to. This board would be empty if we weren't having fun talking to each other.
Posts: 626 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #62
quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

quote:
Besides, many people PROBABLY come here after a stressful job or such, and probably wouldn't be interested in discussing such matters anyway.
Again, probably. This is simply what I've seen from observing the boards. So again, I may be wrong. In fact, there's a good chance I'm wrong on this one. Take that as you will.

So, when I say
quote:
Many people probably decide to post after smoking crack cocaine and injesting psylocibin mushrooms, following their 24 hour stint in the nearest strip club, both as an employee and patron, so they likely shouldn't be posting or discussing such matters anyway.
you feel that it is a fair statement to make because I used the word "probably"???

No. You may imagine the other posters as having certain lives and habits, but without concrete proof, it is your imagination. It is you, making excuses for other people. It is you. If you have a hypothesis, by all means bring it up. We need more discussion on the socioeconomic breakdown of forum members. Really.

And could someone please put a sheet over the horse? It's clearly dead. These forums only exist to further the capitalistic dreams of Mr Vogel. There are extremely strict guidelines for posting and maintaining membership. That, in itself, may be a primary reason for the state of the General forum.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #63
quote:
Originally written by Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

This is how I talk, Kel. You and I both know that.
That doesn't make it any less hypocritical to say, "I'm not trying to insult you," and then insult people.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #64
To be fair, "not trying to insult" and "trying not to insult" aren't the same.

So I guess it's instinctive invective; he's not actively out to insult anyone, but he doesn't give a damn about it either way.

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Encyclopaedia ErmarianaForum ArchivesForum StatisticsRSS [Topic / Forum]
My BlogPolarisI eat novels for breakfast.
Polaris is dead, long live Polaris.
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #65
And to be fair, I don't even notice when Alec is insulting in passing anymore. I really don't. Congratulations, Alec, you've inspired habituation!

—Alorael, who gets the feeling that most posts on Spiderweb are probably made on the spur of the moment. Barely any thought or effort is put into them. It's consequently difficult to get much of a conversation, since even pleasantries require a degree of effort that's beyond most posters here.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #66
quote:
Alorael quoth:
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

But why focus unduly on relationship which can never be satisfying a tenth of the richness or in the way real world relationships can be for us?

Why not? If we're communcating and relating, no matter how attenuated those relationships may be, it's worth the time to make them good relationships.

Please note my use of the word "unduly." I agree any relationship worth undertaking is worth doing well. It's the relative weight and importance between online relations, in which the people you are investing in have little bearing on your actual world, and your real life, in which your relationships have the power to dramatically affect your life even many years later (and vice-versa.)

Thuryl, I felt very sad when I read what you last wrote.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #67
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Thomas Aquinas, I felt very sad when I read what you last wrote.

FYT.

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #68
ET, phone home. :P

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #69
...
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #70
Are you trying to get higher on the list, Synergy? You'll have to do better. In fact, I'm demoting you to 14th. After all, Alex's comics are another ancien regime institution.

P.S. Just like that haaka-whatever thread, this one has also become exactly what it was speaking out against.

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #71
So Thuryl is a solipsist? That's hardly surprising, and it doesn't stop him from leading a satisfying life surrounded by possible figments of his imagination.

—Alorael, who doesn't think anyone can even know himself, let alone anyone else. You just try for perceived friends who are close enough to the friends' perceived selves for you to get along, or at least for you to perceive that you are getting along.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #72
The old 'we can never really understand (ourselves, God, human nature, animals, other convenient subject)' cop out. That's the oldest one in the book.

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #73
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

It's the relative weight and importance between online relations, in which the people you are investing in have little bearing on your actual world, and your real life, in which your relationships have the power to dramatically affect your life even many years later (and vice-versa.)
I've been trying not to point out the circularity in everything that you're saying, and so far I've succeeded, but let me at least point out that there's no inherent reason why relationships that you have online can't have profound effects on your life that are equally as powerful as those in the "real world." I know at least one or two largely online relationships of mine that were deeply significant in parts of my life.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #74
There's no inherent reason they can't.

There are lots of reasons why they almost always don't.

That said, there is definitely no reason to attack them.

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Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00

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