Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Community Forum


As Social Media has grown exponentially over the last ten years, so has the user base and along with it the growth of “Community Forums”. These are places where members of various towns, groups, etc. can discuss local events, politics, businesses and anything (and everything) else that may come into their mind. After spending a year or so browsing and participating in some of these groups I have noticed they, in general, are made up of seven primary personality types which I have outlined below. Obviously this dissection and summary is not scientific, but I feel it’s 99.973813765% accurate with a margin of error of +/- 98%. Let’s take a look at these different member types below*:

The Administrators – The “Admins” are the ones that either started the Forum or have been asked to join in the governing/policing of it. Besides being drunk with power, these Admins are often sadists who relish the opportunity to virtually smack the shit out of you when you break one of their rules, which they are quite happy to remind you about anytime you even get close to infringing on. As they scan the forums seeking out policy violators, they also chime in regularly on content, often times cheer-leading for your post about a Bake Sale benefiting those with Halitosis or offering a genuine “You go girl, those things are creepy!!” when they notice your post about successfully murdering a spider in your Foyer. Admins often have to break up threads that get too heated politically or emotionally and will often do their best to remain neutral while slyly inserting their opinion into the response. Example: Jerry, come on now. There’s no need to get hostile. We all want this vote to go smoothly and no one is suggesting voter intimidation or anything like that. Obviously we just want to make sure that anyone that’s too intellectually challenged to see that the incumbent is a dolt and a kitten punter has all the facts when they step in the booth. That’s all, Jerry, so please just watch your language. Admins are usually folks who used to light ants on fire with magnifying glasses and laugh uncontrollably as bigger, stronger kids hung nerds from their underwear on hooks.

The Bleeding Heart/PC Die Hard – The BHPCDH is the Forum member who is offended and hurt by everything. There’s virtually no subject they can’t find a way to be bothered by as their lives are spent finding new ways to be upset and sob uncontrollably at the injustices brought onto everyone except straight, white males with a job. The BHPCDH will ALWAYS comment on anything of a political/societal nature and will side with the underdog/alleged victim every time no matter how compelling the evidence to the contrary may be. They wear Cognitive Dissonance like a Scuba Suit as they swim in waters filled with offensive “Jellyfish” who are seemingly always ready to lay their ouchy tentacles across their sensitive and fragile bodies at every turn. The BHPCDH will post links to Motherjones.com and Msnbc.com like it’s their job and they will often use the Hashtag “SMH” after many of their posts. Example: Guys, did you SEE the video? That teacher had no right to pull him out of his chair and force him to go to the office, he’s an innocent child! <Uhh, Carrie, the ‘kid’ is over 6 feet tall and told him he was going to stab him in the face if he didn’t give him his phone back> Ugh #SMH. The BHPCDH usually has good intentions and a big heart but difficulty in accepting reality in their lives, so they often retreat to Lifetime television and/or growing an herb garden in their picture window.

The Agitator – The Agitator is the one(s) that will always choose to start shit and annoy others, no matter the subject. Sometimes the agitation can come in the form of an initial post, usually about something long beaten to death and/or resolved they just didn’t like the outcome of, or just a comment: Guys, did you hear that Mr. Watkins only left a 5% tip according to Laura Schmoper at the Tavern?? Really?? REALLY??? This is the guy we want leading our town Government??  The aforementioned individual likely had won an election or been vindicated of alleged crimes like 4 months earlier but the agitator can’t let it go because they are so drenched in self-loathing they can’t help themselves. The Agitator is usually an attention addict as well, and will often post “controversial” and annoying things just to get feedback, whether good, bad or indifferent and even if previously had been completely ignored. They also relish the opportunity to comment on others posts just to be shitheads. Example: <Has everyone seen the new front walkway at the Town Hall? It’s beautiful!!> Agitator: Yeah, and can’t wait to see all my tax dollars get sucked out of my check, what a WASTE!!! <There was an old woman who broke her ankle on the steps before, you’re seriously against repairing that?> Whatever. Go play with your Obama Bobblehead!! The agitator is often blocked or has posts removed from Forum postings but will have others post on their behalf or beg their way back in to Admins, only to be blocked again. In most cases, however, the Agitator is laughed at so universally by others outside the forum and via constant Inbox messages that regardless of their attacks it’s they who end up looking like fucktards. Agitators usually have difficulty in personal relationships, especially with themselves, and get angry at everything on Earth at almost every moment.

The Even Steven – The ES is the Forum poster, much like the Admin, that tries to settle everyone down and keep the peace in the forum. Although they have no problem letting some of their political or religious beliefs come out in posts, their goal in forum posting is usually to keep some level of “fairness” or calm in the community. Example: Hey, I know we don’t ALL want a Hooters here in town but to be fair those women do choose to work there on their own and aren’t forced. Plus, it will add more jobs to the town and help the tax base. Can we just move on and deal with the real issues in town like getting Satan out of our schools? Even Stevens can be playful agitators and often times become Admins and are also known to self-police their own posts if they feel (or receive commentary) that one of their posts has crossed a line. Even Stevens usually drink boxed wine, Busch Light or similar in cans and are mildly popular at town establishments.

The Die Hard – The DH is the political lefty/righty or religious fanatic that feels it’s their job to “stay the course” despite contrary evidence, community discussion, opposing thought or any source in opposition to what they have chosen to believe. They also wear the Cognitive Dissonance Scuba Suit but theirs is made of Titanium. They have anointed themselves the Prime Minister of cramming their opinions down your throat and any opposing view will get rolled the fuck over like a flapjack under a Hummer. Example: Republicans are the only ones who don’t want to take ALL of my paycheck!! If you vote Democrat YOUR AN IDIOT!! Regardless of the obvious grammar flaws, which occur on all sides of course (I’m an Even Steven J), the DH usually uses many ALL CAPS and exclamation points to hammer their opinion home. They often have personal pet projects they want you to know about incessantly as well, and if you feign interest, or worst case mock them, you will be met with not only the DH’s wrath but their “minions” as well. The DH can vary between a very educated individual to a complete moron that can barely operate their own phone.

The Voyeur – The Voyeur is the Community member that spends 99.89785% of their time on Social media, and 99.9999999% of their time on a Community Forum but rarely posts anything at all, with the exception of the occasional “lol” or “Yes!” The Voyeur just likes to watch the battles, arguments and discussions and hopes that the chick he’s been pseudo stalking from High School posts a pic without her boyfriend so he can immediately Inbox her a “Hey, how have you been?” They watch everything very closely and if you run into them in real life they will be extremely informed and up to date on all Community business, which will perplex others as they rarely see them post. Example: <Hey Gary, how have you been?> Great, John, and you look awesome! I saw that you lost all that weight doing that 30 day cleanse and that your wife was annoyed you spent the money for the Aruba trip on all the supplies. She forgave you though, and that Tag Sale you had last Saturday looked awesome, lotsa great stuff, and I saw Bernie Jones walking around, did he buy anything? Oh and how did your girl Amber do at that gymnastics meet? <Uhhhh…> Hearing such things from a Voyeur can be shocking at first but rest assured that only 7-19% of them actually have had cameras installed in your home and only a slightly higher percentage have figured out a way to access the microphone on your iPhone. Voyeurs are usually kids who used to get picked on a little and/or were passed over for a job by the Quarterback in High School and although completely unstable and very dangerous, they rarely are outside your window every night of the week.

The Old Timer – The Old Timer is your mom. Maybe your grandmother or a beloved teacher or parents friend that hasn’t fully grasped technology or the “Interweb” but make a diligent effort and love the platform of the Community Forum. They generally have wonderful things to say about everyone and have regular anecdotes about things that happened 47 years ago. Their lack of experience with technology often comes through in their posts, but always cloaked in honey and love. Example: Dear friends, I love this forum and <post ends. 3 days of posts in between> I am so happy I found this. Does anyone <day and a half of posts replying “Do you need help?” Etc and then an erroneous Inbox they sent posted as a comment> Does anyone know when the Flower Sale is happening on the Town green? Old Timers are generally so full of good intentions and warm wishes that any mild annoyance caused by them is easily forgiven and often met with shared laughter. Occasionally, however-like any of these Forum Poster Types-an OT can be a partial Agitator or Die Hard or both and these need to be handled carefully as respect should always be given to elders. Unless they are totally nuts then all bets are off.

Community Forums are a wonderful place to get to know your neighbors, advertise a Tag Sale or local event or discuss relevant town issues. It’s not what these forums are used for 91.8367% of the time, however, as they are instead often petri dishes of virulent anger, disagreement and insanity but at least they are contained within the virtual world and not happening on Main St. Of course, not every person who participates in a Community Forum can be subdivided into the categories I have created here, nor does every person that seemingly fits into a certain category exhibit every characteristic of said label; at times each of us may manifest various traits of each and every label listed. However, what we can all hopefully agree on is that we are all pretty much nuts and nowhere does that shine through more clearly than in the Community Forum at times.

-DAA


*The preceding post was written by an individual with possible mental defects and in no way, shape or form should it be interpreted as factual, relevant or even interesting. Any complaints or concerns can be emailed to: Abare@stfu.com

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