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My Problem Contributing to Forums

Jerry Lucky Commentary March 2010

Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2010 All Rights Reserved

 

There are days where I think the idea of open discussion forums are a good idea…and then I go look at some of the

postings and quickly change my mind. In those moments where I summon up the courage to go and read what’s being

said on some of the more popular forums I find the content so many times down-right disheartening.

 

It rarely matters what the original subject line was about because too many times the thread has devolved into a war of words unrelated to the original subject. Oh, there’s no denying the passion, but the venom that’s mixed in is outrageous. As I say it doesn’t matter what the subject is there will always be someone who takes a contrary position and usually for the most outlandish reason. Even in those few occasions where the writer is trying to say something nice it can easily come off sounding sarcastic. The logic simply eludes me.

 

If someone says they’re unhappy with the way a reviewer has treated an Emerson Lake and Palmer CD, there will be somebody who says ELP deserve it for being bloated and overblown…You say how much you enjoy the music of a certain band and somebody quickly challenges your right to call them a prog band…Then somebody will challenge that person’s use of the word prog as opposed to progressive rock…And then another person will claim that the issue is really that there isn’t enough jazz or Canterbury being incorporated so it’s not really about prog…aarrgh!

 

This is so grade 6 school play ground stuff.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I like a good healthy debate. I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I write, but if you disagree the least I expect is that you will have thought the matter through logically and developed some form of counter-argument. Disagreeing with me is only half of the equation, developing the counter-argument of why you believe differently is the rest of the equation.

 

I remember reading a book years ago called Relativism – Feet Firmly Planted in Mid Air and to my mind that’s precisely the situation here. Everyone is quick to voice an opinion but whether it’s related to any facts seems to be missed in all the vitriol. There is no question that the internet has provided a mechanism for everyone’s voice to be heard. It is truly a democratic tool. The trouble is I’m not exactly sure of the value of everyone’s voice being heard on a matter. I realize that’s a shaky position to take given that here I am voicing an opinion.

 

But let’s just ask this question: just because we can…should we? Just because the internet allows any and everyone the opportunity to voice an opinion should we? When I read some of the posts, there’s no question of the passion behind the words but based on the content of those words we have some very lonely, angry and dare I say it, misguided people out there with little to do.

 

Whatever happened to the old expression, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Why can’t we just get along? Why must we always be sword fighting with words? Are we that envious of someone else’s time in the spotlight that we feel the need to belittle their ideas and opinions?

 

The larger issue here seems to be that no one has the “last word”, because in a forum our feet are planted firmly in mid-air. And if all we’re discussing are preferences, well that’s fine. Everyone can have their own preference, their own likes and dislikes, be it food, colours, cars or in this case music. But if we’re debating claims of fact – is that song filler, or did that singer intend to sing that way or was the production supposed to sound that way then your preference is really of little value or even importance. If you know the facts then your comment has value but if you don’t know then, to my mind, you’re on shaky ground.

 

Let me say again that I like a nice healthy debate. We don’t all think the same and it’s good to discuss the differences. But I’m just not convinced by what I’ve seen so far that forums provide a healthy forum for any kind of resolution. Correct me if you think I’m wrong but from what I read there are too many people who think they’re always right but don’t present their argument in a convincing manor and others who aren’t willing to admit they’re wrong. Then it just becomes very juvenile and I’m tempted to stand up and shout…Be Nice…or we’ll all get sent to our rooms. At least that’s what I think.

 

Jerry Lucky (3/1/10)