Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Online Forums, Message Boards, And Facebook

I think anyone who is in their 20's or 30's at this point in history has had at least SOME experience talking, chatting and discussing things online. Regardless of the platform, be it Facebook, twitter, private message boards or other sites, one thing remains constant. In real human face to face contact they say that only 7% of communication is verbal. I don't know who THEY exactly is, and I would really debate the 7% number, but it is certainly true that tone and expression usually have MORE impact than the actual words spoken. And I think we have all experienced having our words taken in a way we did not mean to have them construed.

Sarcasm is not something I incorporate into my language. It IS my language. I think anyone who knows me in real life knows that 99% of what I say (outside of my job in customer relations where I do behave myself) is going to be sarcasm. In general, even online I tend to pick up on sarcasm and am not very easily offended. I have no problem taking criticism and if someone has an issue with me I HOPE they come to me and say "Hey! F-U! Stop ______ immediately!" I know not everyone can take it, but I would myself much rather KNOW if I am bothering or annoying or offending someone than not.

But one issue that I can just not accept or get used to is the way some moderators deal with these issues in Facebook groups and private message groups. There are things people take offense to and things that people disagree on. But in a community sometimes discussions have to be had about things even if they are touchy. For those of you who read this who know me from a specific Facebook group you may think "Oh! I know what situation she is talking about!". But I am not talking about any one incident. I think online moderators have a very hard job. They get many many complaints all the time and they feel the need to appease everyone, which obviously they can't do. But I think just because an issue or a topic offends some doesn't mean it needs to be deleted and doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the discussion. In this society people feel an entitlement to not ever be offended. Guess what? You don't have that right. Offending someone is not a crime. Being offended is not a reason to have a tantrum. Having said all that, I do think that there are things that should be deleted. Anything to do with racism/threats/antisemitism/blatant hatred and other things should not only be deleted, but perpetrators should be kicked out and banned from the groups.

But I think when you delete a thread where someone doesn't like a product or a company, where someone wants to discuss a group policy or other things it creates an environment where people are afraid to voice their opinions. In one group I was in (I am no longer in, I finally left the group) people were attacked if they posted a negative experience with a specific girl (turned out to be second account by one of the girls in the group) and the thread was deleted. Because threads kept getting deleted, the issues never got dealt with. I finally opted out of the group.

My BIGGEST pet peeve in ANY group or forum is when someone posts something negative or questioning, or that is in disagreement with someone else and someone posts "if you have nothing nice to say dont say anything" or "there is no reason to post that. it will create drama" or "its not your business if you dont want to buy it".

Personally, I think if you create an environment where people are afraid to voice their opinions or negative experiences you are just asking for trouble. And why would you want to be a part of such a community in the first place?

I know this post is kind of rambling, but I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the issue.


  1. I think I have seen most / a good amount of what happened and I think that a lot of people feel that when they are called out about something in front of others they call wolf.
    I can appreciate that groups on facebook are supposed to be 'fun' and no one should have to feel like they are ganged up on. But don't make an opinion and get hurt when someone else has a different one.
    Seems like it happens a lot in one specific group. Funny though because once a post gets deleted everybody discusses why its gone.

    1. But when I am offended I say so. I don't run to a moderator to get a thread deleted.

      And I don't think that deleting a thread solves anything. I think it makes issues worse. AND I don't think that they SHOULD delete threads for that reason.

  2. Yes! If someone posts an opinion, they should be able to handle responses from both people who think they're being dumb, and people who agree.

  3. i'll leave it to.. different people, different beliefs & different upbringing. What someone finds offensive, maybe I won't...

    Like you said, only 7% is verbal communication but online, it's 100%, we can hear tone or emphasis & see body language or hand gestures. All we see are words. Emphasis, even worse, it has to be IN CAPS, which I know can be interpreted differently amongst people.
    After all that is said and done. I think we have to remind ourselves. This is the internet, not everyone is going to like us or be like us. Some are out for the dollar, some are out for ill gains and most of us just go on the internet to spend our hours chatting with our online friends..

    All you can do is, do what you feel is right and get off the computer from time to time. I understand how when you "uncover injustice" there will always be someone who thinks they're being victimized.. I mean, if there wasn't someone guilty of doing that thing in particular there wouldn't be any "injustice" to bring up...
    Injustice is probably not the correct word but excuse my lack of eng vocab lol..
    hope you get what I mean anyway haha

    1. i meant we can't hear tones.. etc... so we rely soley on the words we see

  4. I feel it is polite and considerate to not be rude or tactless. Anyone can tell the truth or, voice their opinion. However, it takes wisdom to be tactful. Recently, someone in a group I'm in let me know that a photo I shared of a hunky guy was pushing the envelope almost too far. It was NSFW but there wasn't any exposed parts. This member PM me and told me her thoughts. I told her I was not trying to offend her. She said, cool. And, that was the end of it. Two grown ups voicing their opinions. No name-calling. No ganging up against each other. Two adults having a discussion about having two different viewpoints. I think that sort of situation is more rare than not. However, social networking makes it hard to enforce manners and politeness. It's not a place to tread with thin skin, but a gathering place that should be of kindred spirits that enjoy a common interest.

  5. I guess I agree and disagree. I do think it's important to have people who feel one way as well as the other side, those that feel exact opposite. Nobody agrees on everything and that's just life, however I do think there are tasteful ways to debate something. There are many people that have closed minds and think that their way is the only way and they can be flat out rude and disrespectful about it. I've seen a lot of good two sided discussions and I've seen a just as many catty discussions where the original topic has been lost long ago. But you are right, threads shouldn't be deleted. Posts alone that are truly inappropriate for the reasons you stated should be deleted an those members banned, deleting entire threads do nothing but make people mad that took the time to actually contribute to a topic.



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