Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wasting time with time wasters

A long time ago, in a version of Thomas far far away, there existed an internet forum that he moderated/administered. This was quiet a bit of work because not only did he have to monitor and dispose of spammers, tend to the many personality conflicts and arguments, but he also had to develop interesting articles for people to read.

These articles took a long time to create. Each one based on hours of research as the audience was very well read and any mistakes or inaccuracies would be pounced upon in an instant.

Yet all this work netted Thomas one thing: Frustration.

Why? because he was interacting with people uninterested in the message, uninterested in the content and solely focused on flame wars and aggravating an already aggravated forum administer due to personality conflicts. Not all the audience was like this, but a few select band of individuals got great pleasure from it. On stage during live performance; they're known as hecklers.

So eventually he did the only thing he could do, he left.

The work was hard with long hours, it was unpaid and most importantly, unappreciated. So after a long rumination process that had been building up for months, Thomas did the only thing that would benefit him. He left and never looked back at forums ever again.

All that work had to be left behind, as well as the online friends that had supported him and rallied to his cause. All the stress and conflicts were also left in the past.

It was four years of work wasted.

But he did learn a two priceless points out of the whole endeavour.

1. Never argue with idiots
This world is filled with them, they come at you from all angles. Never engage them, or if you accidentally do, stop as soon as you realise you're dealing with one. There is an old saying: You can lead a horse to water, but you can never make him drink, and it applies to the morons on the internet. You can't make them think or even see your way of thinking because they are too wrapped up in their own sense of over-bloated self important opinions.
Don't waste time or energy on time wasters. You'll only have yourself to blame!

2. Don't ever take it personally
I've written more words than I care to admit. Writing comes easily to me. Yet with the most carefully constructed pieces of personal reflection, I get people who disagree and volley in personal attacks merely because they have no other way of engaging the material. You can't ever let this get to you. Never return the insults, simply delete the comments outright or ignore them and have a laugh. Once you've invested so much into your words that any criticism hurts you personally, it's time to take a step back from the writing.

Over time, I've learnt to engage with people on different levels and subtly redirect conversations when they get out of hand. But my days of hanging around internet forums are forever over and I am honestly happy about that because there are much better places on the internet to interact with people.

I'm not saying that forums don't have their advantages, but they are fast becoming more and more selective with their users as most users turn towards Social Networks, which offer a greater level of control over your experience.

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