Forum Bullies

Published June 12, 2012 by The Creative Outpost
English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...

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We have all experienced being bullied in our lives. Sometimes we are the victims and sometimes the aggressor. What spurs people to bully? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? If we are bullied as children are we more likely to become a bully as an adult?

My 12-year-old son was bullied unmercifully last year at school. As seen in recent media this is a common occurrence that theoretically is no longer tolerated. I called the school and addressed the situation to no avail. Eventually, you give your child tools to help them navigate through those situations. You also tell your child that it will get better when they are adults. It doesn’t, but how we choose to deal with it does.

Recently, I have noticed a new outlet for bullies. Forum bullies. As a newbie, I have been more of an observer on the forum then a participator. Everyone starts posting with the belief and intent to share their ideas or feelings with others. Whether it is philosophy or the daily trials and tribulations, we share and hope others take away something from it. So we post and wait with abated breath for the comments and followers to come. Then you hear it, the cricket sound, “chirp chirp.” Now I have to admit, I have been pleasantly surprised at the response my posts have received. Much to my chagrin, the smallest of affirmations, sends my happy meter through the roof!

Like most of us, I decided to venture into the forum. After all, what better way to spend our time then with others we share a common passion! Most of us decide to join in the fray of commentary on the forum and our first question is usually the same. “How do I get followers?”  Now if you are one of the unlucky ones, you make the mistake of typing in all caps, “PLEASE READ MY NEW BLOG.” This is a huge mistake. You will immediately get a response back asking why you are typing in all caps because this is akin to shouting in blogger’s language. Among other common newbie errors is asking for instructions. This question will bring on a resounding response of, “there are tutorials provided by WordPress or figure it out yourself!” You might even hear a rapid-firing of vents from an experienced blogger complaining about how when they started out they had to figure it all out for themselves and maybe you should get off your butt and give that a try. Any of this sound familiar?

Experienced bloggers post a wealth of knowledge and lively entertainment and do deserve admiration and respect.  Forum bullies should be ignored and not rewarded. What is the reward of being a forum bully? Are people sitting in their pajamas with a hot steaming cup of coffee just waiting to pounce and show their state of superiority? Does one gain pleasure from this activity? I may never know the answer, but I think we should support and teach one another. If I ever become an experienced blogger, I hope that I can share my knowledge and make the transitions for a newbie a little less painful. I am but one person, but I will continue to be supportive and kind and if that makes me weak then so be it. I look forward to reading everyone’s blogs from experienced writers to newbies and will continue to participate in the forum. Now in summary, I say to all my fellow newbies, “BLOG ON!”

disclaimer:  Not all experienced bloggers are bullies 🙂

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30 comments on “Forum Bullies

  • I think a lot of the time it has the do with frustration, people that blindly post “I want followers” should really read the tutorials or just do a quick and simple forum search. It’s not difficult, maybe there should be a sticky post on the Off Topic forum, but then again, people wouldn’t read it and they’d still post the same topics.

    It wears you down after awhile, the most experienced people on the forums have my respect because they constantly have to repeat themselves and most of the time it’s a thankless job.

    I don’t see much bullying on the forums, maybe some people make some snarky comment here and there, well that’s because it’s the internet they should expect things like this. But no one goes out of the way to continually harrass anyone. They get banned for such things.

  • Also another way to avoid unwanted comments is to not post duplicate threads on the forums, the showcase forum is for advertising individual new posts whereas the Off Topic forum is used for general discussion, you can however post your new blogs in the “Today I Posted” type of threads without hassle. Just a suggestion 🙂

  • Spot on. I’m sending this “anonymously” because I don’t want these bullies to know what I really think! I haven’t personally been attacked, but in watching what some people write on the forums I think, “really? Do you have to be so mean?” It’s really nothing more than being a snob because they spend countless hours on forums and blogs and know all the ins and outs. They don’t realize that newbies often don’t even know what search terms to use to find what they’re looking for– or perhaps there are fresh ideas out there that an old post wouldn’t cover.

    I see it in forums all over the web– the moderators are often snobby bullies who make newbies feel stupid for wanting to join in the conversation. All over the place when you ask a basic question like “What is your favorite book?” they post tons of links saying, “We already discussed this- don’t you know how to search, n00b?”

    I’m so glad to find someone else who feels this way! I’ve actually tried searching “why are moderators so mean” on google but haven’t come up with any meaningful results.

    I just hope you don’t get an onslaught of attacks from these bullies- but be prepared if you do!

    • Thank you so much for the feedback! I knew when I posted this I would probably unleash the hell of the bullies, but I couldn’t stop myself. Sometimes being quiet is so difficult, and I haven’t received their full force of snobbery like others. I think what upset me most was watching how they slammed other newbies that fell prey to their questions. I don’t understand why we can’t all help each other. I wasn’t sure if this happened on other forums since this is my first. The “staff” are the worst offenders and you probably know which ones I am referring too because they do it all the time. I will not let them run me off! I will carry-on. Have a wonderful day!!

      • The moderators and staff are far from mean on WordPress. There’s only really one Moderator on WordPress and that’s Tess. The staff barely post. Everyone else are “volunteers.”

        Regardless mean people are everywhere. Just as there are in real life. But being mean and being a bully are two separate things.

        (Hopefully I am neither.)

  • I’ve only been Blogging since the middle of last August, but I have noticed that the Bullies are rising in the Forums, which sucks

    And like you say, I’ve been ignoring them

    Good Luck with your son, that’s really terrible.

    DarkJade-

  • It’s because people feel safe in their homes, they are mostly anonymous and no-one can really do anything to stop them. That and the fact that so many people on the forums are sociopaths!

    I got some rather baffling replies to a thread I made on the WordPress forum the other week. Some people take things very, very seriously.

    • Baffling is a perfect word for it. They get so riled up over absolutely nothing. If I see something that is not of my interest for whatever reason I just move on to something else. I think the forums should be for mild entertainment and sharing interesting topics. Freedom of speech is a grand thing but does that give a person the right or need to make an ass of themselves? I wouldn’t usually get riled about over the banter but there was a teen blogger that got slammed for no apparent reason so it pushed my buttons. You have inspired me to put more effort into my About Page. lol I wrote it when I started my blog a few weeks ago and wasn’t sure what was needed there. No truth will be found in accounting but thankfully it does pay my bills. Thanks for your comments, always a pleasure.

      • Well I am glad I have managed to inspire at least one person this weekend!

        By the way I noticed that your ‘Greener Pasture’ post is at the top despite having a December date on it. Did you mean for that to happen? I have had that issue in the past when posts that I have written a while ago but left in drafts don’t go to the top when I eventually want them published. I think I fixed it by changing the publish date on them.

        This was the forum thread I was talking about. When someone I know has replied to one of their own comments on my blog to correct a typo, I sometimes correct the typo they made and then change their second comment to something really silly like “I am a pixie with three noses”. I thought others might find that an amusing idea so I started a thread. Good grief, some people reacted as if I had come round their house and killed their dog.

        http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/what-is-your-procedure-for-when-people-reply-to-their-own-comment?replies=45

      • I read that posting about fixing comments and it was very controversial. I thought it was a simple enough subject, but I guess not! lol I have been having a ton of problems with my whole site. Sometimes, when I publish it publishes an old copy rather than the one I have edited and made changes too. when you go to my site, the new short story I wrote, had a missing title, which I don’t understand because if you go to the sidebar and choose the story there the title magically appears. I would like my newest story to come up first. I will go in and try and change the dates. I still have a lot to learn about working WordPress. When I am on the forums, if I post a comment and hit spellcheck, which I need, it throws me out and a box pops up stating that I don’t have anything written. At least it is consistent because it does it each and every time. I am sure very soon I will get slammed for my spelling:) lol

      • Hmmm, that’s quite weird that those issues keep cropping up. I tested the spellchecker myself just now on the forum and it worked ok.

        When you say your story doesn’t have a title, do you mean the one called ‘My Beloved’? I can see the title fine.

        I use the ‘save draft’ and ‘preview’ buttons quite alot when writing posts. Are you using the ‘back’ button on your browser when writing them by any chance?

        What web browser are you using? I wonder if there is an add-on causing issues. Do you use more than one PC for WordPress? If so do the issues occur on both?

    • @Pete I want to hear what you have to say. I just want others to feel ok when sharing their thoughts on this subject without fearing retaliation. Since it is my site, I feel as though I have full-control on what is shared here. Sharing on forums is free game. Messymusings is my site 🙂 If you don’t feel comfortable with me moderating on my own site, then I will understand if you don’t want to share here. I have reposted your comments, but will continue to moderate.

      • It’s totally fine, I wasn’t retaliating nor did I want it to feel I was coming across that way. Just basically saying that alot of what I see I don’t consider bullying and the staff/moderators are far from bullies themselves. The staff at WordPress are the most professional bunch of individuals I’ve ever seen on a blogging platform and if anyone does feel bullied on the forums then they should definitely be contacting staff about it. Or me and I’ll give them a virtual slap 😀

      • I vented about the subject and have moved on to lighter topics. I look forward to writing my next flash fiction and seeing what others are showcasing:) Have you read anything interesting today?

  • Even though this is an old post, I hope you don’t mind me adding my thoughts. Though, that said, there is so much to be said about forums that I wouldn’t even be scratching the surface.

    First bullying: I’m sorry your son was/is being bullied. I was bullied at school and it was very difficult to cope with as there were very few people who took any action. Mostly it was my classmates who were bullying me (a small number of them) but at one time it was also my form mistress (class teacher) and eventually she did a complete turn about and pretty much became my champion and helped me immensely, including making sure that the class bullies were removed from the school. Talking to people is a major need, but they have to want to listen and many don’t. 😦

    The WordPress.com forum is much milder than other forums I’ve been on, I’ve experienced some absolutely vile forums that actually made me leave the whole site to which they were attached, I just couldn’t stand to have anything to do with sites that would allow such crap to happen. (One in particular that I’m thinking of that I won’t mention by name didn’t have any moderators and the owner of the site didn’t care.)

    Generally the wp.com forum is fairly okay. Yes, it has a few people who resort to bullying but even they have their more mellow moments when they can empathise. I find that most of the volunteers who bully people are just having a bad day or a bad week and they’re just the sort of people who can’t really shed the emotion. I’ve got to admit to having got into a state myself from time to time when the sarcasm has come out and I’ve not been able to leave well alone. At those times, though, I’ve removed myself from the forums for a while. It’s impossible to be of any help to anyone if I’ve allowed myself to get wound up.

    To my mind, forums are the very worst places to be if you’re at all emotionally vulnerable.

    One thing that’s forgotten (I’m not saying that you’ve forgotten it, but just that this is a frequent thing with many people who ask questions on the forums and then don’t like the responses they get) is that everyone who responds to questions, from occasional volunteers like myself to the ‘happiness engineers’ (aka Staff) are just ordinary human beings who have off days and have other things going on in their lives. Without naming any names, amongst the people who help on the forums is someone who’s had cancer, someone who’s lost most of her family, someone who has been pretty much made a pariah by speaking his mind about the changes on wp.com… and on and on it goes.

    To help you and any of your other readers, I’ve a page on my blog devoted to helping new bloggers that might be of interest:

    http://artyoldbird.com/blogging/

    • I am hoping this is a better year for my son:) I can handle the forums myself, I only get irritated when others are picked on, and it”s like a train wreck waiting to happen. What instigated this particular post was a younger person that was jumped on unnecessarily. I do get irritated with some questions, but I typically just do not comment on those. This is the only forum I have ever been on so I really don’t have anything to compare it too, and I realize people have bad days, but I do typically see the same people that get hateful. Its almost a given and at times I find it humorous as their predictability:)

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