I think I read this article some time ago, but I was reminded of it anew today as we sped north toward Modena. The post, which was written by a guy named Tim Urban, was originally shared in November 2015. It was all about how people on Facebook annoy their friends, family members, and acquaintances because they indulge their egos, seek attention, or try to make people jealous.
The friend who shared this post wrote that she thought it was a great read, as did some of her friends. A few others, myself among them, thought the writer was an asshole. I know I do my fair share of complaining about Facebook comments. Actually, it’s really mainly comments that annoy me, not status updates, or things that people mostly share on their own pages. I don’t like it when people go on other people’s pages and act like jerks. They can do whatever they want on their own pages. If it really bugs me, I’ll unfriend or unfollow. But I don’t think of those people as “insufferable”. If I did, I would probably go ahead and disassociate myself. I know I’m not everyone’s shot of tequila or whatever…
Mr. Urban’s post consisted of a list of seven types of posts people share that tend to be annoying… to him, I guess, but maybe to others, too. In Urban’s view, to “not” be annoying, a status update must either be interesting or informative, or it has to be entertaining somehow. All other posts– to include any about one’s blessings in life, “cries for help” (from loneliness), meaningful quotes from well-known sages, or humble bragging– are apparently irritating by Mr. Urban’s yardstick.
I’ll admit that I can see some of his points. I do have a few current and former Facebook friends who share quotes. It makes me wonder if they talk to their friends that way offline. Do they go up to their pals and say things like “laugh and the whole world laughs with you”? Somehow, I doubt it… but hell, it’s their Facebook page. I don’t have to respond to it.
And some people probably hate that I share my blog. As a matter of fact, during our Italy trip, I met a few people who live in Stuttgart. One was a couple who had been there since 2015, and the female half knew about my blog. I had a feeling she didn’t like it, or me, and that was before she’d ever met me. Whatever… c’est la vie. Lots of people don’t like me after never having read my writing, just as some people think they know (and don’t like) me after reading a couple of posts. I think that’s a pretty limited way to go through life, especially since I’m not really so bad once you get to know me.
I know there are a lot of people– especially in the military community– who HATE that I have the nerve to call myself “overeducated” and think I’m an asshole for my blog title alone. But I also realize that some people actually enjoy the blog, and don’t think I’m a pretentious asshole. Later, after I parted company with those folks, Bill and I went to another hotel, and met a couple of really nice American couples who were excited to be in Italy. We had a very pleasant conversation, unmarred by any preconceived thoughts about my activities on social media or this blog. 😉
Mostly, though, Tim Urban’s post made me think that I probably wouldn’t want to be friends with HIM. I like sharing my friends’ joy. When they share their proud parenting moments, news about their achievements, pictures of their trips, or even mushy posts about their spouses or other family members, I’m genuinely happy for them. I think anyone who would find those kinds of posts offensive, obnoxious, or annoying, probably aren’t much fun at parties. I would also like to know who make Tim Urban judge and jury for what people ought to post on Facebook. Especially since he’s not one of MY friends. 😉
Personally, there are a lot of days when I’m sorry I signed up for Facebook. However, I realize that it’s pretty hard not to be on some kind of social media, if you’re not in your 80s and completely removed from the Internet, like my mom is. I do hope a better alternative will come along, though. Or, maybe I’ll just lose interest in it, like I do most things.
Anyway… I gotta be me. Part of who I am may come off as profane, vulgar, and obnoxious. I own it. But I can’t be someone else, especially for people who don’t even care enough to try to get to know me before they pass judgment. For most users, Facebook isn’t a place for developing real relationships, even though I know some have developed there. And so, I think people ought to post what they want to, on their own pages. It’s when they’re shitty on other people’s pages and posts that I take notice and feel negative. I think people who are rude to strangers on news sites are the most insufferable Facebook posters of all.
Well, tomorrow, we will enjoy Vaduz, and then Wednesday morning, we’ll make our way home to Wiesbaden. I am looking forward to it, to be very honest. I look forward to doing laundry and seeing the dogs, and writing up all of these adventures… and I’m even more hopeful that the swelling in my ankles will go down. We had a very busy vacation and it was a lot of fun, but it’s time to get back to business.
Still… it will be hard to leave this view from our current hotel… and if that’s bragging, so be it.
Fair warning… this post is kind of cranky and negative. You may not want to read it, but I really felt like writing it.
A couple of days ago, a friend of mine shared a stale Facebook post about the importance of getting COVID vaccines, even if we don’t know what’s in them. The post also reminded everyone that we don’t know what’s in a lot of things we consume. My friend added the comment that people who refuse to be vaccinated should not be shown compassion or mercy when they eventually get sick with COVID-19.
That post, along with an accompanying judgmental, frustrated, angry attitude, was one I have seen many times since the vaccines first became available. I couldn’t help but feel a slight twinge of irritation as I prepared to scroll past it. I mean, it’s been two years. Most people have made up their minds and don’t necessary want or need a stale PSA/meme/recycled social media post to change their views.
But then I noticed that one of my friend’s friends had written a rebuttal– not against the wisdom of getting inoculated, but against the attitude that people who don’t get vaccinated are undeserving of medical care. I liked what the man said– that there is no “sin” in not getting vaccinated, especially since the initial promises regarding vaccination turned out to be somewhat invalid.
Let me make it abundantly clear that I do believe the vaccinations are good, and I certainly recommend that people get the shots. I have been fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, and I spend most of my time alone in my house. I take my dogs for walks, but other than that, I don’t go around other people. When I do go around others, I wear a mask as required. And it’s not even so much COVID-19 that has forced me into this isolated lifestyle. I kind of fell into it years ago, when I found myself outside of the work world.
I used to enjoy going out on the weekends, visiting tourist sites, and eating in restaurants. But now, thanks to the miserable and ever changing COVID-19 rules in Europe, even that’s unappealing to me. It’s too confusing, inconvenient, and potentially embarrassing to go out into the world. So I stay home and read hyperbolic comments from high and mighty people in the United States, bitching about how uncaring other people are, and how if they get sick and aren’t vaccinated, they totally deserve to suffer.
My friend had posted about how irresponsible and uncaring unvaccinated people were running around “murdering” people by being infectious. From the very beginning, I have cringed when I’ve read or heard someone accuse someone with COVID of “murder”. Folks, at best, someone who spreads COVID-19 might be guilty of negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter. And even that is a stretch, given that people pick up germs all the time, in all sorts of situations, and there are many variables that influence how well their bodies will cope with, and hopefully recover from, any of the germs they pick up.
Murder generally requires premeditation and malice, and using the extreme and alarmist term “murder” is, in my view, an unnecessary overstatement– especially since most people who get COVID do eventually recover, at least to some extent. This situation sucks plenty already, and it’s already caused incredible hardship and grief. We don’t need to make it worse by calling people who spread COVID “murderers”, when they would never fit the definition of “murderer” in a court of law– at least not in the United States.
My friend also wrote that people who are unvaccinated should not have access to medical care. And again, as I have repeatedly stated, I highly disagree with that view– especially from someone who professes to be a devout Christian, as my friend does. I am not particularly religious myself, but I did go to church for many years. And I was taught that Jesus Christ had compassion and mercy, especially for the sick. Jesus would not deny medical care to someone who needs it, even if that person could have avoided severe illness by getting vaccinated and taking precautions.
Moreover, even if the unvaccinated person has wantonly avoided vaccination and adopted an uncaring, callous attitude, chances are good that the person will still be missed by someone. Chances are also good that someone relied on that person and now no longer has them. That person in need could be a child, or an elderly person, or someone with special needs. Now, their life is going to be upended because someone they needed got sick and died unexpectedly… and people are mocking them, to boot! These people who call for us to have compassion and consideration for others are actually laughing at people who have died of COVID. Of course, dead people aren’t the ones who hear the laughter; it’s their grieving friends and loved ones who are left to deal with that.
Ah– but you might say, if that was the case, then the person should have made it a priority to get vaccinated. To that, I might agree– except we never know why a person has avoided getting the shots. It could be because they simply don’t care, or it could be because he or she has to work, and can’t afford to take time off to recover from potential side effects of the vaccine. Or maybe that person lives in an area that isn’t near a place where he or she can get the shots. There are a lot of “food deserts” in the United States. I would imagine that the food deserts are also pharmaceutical deserts. In any case, I don’t think it’s helpful to laugh about someone’s death. It happens to all of us at some point.
So, I found myself responding with most of the above points to my friend, even though I hesitated at first. I added that here in Europe, lawmakers have tackled the problem of unvaccinated people by trying to make life harder for them. In some areas, for instance, unvaccinated people are being fined, and some are losing their jobs over lack of vaccination. Here in Germany, an unvaccinated person often can’t go into a restaurant or a non-essential retail outlet. They can’t go to theaters or sports arenas. Even those who have been twice vaccinated have to show a negative test result or proof that they’ve been boosted. And guess what! The virus is STILL spreading!
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be taking precautions. It just means that all of the preaching and yammering about masks and vaccines, as if they are going to save humanity, is not necessarily based in truth. Vaccines make severe sicknesses and deaths from COVID less likely, but they don’t entirely stop sicknesses and deaths from happening. So shaming people for not doing exactly what they’re told is kind of pointless, since even if they do what they’re supposed to do, they still might get sick. And no doubt about it, every person WILL someday die of something.
Last night, Bill took Noyzi to the vet to get routine doggy vaccines. Before he could get services, he had to show the receptionist his ID, plus his “COVPass”, which is an app on his phone that provides proof that he’s had his three shots. And then, he STILL had to wait outside. Then he was ushered into the treatment room where our sweet Zane was euthanized in 2019, before all of this stupid shit started.
So what prompted this post? Over the past couple of days, I’ve seen several other “tut tut” posts from supposed friends about the importance of masking and vaccines. And folks, I’ll be honest… I am so sick of seeing them. It’s been two years. If people haven’t gotten the message by now, I doubt they ever will. These kinds of PSAs tend to elicit positive responses from those who have already jumped on the bandwagon, and derisive, snarky responses from those who think masking is a waste of time. And then there are people like me, who just want to get on with life and be done with this shit, for better or worse.
Also… as someone who never saw Star Wars, this reference is lost on me, anyway. Bill is a Star Wars fan, so he clued me in. I know people are going to share this shit anyway, so writing this post is really my only action against this practice. I’m also a firm believer that people should share what they want to on their social media accounts. Still, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t vexed by the constant preaching and lecturing.
While I agree that it is responsible to wear a mask when you’re in a crowd of people, I find these kinds of shaming posts irritating and offensive. Because again– those who don’t believe in masking are not going to be swayed by something like this, and those who are onboard with the program will be cheerleading, and people like me, who believe in science, but are fucking sick of reading and hearing about COVID, are just going to be aggravated by it. When I see these posts, I’m just reminded of how much this sucks. Ditto to those who argue with strangers online, and implore them with comments like “Please educate yourself.” as if they are the authority on all things.
I do hope that COVID-19 will present us with a “silver lining” of sorts. Like, for instance, I think our healthcare system needs a massive overhaul, particularly in terms of the financial aspects of it. Obviously, we all need access to affordable healthcare. In the case of a contagious disease like COVID-19, it’s absolutely crucial and essential that people be able to access competent healthcare, even if some people think the unvaccinated shouldn’t get treatment or comfort measures. That person who stubbornly refused to be vaccinated can still spread the virus, you know, even as they writhe in the death throes that some think they richly deserve. It’s in our best interest to take care of the sick people, even if they chose not to be vaccinated or, in some cases, simply were unable to access the shots. You probably won’t know which case they fall under, and honestly, who’s got time to ask?
Maybe this situation will help us prepare for the next pandemic, and you know there will be one. Hopefully, by the time it hits, I’ll already be dead. But maybe some people will learn from this… maybe. Or maybe some really smart person will come up with ways to make mitigating this virus easier and more effective, so life won’t be so shitty anymore. One can always hope. But for now, I’m probably going to continue to be really crabby. At least I still have my dogs.
It’s Monday, so I figure it’s time for a rant. I’ve ranted about this topic before. I’m going to rant about it again. Brace yourselves, or move on to your next Internet station.
Last night, an acquaintance of mine through social media and a now defunct messageboard, shared a whole shitload of “memes” and photos with quotes on them. Everything she shared was basically a lecture to the masses, imploring them to straighten up and live the way she thinks is right. I finally had to hide her posts because, while I was fine with one or two of them, I didn’t need to see two dozen. I just went and counted, and she literally posted 24 of these fucking social media social justice warrior posts.
I didn’t need to see that. Especially since she wasn’t the only one “preaching” by using other people’s photos and viral posts. It’s bad enough when one person does it. It gets super annoying when several people do it.
Today, as I write this, another social media acquaintance– this one a relative I’ve never met in person– is sharing for the masses. This is what she just posted…
I don’t even disagree with the above sentiment. I do think, for many people, what is written above is true. I don’t think it’s true for everyone. I mean, there are bound to be people on the Internet who really have done a lot of reading and researching of scientific journals. For some people, it’s their job to do that. There was a time when it was my job to read epidemiological studies and papers and translate them into layman’s language. But regardless, I don’t think the attitude in this post, while understandable, is particularly helpful or effective. I also don’t think it’s pleasant to read something like this. I wouldn’t like it from someone I know personally, and love. I especially don’t like it from someone I’ve never met in person. No one likes being cussed at and insulted. It’s not a good way to convince people.
Below are just a sampling of what I saw on my feed yesterday. I don’t necessarily disagree with the messages, but I don’t like the tone of them. They’re bristly and rude, and they don’t change anyone’s opinions. They just piss people off and divide us all.
I am all for cooperating with others. I’m a big fan of empathy. I just don’t think these kinds of messages, particularly spread among “friends”, are useful. At best, they mainly rally the like-minded. Anyone you’d actually want to change their views and their practices won’t be swayed by memes, especially when they are offensively stated.
I mainly ignore the people who share this stuff. I tend to unfollow the worst offenders. If they really get obnoxious, I unfriend… but I tend to put up with a lot of sanctimony before I go that route. Most people probably mean well. I just don’t think a lot of them spend much time thinking before they share. Or maybe our society has simply become so crusty and calloused that we don’t care how other people might take these “viral” truisms. I, for one, am a lot more convinced by people who use their own words, rather than stale memes and “quotes” from others… especially since so many quotes aren’t even correctly attributed or presented in context.
Every once in awhile, I share something written by someone else. But most of the time, they are funny observations. Like, for instance, I shared this last night…
I don’t need someone passing along a stale meme to tell me how to behave or what to believe. If my mom couldn’t get me to behave properly, you won’t be able to, either. And most of us don’t want or need someone telling us how to act. I would certainly love it if people would stop championing right wing nutjobs. But I’m not going to tell another adult what to do, especially with someone else’s lame ass social media post. If I feel the need to do that, and care enough to want to risk the fallout, I will do it using my own words. Besides, I thought Facebook was supposed to be a fun place for friends to meet and reminisce. At what point did it become a place for soapbox activism? Especially when the activism is hostile and rude?
When it comes to preaching, I’m with George Carlin. I think social media activism and virtue signaling is a lot like the whole “Baby on Board” phenomenon. Check it out, cuz George was onto something.
Well… that about does it for today’s post. We are going to be traveling to Austria tomorrow, so I may or may not have a chance to write. It depends on what time we get on the road. After two nights in Austria, we will move on to Croatia, then Slovenia, then back to Austria and home. I hope it all goes off without a hitch. I have missed traveling so much, and I’m ready to plan our next trip. For now, I have to get some chores done. Bill is taking his very first class through the Jung Institute in Switzerland. It’s an online seminar. I have a feeling he’s going to love these studies. Maybe he’ll even become a qualified shrink someday. Meanwhile, I’ll keep practicing my guitar.
You know this term, virtue signaling? Apparently, it’s been around for a few years, but I just learned about it a couple of weeks ago. I’ve seen it in action for ages, though, and it’s a highly irritating practice. Virtue signaling is basically when a person says or does something that is basically meaningless in an attempt to look noble. An example I can think of is when people change their profile pictures on Facebook to show solidarity for something. They’re showing “support”, but if they don’t do something more significant, that action doesn’t lead to anything but the appearance of “good”.
People usually “virtue signal” for vain purposes. They want to look good, but they don’t necessarily want to do any work. So, say there’s been a mass shooting in Italy– just making this up– and a bunch of people change their Facebook photos to match the Italian flag. They don’t do anything else, other than change their Facebook photos or post a few memes. That doesn’t actually help anyone in Italy. It just makes the people who change their profile pics appear to be more sensitive to the suffering of people affected in Italy.
Or… say you know someone isn’t much of an animal lover, but all of a sudden, they start posting on social media about the plight of animals in shelters. It’s kinda bullshit, but the person looks like a more moral person for doing it, even if the truth is, he or she couldn’t care less about animals. There’s been no effort expended to make the animals suffer less. No money was donated. No time was given or supplies purchased. Basically, the posts do very little but make the person who shared them appear to be a more decent person.
I think that’s kind of what’s been happening during the coronavirus crisis. Lots of bored people have started jumping up on soapboxes that didn’t exist three months ago. Now, they are preaching about maintaining the guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing when, three months ago, this issue wasn’t even on their radar. Of course, it wasn’t on most people’s radars three months ago. We heard about people trapped on cruise ships and lots of people dying in China, Italy, and Iran. Now, everyone is an expert on the virus and what we should all be doing.
Yesterday, after seeing the same fucking meme shared for the hundredth time about why mask wearing is important, I decided to post something obnoxious. I knew it would get responses from people thinking I was referring to their posting habits. Actually, the “guilty” didn’t seem to notice this comment from me:
LOL… I have started hiding the “wear a mask” preaching posts. Enough is enough. If people haven’t gotten the message by now, they never will.
Seems to me that this is pretty simple. The point I was trying to make is that people have made up their minds. Sharing this meme or similar ones…
is not going to change anyone’s mind about the efficacy of masks. We’ve all seen this one and the blue death screen version of this same sentiment over and over again. Sharing it again doesn’t make you look smarter or wiser than anyone else. It makes you look like an asshole. Sorry… I know that comment won’t sit well with a lot of people, but that’s how I feel. It’s sarcastic, insulting, and completely discounts the legitimate reasons some people have for not “getting with the program”. I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had it with the self-righteous among us. And sharing a meme about urinating in public while naked to illustrate the importance of masks is just silly. At least share one that doesn’t have a typo in the heading.
Just as annoying, though, are the pleading memes like this one…
I suspect some people continually do this because they enjoy getting feedback from the like-minded. They rack up a bunch of “likes” and “loves” and atta-girls or atta-boys, since the people who are irritated by them don’t typically say anything. Sharing something like this makes you appear to be a good citizen. But I think you’re a better citizen when you simply do your part to stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic without the public displays of virtue signaling on social media. Most of us have read up on the masks and social distancing rules. Those who are believers in it already know all this stuff. Those who have made up their minds to rebel are not going to be convinced by your meme. The rest of us, who would like to just wait this shit out without becoming deathly ill, are getting fatigued.
My post got some comments from people. I had to reassure a couple of them that I wasn’t talking about them sharing news articles and expressing outrage over the way some people in the United States are behaving. I don’t condone the idiots who are protesting en masse in state capitals, threatening government officials, toting their guns, and being thugs. To be clear, I do respect the rules. I have left my house/neighborhood twice since March. The one time I went into a store, I did wash my hands and wear a mask. I got in and out of there as quickly as I could. The other time I went out, I stayed in the car. I even stayed strapped in, because I didn’t want Bill to turn into Pat Boone.
At one point, though, I brought up car seat, anti-circumcision (skintactivists), and breastfeeding “Nazis”. Before the face mask controversy, I’d most often see the virtual signaling behavior whenever someone shared a picture of a child in a car seat. It never fails. Post a picture of your kid in a car seat and you damned well better be sure that kid is strapped in perfectly correctly. Otherwise, you’ll get an online lecture from some self-appointed car seat twit who wants to critique your buckling technique. Same thing with breastfeeding and circumcisions. You get yammering from someone wanting to educate you about why “breast is best”, or why you shouldn’t get your infant son’s foreskin removed. Sometimes, people have good reasons for the decisions they make for themselves or their families. Sometimes their reasons aren’t any of your business. Most people are trying to do the best they can and probably ought to get the benefit of the doubt. But try to tell that to the zealots and they won’t hear you any better than the rebels do.
So anyway, we were having a good discussion about this issue, when I got a comment from a car seat specialist who defended her “right” to share car seat memes “any darned time” she wants. Well, first of all, I never said you couldn’t share your memes. It’s YOUR page. You can share whatever you want to on your page. What I said was, I am HIDING the shaming memes because I’m tired of looking at them, and I find them annoying, insulting, and depressing. And secondly, if you legitimately know what you’re talking about on a subject, then share away! I don’t have an issue with people who have valuable things to share that are genuinely educational and beneficial. And I wasn’t specifically talking to or about you and your social media habits. My issue is with people who went to the Facebook School of Medicine and want to educate and enlighten the rest of us with their brilliant insights they learned on social media. And they share the same fucking things over and over again. At what point have you preached enough? Does that happen when every single person is bowing to peer pressure? Or does it happen when the next big controversy arises?
I just read a really good article about how to talk to people who don’t wear face coverings. I think it’s very good, of course, mainly because I agreed with what was stated. Shaming and scolding are never good behaviors among adults. It doesn’t get people on your side; it pisses them off. Sometimes, it even leads to violence. I noticed an exchange on a friend’s page the other day. One of her friends wrote that she’d threatened to “throat punch” someone who wasn’t wearing a mask in the checkout line at the grocery store. Another friend took issue with the threat of violence over the mask wearing. The first friend– the would-be throat puncher– then shared that snarky “peeing” meme with the typo to explain why masks are important. Then she told the other woman to “educate” herself. Asshole behavior, if you ask me– and I was glad to see that the other woman didn’t take it lying down. There’s no excuse for threatening violence, especially at a time like this. It doesn’t make you look like a “badass”. It makes you look stupid. Maybe the woman had a reason for not wearing the mask, or maybe she was just being inconsiderate. Either way, there was absolutely no need to threaten her with violence.
I think we’re all under a lot of stress. I think it’s best to be kind and try to be understanding as much as possible. As for me… I’m not sure when I’ll be leaving the house again. I don’t like the masks, but I like shitty confrontational behavior from other people even less. But I’m going to try not to preach about this on Facebook. That’s why I write a blog. 😉
Today’s topic is about one of my many pet peeves, which will probably seem silly and very petty to some people, but is a genuine irritant to me. If you’re not in the mood for pointless griping, you might want to move on. Here goes.
A few days ago, I shared a story with my Facebook friends about a raccoon who went to one of Germany’s many Christmas markets and got drunk on Gluhwein. The story’s headline was “Drunken raccoon staggers through German Christmas market, passes out”. Unlike a lot of people who saw that headline, laughed, and moved on, I took the time to read the article. I knew it wasn’t going to end well for the raccoon, because just under the headline, there was a sub-headline that read,
“The tipsy raccoon apparently couldn’t hold back from having a good time at Erfurt’s Christmas market. However, the furry creature’s daytime drinking binge ended in grisly fashion.”
It turned out the raccoon, whose welfare had been safeguarded until the fire brigade could pick it up, wasn’t taken to an animal shelter as expected. Instead, the raccoon was given to a hunter, who then shot it. I was reminded of a discussion I’d had with a college friend who had friends under the impression that there are no guns in Germany. I tagged him in the post and wrote, “Now see… there are guns in Germany after all.”
What did this friend do? Like so many other people, he laughed at the headline without reading or even skimming the article. My comment about guns wasn’t even enough to tip him off that maybe he should read the article to see why I mentioned guns. The piece, by the way, wasn’t even behind a paywall. But I empathized with him, since I had the same initial reaction of laughter at the headline. I was almost tempted to share the article without reading it myself. So I wrote this:
What made this even more annoying to me, though, were more laughter reactions from people who didn’t even bother to read the comments on the thread. After a few more laughter reactions, I edited the post thusly… and I know it sounds petty and stupid, but I can’t help it. I was genuinely irked.
I remember ranting on my old blog about how much it annoys me when people chime in without reading. Years ago, there was a great site called Television Without Pity, which had snarky commentary about television shows. TWoP also had lively forums with hilarious, witty comments about the featured shows and their recaps. Those boards must have been run by a very anal retentive lot, because there were many rules about posting there and actual consequences for those who broke the rules. One of the cardinal rules was that posters must read the previous comments before posting a new one. I wish I could find the actual rules now, because I liked the way the moderators explained why reading before commenting is so important. Basically they wrote something like this:
“But I don’t want to read fifty comments before making my own very important point!”
“Oh you don’t, huh? You want people to read your thoughts, but you don’t want to give them the same courtesy? Well, fuck you.”
And then there followed a very good explanation as to why the moderators stringently enforced their rule about reading before commenting and why it’s so rude not to take a minute to read. Unfortunately, since the forum was dismantled, I can’t find the TWoP rules spelled out anymore. I’d like to frame them and hang them at the top of my Facebook page.
Since I can’t find Television Without Pity’s rules, here are a few reasons why I think it’s important to read first, and then comment or react. See the bottom of this post for an update 12/17/21.
There’s an excellent chance that your point has already been made by an earlier poster and thoroughly discussed by other thread participants.
Perhaps you don’t even have a clue what’s being discussed.
Maybe you’re about to make a jackass out of yourself by reacting inappropriately.
It’s the polite thing to do. It shows people that you’re interested in what someone else has to say and are paying attention to them.
It saves other people’s time and energy, since they don’t have to explain that your point has already been covered, is irrelevant, or inappropriate.
Think about this. If you were talking to someone face to face, how would you react if a third person came up and inserted themselves in your conversation without any concept about what you’ve been discussing? Say, for instance, you’re talking about how the weather led to a fatal car accident and someone else came up and started talking about socks. Or they said the same thing that you said five minutes ago. Or they started laughing about the weather, not knowing that someone had died because of it. It would be awkward and rude, right? Well, to me, it’s rude and awkward when this happens on social media. It really bugs me, even though I know I’ll never change it. I know… I know… build a bridge and get over it. Or start deleting the worst offenders.
A couple of days after the raccoon post, I wrote that Peter Frampton is coming to Frankfurt. I wondered if I would enjoy the concert. Several people opined. I like Frampton, but I have one of his more recent live albums and I didn’t care for it, even though I love Frampton Comes Alive! from 1976. At the same time, I know this would probably be my one chance to see him play, because he’s going to be retiring soon. He has a disease that affects his guitar playing. I knew about the disease, because I had read about it some months ago… probably when I bought that album I hadn’t enjoyed very much and wanted to know if something was up with his health. So when a friend was offering her opinion about Frampton, I mentioned that he has health issues and linked to the article about it. Then, the next day, someone else chimed in with this:
On that same Frampton thread, someone left what seemed to be an inappropriate reaction– an angry emoji. I was puzzled, so I wrote this:
I pretty much hate the Facebook reaction buttons, anyway. They often end up being misused. I mean, I use them myself a lot, but I don’t think they’re very effective because most people don’t pay attention to what they’re reacting to. A lot of them seem to be in a trance, scrolling through the many conversations and postings, listlessly clicking as they scroll, halfway cognizant about what they’re “reacting” to. I go on Facebook and see that I have a ton of notifications, but they’re all “reactions” from the same person. And half of them don’t indicate any understanding of what was posted… they’re just reactions to be reactions. Like, the person just wants me to know that they saw my post, even if they didn’t actually read or understand it. It’s depressing, because the random “reactions” have a negative effect on effective communication. Personally, I find it disheartening when someone “reacts” inappropriately, making it clear that they didn’t even read. It seems oddly dismissive to me when I post a sad article about something and I get a laughing reaction. Or I post something I think is thought provoking and someone reacts with a sad face. I supposed I could just preface all of my posts with a request that people read and/or think before reacting or commenting, but that would seem hyper-controlling. And I don’t want to be hyper-controlling.
People are busy. I get that. And I tend to cut slack to certain people whom I know may not be as attentive as they otherwise might be. For instance, yesterday I shared a ten year old Facebook memory, because it happened to be the anniversary of the day we brought Zane into our family. I’ve been missing him a lot.
If you think about it, posting before reading because you’re “too busy” to read what’s already been said or explained is likely to waste other people’s time. There’s a good chance you won’t be leaving a high quality comment that adds anything to the discussion and might even irritate the anally retentive types, like me. If you don’t like it when people waste your time, you should alter your behavior accordingly. Do unto others, and all that. If you’re too busy to read, you’re probably too busy to comment.
I read another article about a woman in Wisconsin who walked with a cane and had gone to renew her driver’s license. For some reason, the examiner told her that she needed to prove she could walk across the room without the cane before she could get her license renewed. The woman tried to walk without the cane, fell, and broke her wrist. The headline was this: “DMV made a woman walk without her cane before it would renew her license. She fell and broke her wrist.” I had a feeling that headline would prompt inappropriate comments, so I posted this to head them off:
The reason I suggested reading first is because the headline doesn’t reveal that Mary Wobschall, the woman in this story, died a few months later from other causes. I didn’t want to see people posting about her as if she was still living. Her estate is now suing the DMV because they didn’t handle her appropriately or do things by the book. The broken wrist and subsequent surgery could have been avoided, and the examiner wasn’t qualified to make a determination about the Mary Wobschall’s health. Taken from the article:
“According to the suit, if a DMV worker thinks an applicant needs to be seen by a medical professional, he or she is supposed to issue a 60-day temporary license. Wobschall’s suit says his wife was not issued that license and was told she had until the end of the month to renew or lose her license.”
“Making applicants who use canes or other “personal mobility devices” like crutches demonstrate they can walk without the device as a condition of getting a license violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and Wobschall’s constitutional guarantees of due process, according to the suit.”
I know I’ve said it before. I’m losing my patience with social media. It’s probably time I gave up Facebook and Twitter and any other platform that has me interacting with strangers. I’ve even been giving thought to giving up blogging, since I don’t think most people care about what I write, and some people only seem interested in using my writing against me– like the woman who lived in our previous house before we did and was keeping me under surveillance for four years. If she’s reading this, she should know that she’s not as anonymous as she thinks she is and two can play at her game. 😉 But really, I have no desire to stalk other people, and I completely understand that this is a petty grievance that I should probably let go of for my health’s sake. It would probably be a good thing if I went to a “Fuck It” retreat or learned yoga… or maybe got into drinking hot tea.
Edited to add on December 17, 2021
I found TWOP’s rules and explanations. I totally agree with their thoughts.
I can’t possibly read all these messages; I’d just like to post my own thoughts.
Oh, is that so? Well, that’s rather rude of you. If you have time to post, you have time to read what others have posted before you.
Before you post, you are expected to read — and not rehash — the content in a thread from either the last 15 pages or the last 15 days, whichever makes the most sense. If a moderator mentions the “15/15” rule, this is what they’re talking about.
Confused? Okay: Let’s say you’re in the Lost episode thread; if the episode aired the night before, the thread will not go back 15 days, so you must read at minimum the last 15 pages. On the Buffy forums, some of those threads go back for years; in that case, you read the last 15 days’ worth of posts to bring you up to date.
The idea here, basically, is for you to have read enough of the thread to give you a solid feel for what people have already said, so that you don’t repeat things people have mentioned twenty times already or derail the discussion by interrupting with a random question. It’s a conversational-manners issue.
We know it’s a lot to read on some forums. Tough beans. Show your fellow posters the courtesy which you expect, and read what they’ve written to make sure you aren’t repeating what dozens of other people have already said.
Again: 15 pages or 15 days, whichever applies. Please use common sense, and please do not argue the letter of the law with the mods when it is the spirit that counts. Be a good listener.
And if you don’t read the other posts before adding your own, for the love of Mike, don’t say so. It’s obnoxious, the mods hate it, and it’ll earn you a boot.
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