complaints

If you’re too busy to read, you’re too busy to comment…

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:

You would think he might change his reaction after this comment, but he didn’t… I guess he still thinks it’s funny.

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 know… I know… but dammit, this bugs me.

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:

It wasn’t even a long thread. It wouldn’t have even taken a minute to skim over it to see that this point was made the day before. I can see not wanting to read 100 comments, but this thread had a fraction of that many responses. A quick glance at the earlier responses would have revealed a link to People.com with a headline about Frampton’s health issues.

On that same Frampton thread, someone left what seemed to be an inappropriate reaction– an angry emoji. I was puzzled, so I wrote this:

Lots of people scroll through their feeds and hit the reaction buttons without really reading first. Sometimes it’s simply someone who accidentally hit the “wrong” reaction, but I think a lot of times, it’s someone who isn’t actually reading but still feels the need to respond somehow. Not everything requires a response… especially if you aren’t paying attention. I’m not just picking on this friend. Many people do this. I’ve probably done it, too.

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.

The person sending vibes probably doesn’t know about MacGregor, who was Zane’s “daddy” and best friend. MacGregor died in 2012, and Zane died on August 31st of this year. I know she had good intentions, since we are thinking of getting another dog.

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:

Actually, I’m relatively pleased by these comments, which were appropriate.

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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complaints

Sorry for your troubles, Mon…

In November 2011, Bill and I took a beautiful cruise in honor of our wedding anniversary. We started in St. John’s, Antigua, and ended in Bridgetown, Barbados. That trip was memorable for a lot of reasons I won’t go into right now. For the purposes of this post, I mention it because of the title… “Sorry for your troubles, Mon.”

On the day we were to embark on SeaDream I in November 2011, Bill and I were staying in this really no frills but surprisingly decent hotel by the airport in Antigua. The hotel had a driver they used. I don’t remember his name off hand, but he turned out to be a real gem. Took very good care of us… and when Bill was bringing our stuff down from the hotel room and accidentally tripped and fell, the cabbie said, “Oh shit! Jesus Christ!”

I couldn’t help but laugh, since he was totally serious and seemed very upset that Bill fell down. I mean, he was very concerned that Bill might have hurt himself loading up the cab. When he got into the vehicle, the cabbie turned around and said, “I’m sorry for your troubles, Mon.” I thought it was really funny and never forgot it. Then he took us to a hotel so he could offload some liquor before he drove us to the dock, so we could catch our cruise.

Last night, some of my friends on Facebook were laughing about this weird satirical Christian site I found. I mean, it’s pretty good satire… some of us actually wondered if it was satire or real. We later determined it was definitely satire. A friend of mine asked why I would share that stuff, since it made him twitchy in a bad way. And my response was, “I’m sorry for your troubles, Mon.”

Seriously… I am sorry if I share things that upset, annoy, or dismay other people. I can’t know how the stuff I share will affect everyone, though. I don’t even know who all is reading. So if I share something that makes you twitch, just know that I’m sorry for your troubles, Mon… but I can’t be expected to know what or if something is going to upset you. That would be impossible to do and put me on a very short road to Crazyville. I already have enough business in Crazyville, so I’m not looking to add to it.

I don’t understand why someone who has voluntarily ventured to another person’s Facebook or Web site feels the need to criticize what they post. It’s not like I get paid big bucks to do this stuff, nor am I holding a gun to anyone’s head, forcing them to interact with me. I basically post things that I think are interesting or amusing, or when I have a strong need to vent for mental health purposes. As I have discovered over the past year, some people don’t even think I have the right to vent on my space, and they assume that what I’ve posted isn’t true or is unfair… I try to use facts whenever possible, although I think it’s pretty obvious that the rest of it is my opinion based from my perspective. What I find funny may not be funny to you. Truly, I don’t mean to offend, though. If it’s not for you, simply move along.

I like writing. I’ll probably always do it. Maybe someday, I might even get super serious and finally write the book that is in my head… although I’ll probably use a pseudonym. I like sharing bizarre stuff, too. But I have no idea if something I share is going to make you twitch in a bad way. If it does… I am sorry for your troubles, Mon. But they’re your troubles, not mine, and I can’t please everyone. Leave the shaming comments at the fucking door.

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TDYs SUCK…

So… Bill has now been gone for eight days. He’ll be gone for ten more. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. Yesterday, I got extremely bored and drank a lot of wine, which I had managed not to do all week. I now feel like warmed over crap.

I need to go to the store and could actually walk there, but it’s cold and rainy outside and I really just want to crawl back into bed. Bed would probably be the worst thing for me, though, because I have really bad lower back and hip pain that is only alleviated when I move around. I really think it may be time for a better mattress, but we’d probably need to order one from AAFES, because German mattresses are not the same size as American mattresses are.

The store can wait until Monday, I guess. I have enough of what I need to get through the weekend. Nothing is open on Sundays. However, I’d kind of like to get that little chore done. I might just drive to the store, even though it’s so close. That way, I won’t get rained on and will be able to haul all of the plastic water bottles I’ve used up rather than trying to carry them. Edited to add: I just went to the store. Piece of cake! And I traded in 7,50 euros worth of plastic bottles. Go me. Seriously, that is the first time I’ve driven my car since late November. I’ve turned into a true hermit.

I really hate how long this TDY is. I miss my husband. I hope he doesn’t have to do another one of these again anytime soon. I can’t believe he’s been gone eight days and we’re not even halfway through this crap yet. It sucks. I need to get a life in the worst way.

Oh well… I did manage to upload a couple of new tracks to SingSnap a couple of days ago. They turned out relatively nicely. Here’s the first one. I swore I’d never sing a Celtic Woman song. I thought I didn’t like Celtic Woman, but then I heard “You Raise Me Up” and decided I should try it. This version was done when I was a little tired. I messed up the ending a little and decided to say “fuck it”…

I like the other one better… This is my impression of Linda Ronstadt singing “When I Grow Too Old To Dream“. I was excited to find a karaoke version of it. I may have to do this one on Garage Band, so I can eliminate the Internet fuzz from the sound. When I record on SingSnap, I get static. Hell, it would give me something else to do besides drink wine… Edited to add: I was listening to Linda Ronstadt last night and this morning and was inspired to learn this song. I think it turned out even better than the other two.

Or maybe you’d rather hear Linda do it. Most people would.

I’m also reading about Chernobyl, the nuclear reactor in Ukraine that blew up in the 1980s and killed many people. Very cheery topic. Actually, it’s an interesting topic, particularly since I remember when the nuclear accident happened in 1986. I was a couple of months shy of turning 14. That was when we thought the Soviet Union would never die. Little did we know, the whole thing would collapse just a few years later. And little did I know that I would one day live in what used to be the USSR.

I surprised myself a little. The book I’m reading explains how nukes work. As I was reading the process, I thought to myself “That’s fission”. Sure enough, it was. I was never that good at science classes, but obviously I learned something. So a very special thanks goes out to the teachers at Gloucester County Public Schools for doing their jobs. I recently read a sad story about dogs who are living in the nuclear wasteland now. They want to be petted, but they’re all full of radiation… just like everything else is in that area. It won’t be safe to live there for hundreds more years. There’s also a former Soviet era listening device there. It’s huge. Legend has it that Phil Donahue was one of the first allowed to visit it. He saw the spy equipment in the distance and was told it was unfinished hotel. Having seen a couple of bare boned hotel skeletons in Armenia, I would agree that’s what it looks like. The link will take you to a post that includes some pictures of naked, unfinished buildings… or maybe they were just buildings that were really messed up after Gyumri’s earthquake in 1988.

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