Growing up we spend most of our time complaining that people don’t take us seriously enough. I know most teenagers think they know it all and no one realizes it or respects them for it. As an adult, most of us get over this though plenty of others do not.
Most adults I deal with on a day-to-day basis understand and even have a sense of humor. I know this may not seem like a novel concept, but it is harder to come by than I would have thought. Some people just take things too seriously and jump at the chance to take offense at even the smallest thing they can find.
I see this a lot in online discussions. Forums, comments on articles, and especially sites like Digg and Slashdot where commenting is a major portion of the community on which they are built tend to drive me crazy. I used to read through comments purely for entertainment, but the common types that appear bug me too much that I have given up reading anything other than the source article unless I am really intrigued by what others might have to say on the subject.
I have discussed before how the anonymity the ‘net gives people tends to bring out the worst in so many. So many people lose all practical inhibitions, meaning the good ones when it comes to social grace or simple respect for fellow human beings. They will jump on even the smallest error in a post as an opportunity to belittle the individual and invalidate any point that the individual might have been trying to make.
Here are a few of the common “types” I have observed when perusing such comment threads:
- Those with a valid point to add to the discussion – a small minority
- The spell checkers – those that flame any user that happens to let a typo through before submitting their comment
- The grammar checkers – just like the spell checkers, but these believe they are the only ones with a mastery of the English language and consider it a shame that apparently no one else does.
- The oppositional ones – they will take the opposite point of view on every discussion
- The rule enforcers – those that report anyone they don’t like to the moderator for apparent rules violations.
- The butt kissers – those that will gush with appreciation and compliments for the site administrators and moderators whenever an official announcement is posted.
- The loyalists – the ones that want to be recognized for their long-standing loyalty and obvious prowess because they “have been there since the beginning”
- The experts (aka know-it-alls) – whenever long debate ensues, these users jump in with the “official speak” and a list of references backing their position. Sometimes these types are right, other times they are just annoying.
- The agree-ers – these just cannot see a thread and not participate. They will post “me too” or “yes” on every thread.
- The I-can’t-search-for-myself types – will ask the same question that has been covered a hundred times before rather than search out the answer from the previous posts.
- The propagandist – No matter what the topic, George Bush is at fault (or other conservative/liberal depending on your preference). Even if they think they are being funny, they will constantly throw in degrading comments showing their obvious slant.
- The spammer – the idiot that acts as they care with some half-baked post and a huge signature line with all their products/sites they are advertising.There are oh so many more “types” out there, but that is a good start. Any other types you would like to add to the list?