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Old 10-20-2009, 07:19 AM   #1
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On the negativity of Internet forums

This post had its inspiration in an earlier thread, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...uts-57481.html . in which some astute Airforums members were contemplating the personality types who self-select themselves to lead voluntary organizations like the much-maligned WBCCI. (I try to be astute myself; the world needs all the stutes it can get.)

It was given further impetus by dueling threads over in the WBCCI section, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ion-57443.html and http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ion-57458.html .

The latter thread began about the same time as the former. As I write this, the “negative opinion” thread has 245 replies and 8197 views; the “positive opinion” thread has 28 posts and 1,323 views. In other words, “negative” is currently beating “positive” by about nine to one in posts and about 7 to one in views. By the time you read this, the lead will be greater, as there haven’t been many posts on the “positive” thread lately while the “negative” thread is still flaming out of control.

Why is this?

It really doesn’t have much to do with the WBCCI. Sure, the WBCCI is Airforums favorite punching bag, but the response when Airstream, Inc. asked for opinions from Airforums members a few months was a real eye-opener. The Airforums community descended on Airstream like a lynch mob. As hard as it is to believe, Airforums members seem to harbor more animosity toward Airstream than they do toward the WBCCI. And this is the Airstream owners’ forum! Amazing. (I would have provided a link to that thread, except that it seems to have been removed. Whether because it was an embarrassment to Airstream, or an embarrassment to Airforums, I don’t know.)

For that matter, it doesn’t have much to do with either Airforums or Airstream, either; it’s a characteristic of many Internet forums. I have participated in a few forums over the years only to eventually realize that practically every thread invariably ended up with the same old people voicing their same old angry opinions. It was time to sign off, delete the forum’s bookmark from my browser, and forgot about it. That’s a nice feature of the virtual world—easy come, easy go.

I was on the verge of deep-sixing Airforums a few months ago for that same reason, when I suddenly realized what this is all about. As always, it comes back to human nature:

Some folks like to complain. Internet forums are their natural playground. I’m sure we all have known chronic complainers from time to time. I suspect that they tend to concentrate on forums, since their complaints can reach a wide audience, and they can receive positive feedback from the other chronic complainers.

Some folks like to argue. Internet forums are the perfect venue for them. I’m not talking here about productive arguments intended to arrive at a conclusion, I’m talking about the endless arguments that go on for argument’s sake. All it takes is two people with differing opinions, and the game is on. And there seem to be a lot of them on every Internet forum!

The key thing is the concentration, and activity level, of these folks on Internet forums. Look on Airforums. Many of the most vociferous complainers and arguers are Rivet Gods with thousands of posts to their names. The effect of this is that a disproportionately large percentage of posts consist of arguing and complaining, which can be off-putting to people that aren’t arguers and complainers.

Nothing wrong with any of this. Airstreamers who want to head out in the boonies to get away from other people are welcome to do that. Airstreamers who enjoy the social benefits of the WBCCI are welcome to participate in the WBCCI. And Airstreamers who want to argue and complain are welcome to congregate on Airforums.

The only downside is that casual onlookers may draw the erroneous conclusion that the arguing and complaining are more about the subjects of discussion than they are about the personalities of the posters.

Cheers,
Nuvi
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:38 AM   #2
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I believe that this is the electronic extension of the "little league coach" syndrome. In the sixties, my boys played little league and with few exceptions, the coaches were frustrated wannabes that took their frustrations out on the kids. This in turn created parents that knew more than all the coaches combined when it came to soccer, baseball, football, etc.

Now that our kids are grown (and in some cases, our grandchildren are grown too) we take out our frustrations out on posters that we've never met on any one of a number of forums that cater to our interests.

When it comes to the WBCII, I refer to the old Groucho Marx line; "I wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have me as a member"
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:22 AM   #3
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Where some see negativity, I see something else.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:30 AM   #4
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Negativity?

It took me over 50 years to join this club, and I am happy to be here. Nuvi, it is nice to know that you are paying attention to the sensitivity of others. I have been lurking here for some time now and I find this forum down right hospitable, a real love fest when compared to the one I left. Go to that one, log onto the tow vehicle forum and type in the word "Tundra" and see what happens. It gets real ugly in a hurry.

What you are seeing is another example of how our society has taken a turn for the worse when it comes to our willingness (ability) to enter into civil debate. Talk radio has taught us to pick sides, argue points and never, never give into the other side. The only way to succeed is to tear down the other side. People are getting more and more angry. Couple this with the anonymity provided by the internet and we are quick to take a critical stance when, if in a face to face conversation, we might act otherwise.

And, one last point, I read the WBCII threads and I didn't get the feel that most were flaming on them. Some people simply were stating their thoughts about being a member of such clubs. I read both sides and appreciated both the pros and cons.

aftermath
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:37 AM   #5
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Human behavior has and will always be the same.

Good and kind people are good and kind wherever
they go. And the opposite is true!

Anyone recognize this saying:
"The rich answer harshly, but the Poor with entreaties."
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:45 AM   #6
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That would be the book of proverbs, old testament, the Bible.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuvite-F View Post
The effect of this is that a disproportionately large percentage of posts consist of arguing and complaining, which can be off-putting to people that aren’t arguers and complainers.
Nuvi,

Here in lies the problem (there I go...being "negative"). You use the word "disproportionately" yet I would argue (there I go again) that the quantity of these posts is directly proportionate to the community we have.

Then... there is the whole Negative/Positive terminology. I'll offer this analogy...

- Telling the IBT they are spending too much - Negative?

- Telling an alcoholic he drinks too much - Positive?

It all comes down to your perspective.

It is only when we have to opportunity to hear ALL perspectives that we can make conclusions that will hold up to the scrutiny of ALL.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuvite-F View Post
This post had its inspiration in an earlier thread, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...uts-57481.html . in which some astute Airforums members were contemplating the personality types who self-select themselves to lead voluntary organizations like the much-maligned WBCCI. (I try to be astute myself; the world needs all the stutes it can get.)

It was given further impetus by dueling threads over in the WBCCI section, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ion-57443.html and http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ion-57458.html .

The latter thread began about the same time as the former. As I write this, the “negative opinion” thread has 245 replies and 8197 views; the “positive opinion” thread has 28 posts and 1,323 views. In other words, “negative” is currently beating “positive” by about nine to one in posts and about 7 to one in views. By the time you read this, the lead will be greater, as there haven’t been many posts on the “positive” thread lately while the “negative” thread is still flaming out of control.

Why is this?

It really doesn’t have much to do with the WBCCI. Sure, the WBCCI is Airforums favorite punching bag, but the response when Airstream, Inc. asked for opinions from Airforums members a few months was a real eye-opener. The Airforums community descended on Airstream like a lynch mob. As hard as it is to believe, Airforums members seem to harbor more animosity toward Airstream than they do toward the WBCCI. And this is the Airstream owners’ forum! Amazing. (I would have provided a link to that thread, except that it seems to have been removed. Whether because it was an embarrassment to Airstream, or an embarrassment to Airforums, I don’t know.)

For that matter, it doesn’t have much to do with either Airforums or Airstream, either; it’s a characteristic of many Internet forums. I have participated in a few forums over the years only to eventually realize that practically every thread invariably ended up with the same old people voicing their same old angry opinions. It was time to sign off, delete the forum’s bookmark from my browser, and forgot about it. That’s a nice feature of the virtual world—easy come, easy go.

I was on the verge of deep-sixing Airforums a few months ago for that same reason, when I suddenly realized what this is all about. As always, it comes back to human nature:

Some folks like to complain. Internet forums are their natural playground. I’m sure we all have known chronic complainers from time to time. I suspect that they tend to concentrate on forums, since their complaints can reach a wide audience, and they can receive positive feedback from the other chronic complainers.

Some folks like to argue. Internet forums are the perfect venue for them. I’m not talking here about productive arguments intended to arrive at a conclusion, I’m talking about the endless arguments that go on for argument’s sake. All it takes is two people with differing opinions, and the game is on. And there seem to be a lot of them on every Internet forum!

The key thing is the concentration, and activity level, of these folks on Internet forums. Look on Airforums. Many of the most vociferous complainers and arguers are Rivet Gods with thousands of posts to their names. The effect of this is that a disproportionately large percentage of posts consist of arguing and complaining, which can be off-putting to people that aren’t arguers and complainers.

Nothing wrong with any of this. Airstreamers who want to head out in the boonies to get away from other people are welcome to do that. Airstreamers who enjoy the social benefits of the WBCCI are welcome to participate in the WBCCI. And Airstreamers who want to argue and complain are welcome to congregate on Airforums.

The only downside is that casual onlookers may draw the erroneous conclusion that the arguing and complaining are more about the subjects of discussion than they are about the personalities of the posters.

Cheers,
Nuvi
Very well thought out, very to the point! Thank you!

A few thoughts come to mind.
It's easier to destroy than to build...Complaining is the refuge of the Insecure... Sound and Fury signifiying nothing...
Those that can, do. Those that can't do, complain...
The complainers think that they can control the conversation and then have no responsibility for the outcome...

Talk the talk or walk the Walk!

If it makes a difference, do it..If not, screw it!


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Old 10-20-2009, 09:30 AM   #9
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It is so easy to attack anonomously (sp?). Once you know the person on the other end it gets harder. I like gatherings of forum members. It lets me get to know them and where they come from.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:42 AM   #10
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Now I actually feel better. What was the post about again? Oh yeah; some people are negative, like to complain and like to argue. With sincerety, this feels like more of the same ...

But make no mistake: "Rivet Gods" got those rivets by posting TONS of positive, informative assistance to ALL of us! And appreciation for their aid and encouragement has been stated time and again. Being new to airstreams hasn't enabled me to assist many - nor do I post many of my *personal* opinions; my rivets are from asking a lot of questions. Thankfully, I get lot of replies!

Laura
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuvite-F View Post
......Many of the most vociferous complainers and arguers are Rivet Gods with thousands of posts to their names.......
Nuvi
Rivet Gods? How many posts do I need for that. My meter is stuck on rivet master....
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:20 AM   #12
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I saw this bumper sticker the other day:

Just say NO to negativity.


It tickled me, after I thought about for a couple seconds.

Ken
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:38 AM   #13
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Dont have an Airstream--------------yet.
Am building a slab next to the garage for just that, so its coming!
Love the forum, and Ive belonged to many.
Love all the great advice Ive been getting, on good prices, floorplans, vintage or new?
For the most part very friendly.
I grew up camping my entire life (all 35 years of it). To me camping was a way to get away from it all. Until I came on here and saw what the "red letters" really meant, I had not known, I thought they were painted on at the factory at birth. A club. That sounds fun for those who want to all meet up, hang out together, Im glad its there for you to do just that. If thats your thing, go do it. If its not, dont join. In my mind, its contradictory to how I define "camping", to get away from it all. So for now, my "club" consists of the 4 of us, my little family, out camping in the wonderful beautiful outdoors that are there for our exploring, and to get away from it all!
Thanks everyone for all your help, she's out there I just know it!
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Old 10-20-2009, 12:04 PM   #14
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Nuvite, you make some interesting points and some I agree with. Understanding why people participate in forums is important key here. IMO the number one reason is because there is an audience. People could blog all day long about the issues that face them but if no one reads them or comments then what fun would it be. On forums people find audiences and thus their discussions have impact.

On the fact that forums are negative, some might be. Here on AIR, I'd lean the other way and point to the near 750,000 posts that have been made in the last 8 years. Of which 17,000 (2.25%) are in the WBCCI Forum. Out of those most are not negative, for analysis purposes, lets just say 25% of those are critical. That means that 99.5% of the posts on this forum are not negative towards the WBCCI. If we do the same analysis for critical posts about Airstream, Inc's products we will probably end up with about 1% of posts. That means together, maybe 1.5% of the posts on this forum are critical or "negative" in nature.

It's my opinion, many of the critical posts speak clearly to issues. If they had been addressed, we would probably stop hearing about them. All it takes is communication back letting those who complained know that things are changing. People don't typically complain for no reason, usually there is a reason and listening to them and looking for a solution is the right way to do business IMO. On that note, I have noted this issue and will announce a new system to offer member an expanded system ignore content based on many things like forums, tags, by other members, keywords, etc. That way if any content does not sit well with you, can opt out from viewing it thus improving your experience here. We have done this on other forums with great success, it's like hiding all those other points of view you don't agree with.

If you have time for a read on the subject of online communities and how they are typically controlled by a small percentage of members read this white paper:
Quote:
A broader investigation into how business can exploit online community underlines the importance of online information in driving purchase decisions, but the most influential information is beyond the direct control of companies selling products and services. Courting the small fraction of Internet users who write online reviews and comments is a very important task for many companies, but one they often neglect.

Many companies downplay the importance of online communities because only a few percent of all Internet users contribute to them heavily. What they don’t understand is that most other Internet users read those reviews and rely on them heavily when making purchase decisions. Taking good care of online communities can be a huge money-saver for companies trying to get more marketing impact from limited budgets.

The full PDF is found here (it's an excellent read)
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