The Fight In The Forum

Untitled-1I shoulda knowed better. I was suckered into reading the posts in a camera enthusiast’s forum yesterday and my eyes still hurt.

I suspect it is the same with every sort of internet group – as soon as you get something that three people take an interest in, and open it up for discussion, four of them disagree with the fifth, who keeps making nasty remarks all evening. If the thing is conducted in English* there will be posts from people with a shaky command of the language and a shakier command of their tempers. National characteristics will surface. Surface, let out an opinion, and then roll over and head for the bottom again.

It is both fascinating and horrifying at the same time – like watching a dreadnought sink. It is probably the same in forums that deal with making scrap books or repairing water pumps. The problem for me is I know what many of them are talking about, even if they do not, and I watch them fight it out like the Germans and French at Verdun while realising what a valueless piece of ground they are contesting.

Me add my 2¢? Not on your nellie. I could get yelled at in bad English by people here in my suburb any day I want, and so far I have not wanted to.

In the days when I sold photo gear over the counter, I could cheerfully endure any amount of misconception and opinion from the customers. I would steer the conversation if it really WAS a conversation, and eventually most of the genuine mistakes cleared up.

The real pain in the ass was the intrusion of other kibitzers into a sales consultation unasked. I don’t mean fans – you get fan-boys and fan-girls with any product, and generally they do no harm. They have their opinions and enthusiasms but they are genuine – and sometimes their excitement helps a customer to decide to buy a product.

But some customers – like Tight Ass – stuck their noses in with advice in even the smallest sale and then screwed up perfectly normal business. TA owes me 14 ¢ after telling another professional photographer not to buy a box of Toshiba AA cells for her speed lights. He had ” a much better idea ” that involved chargers from eBay and some zombie unknown brand of batteries so the sale of the Toshibas didn’t happen.

The fact of the matter was his recommendation was wrong – Toshiba AA batteries are some of the best cells on the market – they are powerful and reliable and give a tremendous number of flashes for a very modest price. They make good commercial and professional sense. But Tight Ass supposedly knew better and the 14¢ that was the commission on the sale that never happened is still missing.

I long to see Tight Ass post on a forum. Now that I am no longer behind that counter I have a way of collecting the 14¢…

*If they would all just use their national languages – Thai, Mandarin, Serbo-Croat, Dutch…no-one who speaks only English could possibly take exception to the advice being offered…

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