The Photography Forum – The Itch To Bitch

And if you have ever wished to satisfy that itch, the internet is your heaven.

I regularly view a rumour site for a brand of camera I am interested in. The writer, bless him, has kept it clean and humorous and about as accurate as rumours ever are. He has not descended into bat-children stories or political memes. Some of the contributions he gathers are better than others, and some are uninteresting, but by and large it is a rewarding read.

Not so, unfortunately, the forums.

Any public gathering, whether to discuss a new school-tax bill or to storm the castle and kill the monster, is going to be a mixed bag – of abilities, emotions, opinions, and smells. In every group there is always one person who is vulgar…I try to avoid them if possible, but you know what family Christmas parties can be like. There is always one person who is shy and easily offended…and these days they complain bitterly about it. Fortunately there is frequently someone who knows what they are talking about and can actually answer whatever question is put. So far so good.

But there also seems to be the person who searches out the other writers to sneer at them – to criticize grammar or spelling – to insult and catcall, even if the enquiry was a genuine one. To belittle a simple question without ever answering it. Normally I would assume that this sort of writer would be removed from a group fairly quickly, but in a number of cases they seem to be there constantly.

Some find them amusing – perhaps wishing that they were quicker witted and could deliver the insults themselves. Some are goaded into responding in kind, and the whole thing deteriorates into a slanging match. At this point I find other things to do and other sites to view.

I feel for the moderators of these forums – they accept people at ( type ) face value to start with and the only interaction they may ever have is when they have to delete them. It must be an irksome task. I should think there is probably a warning system between them of who is likely to become obstreperous, but as noms de keyboard can be changed at a moment’s notice and ISP’s nearly as fast, the pests can pop up in a new guise every day.

Perhaps there should be some sort of fee that needs to be paid – if only to a charity – to let people into the forum. A guard at the gate, as it were. It is doubtful whether it would keep all trolls at bay, but at least the ones who appeared would have done some good somewhere.




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