There’s been a bit of kerfuffle about recently in some of the blogs I follow and it appears to have come to a head in the past day or two (for those who don’t already know, it was Gutter Trash and Cafe Whispers).
It has had something for all the family: trolling, misrepresentation, out-of-context quoting, hurt feelings, moderation, retirement and the big banhammer. But why did it need to come to that?
To mind blogs are a form of discussion group, a nerdy virtual example of the book club. As with discussion groups each one has its own personality, so using the blogs mentioned above the Cafe would be closer to the book club variety, whereas GT is closer to blokes hanging around a barbie, or drunk footy players in a locker room.
Now these personalities work for each other…GT revels in the cut and thrust (or actually more likely the bludgeon and smash) of the rough and tumble, whereas the Cafe has a more communal atmosphere. It also leads to differing outcomes for the various discussions…the Cafe environment allows for people to discuss their points in a more reasoned manner, whereas GT threads often degenerate into talking point regurgitation, wilful ignorance and refusal to accept the underlying logic behind your opponents arguments.
The problem seems to arise when there is some cross-pollination. From my experience in both blogs, Cafe dwellers can quite easily lob into the Gutter and post away merrily in their own style…as long as they have a thick skin, have a high stupidity tolerance, and are willing to return fire. But the converse doesn’t really work quite so well. When GT posters jump on to the Cafe and try to use their own inimitable style they find they can’t quite get away with their usual antics. The thread derails, talking points and preciousness don’t really wash and they get called out. Which is where we are right now.
The point is that you need to be mindful of the tone of the place you are posting at. Attempting the ingrained habits from a more rough and tumble locale will get you rapidly flagged as a troll and treated accordingly. Conversely, jumping on a blog with more…flexible standards and expecting them to behave to higher standards will rapidly out you as a precious little flower.
Just go with the flow…if you’re one of those types who simply must provoke and incite aggro wherever you go, deal with the fallout and don’t go running to your blog-mummy when you get spanked.