One of the things I do to help me keep up with what’s going on in the world is to read lots of blogs and forums postings. Problem, though, is that the intelligence level of both seem to be on a downward spiral. This is true more for forums than blogs. I have pretty much given up on reading the comments on Digg.com because it seems to be populated by a bunch of immature teenagers who think that being anti anything is cool and that if you do not agree with them, then you are some kind of <insert expletive>.
Lately, I have noticed several trends and, unfortunately, I am guilty of some this myself. The biggest trend I have seen is fanboyism. It has always been there, but it really seems to be out and about in a big way. Some blogs are worse than others. Take Engadget. They have always been a major Apple hype machine. Lately, it has gotten worse. Did you know that Flip cameras and the Nintendo DS are going to obsolete very soon because Apple has a device with both functions? Or, according to Joystiq, the Sony Playstation 3 is FINALLY going to kick some gaming butt and you’d be a fool if you didn’t waste three hundred dollars on the super-duper amazing PS3? Now, Joystiq and Engadget are both AOL properties. Engadget seems to think that we’ll all be buying movies and TV shows via iTunes and watch them on our iPhones or Apple TV’s. Joystiq thinks we’ll be buying tons of Blu-Ray discs because, you know, they kicked HD-DVD’s bee-hind.
Trolling through the comments on these two sites is even worse. Few, if any, of the commenter’s can spell, many do not know how to properly case their comments (either all lower OR ALL UPPER) and almost none can post anything with some kind of expletive being used, usually the ‘F’ bomb is dropped liberally. And if you post an opposing view to the majority of commenter’s, you get branded a fanboy for the opposite ‘side.’ And, heaven forbid say anything wrong about two certain companies (hint: Microsoft is not one of the two.)
Sometimes the comments can be entertaining, but mostly they just get old. I find it hard to believe that any of the commenter’s are older than 15 or are capable of independent thought.
There are places on the ‘net where intelligent forums exist. Many of the Live Spaces blogs I visit are this way. I think it has to do with the general audience. Live Spaces, for example, consists of quite a few tech blogs and the people who visit them are well educated and usually don’t post something unless it is germane to the topic. You also need a Live ID to post. I think this probably keeps out the people who would, likely, make the juvenile comments one sees on the sites I mentioned above. For those sites, you do not need an ‘account’ or have to log in to post. You simply supply a valid email address and then wait to confirm the email. Once you do, your comments are posted. Many sites don’t even do this much.
I know that everyone is entitled to an opinion and I have no problem with that. I don’t have problems taking it on the chin, so to speak, as long as the argument or criticisms are valid.
It is very easy to get caught up in some of these things. I have, a few times, engaged in such juvenile conversations and then, later, regretted doing so. I do tend to get inflammatory on this site about certain things. I try to keep it toned down, but, once in awhile, something sets me off and, before I know it, I’ve clicked the Publish button. I have even removed things, sometimes a year later, because when I reviewed them, I was embarrassed that I wrote such stuff.
Probably, the best thing to do is to just ignore the comments. It is difficult to do and even harder to not participate. But, then that is counter to what the Internet is about. Exchanging ideas and thoughts. I just wish that people would be a bit more polite and think more carefully about what they say before they say it. And, for heaven’s sake, use the speel checker!