Forum / Reality Disconnect

April 2, 2011

Y’know, it’s recently occurred to me that this is a phenomenon that’s gone on with most forums I’ve posted on. Usually forums I only post on once or twice, just to address a specific issue.

There seems to be a parallel-universe thing going on somewhere. Like the reality in my own world, expressed through clear and well phrased statements, is skewed through the forum, and appears on the other end like some kind of gibberish newbspeak.

I just don’t… freaking… get it. It really has started to bug me lately. It seems to involve expressing ways a product or service could improve, or to correct a problem, or pretty much anything that’s not 100% pure ass-kissing.

Here are some recent and past examples (recent first)…
There, I start off with a little rambling/rant about how the Dalvik-Cache folder is unmanaged in the Android OS and seems like a second-thought add-on with dire consequences. The thread quickly goes nuclear and everyone basically beats their chest and grunts “NOOOB NOOOOB”. Only at the very end of the thread do people begin to become civilized, but nothing is ever really made of the thread (other than one developer, who now hates my guts, somewhat-silently admitting acceptance and creating a script to help fix the problem). It’s the most baffling one to date, really.

Second most fresh on my mind is this one, that still eats away at me to this day, some years later:
This one… I mean, I don’t even really remember what went on here, haven’t actually read over the thread again but I just remember it’s there (actually saved as a bookmark). That forum… those people, I don’t get it. It’s a simple thing… the DriverPacks distribution is improperly fragmented for common usage, requiring people to download all three packages to get a usable set of drivers, except it now includes a bunch of unneeded drivers as well. It would save them bandwidth and save the users some headache to split them up differently. Simple, logical thing, right? Nope. The mods/admins/members stoop to base insults and random remarks, shitting all over *their own forum*, and giving me the middle finger. That’s just another one I’m totally stumped on.

Another forum, http://sevenforums.com, I simply can’t log in at. I give it my usual login, and it accepts it (so I apparently do have an account there), but it barfs back that I’d been banned for “fanboy behavior”, forever. Really stumped there. I emailed the forum admins and asked about the ban, and I exchanged 1 or 2 emails before they said that they “never lift bans”. Quite a primitive and shortsighted policy, but still… WTH for? I never even had an account there that I know of, let alone posted anything, let alone “fanboy” (of what, Windows? Sure not Mac and HELL not Linux… wtf fanboy of, then?). Still unresolved.

I post on ImgBurn forums that the ask.com bundled malware is really killing ImgBurn’s reputation, especially while presented along side some UniBlue system-destroyer garbage (clean registry! fix errors! OMG!). What do I get? A whole bunch of backlash about not knowing how to uncheck the installer, LUK supporting his work, blah blah. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that reg-cleaners and toolbars are malware. There are about a million other ways he could be supporting… just… I mean, WTF? I don’t get how that isn’t obvious…

I mean, this list goes on and on. All kinds of random things-I-say-in-good-intention, just met with boatloads of totally random and unexpected backlash from the members or admins. Most of the time I’m left frustrated, confused, and wondering what-the-hell-went-wrong. It was really just that last post about Dalvik-Cache that pushed me over the edge into thinking I must have a “kick me” sign posted on my head.

And it’s not just my posts on forums either. I always Google the things I’m curious about first, and I often find pages and pages of forum posts… 90% unrelated to my search. But of those rare 10%, about 7% of them are either unanswered (no replies), or worse… has some moron in the forum telling the OP to “search”. Then the thread is left hanging with no resolution (as that search result obviously didn’t show up for me, being there reading that now), and I’m left looking elsewhere. But then, there’s that third dead-end… the people that post exactly what I’m thinking, but either get nowhere, or are greeted by the same sort of angry mob I get in my posts. WTF?

Can anyone out there in internetland throw me some clues? I mean, there’s really not much we can do after-the-fact. Or even really much we can do to fix it, for that matter. I write in clear, verbose, easy-to-search posts, that make it easy for others to find info on the same situation I’m in right now. I’ve even stumbled across my own forum posts a few times in trying to solve a similar issue. But somehow, the 20,000-post, “fills every topic with the same pasta” members start off with some negative backlash, and the rest of the forum snowballs from there. The entire point of the topic is lost, the issue remains unresolved, and often the topic gets locked so people can’t even contribute in the future. What kind of internet am I visiting here? o.O



  1. I think it’s mainly a TL;DR problem.

    As for bundled junkware, I can understand this. Developers often use this as a source of income, and it’s often not required (you can uninstall later or tell the installer not to install it). Unfortunately, stuff like WebSearch4U/WhenU require manual removal.

    As for the driverpack thing, I can’t help you there.

  2. “This is not windows.
    it doesn’t matter how much stuff is running in the background your phone wont slow down. Task killer interferes with automatic updates and email. ”

    Fanboy much?

    …To completely turn the damn thing off you could just pull out the battery…?

    Honestly, I really hate all these smart phones with wacky platform, useless “apps”, and manufacturer lockdowns more secure than a maximum security prison. (iPhone, Android, Windows 7 Phone, etc.)

    Just get a Viliv N5, which can be a smart phone + Windows computer. You just use Skype/Google Voice to contact people using a 3G connection.


    Smartphones are useless. Just get a UMPC and a crappy cell phone for 50 bucks.

  3. Don’t sweat the small people. They do it for thrills.

    Piece of cake – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv-dPdFK_G8

    • Random. 😛

  4. Интересно. Исследователи считают, который украшения и обручальные кольца в частности носить вредно, преимущественно мужскому полу.
    Как утверждают научные работники, если обручальное кольцо носят для руке много лет, золото постепенно начинает окисляться, а продукты химической реакции поступают в кровь.

  5. Maybe it’s that self-employed technocrats have a tendency to play alpha-male programmer games with one another. Some of your arrogance is probably justified. But the one commonality across all the threads in question is you. And in each of the threads you refer to, you’ve said something specific to belittle the product in question. You’re clearly a good engineer, but there’s more to being a great engineer than knowing the best answers to technical problems.

  6. The two most annoying things on technical fora (including ye olde USENET) are the people who will not read *in full* the OP and tell the person to do EXACTLY what he said he’d already tried *that did not work*.

    Apparently many people are incapable of reading and comprehending plain language, or at least incapable of thinking beyond a set of rote responses for what they assume is a common issue. READ the entire post so you don’t look like a clueless, script reading “tech support” goon by telling the person with the problem to do what they’ve already tried.

    Even worse is when I’ve posted links to articles with fixes that are supposed to work but didn’t and someone replies *with the exact same links*.

    If you cannot READ then come up with something different, don’t bother to reply, not even to say you don’t know of anything different. It only pisses people off.

    Then there are the hosers who figure out or simply stumble upon a fix for their issue and cap the thread with an “I fixed it!” without saying HOW they fixed it.

    HTF did you fix it? I’m reading this thread because I’m trying to fix the exact same problem. C’mon, GIVE! Tell the world how you fixed it!

    I’d love to mod a tech forum just so I could kickban both sorts. 🙂 Help or say nothing. Don’t be useless or condescending. People come to these forums for help. It doesn’t matter if a search of the forum would turn up the answer if the person with a problem has no idea *what to search for*.

    Most forum searches are quite useless. Given the heavy use of numbers and acronyms and “nonsense words” and words of 4 or fewer characters in computer jargon and how the default search indexing is set to exclude such things, it’s highly likely that a forum search wouldn’t work anyway. A tech forum search should be set with as broad an index setting as possible. Too bad if it makes for a giant index, if someone is searching for info on a GBX-39/WQ23 ver9.53.2 *all the numbers and punctuation characters are important*.

    15~20 years ago, web searches were much better. If you knew EXACTLY what you wanted to find you could put quotes around it and the search would look for EXACTLY that, nothing else. These days they all “suggest” that we’re all a bunch of idiots who don’t know what we’re looking for and everything entered in the box is spelled incorrectly. Try putting quotes or + and – signs in and they’re ignored.

    I was just trying to find out reasons why Microsoft DaRT 6.0 wouldn’t boot and what’s the top “hits”? People asking why their DODGE Dart won’t start. I tried adding -dodge and still got bogus “hits” on the car.

    Companies like to creatively spell words in their names and product names. When someone enters such, *they are not spelling it wrong!* so don’t ignore it and present only hits with the ‘corrected’ version.

    The computer world needs a “search idiot” that only looks for EXACTLY what’s entered and strictly obeys boolean operators and regex commands. I wouldn’t care if the query has to go into a queue and I’d have to wait some time for a reply, as long as the results only contain links to sites that actually contain what I’m looking for.

    For some years I’ve had a name for such a search engine, LookStupid – as in “Look, you stupid computer, I know what I’m doing! Stop trying to outsmart me!”.

    • That was such an awesome response, it had to be given its own post. https://falconfour.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/re-forumreality-disconnect/

      So totally, perfectly nail-on-the-head. Of course another common problem is the “buddy-buddy” system within the admin/mod ranks of a forum. “If the mod is wrong, well… tough. Now you’re gonna get every other mod on their side too.” >.<

  7. […] just saw this absolutely amazing post by Gregg Eshelman in reply to an old blog article, “Forum/Reality Disconnect“, and thought it just had to be shared on its […]

  8. I know about this phenomena! http://essay-editor.net/blog/useful-tips-how-to-improve-your-punctuation-skills has some useful tips that can help to improve your punctuation skills!

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