Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Joys of Forums

Forums, they are a great source of information and if you find the right one to pose your question on there will be someone that knows the answer to that question no matter how obscure.  Often they are also the home of a fantastic (insert sarcasm) breed of people called "Forum Trolls", generally they have no life and will post anything if they believe it will provoke a negative response from other users, nothing is sacred and because they can hide behind the anonymity of their avatar they are more outrageous and confrontational then they would be in real life.  One of their favourite things on Facebook is to create a number of false accounts and join groups just to troll, they will post racist, sexist and any other kind of negative and offensive -ist comment and unfortunately people rise to the bait, in fact I have heard people refer to it as Baitbook.

It happens on all forums to different degrees, I have spoken before about the self promoting know it alls, but someone brought up a good point on the U211 forum earlier that often hostility arises from misinterpretation of written language compared to spoken is this accidental trolling?  When you speak to someone, even if you can't see their facial expressions, you can hear their intonation and intention.  When it is written it the person may have penned a cheeky comment that if spoken would have been light and mischievous in tone, the person reading may interpret it in a more direct way as if it was meant to insult.

In the case I am referring to in particular someone asked a question in a new thread when it had already been answered in the exact same way in another larger thread of the same subject, there are in fact about 7 or 8 threads with the same topic, unfortunately the forum has no sticky or else an FAQ thread could have been started, another person pointed it out and expressly said that he was not ranting but just offering advice. The original person then took complete offence and wrote quite a direct reply back which could have only one way of interpreting it, you get the idea.

As with everything there are pros and cons to forums and for the most part they are, as I stated at the beginning of this post, great sources of chat/information sharing/ideas bouncing, but how can we make the most of them and post our pieces of text to be interpreted the way they are meant to be?  This extends to not just internet forums but all forms of written communication such as email, texts, instant messaging, internal memos, etc.  With more and more ways of communicating instantly via textual means this is something that might evolve in the future, a version of English that can be taken the way it is meant to be.

Other than that I have finished all the units and am still not so sure about my ability to write the TMA, everyone else seems to be talking about how many notes they have taken and I have to admit to taking none, I never have taken notes but I am wondering if perhaps doing so might help my learning and understanding, so from tomorrow I will be reading through the first three chapters of the book for the third time, but at the end of each sub section within the chapter I will try to write a summery of what it was about in my own words.

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