Sociopath Forums?

Let me ask a question:

"Do you think forums can cause damage to your reputation if you fail answer or challenge a personal attack?"

Check out this very odd even that happened to me yesterday.

First, let me build the situation.
I'm a real active member in several developers forums, and sometimes I can be pretty presumptuous and hair brained and sometimes blunt, but I rarely attempt to offend. In fact many of my articles or posts can seem a little anxious and deliberately lame to foster responses from other members.
I blame it on my work hours among other things. For instance I'm writing this post at 3:58 in the morning, my time, finishing a cup of microwaved left over coffee as I wait for the fresh pot to finish brewing. Strange! Maybe!

Now for a moment, ponder or consider the number of militant and sociopathic responses you could or do receive and then multiply it by a reasonable number of say 7 or 10. That is an honest fair assessment of the volume of responses I've received by people who I believe to be "Forum Sociopaths".

Sociopath: One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior.

RSS feeds are a blessing for anyone who is busy and really wants active monitoring of popular forums. But a word to the wise. It can be a curse when you find yourself responding to every personal attack that comes up.
To clarify a personal attack, by my definition, is any response to your post that can cause harm to your character. Now I know these things happen, and I know that spending 3 hours a day in forums, can generate errors. In fact I finished a MS Access database to hold a collection of canned responses for forum questions. Next.

Heres the simple event:
I get emails frequently asking me how I created various icons or images. One of the most popular requests is XP or Gel styled buttons for navigation on sites. So, In a forum (which I wont mention) I wrote a Photoshop tutorial, instructing on how to make Windows XP Style buttons in three color schemes. Upon completion, I was satisfied that the tutorial was as up to date as it could be, and I got many positive praises from friends.

However; the responses I got were less than appealing and certainly personal. The forum is largely seasoned Photoshop types, and I was honestly surprised to be bashed for the "Alleged Redundant" nature of the tutorial. Sure, there are in fact many tutorials on line for XP button making, my tutorial offered a combination of effective and yet simple techniques geared toward the rookie. My tutorial was not written for the pro, it was written for the student, the people who write me many times requesting some know how.

So.. After reading the third assault by a moderator, I used my special permissions in that forum to delete my original post and replace it with another short one on adding watermarks to web pages. I did it to make it appear that the responses had no relevance to my tutorial.

I then quickly assembled some stuff from my library and created another short tutorial on web page layouts with Photoshop 7.0 to bring my post to the top. I then answered as many posts as I could, so on the surface all the posts would feature my responses. Placing the original posted tutorial as far back as the second or third page in the thread.

Right or wrong, left un-answered, in my eyes, is more damaging than, not responding. Did I take the right action? Was it retaliation? etc??

I'm curious if anyone here has experienced similar things and what there action may have been.


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All 5 Replies

This is quite a read, so I've printed it and will go through it later. Nice of you to type it out. Good contribution.

In my personal opinion, Not dignifying them with a response is better than a response. Were they wrong, and out of line. Absolutely. The proper way to go about the situation would be to have sent you a private message, via e-mail, or some other form of communication. However, a post in public, chastising you, is certainly the wrong method. I would have probably contacted the moderator, and asked them for a bit more professionalism in their methods. This is, however, just my opinion.

For Jared to say he used his "special permissions" to edit his post, I would assume he had moderator positions or at least was some high-up member on the site? To be honest, I'm not so sure I like the way that you edited the tutorial and replaced it with a completely separate tutorial. From a forum admin's point of view, I consider that thread now losing all meaning because none of the replies are relevant, and a good tutorial was lost at the same time. I would have preferred the initial tutorial stay intack but the thread locked. However, there was no need to reply to the poster - as Comatose said, he wasn't deserving of a response. Another reason I feel the thread should have just been locked - once again, from a forum admin's point of view, to prevent any type of rebuttal or retaliation that has the potential of getting ugly.

I, Personally feel that tutorial's shouldn't even be classified as threads. I think a tutorial, being exactly what it is, shouldn't even have a spot to allow responses. Maybe a spot for rating the thread, or some other form of feed back, but I think tutorials by default should be locked. There's the second Penny of my 2 cents. ;)

I agree with cscgal and Comatose.

First, the thread is now a complete loss for the site.

Second a "How to" should go into a knowledge base, or article depository where users could not post responses directly. Maybe grade it on a small scale for usefulness, but nothing else.

(I hope vB has something like that either as built in or add-on, right?)

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