I've been involved in some pretty hefty Internet forum drama over the past week. Some knucklehead played a dirty trick on me by feigning apology and then acting like I was trolling him when I told him he had the wrong idea. It would not be so bad, except other knuckleheads seemed to believe him. I was upset. I knew I had been wronged, but I did not exactly know the how or why of it.
Until now. I eventually realized that the fundamental problem was that I'm completely sick of sophomorism, and that everyone involved in that little fiasco was somebody who I had offended in the past because of this. That was my wrong, but one I'm stuck with, because I'm not going to be able to start liking something I'm sick of because it's inconvenient to others. Their wrong was that they were exhibiting garden variety groupthink versus a contrary individual, but that's merely human as well, so that's not going to change, either.
So how could my being completely sick of sophomorism lead to this? First, I should explain that, by "sophomores," I'm not talking about a person in the second year of high school or college. I'm referring to an older definition of the word, "wise fools" and, simultaneously, "arguer." Yes, young people who enjoyed arguing without much understanding was apparently a widespread affliction even in ancient Greece: wisdom comes with age, but intelligence untempered by wisdom, much earlier. (If you read that and immediately jump to the conclusion I'm saying I'm profoundly wise, you're part of the problem, sophomore.)
Unfortunately for them, one day two years ago I had an epiphany. I realized that too many people on Internet forums are either too impatient, otherwise bad at communication, or just plain determined to disagree. On top of that, they rather like taking advantage of the fact you can't reach out and slap them for being intransigent assholes. Consequently, Internet forums are a lousy place for a debate, even an "informal" one. There will be exceptions, you might have a few good debates but, in the majority case, you're just wasting your time: there's absolutely no way you can bring that guy over to your side.
As long as I hold this belief, having a debate simply does not seem worthwhile to me. I won't do it; not interested; get off my lawn kid, yer botherin' me. In before, "Your asinine 'beliefs' don't matter to me, Geldon, you're just a closed minded bigot who is making excuses because you're bad at debating." No, actually, I cross-examine my own beliefs all the time. I don't hold this belief due to a lack of critical thinking, but rather due to an excess of it. So long as this idea remains so very indomitable, it just does not strike me as academically honest to let it go, and I figure if you disagree then you just have not had the same epiphany I did.
Unsurprisingly, this ultimatum earned me a lot of enemies.
Remember where I said that Internet forums are full of sophomores itching for a chance to debate? I just shut them down cold, which is about as cruel as ignoring a child who is asking you why the sky is blue. You ever try ignoring an insatiable young appitite for knowledge? They simply don't take no for an answer. This leads to what they started calling a, "Geldon derail."
Because they're sophomores, they absolutely cannot accept the idea that they've encountered someone who does not want to argue with them. So instead they interpret this as a challenge. Alright, so now you're in a debate with somebody who won't debate with you because they think debating on the Internet is a waste of time. A debate nobody asked for, but I digress. How do you refute a singular premise that a person has learned to have no confidence that Internet forums are worthwhile to debate on?
There's no logical way to do it. So, instead, they get angry: how dare I be so uncooperative as to refuse to refute their marvelous points?! I rebut that I'm simply not interested, that I have no obligation to debate just because they want to have a debate. It just makes them angrier.
This back and forth exchange tends to ruin threads. Thus, a "Geldon derail." What do I get out of it? A whole lot of moderation blame for being such a tireless rebutter to their equally tireless efforts to get me to argue with them, and more enemies for the crime of refusing to be someone I'm not. It's a pretty raw deal all around.
I have come to realize that the problem is not me, nor it is them. There's room in this world for people who are sick of sophomorism and there's room in this world for sophomores. The problem we're having is a matter of proximity.
You don't go for a swim in a piranha tank and complain that the fish are trying to eat you. You don't go on Internet forums full of sophomoric knuckleheads and complain that they're trying to argue with you. Whether piranha or sophomore, it's simply in their nature, you can't rebuke them from doing what they do. If I'm really that sick of sophomorism, it's just as much my nature that I shouldn't be there in the first place. They're not on my lawn, not if this lawn is an Internet forum where debating happens constantly, then I'm on theirs.
I've solved the problem by going "anonymous," killing many birds with one stone.
- Not many people want to argue with somebody they can't attribute a face to: anonymous is legion, after all. When they try, they end up feeling silly (as they should, in my opinion).
- As I've said, I made enemies, and I was starting to derail threads simply by being there. By going anonymous, there's no longer a Geldon. Without a "Geldon," there can be no "Geldon derail."
- If I appear anonymous, I can be as spammy as I want, as far as anyone could tell it could be many people spamming away. It might even seem to improve the popularity of the board.