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Top Ten Forum Board Argument tactics that I hate

Drac0's picture

I didn't write this. I pulled this from another board (an RPG board) long ago. I mentioned it once here and some of you asked me about it. It took some digging but I found it!

Top ten forum board argument tactics that I hate

10) Claim you were not insulting me.

Ex.: “I wasn’t insulting you. I was just stating that if I was your wife, I would kill you in your sleep. Since that is never going to happen, you have nothing to fear.”

All too often, I have seen examples of people crossing the line and then quickly jumping back saying they “meant no offence”. Look, If I felt insulted by something you wrote, that is because you DID insult me (whether it was intentional or not). The flip side to this is made even worse when the person who insulted me tells me that I need to grow “thicker skin”, - because really, - being told by random strangers that they would like to kill me in my sleep is just a normal everyday occurrence that I should just get used to. No more coffee for me.

9) I am Legion.

Ex: “I don’t believe you are a XYZ and I am not the only one here who thinks that.”

This one kind of boggles my mind. Okay, some people lie on the internet from time to time (dating sites anyone?). Let us just assume that is a given. But one of the greatest mysteries of the internet forum boards that I have yet to fathom is if enough people believe in a lie then it must be true. It’s simply a question of numbers. I am a writer by trade. Not a successful writer, but still a writer. I’ve done some freelance work here and there. If 2 other people on the internet boards (or 20 people) don’t believe I am a writer; then I am not a writer. The numbers have it! And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Oh well, at least there are a bunch of ex-Playboy models on that like me.

8 ) And the past shall haunt you. The internet never forgets!

Ex: “You wrote last week that you hated picking up dog poop and now you want to go out and get another dog? I think it is a bad idea since you clearly don’t like taking care of them. You are obviously one of those people who just like the novelty of having a pet but quickly abuse the poor animal when taking care of it becomes a chore!”

One of the negative side effects of being a prolific writer is that there is always a chance you will write something that someone is not only going to remember, but sink their teeth into, chew on, and regurgitate for later use. Then, when an argument goes south, this person springs up some misinterpreted and barely recognizable prior comment you made on the boards and presents it as “fact”. It’s a bit like dirty pool. You are trying to make a point, but you suddenly find yourself trying to defend something you wrote 3 weeks ago, or even 3 months ago. Normally I would just respond “I am afraid you read that wrong, please go back and reread again.” Except the person won’t because now they have momentum shifted on their side and people are jumping on board screaming at me for animal cruelty.

7) Having accountability foisted upon me for something I have no business being accountable for.

Ex: “People like you are the whole reason why women still have not achieved equity in the workplace!”

Yes, because my mere presence is an affront to someone else’s cause. What am I supposed to do here? Quit my job and starve to death?

6) Being told that I should be “ashamed” for an opinion I have.

This is a close cousin to number 10 above. I have opinions. Granted some of those opinions are strong and may rub some people off the wrong way. Whenever this happens, I find myself stuck in this whirling spiral of comments of trying to defend my opinion. It’s an arduous task and I admit, sometimes what I write is not entirely clear and *maybe* I would have been better off just keeping my opinions to myself. If I go back and re-read what I wrote, I sometimes say to myself. “Eek! I sound like an asshole there”. This is why I like to read, re-read and edit my posts before putting them up. Even then, the risk of offending someone is still unavoidable. I could write; “I bought my wife flowers the other day” and someone is likely to get offended (Flower haters?). Now I wrote in 10 above that I was told to get thicker skin….I cannot throw that argument back onto the net. You see, it’s MY responsibility to know that there is a small subsection of the forum community who will go stark raving mad at me for posting about flowers, or dogs, or women in the workplace or….toasters…or…. the weather…or….high platform shoes….Oh well, good thing everyone likes ABBA (*ducks*).

5) Putting words in my mouth (strawmanning)

Ex: “Oh so that means you have a low opinion of teachers and educators!”

This is a classic. It’s a form of trolling where someone takes something I wrote and claims it means something completely different than what I meant to convey. This is often done with cut and pasting a portion of what I have written and proceeding to take that quote out of context, or over-simplifying the intent of the message. I have to admit, it takes a blend of dementia and literary talent to pull this off effectively.

4) Forget the forest. Let’s look at that ONE tree!

I find this happens A LOT here. Someone posts something interesting and yet the comments are mostly focused on some trivial aspect of the person’s post that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic. Is it truly necessary to go through a post with a fine toothed comb to pick out some fallacy, wrong usage of terms or *GASP* a spelling mistake? Eyes on the prize people! Eyes on the prize!

3) Your experience is not data!

Ex: “Sorry this happened to you, but that is not how this game is supposed to be played!”

This is another one that irks me. Apparently, my life’s experiences, the people I have met and talked to and my retelling of it have absolutely no basis in reality (or the reality that some people prescribe to). I could make a comment on something I have seen, or read or have done when I am voicing an opinion. I don’t really have much time to devote to this so I am only giving a brief synopsis of my experiences. Unfortunately, this is not enough for some people; hence why I am given the third degree. So if I write about conversations I have had with my wife, my boss, or my friends, people are quick to challenge it or view it in a negative light. You see, because my memory is not a crash-hardened black box used on airline flight recorders that anyone can play back at their whim, none of my experiences that I share on the internet can be authenticated. Since my writing cannot be authenticated, then I must be lying about them! It’s a quick evolutionary leap in internet logic that I have yet to beat. *sigh* Maybe some people should remember they are reading a forum board and not some university research paper where citations and facts are necessary to give the writing credibility.

2)We are the Borg! You will be assimilated! You will become one of us!

Ex: “You should realize that many of us on these boards work in blue collar jobs and are union members and may take offense to you writing anythng negative about unions.”

I like learning. No really, I like hearing about other people’s situations, opinions and suggestions. However when opinions and suggestions come in the form of lessons or “instructions” on how I should write, I have a tendency to tune out. IMO, this elitist attitude is what makes forum boards rise and fall. I go to the forums voice an opinion, or field some opinions of others on a subject we all have an interest in. If I happen to make friends or feel like I am a part of the community, then great! It’s a positive side effect. However that is NOT my primary goal. I do not come onto the internet to learn a lesson in conformity.

1) Victory is mine!

Okay. You won. I apologized. I conceded. I gave up. You won. There is no point in discussing the matter further. You’re quoting STAR TREK NOW for God’s sake! I can’t beat that! With some people, this is enough to stop the barrage. For others? They have to showboat and be utterly unbearable in victory. Let’s bring the legion in and pat each other in the back for putting me in my place! Let’s throw a ticker tape parade! Huzzah! Even after I am done with the argument, conceded to the masses (or even left the forum board altogether), people will still come on board to continue the assault long after a “cease fire” has been declared. Of course, me being submissive opens up the flood of comments types ranging from #10 through #2. Good thing I have thick skin.


askYOURdad's picture

I'm glad you posted this, I was curious yesterday when you were talking about it.

I think the most common one that occurs here is probably number 4. I see some of number 2 as well.

Drac0's picture

Yeah I kind of realized that when I posted it up that not many people would know what I was talking about. has some good ones too but those seem to be geared towards forum boards catering to "geek hobbies" (RPGs, comic books. video games, etc.) I liked this article because it crosses all subjects and proves that STalk is not the only forum board where these afflictions/behavior occurs.

It doesn't excuse the behavior.

When I first read it, I found myself guilty of #2.

askYOURdad's picture

Yahoo shine is another good one... in general it's one of my favorite sites to make fun of and something I only really scroll through when bored at work, but the "fights" that happen there in the comments sections are usually over the top ridiculous.

Drac0's picture

Not familiar with yahoo shine but Yahoo sports...Egads! I know sports fans can be really passionate but some of them really have a few screws loose.

askYOURdad's picture

I agree 100%!!!

askHOLES is what I call them, I know quite a few in real life...

What should I do?


No that won't work

def? ghi? lmnop?

No, none of that will work, I don't want to rock the boat I'm just going to do xyz

2 weeks later.... I don't know what to do, what should I do, I was thinking abc? what do you think?

bangs head against desk!

Drac0's picture

I find this happens a lot in RL too! Where I work, people (especially management) is notorious for this! They'll ask me a question but in their minds, they have already come up with a solution and just want me to validate their solution. Why are you asking me a question then!? You are just going to do what you wanted to do before you even approached me.

zerostepdrama's picture

#4 is my pet peeve.

"My husband's kids just walked into my house without knocking. My BS was in the kitchen coloring and heard them come in and then came and got me. I was in my bedroom watching tv. How do I get my skids to knock before coming into the house?"

Your son was ALONE????. You are a terrible mom. You left your door unlocked? Someone could have stolen your child. Not to mention. How dare your child be coloring alone and you were watching TV. What kind of mom isn't with their kid 24/7? That poor child coloring alone while you were being laid up in bed watching tv.

askYOURdad's picture

Except when I'm trying to be insulting -- fuck them.

^^^Hahaha! Too funny! I agree, I will apologize if something I said was taken out of context but when someone posts that they intentionally do something to their skid because they are upset at their existence well yeah, you probably won't like what I have to say about that.

Mercury's picture

Ah yes!

Everyone should be required to take a course on debate tactics/logical fallacies before they are allowed to roam free on the internet. >_<

Drac0's picture

Maybe just this quick lesson.

Internet/emails/texting are NOT good communication tools. Communication comprises 38% Tone of voice, 55% body language and 7% words used. Since any electronic medium only uses words, we are missing 93% of what was meant in the communication.

Mercury's picture

This is so true when engaging with most people on the internet.

There are exceptions though and when you find them....grab onto them and don't let go! You have found your internet soul mates! I belong to one internet group that in its current state has members who have been online friends for almost a decade. The websites have changed, the forums have changed, but the same core group of people have followed each other all around the internet and remain friends to this day. We can read each other pretty accurately. The downside is that since we have selected each other over the years and parsed down our numbers, we have developed a very homogenous "group think". I have to watch myself on other forums because sometimes I forget how easy it is to misinterpret people online.

Drac0's picture

That's cool! I too made some VERY good friends on the net. One of them just happens to be an Asatru priest in Denmark and he begged me to come out to meet him. Naturally the whole idea made me uncomfortable and I thought he was a nutter. Turns out this guy and I are so much alike! Our only differences is our religions and we barely talked about it when we finally did meet. Seriously, spending time with this guy was like spending time with an identical twin! The forum where we met has since folded but we still keep in close contact.

Shaman29's picture

Oh're going to run into these problems online or IRL.

It doesn't mean anything and if you allow them to frustrate you, then they win.

I honestly can't believe the person that wrote the article felt the need to waste all that time pointing out the obvious.

Drac0's picture

But it's not obvious. Especially not to those who have little to no experience with forums or other on-line boards.

ETA: Oh and your comment sorta falls into #10 Wink

misSTEP's picture

#4 is so bad here...especially amongst a few nameless members

Drac0's picture

>However, there are flamers, trolls, and shit stirrers that come to play and you can easily spot them and navigate around em.<

And you also have other catagories made up by the forum community. To my knowledge, STalk has only created one (Crew).

RPG forums have the following (let's see if I remember them all):
Power Gamers
Mary Sues
Special Snowflakes
Wall Flowers

and a few others I am sure I have forgotten. It's like wandering into a different country with its own customs and language...

zerostepdrama's picture

I was on a different board and some of us girls that became close friends considered ourselves the "troll patrol" to deal with trollers. LOL.