Saturday, September 20, 2008

Web Forums

Another in a line of posts with really boring titles. At least it has a picture.

How familiar are you with Internet discussion forums, time-wasters? All you have to do is have an interest or hobby or opinion, and I can guarantee there will be a forum dedicated to People Just Like You.

Are you a hot-air balloonist who likes Apple's OSX and thinks abortion should be mandatory? There's a forum for YOU! Are you a renaissance fair enthusiast who likes hiding in bushes and eating Pop Tarts, but only when it's partly cloudy? Or someone who would like to explain the comparative merits of orthodynamic headphone drivers and loves Little Caesars pizza?

Guess what? There's a forum for you somewhere.

But what if you're some dork with a computer problem you'd like to solve? Say you'd rather not wait days for tech support to tell you to reboot. You'd also rather not bother with some unhelpful acquaintance who emails you a list of suggestions eerily similar to the list of things you told them you've already tried.

Or, in the case of car problems, you're suspicious of the dealership's claim that they have to go in through the exhaust system if you want them to replace that parking brake cable properly.

"And we gotta replace the crankshaft, too. Them things wither right up as soon as you take 'em out and expose 'em to the air," the dealership says, making a grab for your wallet.

So it's off to Google you go, and in a split second, you've got thousands of hits. Lots of these lead to forums, where your same problem is being discussed by other dorks. You rejoice! You're bound to find someone who got the help they asked for!

Not so fast.

It's more likely they never really got a satisfactory answer because of rampant illiteracy. There are lots of answers that almost make sense, but fall short in important areas like...applicability.

u shood boot int2 safe mode and uninstlall the video card drivr and reinstaaal with a cd you that came with ur card or bettr yet downloda one from a this sit e--

At this point, you stop reading, because the poster's original problem (and your own) had nothing to do with video cards. It can't. The issue under discussion is a car problem
. But every post after that one will be about video cards, though, because nobody bothers to do any more reading than they have to. Time to try another forum.

Ooh, this one looks promising. The thread starter has exactly the problem you're having, and with the same hardware too! Excellent. Let's just scroll down here, and...

Damn! This is one of those forums full of obnoxious jerks who get all angry and sweaty when someone seeks a solution to a problem they don't believe exists. Example:

Help Seeker: I'd like to charge my PlayStation 3 controller with something other than the PS3 console. It seems ridiculous to charge a battery the size of a Tootsie Roll with a device that draws 200 watts and is capable of heating an igloo.

Jerk: Why don't you just use the console? That's what the USB ports on it are for.

Seeker: Uh, for the reasons I just stated?

Jerk: Yeah, but nobody would want to do that.

Seeker: I do.

Jerk: You're weird and stupid. Note my clever tactic of being obstinate and condescending to cover the fact that I have absolutely nothing helpful to contribute. I'm a twat.

If only they were that honest!

Eventually you find a forum where the person with the problem finally figures it out by themselves and posts the result. This is the cue for the illiterates to jump in and take credit and the jerks to jump in and point out that there must never have been a problem in the first place.

Maybe you would be better off riding your bike and using a typewriter.


Anonymous said...

this is why I don't use the forums. I just ask my "tech support" (the foodaddy) and he can deal with all the stupid forum people for me. isn't that wonderful.

Jack W. Regan said...

I thunk thish poste wuz funnny. I laffed and laphed.

Okay, I can't take it any more. Anyway, yeah. Funny post and oh-so-true.

Jack W. Regan said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I think the "Jerk's" profile picture is hilarious. A billowing fireball of "up yours." Did you Photoshop that? Or swipe it?

Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

Nice to see you back on the Blog, TSB!

I found the image online by googling "middle finger," and I chose that one for its explodeyness.

Jacob Nordby said...

there are many laughables here. I'm too lazy to go back and read the others, so I'll just pee myself a little while I giggle over your word "explodeyness".