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ONOZ! Dramaz of teh internets. [Nov. 5th, 2006|11:35 pm]

Over the last several weeks, several things have happened that started me thinking about internet drama. There was some speculation about one poster on a board I frequent actually being another poster using a different nick. That simple musing turned into a 200-post kefluffle. Shortly thereafter, a new troll/sockpuppet tried tossing flamebait in everyone's direction. I soon found myself under attack. The scathing comment that was supposed to send me screaming (or whimpering) into hiding? She called me frizzy haired. Frizzy haired!!  Like, duuuude. Tell me something I don't know. 

I ran across a meme that generated a "drama post", using real comments made by other posters but inserting names from the person's friendslist. It was pretty funny, but it also highlighted how totally silly almost all internet drama really is. Of course there is real drama out there - a cyber friend of mine was once the target of a very creepy cyber-stalker - but the majority of the time, it's basically 6th grade reenacted on a monitor.

I've spent the last 8 years or so hanging out on some of the toughest debate boards on the net. These boards have reputations, baby. They are not at all for the faint of heart. The topics are those issues that we hold most dear - our children, our parenting choices, our morals - the kinds of issues that many people define the very core of themselves. 

Amazingly, I sometimes manage to rub people the wrong way on these boards. I know, I know...it seems almost impossible, but there it is. And as a result, I have been attacked in all sorts of ways. I've been accused of having no morals. I've been told I don't love my children. I've been called a poor Christian. And it all made me laugh. Because these things are coming from people who know nothing about me. These are people who warn me that my children are doomed to a miserable life of toothlessness because I let them have bottles past the age of two. These are people who feel sorry for my children because I work outside the home. These are people who think that they can predict the kinds of relationships my children will have as adults based on a casual debate about what snack foods I let them have at age six. Really.

Over the years, I've had a few favorites. I especially loved being called "maternally deficient". And there was the time I mentioned what I cooked for dinner and spent the next three days listening to a rant about my "ruined" steak and "gluey" mashed potatoes. I was called a child abuser for pointing out that an article someone posted supposedly exposing the horrors of corporal punishment didn't actually mention corporal punishment at all. I've been told I have the morals of a lawyer. I've been told I have "cheerleader hair". All by people who know nothing about me.

Now, don't get me wrong. Everyone on the internet isn't a stranger. I have met some amazing women on those very same debate boards, women whom I count among my very best friends. But these are not the women stirring the drama pot. I think of it like hanging out with other moms at the softball games. Some of them you chat with at the games, and they are friendly, and you share a few stories and a laugh or two and maybe even commiserate a bit and swap advice once in a while. But that's as far as it goes. But maybe there are one or two that share more than that. That you strike up a genuine friendship with. That are really there for you when you need them. Who see beyond the stories to the truth.

And if one of the first kind of gamebuddies goes from chatty to catty, you roll your eyes and wonder where she left her midol, and you shrug it off. Because she doesn't really know you at all. And if one of the second kind gets catty - well, that doesn't really happen, because that second kind is a friend. And the trick to the internet, like the trick to hanging out with the softball moms, is being able to tell the difference.


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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-06 01:17 pm (UTC)
How did you ever guess? ;0)

Actually, the expecting circles tend to be fairly low drama, unless you're unfortunate enough to have someone who fakes being pregnant and then of course fakes a miscarriage. I've always thought that was particularly cruel and the mark of a seriously twisted mind.

I enjoyed my expecting circle a lot, but eventually left when The Boy was a toddler because (and this is just my own personal lack of brainpower) no one ever referred to anyone by their screen name and I couldn't figure out who was who.
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[User Picture]From: causedujour
2006-11-06 02:36 pm (UTC)
You write entries as complete essays almost every time. No rambly long unorganized stuff out of you! When I grow up, I wanna be more like you (even if you have frizzy hair, when you're as pretty as you are, you're ALLOWED to have frizzy hair).
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2006-11-10 05:32 am (UTC)
Oh please. Your hair could run rings around mine with one hand tied behind it's back. If, you know, your hair had hands.

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[User Picture]From: aims814
2006-11-06 03:10 pm (UTC)
Message boards are not for those who are super-sensitive. The fact that you are able to laugh about it proves that you are NOT the negative things they have called you. You obviously have a healthy outlook on life. ROFL about how you handled the frizzy-haired comment. If that's the best she can do, she'll never survive the message board world.
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2006-11-10 05:34 am (UTC)
Yup, she was strictly amateur!!
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[User Picture]From: julzlady
2006-11-06 06:09 pm (UTC)
I keep thinking I should go back to the boards and hang out. But they don't like anything like they used to, and I get lost.

Also, I go, and then I forget to go back. I need a permanent link.
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2006-11-07 02:06 am (UTC)
It's not the same. None of the old gang is there any more. And the level of intelligent conversation is somewhat...diminished...compared to the old days. But that doesn't mean you wouldn't be a very welcome breath of fresh air!!
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-07 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thus why I am no longer on any of the boards. Frizzy Hair? You totally forgot the flying alone 3,000 posts debate....Misty
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-07 04:58 pm (UTC)
Excellent post!

The Queen Of Pointing Out The Obvious (aka Milli)

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