With our London Presence hat on we recently posted on a rather well known business forum a thread asking, “What do you love about London?” The answers were going to make up a (rather lazy) blog in regards to what is great about our capital.
Ten minutes after starting the thread I hesitantly checked up on the forum expecting a few cynical replies centring around “do your own blog”. Instead I’d received a deluge of posts from forum members letting me know in no uncertain terms exactly what they thought of London. Let’s just say the response was far from positive. Fortunately the thread became rather entertaining as Londoners came on to defend their fair city.
Perhaps it is an obvious question, but why do Internet users, or more specifically forum users feel they can act in a manner totally not suited to everyday “real” life? I took no offence at London being judged so scathingly; it’s a city, not a person. But why did people see fit to tell me why they hated London so much?
This unpleasant attitude is consistent with every active forum out there. If you visit a rock bands website and ask for an album recommendation you’ll first be lambasted for your ignorance and then shoved towards the search function. If you go to a technology forum and ask for some advice on what TV to buy you’ll be told to buy a toaster instead.
You wouldn’t tell someone to use a map if they ask for directions or ridicule someone for requesting a piece of advice, why then is common courtesy abandoned once online? Forum members use their total number of posts (proudly displayed next to their witty avatar) as a badge of honour belittling “newbies” and anyone else who has not exceeded the 4000 post mark.
Surely if you can’t write something nice, then don’t write anything at all.