Survival.., you are pondering on the essence of what makes (or breaks) the heart of a forum board like this one: Common Sense and Trust (ergo Truth).
Those are the key components in every discussion.
Someone can use Common Sense but may not be trusted for one bit, sometimes the reverse goes as well..
The problem lies in the fact that a forum board is not really up close and personal, you are not discussing some issue or subject with other people
around a table, face-to-face. And therein lays the second convenient factor: Anonymity. Depending on how you setup your profile a forum board member
can be pretty anonymous.
As much as I like Common Sense in a discussion/conversation I realize that the Truth of the matter is the more important of the two. Truth is a human
concept, a perception. Truth can be factual, or it can be a discussed, approved consensus between people.
Even if a subject is approached Truthfully it may not reach the conclusion of being an actual factual Truth. When a person reaches a conclusion
(Truth) on a factual and reasonable (rational) basis, for me she/he is Truthful about the subject.
Reasons why people would not be Truthful are easy enough to distinguish:
- Mood: people can be moody, some more than often, it can be a natural factor, a medical one, an irrational urge for revenge (someone didn’t like
your article) ..or vindication.
- Ego and insecurity, ideology: people can distort the facts, lie for no more reason than their ego (It may sometimes belong in the mood-area,
sometimes not), just lie because you can. The second motive, they misrepresent facts, lie because they have an ideology, they cannot handle the Truth
(sorry Jack N.
) , they assume they must be right (and perhaps one is) and all others got it wrong (they may be).
- Purposely (non-ego) : this is the most calculated one. I would make 2 distinctions here: it’s either people using the forum board for their own
research into psychological factors (hired or not) , or its people that are hired to incept false concepts, feed disinformation and worse, disrupt
threads and the forum society as a whole.
As an example I would just point to an article about HBGary Federal software for administering fake social media friends (
Fake social Media Friends
), if memory
serves this has been discussed here on ATS some time ago.
There may be other groups but I hope I summed up the most important ones. Would these factors be different in a face-to-face conversation/discussion ?
I’m sure they would.
In conversation things sound and feel very different, harsh words can be said but taken back later. People act more intuitive talking in person; they
may be less inclined to insult someone.
I have a feeling, I’m sure some of you have thought about this earlier that the written word sounds more harsh, more definitive, more … lets say
… final and is much harder to recant.
When we have the same discussion group for years we would get to know each other pretty well, some more than others. And this is a third factor,
people tend to circulate in and out of forums over the years, from a lot of them we cannot be even sure they are someone else or just the same person
using a different handle, Ip-address, approach (anonymity).
Sure there would be the same casual moody person (we know how to circumvent that behavior because we know her/him personally), certainly a die hard
ideologist will not ever change his/her mind (everyone is entitled to an opinion, a mindset).
The third kind of people (Purposely) would be the one that’s the hardest to identify and therefore has the best chance to survive in a group.
If they have the skills to survive in an open, face-to-face discussion group for years (and there is plenty information around about people
infiltrating all sort of groups for years and years without their cover being ..err..blown/debunked ;-) ) how would they fare on a forum board where
anonymity is almost fully guaranteed ?
The forum board is here and it’s a good thing, people can discuss, exchange information and ideas and try to form a consensus on certain issues. Or
agree to disagree ;-) .
I believe that the OP has touched on an excellent phenomenon that in the end will determine the survival of a society like the one of ATS, ‘Pics or
it didn’t happen’.