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Author Topic: Online Forum Decorum  (Read 470 times)

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Online justadude

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Online Forum Decorum
« on: September 17, 2019, 05:23:28 PM »
I think that online forums have the potential to bring a lot of value to one's life, but they rarely live up to that potential. I am a member of perhaps 100 online forums. Far and away most of them are automotive in nature. I am usually active on 2-3 at a time, depending on what my latest car project is. I'm also a member of some common interest FB groups, for example, one specific to my dog's breed.

I am fascinated by human nature when it comes to people giving advice online. When I ask a question online, I generally want information from people who have had experiences with things I am contemplating. What I often get is advice. "You should...". "If you do A, B will happen".  What fascinates me the most, I think, is that participants in a discussion seem to have such an interest in persuading the question asker. It seems to matter so much that they are able to get the person to think like they think, take their advice, believe what they believe, recognize the brilliance and superiority of the advice giver. And then there are the outright insults.

It's hard for me to imagine giving advice to someone I hardly know. Or giving advice to people I do know, for that matter. If I have had experiences that I think might be helpful to someone, I will share sometimes. But whether or not they act on the information I can offer is totally up to them and I can't see getting upset over them not adopting my point of view.

I think this is particularly evident when it comes to forums like this one. I think many members here struggle with their romantic relationships. I come here for information and the opportunity to bounce ideas off of other people with similar interests. Unfortunately that is often elusive. I still find RUA to be a valuable resource for information, however. Were that not the case I guess I wouldn't  visit, start and, occasionally, join conversations.

I have found the most civil discussions to occur on a handful of automotive sites. The two that come to mind are both centered around the same make of automobile. The third one is centered around a different make and genre of vehicle. Interestingly, there is a particularly caustic site that is in the same genre as the very civil one. Sadly, I would rank RUA among the least civil. And I would rank a general relationship forum I joined as nearly as bad. I ponder why people would be so vicious to each other when it comes to delicate subjects.

Part of my theory is that forums take on a tone based on their early and influential members. If early members are civil and capable of sharing information without assuming that others will/should have the same experiences, if early members are so interested in the topic that they want to share that interest with others in a friendly way, maybe it will tend to head in that direction. But if the forum heads off in a direction where people get fun out of belittling people with less knowledge than them, it is hard to change course.

Offline AvHdB

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 05:42:22 PM »
The problem or issue for RUA in my opinion is personalities. When I initially joined RUA, a long term member maintained I was intoxicated and did not understand English. What all too often occurs is we see only the poster. Than our assumptions are projected in the responses.

While I am not a big fan of the PM function one of the first messages I received was from a gentleman of Texas who wrote 'judge the post and not the poster'. Sadly this rarely happens, I can give hints that a more social approach is better but it often is only read by those who are blind. Trust me more than once I have been rather snarky. What happens and I have seen it numerous times the somewhat caustic and belittling replies drives away members or potential new members.

Yes there are posters who will argue what is the blackest black*, for myself I feel sorry for them sort of like watching a forum version of Pig Pen from the Peanuts. Those with knowledge can share there insights and hope it is read and understand. Hopefully long term members can create a more hospitable expeirence, but we often fall short.

* A. Kapor; The Indian/English artist holds the patent to the blackest black pigment. 
“If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” T.S. Eliot

Offline dcguyusa

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2019, 06:08:45 PM »
Quote
I ponder why people would be so vicious to each other when it comes to delicate subjects.

This goes back to "cave man" times.  The goal is to be "on top of the others".  That is how you place yourself above the crowd.  Empathy has nothing to do with this.  In fact, being too much of an empath makes one appear to be "weak".

I was on a computer security forum before I came here.  Just about everyone had a different take about how to make the computer secure (anti-virus, antispyware, firewall, sandbox, etc.) using varying suites of software.  Some companies programs were called "bloatware" while others swore by them.  Some people piled on multiple layers of protection and still asked, "Am I protected enough"?   :biggrin: :'( (:)  The debate kept going on and on especially as new members kept joining the forum.  There was always some kind of flaw reported on almost every software out there.   :chuckle:

Quote
If early members are civil and capable of sharing information without assuming that others will/should have the same experiences

I was in a chat room many years ago where people from many continents would come into chat.  It started very civil and friendly.  In less than a year, other newbies (young immature idiots) and other personalities came into the room and drove all of the chat members away.  It went from being never empty 24/7 to almost always empty after a year.   :duh:
An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

"Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd


Online andrewfi

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2019, 06:09:51 PM »
One of the benefits of a car forum is that if you mistreat a car nobody is hurt.
So, apart from criticism by those who respect cars, there's nothing personal.

[Off topic content removed]
...everything ends always well; if it’s still bad, then it’s not the end!

Online Guile

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2019, 07:35:08 PM »
well this forum now has about 7-8 active members most if not all of who are well over 50 and have partners/wives.  Meaning they haven't been in the dating game for years.  I don't even know who's been to Russia or Ukraine this year.

For a single guy looking for a FSU girl the game has changed due to the internet. Honestly you'd get more info if you join a FB group in the city that you want to go to and talk to expats there.

Unfortunately any newcomer here gets ripped apart after a post or 2 saying how they did everything wrong and blah blah....that Habeed guy comes to mind. 

Offline Manny

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2019, 12:34:02 AM »
Sadly, I would rank RUA among the least civil.

I find it swings in roundabouts.

But its chicken and egg. When people are rude or trolls abound, it puts others off contributing. But if other people did contribute more (as you do), then it breeds more reasonable discourse and dilutes the other stuff.

Online msmoby

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2019, 01:29:23 AM »

Sadly, I would rank RUA among the least civil.


I find it swings in roundabouts.

But its chicken and egg. When people are rude or trolls abound, it puts others off contributing. But if other people did contribute more (as you do), then it breeds more reasonable discourse and dilutes the other stuff.

Let's be honest, Manny

You have not discouraged behaviour you 'disapprove' of when the poster posts stuff that counters your viewpoint and posts stuff that questions same ..

In MY case I accept it is your sand-pit and the double standards simply amuse ..


Offline Confederate

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2019, 10:19:41 AM »
One of the benefits of a car forum is that if you mistreat a car nobody is hurt.
So, apart from criticism by those who respect cars, there's nothing personal.

[Off topic content removed]

This. 

I believe it’s rather obvious that jad likes and respects his inanimate mechanical cars far more than he respects a living breathing human being.

Should jad avail himself of a gfe with a professional then nobody would be getting hurt by his actions.
Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. P. J. O'Rourke

Online andrewfi

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2019, 10:36:28 AM »
Confederate, that was kinda what I was getting at. Yes. Some of the post got a little bit removed.

In the scale of things cars have much less effect on the emotions of those involved - unless it's after a Cars and Coffee in a Mustang that mows down pedestrians.
...everything ends always well; if it’s still bad, then it’s not the end!

Online justadude

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2019, 04:50:11 PM »
Some good insight here.

I ran my own automotive forum for a year and a half. I ran it on vbulletin, which was one of the better packages available at the time to my knowledge. I was the only moderator. As it turned out, I didn't have much to moderate, as I couldn't really get the thing off the ground. I think I had about 11 members maximum.

I could see it being difficult for moderators to strike a balance between allowing some helpful criticism and disagreement, which is normal to human discussion, and seeking to maintain a tone that is welcoming for new members and tends to keep members long term. If your moderation is too intrusive, members aren't going to post or will quit all together. If you don't moderate enough in some cases, you might lose new members.

I know I could do more to welcome new members. I don't think I've ever insulted another member, but I'll admit I am somewhat of an occasional poster who is active only when I have a need. I rarely read threads that I don't start, which is kind of selfish I suppose.   

I have gained some valuable knowledge from RUA that would have been nearly impossible to obtain elsewhere. I'm thankful for that.

Offline Manny

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Re: Online Forum Decorum
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2019, 04:00:09 PM »
I think you are the type of intelligent and articulate poster that we need moving forward.

Our members spoke out very loudly recently against one of our members who was trolling our community. I took care of the problem and curtailed that members negative input, but others haven’t really moved to fill the activity void.

That’s another chicken and egg situation.


 

 

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