April 3, 2005

Message Board Behavior

Since the inception board of the Internet, bulletin board services (BBS, informally known as bulletin boards, and web forums.) have been an integral part of the World Wide Web. This basically allows people to interact with anyone anywhere. Along with email, message boards are one of the driving forces of the Internet.

And with the popularity of message boards, net etiquette (or netiquette), was instituted to lessen unruly and inappropriate behavior. Even the way you type words can mean something. When you type in ALL CAPS, it means you are shouting. Smileys developed as web users expressed emotions. Typing in txt lingo makes you look stupid.

With message boards, people can be entirely new persons. With the perception that you can be anonymous on the Net, you can rant and rave all you can. Sometimes, your web persona can be the complete opposite of what a person really is.

One of the primary purposes of message boards is interaction between members. And with different subforums dividing the universe of topics (such as Television, Politics and Sports), members can post (as in a bulletin board) threads (topics), where other members can reply. Occasionally, there are “off-topic” posts, instances where the reply has no connection with the thread. In this instance, moderators (abbreviated as “mods”) and administrators (the “admins”) can reprimand and even sometimes ban (remove permanently) the erring member.

And it is not just off-topic posts that add color to a message board. On a sensitive topic, discussions can get too heated for everyone’s comfort. This leads to posters attacking another member, because either he disagrees with the opinions of the member (legally called as ad hominem), or that member has nothing else to do (this event often called a flamewar).

It is perfectly legal and moral to disagree with a member, as long the poster presents his opinion and attacks the opinions, via presenting logical arguments that refutes the argument of the original poster. However, some members are really hardheaded and can’t understand basic netiquette. These posters attack the member, saying that the original poster is an idiot and is a loser, throwing away the arguments of the original poster. This often leads to flamewars where the original poster replies with the second poster’s “flamebait” (originally came from jailbait). This would lead to their posts from being off-topic, and on some occasions, the whole thread would be locked (where posters can’t reply to the thread anymore).

Attacking a person whom disagrees with you, and not that person’s arguments would lead to enemies, instead of the original purpose of message boards to gain more friends. And stirring up trouble online would ultimately lead to worse events offline. And it is better to help in making your message board safer and an enjoyable space in the World Wide Web.

And with that, happy posting!

Visit these great message boards: USTExchange, Manila Tonight, Pinoy TV Central

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