I have been enjoying discussions in the forum threads for the most part since I started participating about a year after I joined the site. I wrote a blog similar to this a while back when someone started a thread with a rather blanket statement at which I personally took offense. Since then, when someone puts forth an idea or asks a question, or makes a blanket statement about something, I'm familiar enough with the personalities involved after reading their contributions in most cases for well over a year, to either want to engage in a dialogue with them, tell them politely they are an idiot (not in those words, of course) or just ignore them completely so they will hopefully shut up and go away.
Please note - I'm not being sarcastic in this particular blog post. I'm not irritated, offended angry, frustrated or anything else. A lot has been written lately in the discussion threads about how we cannot read body language or see facial expressions or hear vocal inflections in someone's typed comment, so I just want to make it clear to anyone who reads this blog they should take it as intended - that is a light-hearted and amused look at personality types and the way they come across in the social areas here. Also, when I use the pronoun "he" it's meant in the generic sense, only because we have no neuter pronouns in English. There are women who fall into these categories as well. I also know there are well-known categories of web personalities - these are just my take on those I have encountered lately.
The "Normal" Contributor
This type of poster may start a thread asking for advice or posting a somewhat abstract question asking for a lively and/or serious debate, and responds to each contributor, even the insulting ones, with humor, reason and restraint in order to keep the thread on topic and to not let it turn into a free-for-all allowing the not-so-restrained personalities to take over and turn the thread into a food fight.
This person comes into a thread just to argue. He generally doesn't stick strictly to the narrow parameters of the topic as originally posted but feels he has to expand the discussion beyond the scope of what was put forward and he makes "pronouncements" about how things should be without any phrasing such as "in my opinion" or as I see it in response to any counter arguments or opinions stated. This personality often repeats the same statements 20 different ways throughout a discussion thread to the point where the rest of us are finally rolling our eyes and wanting to tell this person You really do love to hear your own voice, don’t you? Why don’t you just go bake some cookies or something? this poster joins in almost every thread, even if its a subject he knows nothing about just to hear himself type - so to speak.
The Wise but unintentionally (or perhaps sub-consciously) Condescending poster
There are those here who have many years experience at the subject being discussed and can make substantive contributions to said subject, but cannot help but introduce the subtle put-down into their statements directed at one of the other contributors such as you’ll realize after you do such-and-such for as long as I have that you’re wrong about what you just stated - often stating this without having any idea at all how much experience the person they are speaking to has in the area in question. Ive had people do this to me personally, and I love to come back with Ive been doing such-and-such for over 40 years, and I DO know what Im talking about, (thank you very much). Some of these people also make pronouncements that other people do not know how hard what they do is, when any of us in any discipline know NOTHING is easy, simply by the fact that we’ve lived. Theres no need to keep telling people over and over you’ve walked on hot coals and suffered greatly to get to where you are, just to negate someone else’s statement and to imply the other persons contribution to the thread doesn’t matter because they don’t have the exact same life experiences. This type of poster perhaps does set me off a little more than some of the others, because unlike the "blowhard", who can be easily identified, this poster, in the attempt to appear humble, shows subtle contempt for others and/or the need for acknowledgement in his/her accomplishments and is not humble at all despite protests to the contrary, and is clearly patronizing even if it is a subconscious behavior on their part.
The Intellectual but Ineffectual Writer
I haven’t seen this type too much lately, but there have been those contributors who come across like self-perceived intellectuals with run-on sentences that are hard for anyone to read no matter their level of schooling, some containing grammatical errors making their entire post read like Lewis Carols Jabberwocky. Most of the time, whatever point they are trying to make gets lost in the attempted complexity of their sentence structure and a mass of unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, and this persons post just disrupts and slows down the rest of the thread while the rest of us stop to try and figure out what the heck they are trying to say.
The Tongue in Cheek One Line Contributors
I like these guys. They can smell out BS quicker than most people here and know when to throw in that one-line zinger that generally wont get them banned from the forum, but is their way of saying to the previous poster you have got to be kidding me - do you really expect the rest of us to take that seriously? I often wish I had thought of what these guys have just said that so aptly tells the original poster they are being an A-hole.
These are people who come into the threads only to complain about how lousy the site is because they haven’t sold anything or there is an aspect of the site they think should be changed and they go on a rant about how inconvenient this or that is and they don’t understand why it was set up that way finally stating that they are taking their toys and going home. Im personally kind of amused at these people and Im also glad I don’t live with one of them because they sound like that personality type that complains about EVERYTHING. It's ok to point out a bug or a feature that is not working as intended, but some people take these things waaay to seriously. Theres also a category of whiner who takes offense at perfectly innocently posted contributions of other members and reads personal insults into a post and reacts almost violently. (Im not talking about reacting to the wise but condescending poster type - thats different). I was the recipient of one such attack a long time ago to what I thought was a reasonable and non-judgmental statement. I quickly apologized in that case, but Ive since come to realize you really cant avoid insulting this type of person. This type of person hears you say Good morning and reacts by asking What do you mean by that??.
There are a few other types of contributors here, but for the most part (and in my humble opinion - smile, wink), the posters who I consider to have some mild to extreme personal issues fall into one of these categories that are not the normal contributor category. Im sure anyone reading this could probably come up with a few more.
Thanks, guys. You may irritate me, you may insult me, you may put me down, you may disparage my work and you may disagree with me, but you certainly also keep me entertained.