April 28, 2010

Types of people you will meet on Diabetes Forums

This topic is just for fun and done to lighten the mood before going back to more serious matters about diabetes.

There are many different types of people on forums and discussion boards. You may not need to know them, but you need to recognize that they exist and you will encounter them if you participate in a forum or discussion board. Moderators (or those chosen by the administrator or forum owner to keep the forum on the straight and narrow) are not included.

Type 1. The first responder – No, not the people who come with the emergency rescue vehicles. They are people that have to always be the first to respond to any new post. They will not say much to make sure they are first. I consider what they say as spam, no content and done just to raise their post count. They will lurk on a forum to ensure they are the first to answer. Some forums ban these people or delete their useless posts. I sincerely wish that post count was not a part of any forum.

Type 2. The self-promoter - For lack of any other term, this person is a self-promoter. Wants people to think that they know everything and should be the one consulted. Always has something to promote, a product, a survey, or just his own knowledge. When put to the test, they will not respond. These people are also known as hijackers because they will do this anywhere and to anyone.

Type 3. The preacher – This person will use any excuse to change the discussion to his favorite topic and then proceed to pronounce his judgment for all to read. The preacher and the expert are sometimes lumped together, but should not be as the preacher always has a ready and lengthy response for any argument. They can be like the expert when talking down to people.

Type 4. The expert – These people talk down to the rest of the posters. Also known as the smugly superior, they often have some excellent suggestions and points that are on target, but they are hard to follow. If you offer something that is not their position, you will be corrected back to their position. They will use quotes and cite references in a long essay to prove their points. They seldom use an original thought of their own. Often these people are the purveyors of low carb way of eating and/or supplements that have little known or questionable benefits. Although low carb is a popular and useful topic, the preacher and the expert diminish the value with their long winded arguments. On the topic of low carb, the preacher is the worse of the two in his pronouncements.

Type 5. The antagonizer - The can’t let it go person will pick a point to make a stand on and anyone who dares disagree, will probably be flamed on, called out, or just downright disrespected. They sometimes seem to agree with everyone until they are ready to make their stand. These people are difficult to avoid and they tend to drive the good people from the forum.

Type 6. The moderator – This self-appointed person sits on a forum and if anyone happens to open a topic that was covered anytime in the past, you will be sure to hear about it with appropriate link and comment about doing your research. If you dare stray off in a topic, they will be right there to remind you what the topic is about and if you are new to the forum, you can count on being properly chastised and put in your place.

Type 7. The peacekeeper - Another long-standing character common to forums is the peacekeeper. This person has been a regular at a particular site as long as the proprietor, but his goal as a participant has somehow devolved from saying something interesting to keeping the peace--and he has no problem peppering every thread with his efforts to intervene.

Though the peacekeeper's intentions are good, his actions end up clogging the forum with pages of useless and often long-winded discussions of propriety that are every bit as annoying as the attacks themselves. Worse, unlike the antagonizer's antics, the Peacekeeper's contributions can be virtually impossible to silence, even if you are the site's administrator. After all, how do you tactfully tell someone to stop pacifying?

Type 8. The smarty-pants (know-it-all’s) - If the peacekeeper is on a search-and-destroy mission against offensive content, the Smarty Pants' goal is to find and expose inaccuracies--no matter how insignificant--solely as a means to demonstrate intellectual superiority. A Smarty-Pants constantly runs a fine-toothed comb through both a site's posts in search of nits to pick, factual errors, grammatical errors, typos--it does not matter. The instant he finds one, pounces on the offending poster, telling all about the error and how not to make them. Some of these hair-splitters will spend their days doing the spadework necessary to prove a minor mistake in someone else's words. The most obnoxious--and yet most grimly satisfying--kind of smarty-pants, though, is the one who bases his corrections on his own "infallible" knowledge base.

Type 9. The drama queen/king – This person is maybe known as the too much information person as they lay out the situation in extreme detail with as much drama as they can. They expect everyone too agree with enthusiasm and can’t handle any disagreement. Look out when the moderator, the peacekeeper, and the smarty-pants come to this person’s defense. This combination can divide a good forum.

Type 10. The troll – conspiracy theorist or alarmist. They exist on every forum. Always post about something that is troubling and sees it as his duty to awaken everyone to a problem and draw their sympathy. Their favorite comeback if challenged is how can you allow this to go on, can you not accept progress, or the facts are on my side.

Type 11. Signature hound – This person has to detail every reading, one reading per single line and goes for the maximum – never heard of tables or condensing. A real pain for readers to scroll past his page of signature items to get to the next post. Fortunately, some forums have clamped down on these people, either by limitation of characters allowed or by editing out.

Type 12. The one time poster – These people are the problem of many forums and diabetes forums are no exception. They think they want to participate, but when they actually post, they never return. Or, when they do not get the answer or sympathy they were expecting, never post again. And most forums keep them as members to keep the member count inflated for advertising purposes.

Type 13. The needy – The people that have posted that are crying out for help. They do not always know how to express themselves, but the sincere cry for help is there. That they are often ignored is sometimes the shame of some forums.

Type 14. The contributor – These people are for real. Normally they are on target and offer valuable advice and positive contributions to real problems. On most diabetes forums, these are the valuable participants. Sometimes they are actually under appreciated.

They are often under attack by the preacher, the expert, the antagonizer, and the smarty-pants. They are often defended by the moderator and the peacekeeper.

Type 15. The advertiser – The pain of every forum. Most forums do an excellent job of removing them shortly after posting. They do not read the rules and if they even care, they will ignore the rules as their only mission is to advertise a product and make sales. Generally, they will come back and do more posting until their site address is banned or until the forum puts an approval in place for each first post or first few posts.

Yes, there are other terms for some of the types above. There are also some types that have been left out on purpose as I do not wish to acknowledge these persons. Some forums are excellent in minimizing the efforts of the worst offenders.

There are times when it is enjoyable watching some of these types at work and other times when they grate on our nerves.

Other types: The below types can be part of any of the above types except types 11, 12, 13, and 15.

Too little information person.





The last four can make for interesting discussions and sometimes be beneficial members.

If you have types you would like mentioned, let me know.

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