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post #35 of Old 01-15-2013
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Re: Are we elitists?

I am relatively new to this forum. Overall, I don't think this forum is unfriendly.

A common problem with internet forums and email is the inability of readers to sense lighthearted jest rather than malicious sarcasm since the benefit of tone of voice and body language of the author are absent. Anyone who gets offended is then belittled as thin-skinned. But some posters are simply snarky bullies and their sarcasm is not gentle teasing lost in translation. I think forums, as with most social situations, would benefit from the Thumper Rule: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. But some people are just curmudgeons and have to piss on everyone else's fun. I'd be sad for them, but I'm too busy living my life.

I joined this forum in part because some other forums (which shall remain nameless...but are probably easy to discern) are overwhelmed by snarky armchair sailors who flame most anyone who dares ask a question. Apparently, the very asking is itself evidence one is either an ignorant newbie, failed to research the issue sufficiently, is lazy, or some combination thereof. They are sometimes correct, but often not. I generally just don't bother asking any questions, though I have many. I'll lurk, read my books by Nigel Calder and others, and ask friends in person. (I do HAVE to get to 10 posts here, though, so that I can see links in peoples' signatures, etc...)

In reading a thread I prefer to just read each poster's personal recommendation/opinion/experience and weigh them myself rather than read a back-and-forth about why one poster is wrong or one's own view is superior. (I also tend to just skip over the posts written entirely in pirate; sorry.) A thread here on how to get started with fiberglass included a lot of chatter about the price of epoxy here versus there and who didn't do their math right. No one gets any "points" for being right or showing someone else up (or do they? did I miss that?! I want points!), but it makes threads far lengthier and IMO less useful. In contrast, a thread on 2012 costs for cruising the Caribbean had many differing opinions and experiences without a "you're wrong, I'm right" tiff developing, and gently gave some needed constructive criticism to the OP about the need for more detail in their query.

I fully appreciate the scorn for folks who post "Hey, I want to live aboard and sail around the world. Please tell me what boat to buy and provide a list of needed equipment." The person may be a lazy jerk trying to make folks here do his research for him, or he may just be too green to know he's asked an annoying question. Being a peaceable type, I'd just ignore the post or perhaps be kind enough to provide a couple links to useful books to get started. Others might flame him. I don't know which is right or wrong, but I'd rather be in a forum where folks err to the side of being kind and giving the benefit of the doubt.

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