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The psychology of forum and online dynamics

Mole

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Interesting point.
What do you think the gender distinction is allowing us to see?

I'm not the drinking water thing is necessarily an "inner/outer" dichotomy, however. It seems more reminiscent of the reality that two lovers can sit around and french-kiss for an hour right after dinner, yet if one asks the other to borrow their toothbrush, they'll screw up their face and say, "Yuck, that's disgusting -- use your own!" Context in some way is coming into play.

When we turn on a lightbulb, we get pure information.

And when we turn on a distinction such as boy/girl or inner/outer, we also get information.

So it is not so much 'what' a distinction allows us to see, but that it enables us to see.

Distinctions are our eyes, or a lightbulb in a dark room - we need both to see.

For we perceive by making distinctions.
 

Totenkindly

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When we turn on a lightbulb, we get pure information.

And when we turn on a distinction such as boy/girl or inner/outer, we also get information.

So it is not so much 'what' a distinction allows us to see, but that it enables us to see.

All right, that makes sense; thank you for clarifying.

And yes, I agree with you -- a LOT of information (whether accurate or no) is instantly unpacked with the flying of a simple gender marker. In this case, there is just a question of how much of the sight is illusory.

Flame wars because there is no "safe haven" or forced "time outs" like real life

I found that topical idea interesting.... although as someone who has been in a long marriage, I'm not sure real life has that much of a mandatory time out, I have been involved in my share of "sparring throughout the house" drag-out fights that last hours because one person will not allow the other to leave.

Besides this space issue that Geoff brings up, I think the distance and lack of investment in all facets of a personal relationship allows for people to fire any salvo they would like, without really fearing losing anything meaningful. They are shooting a faceless person, who more is just a representative of a particular idea than a person in his or her own right.
become "signifiers/signs" for certain ideas, rather than people, and to take out an idea, you take out a faceless nameless person.

And there is no culpability because you are anonymous.
 

Mole

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a LOT of information (whether accurate or no) is instantly unpacked with the flying of a simple gender marker. In this case, there is just a question of how much of the sight is illusory.

Part of the problem is that gender is surrounded by taboos. And when we break a taboo, we feel disgust, but it is politically incorrect to speak of our disgust.

And it is politically incorrect to observe taboos, in fact it is politically correct to break taboos. After all, what is more cool than transgression. In fact, modern art and marketing are based on transgression and the shock of the new.

But at the same time, it is not cool to speak of our disgust at breaking a social taboo. They have us coming and going, and so put us into a trance where we are susceptible to suggestion, such as buy, buy, buy.

So in speaking of gender we are forbidden to speak of our deepest feelings simply to keep the economy turning over.

It's called, Catch 22.
 

Totenkindly

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Part of the problem is that gender is surrounded by taboos. And when we break a taboo, we feel disgust, but it is politically incorrect to speak of our disgust.

And it is politically incorrect to observe taboos, in fact it is politically correct to break taboos. After all, what is more cool than transgression. In fact, modern art and marketing are based on transgression and the shock of the new.

True.

Although at the same time, note that the taboo is never attacked with the intent to disrupt the taboo. After all, if the taboo were destroyed, there would be nothing to react against. It's in people's best interest to attack taboos in ineffectual but extravagant ways, in order to cast themselves satisfyingly as rebels within the system.

(Hmmm.... I've seen some of that on this forum now that I think of it... attacking a particular institution -- a rule, an authority figure, etc -- but in a way that makes the most noise, does not really cost anything, nor has much chance to evoke any change... but the reality here is that change is not DESIRED, what is desired is merely a cultivated sense of importance and social recognition for being a naysayer and cultural maverick.)

But at the same time, it is not cool to speak of our disgust at breaking a social taboo. So in speaking of gender we are forbidden to speak of our deepest feelings. It's called, Catch 22.

you can say that again.

But the gender thing runs deep, since people do base on it who they can legitimately marry, who they can love, who their friends are, what their occupations should be, what their responsibilities to family are, so on and so forth... for whatever reason it is a BIG marker, and a challenge to gender often shakes some people's worlds.
 

Mole

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But the gender thing runs deep, since people do base on it who they can legitimately marry, who they can love, who their friends are, what their occupations should be, what their responsibilities to family are, so on and so forth... for whatever reason it is a BIG marker, and a challenge to gender often shakes some people's worlds.

Yes, it is a fundamental distinction, for it is the very first question they ask when we are born.
 

Totenkindly

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Yes, it is a fundamental distinction, for it is the very first question they ask when we are born.

Aside from, "Does (it) have all its fingers and toes?!" or "WHERE IS MY !@#&!^@#& EPIDURAL????"
 

Mole

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Although at the same time, note that the taboo is never attacked with the intent to disrupt the taboo. After all, if the taboo were destroyed, there would be nothing to react against. It's in people's best interest to attack taboos in ineffectual but extravagant ways, in order to cast themselves satisfyingly as rebels within the system.

(Hmmm.... I've seen some of that on this forum now that I think of it... attacking a particular institution -- a rule, an authority figure, etc -- but in a way that makes the most noise, does not really cost anything, nor has much chance to evoke any change... but the reality here is that change is not DESIRED, what is desired is merely a cultivated sense of importance and social recognition for being a naysayer and cultural maverick.)

Yes, a taboo works when it produces disgust at its transgression.

But today we are more inclined to talk in terms of cool/uncool rather then disgust.

Dare I say that to talk of disgust these days is just not cool.

But the boundaries of a taboo are policed by what is cool and what is not.

We like to think that in the modern world we are doing away with taboos. But we can no more throw away taboos than throw away our eyes.
 

Totenkindly

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Yes, a taboo works when it produces disgust at its transgression. But today we are more inclined to talk in terms of cool/uncool rather then disgust. Dare I say that to talk of disgust these days is just not cool.

True. Explicit "judgmentalism" is out and people are expected to be "open."

But of course we are not.

We just change cultural language to express our disgust in different words and behaviors, disguising it so the game can continue.

We like to think that in the modern world we are doing away with taboos. But we can no more throw away taboos than throw away our eyes.

The only thing that is really different between past and present cultures is the price and complexity of our toys.
 

Mole

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True. Explicit "judgmentalism" is out and people are expected to be "open."

But of course we are not.

We just change cultural language to express our disgust in different words and behaviors, disguising it so the game can continue.

The only thing that is really different between past and present cultures is the price and complexity of our toys.

We are a very young species. At most 200,000 years old. And 100,000 years ago we were down to just 5,000 of us. And 5,000 put us just on the edge of extinction. We almost joined the 90% of all species that have already become extinct.

So we we could say we are only 100,000 years old - less than the blink of an eye.

And yes, we are tool making animals with extraordinary tools like the Hubble space telescope looking back to the very beginning of time.

So we are newcomers who look back into the depths of time to discover what we might become.
 

Rainne

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Forums are awesome, you can be yourself, not be burdened by drawbacks, and do whatever you really want. (just don't make the mods mad :D)
 

spleen

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So nit safe. I have to delete half of my shit cuz Im gonna piss someone off or steal a thread or General Havoc everybody and destroy things. Itsnlike living in a room of glass. Instead of the normal plastic, flexible world. That could be a totally ignorant and dumb comment, but idc enough to think more on that comment, see how much Im writing? I talk real fast in normak life, so everything, like, these paragraphs sound like a sentence long, way less neurotic. I am Horrible in forums. I am horrible in life too though. But YEH, I, nevermind. Im just as bombastic as I am in regular life too. When shit is in writing, it just makes it all the more obvious, like, who you are, than what stuff you say, I mean, if youre a visual learner. Idk haha
 

spleen

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Like, you learn about yourself more on forums if youre one to talk a lot, and forget the conflicts youve caused in the outside world, I forget things that have happened like twenty minutes after it happens, cuz, I got shit to do, Im off my ass, you know. But, ill look at my last posts and be like 'Aaaah....wish I wouldve edited that a few thousands times overr...but it was like 3 am, or i felt like it was 3 am, who knows, when i wrote it or whatever. Thank God for editing. I wish i had editing in life, like, when i decided to go running in this 5 million acre forest place, with no abandon, then get lost, then hitch hiked...he was hot tho
 

ESFP

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I find forums to be extremely inconvenient. People think they can be pretentious and disrespectful. I'd prefer them to live out that trait in real life. Just because the majority is of your opinion, that doesn't mean you're right. I regret the absence of real life factors. If you don't know who's the person behind an account, you can't really understand their motivation. I think rational arguments aren't reliable at all. You always need emotions and experiences to be able to fully understand and judge something. If you only rely on rational arguments, that makes you very weak. That's because others do not. It is human nature not to be completely rational. So you need to talk about your emotions and experiences to actually discuss with people and make them understand and accept your position. The important thing is that you do it in an objective way. In my experience, people on forums are often unemotional, but at the same time they aren't objective. And they try to mask the difference between being unemotional and being objective. That means that most forums can't work as they would like to. Sadly, forums are not to be taken seriously. Simply because people have nothing to lose and write petty things to important topics. Fortunately, there's still the politicians who have something to lose and take those things more seriously.
 

deathwarmedup

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I've talked to quite a few people who I first met online (both IRC and voice - but I prefer IRC). There's only been one where there's been a mis-match between how they come across in posts and how they talk.

I've only had second hand reports from two pairs from another forum who met up IRL and in both cases they were introverts (INTPs) with a dominant, assertive online personality who proved to be the opposite IRL.
 

Patrick

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I was about to start a thread like this. Instead I'll just see if I can resurrect this one

How about a discussion on some of the interesting, and to an extent unique, concepts that hallmark the world of forum dynamics and populations? This thread is inspired by some interesting thoughts and discussion on Dana's blog....

Here's some thoughts... or initial aspects raised for discussion :

-Forums provide a unique opportunity to level the playing field

Many real life factors largely disappear in a forum situation. Age, looks, prior contacts/experience and real life social set. Gender is oddly persistent.. perhaps it is the ultimate distinguishing factor between people that is the last to disappear. So, with the exception of expressed (doesn't have to be real) gender, it is a level playing field.
Personally I don't like that aspect of online forums. I tend to give my real age, gender, and everything and hope everybody else does the same. It's weird to me when people don't; it seems sneaky or something. I like to know who I'm talking with.

-The forum is like a stage, but a safe one, with an unseen audience as well as an active one.
That's somewhat appealing. I like safe. I don't like the unseen audience, however; I wish everybody would be active and not just lurk.

People seem to see the forum life as one that includes the opportunity to play-test personae and actions. Some see it as themselves, but one freed from (some) social conventions. Whether we remain consciously aware of it or not, there is a large "read only" audience, who browse as guests. So, we become players on a stage. The audience is like the Oort cloud, floating way outside and around the solar system, but there nevertheless and in large numbers.
Yeah. Well, it's nice to have an audience. But if the audience doesn't respond, what's the point in performing? You get no feedback. Also, if it becomes clear that other performers are just play-acting when I'm trying to be myself and project who I am, it feels like I'm the only one who arrived at the masquerade party without a costume. But instead of blushing and feeling out of place, it seems to me everybody else is out of place. I wish they'd just drop the costumes and show their true faces.

An important aspect is the lack of privacy. While there are PMs, many normally private matters (private if outside of forum life) are there in the public domain. People can watch, almost voyeur, "private" discussions on emotionally charged aspects, in a public domain.. that we pretend is like a closed family group.
While I'm a private person, I've been on this planet for enough years to know that my thoughts and experiences aren't that much different from anyone else's. Everybody has a skeleton or two in the closet, and they're best left there usually. Aside from that, my approach is to just address the world and hope someone will respond (preferably in a favorable way). At least nine times out of ten, I'm ignored, it seems; and then the whole effort seems pointless.

-Tribalism
Like all social groupings, tribalism is rampant on forums. Cliques (perceived or real, the effect is largely the same), unofficial hierarchies, mating games... it is all there to be seen. In this aspect, the forum life is much like the real life one, but with the exception that this is transitory and not grounded in a real location. The breaking down of worldwide borders (with the exception usually of the prime language - often English) gives a unique opportunity to watch human interaction without the overlays of national identity. Or at least, to see how national identities, upbringings and culture clash, and counter clash in a large scale setting. This aspect is probably my favourite.
I see more of the "breaking down of ... borders" than division into "tribes." Since I can't see anyone's nationality or anything at first, I simply address a generic audience--I speak to people in general. I hope to hit upon something out of my own experience that resonates with everybody--or at least with somebody else.

-Growth and change
Forum life grows in scale, ebbs and flows... far more rapidly than the real world. People will state that they have (and this is a real quote from a mod at another site) been a moderator for a very very long time at a site - when this in fact is less than a year. Isn't that mind boggling?
To me it shows that there are so many options around that people with short attention spans bounce around restlessly and never get anywhere. I keep wishing a forum like this would stabilize and get more permanent. I've owned a Yahoo! discussion group since 2003, and some of the original members are still active there. They feel like old friends now. It disappoints me that that doesn't often happen elsewhere.

Secondly the dynamics, the wars, the relationships flow very rapidly.. becoming prehistory in mere months, and recent but near forgotten history in hours.
Again, to me that just shows that many people are flitting about restlessly and not taking anything very seriously.

For those who have experienced it a long time, there presents recognisable patterns to the ebb and flow, like a sea of humanity caught in the swell.
I guess. But my attention is always on individuals (myself and those I get into conversations with), and I really couldn't care less about the "sea of humanity."

-Typical personality type and a voice to the unspoken
Forum life tends on the whole to attract the least outspoken real world types. Extraverted sensors are replaced by introverted intuitives. That's odd and a bit scary..... often, people are able to gain a voice that in the real world is drowned by their demeanour and the way they are treated by their outgoing peers. This is a key factor in influencing the relationships on a forum. It colours every aspect of the life, and also.. the cause of its biggest "problem". Those who gain a voice, crave more, and attention seeking and validation run rife... Couple this with growth, when a found voice starts to disappear in a sea of new members, and that voice can turn to ever more extreme calls for attention... a reasonable human being becomes a troll!
:blush: Guilty as charged.

But I find introverted intuitives fascinating people to converse with, by and large. I'm sorry I don't get to encounter more of them IRL (though I married one, so there's that at least). So I'm glad to find so many of them in online forums (though I suspect many people mistype themselves as introverted intuitives). As long as they're saying something interesting and not just trying to get attention, it's great.

Ok.. that's enough for now. Plenty here to discuss, guys, and should be interesting. Here's some more headings we could flesh out..

-Flame wars because there is no "safe haven" or forced "time outs" like real life
Years ago I got ensnared in some of those. Took a while to learn how to deal with it. The "trick," to me, is simply honoring and respecting other individuals. If somebody posts trash, it's easy enough to ignore. If someone posts an opinion, simply agree or disagree politely; it's uncool (and unproductive) to try to change someone. But paying attention to others is always good: they like being heard, and I might learn something.

-Mods are not trained, or paid, or older, or need qualifications than members
I'm hardly ever aware of moderators. By the time one steps in, there's a train wreck in progress, and I'm probably someplace else.

I think it's good when regular members of a group volunteer to lead, or facilitate, a discussion. In fact, I expect anyone who starts a thread to do that. That way, others are encouraged to stay on topic and keep the discussion tied together. Unfortunately, some people are too long-winded, some are too domineering, some are too hands-off, and so on. Not everyone is good at leading group discussions.

-Communication format is text, which influences communication - different members view it as live vs correspondence
<sigh> Yeah, some people don't know how to write. Even those who do often get it wrong. I'm no exception: I tend to ramble, and I'd probably do well to preface all my posts with a "tl;dr" short version.

And with that, I'll stop. And we'll see if this thread bursts back to life or quickly fades into obscurity.
 

Frosty

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How about a discussion on some of the interesting, and to an extent unique, concepts that hallmark the world of forum dynamics and populations? This thread is inspired by some interesting thoughts and discussion on Dana's blog....

Here's some thoughts... or initial aspects raised for discussion :

-Forums provide a unique opportunity to level the playing field

Many real life factors largely disappear in a forum situation. Age, looks, prior contacts/experience and real life social set. Gender is oddly persistent.. perhaps it is the ultimate distinguishing factor between people that is the last to disappear. So, with the exception of expressed (doesn't have to be real) gender, it is a level playing field.

I actually generally do like this. It takes away from the aspects that do not really matter, anything that might be distracting, and bases everything on the merit of the content someone says. IRL, I might be intimidated(eh), to get into some of the more in depth discussions that I get into on this site. Real life speech moves so much faster than forum typing, and in real life if circumstances are not right, discussions might not get as far as anyone would like. Forum circumstances are pretty much always the same, and there is variety to rely on.

I don't generally broadcast my gender or age, age I do more so as a cheap get out of jail free card- but never if I am wanting to be taken seriously. So yeah, that depends on context or whether I deem age as relevant, decelopmentally, experientially, whatever. Much less likely to find much relevancy in gender unelss the topic I am participating is particular to it. Honeslty, my gender has been mistaken a few times on this site, and it is just sort of interesting to me, so usually I almost dislike to correct it. Makes me sort of wonder how people fill in the blanks that they commonly don't really have to, how these categories are determined.

-The forum is like a stage, but a safe one, with an unseen audience as well as an active one.

People seem to see the forum life as one that includes the opportunity to play-test personae and actions. Some see it as themselves, but one freed from (some) social conventions. Whether we remain consciously aware of it or not, there is a large "read only" audience, who browse as guests. So, we become players on a stage. The audience is like the Oort cloud, floating way outside and around the solar system, but there nevertheless and in large numbers.

An important aspect is the lack of privacy. While there are PMs, many normally private matters (private if outside of forum life) are there in the public domain. People can watch, almost voyeur, "private" discussions on emotionally charged aspects, in a public domain.. that we pretend is like a closed family group.

I can sort of distance myself away from the privacy thing, I don't know-doesn't really bother me. This is in part because, I have been reluctant to share really specific identifying aspects of myself, and in part because honestly I just don't really get embarassed that easily at all. If someone I know finds this site, reads my posts, and figures out they connect to me~well whatever, something to talk about, maybe I'll get them a bit interested in MBTI. Wouldn't be ideal, but it wouldn't be the end of the world either.But yeah, firstly I doubt that would happen-I have no recent pictures on here, I revealed my name but it is common, where I live is decently large, chances are slim, and secondly I don't really mind performing facelessly to a faceless audience-I think what you are saying is more sincere that way anyways.


But yes, I do PM quite often. Anything really leaning on private, or anything really personally in depth goes in one of those. I really really enjoy PMing. It is personalized with out being suffocating as it is still not in real time. Foruming and PMing serve similar but distinct purposes. Foruming is inderesting idea wise, while PMing... might be more individually focused? In depth that way?

-Tribalism

Like all social groupings, tribalism is rampant on forums. Cliques (perceived or real, the effect is largely the same), unofficial hierarchies, mating games... it is all there to be seen. In this aspect, the forum life is much like the real life one, but with the exception that this is transitory and not grounded in a real location. The breaking down of worldwide borders (with the exception usually of the prime language - often English) gives a unique opportunity to watch human interaction without the overlays of national identity. Or at least, to see how national identities, upbringings and culture clash, and counter clash in a large scale setting. This aspect is probably my favourite.


Yeah I like this aspect. Actually especially seeing the personaility types involved with who connects with who. I have noticed with myself that I am generally easiest able to relate with IXXP's. Most of the people on the forum who I talk to the most frequently are IXXP's-then probably IXXJ's and EXXP's. This might be a numbers thing too though. I see similar things with other groups, IXXJ's often together. Different things/modes of communication used within groups to go through a similarly connected array of topics sort of unique to their styles. The groups are just interesting, and again yes I enjoy the barriers/the demographic differences. Shows how sort of personaility and mind trumps all. Lets you really get to know someone, see everything they might be thinking, almost like a puzzle. And I just like the people usually.

-Growth and change

Forum life grows in scale, ebbs and flows... far more rapidly than the real world. People will state that they have (and this is a real quote from a mod at another site) been a moderator for a very very long time at a site - when this in fact is less than a year. Isn't that mind boggling?

Secondly the dynamics, the wars, the relationships flow very rapidly.. becoming prehistory in mere months, and recent but near forgotten history in hours.

For those who have experienced it a long time, there presents recognisable patterns to the ebb and flow, like a sea of humanity caught in the swell.

Yeah, things change really rapidly. With this being a fairly verbally intensive and more of a heavier topic site-so many things are said-deep set things-that there are bound to be disagreements, relationships, fights, positive interactions, everything. Things are both eaisier and harder to interpret online. You might get more honesty, but have less stimuli to base it on. Tone is lost, inflection, all of that. But yes, generally so much is said and so many people are there to see it, that life does move faster- people are more intensified, as I said they share more than they generally would be prone to-and yeah people are just fledged out more quickly.

-Typical personality type and a voice to the unspoken

Forum life tends on the whole to attract the least outspoken real world types. Extraverted sensors are replaced by introverted intuitives. That's odd and a bit scary..... often, people are able to gain a voice that in the real world is drowned by their demeanour and the way they are treated by their outgoing peers. This is a key factor in influencing the relationships on a forum. It colours every aspect of the life, and also.. the cause of its biggest "problem". Those who gain a voice, crave more, and attention seeking and validation run rife... Couple this with growth, when a found voice starts to disappear in a sea of new members, and that voice can turn to ever more extreme calls for attention... a reasonable human being becomes a troll!

Yeah this is interesting as well. It sort of becomes an-is this person really being a troll, off topic, whatever, or is it just their personality(especially if a minority on this forum) conflicting with that onf the masses. Where and when is that taken into account. An extroverted sensor might want to participate in a topic that is heavily viewed as 'intuitive', but their contributions might be considered off base-even off topic- if they are too far away from what is interpreted as the original meaning. Dunno about this one.

Ok.. that's enough for now. Plenty here to discuss, guys, and should be interesting. Here's some more headings we could flesh out..

-Flame wars because there is no "safe haven" or forced "time outs" like real life

Bannings?

-Mods are not trained, or paid, or older, or need qualifications than members

Don't know much about this. Know that they are not paid, but I would think there might be a minimal amount of 'training'. And qualifications are probably determined not on a real world basis, but what has been shown online. But yeah, know little about this.

-Communication format is text, which influences communication - different members view it as live vs correspondence

Yep.
 

Patrick

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FWIW, the one thing that bothers me most about online forums (including this one) is that there are no prerequisites and few ground rules. Because of that, all kinds of people happen by, and I have zero interest in interacting with most kinds. Just off the top of my head, the categories might be something like this:

Regular, balanced, intelligent, polite, and interesting people. Luckily there are enough of these to keep me hanging around; and I hope I count as one of them--at least sometimes.

Ignorant adolescents mouthing off. Way too many of these, IMO, especially here and in PerC. Usually I can just ignore them and move on, but every now and then one of them says something that gets my goat, and I make the mistake of reacting.

Intelligent, well-read people who post messages as if they're writing a dissertation piecemeal. I get long-winded myself sometimes, so I can forgive that. But it can be painful to be bombarded with information and ideas that need to be sifted and simplified.

Mentally unbalanced people who've turned to personality typing instead of therapy. Can be kinda scary. I hope they find the help they need, but at the same time I'm put off because this ain't the place for what they need to deal with.

Isolated minds seeking one-way communication. E.g., "I know this forum is set up for discussion of recognized personality-typing systems, but I've created my own system which is vastly superior to all others, and I'm here to tell everyone about it." A common variation is, "Yes, yes--I know what all those misguided theorists say about Enneagram types. Now let me tell you how the system really works. I know because my mind tells me so. Pay attention, and I'll enlighten you."

<sigh> It's just the tired, old story of the Internet, I guess. High noise-to-information ratio.
 

Hawthorne

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Extremely interesting thread. Glad it was revived before I got here.

-Forums provide a unique opportunity to level the playing field

Many real life factors largely disappear in a forum situation. Age, looks, prior contacts/experience and real life social set. Gender is oddly persistent.. perhaps it is the ultimate distinguishing factor between people that is the last to disappear. So, with the exception of expressed (doesn't have to be real) gender, it is a level playing field.

I have deliberately utilized this exact quirk in the past to get a broader range of responses on my thoughts and ideas. Seeing the exact same people respond differently from presentation alone was something of an eye-opener for me. Extending this beyond demographics and to general impressions, I have consistently been told that I come off as standoffish and "blank" but once getting to know me I was more open and engaging than they expected. Being online allows me more control over that initial impression which I've found to be both useful and somewhat fun.

-The forum is like a stage, but a safe one, with an unseen audience as well as an active one.

People seem to see the forum life as one that includes the opportunity to play-test personae and actions. Some see it as themselves, but one freed from (some) social conventions. Whether we remain consciously aware of it or not, there is a large "read only" audience, who browse as guests. So, we become players on a stage. The audience is like the Oort cloud, floating way outside and around the solar system, but there nevertheless and in large numbers.

Even so, I feel forums afford a level of anonymity that is surprisingly comforting. I like the amount of honesty you get from it. I am often irritated by how much people self-edit themselves - myself included - but unlike IRL, I feel like forums are less permanent so if I unfilter too much and feel too exposed, I can always leave and it can't be traced back to me. Holy run-on sentence.

-Tribalism

Like all social groupings, tribalism is rampant on forums. Cliques (perceived or real, the effect is largely the same), unofficial hierarchies, mating games... it is all there to be seen. In this aspect, the forum life is much like the real life one, but with the exception that this is transitory and not grounded in a real location. The breaking down of worldwide borders (with the exception usually of the prime language - often English) gives a unique opportunity to watch human interaction without the overlays of national identity. Or at least, to see how national identities, upbringings and culture clash, and counter clash in a large scale setting. This aspect is probably my favourite.

Reading through other people's responses to this was fascinating. I have never taken the time to learn the social hierarchy of forums and this realm of politic was largely unknown to me.

-Typical personality type and a voice to the unspoken

Forum life tends on the whole to attract the least outspoken real world types. Extraverted sensors are replaced by introverted intuitives. That's odd and a bit scary..... often, people are able to gain a voice that in the real world is drowned by their demeanour and the way they are treated by their outgoing peers. This is a key factor in influencing the relationships on a forum. It colours every aspect of the life, and also.. the cause of its biggest "problem". Those who gain a voice, crave more, and attention seeking and validation run rife... Couple this with growth, when a found voice starts to disappear in a sea of new members, and that voice can turn to ever more extreme calls for attention... a reasonable human being becomes a troll!e

I'm (more likely than not) an ENTP by functions but behaviorally, I am reserved around people I haven't connected with. I think that the personality I present online is closer to my unfiltered personality. Typically I'm very apathetic but once I've keyed into someone or something interesting I become stereotypical extroverted and more likely to say and do things for reactions and information. Still, no matter how close I get to someone online, I would have to get used to their physical presence and mannerisms before I open up to them the same way in person. I doubt I'm alone in that regard.
 

Zangetshumody

New member
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
457
MBTI Type
INTJ
Isolated minds seeking one-way communication. E.g., "I know this forum is set up for discussion of recognized personality-typing systems, but I've created my own system which is vastly superior to all others, and I'm here to tell everyone about it." A common variation is, "Yes, yes--I know what all those misguided theorists say about Enneagram types. Now let me tell you how the system really works. I know because my mind tells me so. Pay attention, and I'll enlighten you."

You got me down pat :)
 
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