So yesterday, my favorite writer’s forum was down for a bit. I love Absolute Write’s Water Cooler. It’s a large community of writers and readers who are happy to let you bounce ideas off of them or help you with grammar issues. There are writers there who are well established, and writers who are just starting out. Like any on-line forum, members run the gamut from newbies to seasoned veterans.
While the website was down, I went googling to see if I could get any info on why it was down.
Wombat on a pogo stick, are there some websites out there that hate AW. I saw a couple sites that proposed to be agencies against cyber bullying or review blogs. The sites in question all encouraged readers to post their own opinions about AW. The opinions I read had one thing in common. They were all completely negative and often had flame statements.
“What’s a flame statement?” You seem to ask.
Say that you disagree with something that Graf McGoofypants has posted.
Graf McGoofypants: If you study the statistics, you can see that 98% of rabid wombats have been in contact with a pine tree in their vicinity, so I conclude that pine trees cause wombats to turn rabid.
Non-flame response: Graf, I have to disagree. Statistics do not necessarily prove causation. Science has proven that rabies in wombats is due to a virus passed through biting. Here are some studies that show this. Besides, the last incident of wombat rabies recorded was over 200 years ago. Rabies in wombats seems to have been eradicated.
Flaming response: Well, Graf, you’re just an idiot. You’re such an idiot that I bet you have a degree in idiocy. And I saw that picture of your wife on your blog, boy do I feel sorry for you!
As you can see, a proper post disagrees with the content of the post it is responding to. A flame personally attacks the poster.
These same websites that had only negative statements about AW, the ones that proposed to be against cyber bullying, were making personal attacks as much as they were airing actual grievances. They were saying they were against cyber bullying, but using cyber bullying techniques to make their point.
You know what I think of these websites?
Fake. Fake, fake, fake.
When’s the last time you went to a non-fake review site and saw either nothing but positive reviews or nothing but negative? I’d say right about never.
Why would these websites exist? Who has so much time on their hands that they would go to such lengths to discredit what seems to be your average online forum, full of the blessings and curses of all such groups?
This much cyber hate is way beyond what your average citizen is willing to go to because they didn’t like something that happened on a forum. My best guess? Money. It always comes down to money. This is pure conjecture on my part, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. AW has a section in its forum that I have found very helpful. It’s called Bewares, Recommendations, and Background Checks. This is a great place to go to see if that agency you are thinking about querying is on the up and up, or is a scam artist, making their money from their clients instead of making money for their clients. All members can post here, and tell the forum their experiences. Specific scammers are pointed out, so that innocent folks don’t fall for the scam. It is much like another website I think well of called Predators and Editors.
I imagine this makes the scammers really mad.
Me, I like AW. I encourage you to go check it out. Certainly it’s not perfect. It has the same pitfalls as any online forum. You can get advice there that is iffy, or plain wrong, based on the experience of the member responding. That’s what an online forum is. It’s a collection of enthusiasts of varying involvement and skill level.
The mods may sometimes be quick to lock a thread if they think it’s heading into flame land. I can appreciate that. While they may, at times, lock a thread too soon, I am happy to enjoy threads sans flamewars. Mods are human, they make mistakes. I’d rather they err on the side of overprotecting than under.
There are cliques there. Of course there are. Show me one online group of people where there isn’t, and I’ll show you how pine trees cause rabies in wombats. To me, the cliques are fairly unobtrusive. I’ve been posting there on and off for a couple of years, and neither cliques, locked threads, or flames have bothered me. I enjoy posting there, and I find it a very useful resource.
In conclusion, I recommend Absolute Write’s Water Cooler. I suggest you go check it out if you are looking for an online forum full of writers to play with. Ignore the fake websites and the haters. Check it out for yourself. Draw your own conclusions.
If my blog suddenly disappears, or gets hacked, or gets a bunch of comments saying what a horrible cyber bully I am, you’ll know I’ve made someone mad. Some things are worth taking a cyber stand on. I have not mentioned specific websites for a reason, but your google-fu can find them if you are interested.