This is a very short post because I think what I’ve learned can be summed up very quickly: Everybody thinks everybody else is an idiot, and everybody just wants some more common sense.
Obviously, that is somewhat tongue in cheek because I’ve said before that the interaction on these web forums is actually quite complex. There are questions of authority to be explored, of friendship, of deliberation, of play, and of the consequences of pseudonymity for everything else that happens on the web. Still, I do think that aphorism sums up some of the cognitive dissonance I see pretty regularly on those boards. There are subtleties you can discern when you start to understand the various tribes of posters. Posters keep returning for some reason, and they like and even respect some of the other posters. They even enjoy a good troll. When they say ‘everybody,’ they don’t really mean everybody. When they say ‘common sense,’ they don’t really mean common. There is a lot of interesting sociology to be done discovering how these identities and boundaries are formed and enacted.
Now, back to the boards.