Earth Hour

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Clowns in Forums?

I frequent several forums online to get connected with people who share my interests. Some of these are very good sources of information, especially those on technical and computer related topics since many experts of various fields also frequent these sites.

One of the advantages of these sites is I can get help on some technical problems almost swiftly and reliably because I am certain that those who answer my queries have encountered my problems or have information about them.

Lately though, I noticed that some members of my online groups have become dependent on this forum and became lazy to even do simple searches for their problems. In one computer related forum that I am in, answers to some of the problems raised were easily found in the user's manual or even in the Help option. I often wonder if these members are just too lazy to look for the solutions and rely on others to find it for them.

Another thing I noticed is the Off Topic option for many of these forums. Although it's okay to ask something like, where to get something for other things beside the topic on hand, other members actually ask mundane things.

In one forum, I was surprised to see a member asked where he could treat his son for his 1st birthday. Another member asked where he could find clowns. I think information for these things are found in classified ads or a simple Google search can give the member answers. To ask a forum that centers on computer related things about these mundane things is just too much for me. Of course I could choose not to read or respond to these queries but merely seeing them on that space is irritating. It muddles the forum and wastes bandwidth.

There are other "sins" committed on these online groups but one particular question that hits a raw nerve in me is "Please help me decide whether to buy this product." One time, I couldn't help it anymore, I responded by telling the person that other people cannot decide for him because only him knows what he needs. There were those who agreed with me and of course, some called me an a***ole.

I think some fora are made as  venues for sharing ideas and information of people who have a common interest. I would like my groups to remain that way. While some off-topics are permissible, I hope other people do not use it not because the information they need is not available elsewhere, but because they are just too lazy to look for it.

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