No, I didn’t black out my blog or make any special preparations for the revolt. I didn’t have to. News was made that Wikipedia, Google, and other sites we take for granted were jumping up on the stump and proclaiming their nays. All eyes were on the other sites so anything I would have posted during the last couple of days would have gone unnoticed.
I find it fitting that the next part is about more malicious kinds of protesting.
(A.K.A.: Apple-crate Loser; Grand Orator; Stumper; Mr. Shoutypants)
Consider the forums you visit as a boxing ring and expect that on any given night there’s probably going to be a fight. Who’s on the mat tonight? Probably another Soapboxer proclaiming an ideal or that some company somewhere is doing someone wrong while the Cyberhood Watch takes the opposing corner.
Instigators will be in the crowd, jeering at the duo and hoping to get a sliver of satisfaction from the two lasting several rounds. Sycophants proclaim their adoration in the tumult for one or the other with the delusion it makes any kind of difference (Ever see women at any venue who dropped their tops at the star of the hour ever go up to a hotel room with them after? Me neither.) Spamjackers are nowhere to be seen except in the parking lot scalping tickets and t-shirts.
After finding a number of Self-Published authors speaking against the practice of telling them off for barely even mentioning they have a book, I considered this a prime way to gain insight.
Soapboxers post to forums with an agenda. Sure, some will have a nice conversation with others, but only until something drives them to take a stand. Then the kid gloves come off, the big red ones get tied on, and they go all ‘Rocky’ on everyone.
They’ll fight for causes on both sides of the fence. They’ll start brand new threads, or even brand new forums, in order to get the message across. They’ll use cut-and-paste excerpts from other sources attempting to drive their point further home. Although half the time was spent choosing specifically what to trim in order for the citation to sound legit and credible. They’ll clog the conversations they’re in with off-topic posts concerning their agenda even if all they saw was a brief jumping-off point in someone else’s post…
Original Post (Thread title implies question about a specific author) ~
“Man, I’m seeing more and more people talking about this [Insert new author everyone’s saying everyone else is reading] guy. I hope it’s a good read, but the forum thread talking about him is full of spam.”
Soapboxer’s Reply (For Spam) ~
“Seriously?! You call the only way an Indie Author can get seen by readers SPAM? You really should check out [Insert forum/blog/essay] about the matter. You need to know the truth before you start calling Indie Authors spammers. How pathetic!”
Soapboxer’s Reply (Against) ~
“Seriously! I know what you mean! You should see the children’s books forums they’re full of it. I can’t get an idea about a children’s author when I have to scroll past pages of spamming! It’s pathetic!”
…And so on.
It’s from this point the discussion boils into a flame war between whoever’s got something to say and continues to simmer far beyond necessary. Outside readers with the ability to see the matter for what it is begin observing repeat disseminations and flogged-horse statements. What follows is usually a flurry of visits from the ‘Downvote Fairy’, harsh words, poor judgment, and a lot of reporting to Moderators.
Any sane voice injecting a modicum of civility with a fresh view clear of prejudice is missed until someone in the debate realizes, “Oh, hey, someone else had something to say besides us.” This commonly happens quickly; however, the really heated debates go for two or three pages of posts until someone finally replies to the clear-headed posting.
Anyone with an opinion they feel strongly about, and will fight for can become a Soapboxer. Any of the other four Malicious Faces I mention are prime candidates.
Topics generally range from spam, conduct, and Terms of Service rules, to more mundane points like:
- “Who made a better Captain: Picard or Kirk?”
- “Is there really a God, and if so, why doesn’t he strike down the entire Klan of the Westboro Baptist Church for their bad behavior?”
- “Is Steven King really an arrogant asshole in person, like everyone says he is, or is it his need of a good cuddle – with a pickup truck?”
For nauseating smiles and giggles I’ve included Sycophants into Part 3. My reasons are sound: (A) Because there’s not many to make examples of, and (B) The Cyberhood Watch are egotistical enough to demand Part 4 all to their own…
(A.K.A.: Ass-Kisser; Bandwagon-Jumper; Lackey; [Choose a reference to one who commits oral sexual acts here])
Thankfully, I didn’t have to put up with much of the Sycophants. However, there were two or three – mostly on the Amazon forums – that gave me enough of a reason to include them as one of the Malicious Faces (and stock up on vomit bags).
While argument might suggest that the Sycophant isn’t exactly Malicious there’s hardly any good reason to have them around. Apart from stroking egos or spreading false sweetness at a tooth-rotting scale towards those undeserving of it; they are useless to a forum on the whole. To describe my ire-ridden response to their forum input:
Imagine me pouring myself a delicious cup of coffee. It’s a brand I prefer. I brewed it in the same correct fashion that I’ve enjoyed before. It might even be a brand I’ve spent a little extra for knowing it to be worthy of the price (Jamaican Blue Mountain for instance).
I like it sweet, and pour in a couple of packets of what I thought was sugar. It turns out to be an artificial sweetener I can’t stand, but I’m willing to choke it down because – really – this can still be a great cuppa’. I’ll skip the creamer this time. Assuming using those little buckets when they’re stored in the warmth mean trouble to the digestion, I’m not taking any chances. Especially considering the abuse to my coffee I’ve already committed.
I take the first sip and wince at the nastiness of fake sugar, but proceed to enjoy it as much as possible. Realization strikes that not only have I ruined a perfectly good cup of go-go juice and have sickened myself on the sweetener, but the dishwasher didn’t exactly do a good enough job cleaning the cup. I see the coffee-stained debris I hadn’t before, and know that I’ve truly, truly, fucked over something that had potential of being truly wonderful.
I liken the coffee idiom to a debate between myself and a member of the Cyberhood Watch. Here’s me winning a point I was trying to make several dozen posts prior, and some yutz comes along and says, “Oh [Insert Screenname], he’s just trying to goad you into an argument. I think you’re right in every respect, and he should really just give up and go away. Quit feeding the troll.”
Yes, I really did get a response like that.
I winced at the ass-kisser’s sweetness and the patronizing dismissal to follow nearly made me vomit on my shoes. I carried on with the argument nevertheless, poured myself another ‘cup’, and made sure to avoid the little douchebag in the future. The IGNORE button suited just fine. ;3
VARIANTS OF SYCOPHANTS:
- The Bandwagoneer ~ Waits until they see the right set of individuals in a debate and sides with them. This is usually an annoyance as they add absolutely nothing credible to the side they join or the discussion. They only post simple-minded replies like, “No they’re right, you’re not, and now you can go away.” What they don’t realize is that if the side they join loses the argument, they’ll be caught under the wagon’s wheels right along with everyone else.
- The Lamprey ~ Like the sea creature, Lampreys ‘attach’ themselves to a specific forum personality. Their goal is to obtain a shred of the same positive reputation their target already enjoys. They’ll add the occasional target-positive post that spurs their target forward in a conversation, but adds nothing to the conversation. (Example: “That was a very nice piece of [useless] information, [gullible forum personality] thank you!”) They’ll also aid in a well-known ploy of the Cyberhood Watch to derail a conversation when it’s realized the target has pretty much lost the debate or cannot change their opponent’s mind to think like they – and their leech – do.
- The Candyman ~ Like a certain candy-coated chocolate, this breed is actually a wilier version of a Spamjacker. After failing to make sales by bogging down forums with spam they create a new identity and cozy up to a chosen target – usually someone seen as a potential customer. The Candyman Sycophant will proceed to kiss the target’s ass until the target gets suckered into buying their product, spreading the word about them to their friends, etc. This is why I never trust Used Cars salesmen explicitly and never eat the mints on their showroom desks no matter how well they washed them off.