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Author: Subject: Observations on forum "atmosphere" and negativity - a rant
vulture
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[*] posted on 12-12-2013 at 13:35
Observations on forum "atmosphere" and negativity - a rant


Actually the title of this post is misleading - on purpose- and maybe by the end of this "rant" you'll get why that is.

One of my great personal strengths is that I am a problem solver. It's also my greatest weakness. When confronted with problems or challenges, I analyze, over-analyze and hypothesize about what could be happening. For hours. For days.

It's a great mindset when being faced with a complex problem that requires analytical thinking to take it apart and tackle it. I can see complex relationships and isolate correlation from causation. This allows me to go beyond the superficial, solve problems and help people.

It's a very bad mindset when there's nothing wrong and it's just time to admire and enjoy. Why? Because my mind starts looking for problems - that's what it does best- that aren't there. It can lead to procrastination or can make me a complete and utter asshole to any person that is the subject of my "problem solving". They came to me because they value my opinion (a sign of respect) and would like to show me something which they put a lot of time and effort in. What they get is a list of things which they could do better while they really wanted a pat on the back.

What does this have to do with the forum you ask? Although we have some very diverse personalities here, most of the members here share the problem solving mindset. They want to help and they want to show they're knowledgeable. It's all with very good intentions, but in the dynamic of a forum those intentions are usually not visible and can be easily misinterpreted.

So you start a thread which documents a personal project of yours which you devoted a lot of time and effort to. You go to bed with a sense of accomplishment (rightly so), but when you check the thread later one of two things has happened:
(a) There are no replies although there have been many views.
(b) There are replies - maybe even a lot - but many are telling you what you could improve, what you should have done and how poster Y has done something similar but...

You end up being disappointed, maybe even angry by the turn your thread has taken. You feel nobody appreciates what you've done. There's no need to take it personal, however.

First of all, if you came looking for approval, realize that you don't need it. You probably had fun and got a great deal of satisfaction out of your project even before you considered posting it. That should be enough, approval or praise from others is just the icing on the cake, but without it, it still is a great cake.

Secondly, in the case of (a), where you got no replies, consider the following: Your result might be so awesome that people can't find fault with it, they don't have the expertise to comment on it or they have nothing other to say than "it's awesome!" but want to avoid postwhoring (which is good). It's lonely at the top.

Finally, in the case of (b), members here probably have a problem solving mindset and can't help but analyze what you did. See this as a sign of interest and realize they might also be looking for your approval or they simply want to share in the accomplishment. It's their way of saying "good job, wish I could have been part of it".

So what about the people replying? Keep replying, certainly if you have constructive criticism, but don't forget a small touch of approval, admiration or encouragement. If you only want to say "Awesome dude!", send the poster a U2U telling him/her just that. Imagine how you'd feel when getting a U2U like that after posting something.

"There's a bad atmosphere on the forum right now" is a common complaint which has been resurfacing and subsiding again, with a certain regularity, in all the 11 years I've been on Sciencemadness. At least every single year. Every time there's been fear that people might run away, the board might die down, etc.

Don't buy into the fear. We're still here and we will still be here in the future if you can look past the quarrels and realize how awesome this place is.




One shouldn't accept or resort to the mutilation of science to appease the mentally impaired.
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kmno4
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[*] posted on 12-12-2013 at 14:24


This onanistic and selfcongratulatory post is a joke, of course ?




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vulture
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[*] posted on 12-12-2013 at 14:36


You're completely right, I only talk about how great and without fault I am. And I only posted it for my own benefit.

Thank you for delivering a prime example how negative interpretation and resentment contributes to this forum.

(Now that's a joke - sarcasm in fact)




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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 12-12-2013 at 19:13


Quote: Originally posted by vulture  
So you start a thread which documents a personal project of yours which you devoted a lot of time and effort to. You go to bed with a sense of accomplishment (rightly so), but when you check the thread later one of two things has happened:
(a) There are no replies although there have been many views.
(b) There are replies - maybe even a lot - but many are telling you what you could improve, what you should have done and how poster Y has done something similar but...

You end up being disappointed, maybe even angry by the turn your thread has taken. You feel nobody appreciates what you've done. There's no need to take it personal, however.
Can't describe the number of times I've been in this situation. For a moment when I read your opening paragraph I thought you were talking to me individually ;) Thanks for the post.



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plante1999
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[*] posted on 12-12-2013 at 19:56


Many, many time I was faced with this situation. I was not angry at it at all as I took it as if my work was ether perfect or few had the expertise to comment. Although it is nice to get replies, mostly if they are constructive and are not getting out of control for safety for example...



I never asked for this.
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[*] posted on 13-12-2013 at 06:18


Example...

My post on a cool bismuth compound.

http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=27856

:(
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Pyro
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[*] posted on 13-12-2013 at 07:43


You should have used a different typeface! and you should have had titles in bold face :D

I know the feeling vulture. I got something similar with my WP thing.





all above information is intellectual property of Pyro. :D
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[*] posted on 13-12-2013 at 09:57


Just to be clear, I appreciate all of you and all of the work you do. But, I have often seen criticism of the other extreme: Topics which only serve as a repository of back-patting. Therefore, I try to be both appreciative and criticize constructively.



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jock88
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[*] posted on 13-12-2013 at 11:08



It never ceases to amaze me the patience some people have here and the trouble they go to when replying/answering/responding to queries/projects/ideas etc.
I have asked and said some qewl whacky things myself btw.
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[*] posted on 13-12-2013 at 15:25


Quote: Originally posted by vulture  
If you only want to say "Awesome dude!", send the poster a U2U telling him/her just that. Imagine how you'd feel when getting a U2U like that after posting something.


This is good advice; I often find myself with little technical to add but with a deep appreciation of the effort and skill involved in some of these posts. At the same time, I don't want to clutter the threads with redundant "Good Jorb!" posts, so I will keep the U2U feature in mind in the future.




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[*] posted on 13-12-2013 at 17:18


Thank you for you post vulture. I have also felt negativly about some replies i have gotten to posts of projects i have made. Your description sums it up quite nicely though. I also agree about the U2U pat on the back. It means a lot after postings results of days of work. I think the atmosphere of SciMad is good, and has improved as of late.



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[*] posted on 14-12-2013 at 05:51


Maybe it's just that most people here have strong feelings but don't know how to express themselves correctly, I think most people here have this scientific approach and mindset which could make their replies sound rude and negative yet in their heads it's like " yea bro i love it keep it coming".

It's just the way we are but in the end we are all a good community and if it wasn't true I wouldn't be here day after day. Interesting thoughts vulture aswell I like to do what you described like analyzing everything, maybe it's what keeps all of us together. Not everyone is like that and people usually under analyze some things. If the world leaders were like you are the world would be a better place. It's great to be open minded!

[Edited on 14-12-2013 by Random]
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[*] posted on 16-5-2018 at 21:15


Excellent advice. It can be very intimidating bringing your work in front of the scientific community.



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clearly_not_atara
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[*] posted on 16-5-2018 at 22:50


Just add a poll to your synthesis. Everyone will vote "this synthesis is awesome" or, if you add the option, they will vote for "linguini".



[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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[*] posted on 17-5-2018 at 04:25


Quote: Originally posted by Random  
....... If the world leaders were like <del>you are</del> me, the world would be a better place....

[Edited on 14-12-2013 by Random]


DAMN BLOODY RIGHT IT WOULD!

Yobbo II

[Edited on 17-5-2018 by yobbo II]
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