Me-tooism, Re-blogging, and Negativity

Why have we built an internet culture that encourages negativity? If you are on a message board, replying that you agree with the original poster is often taken as pointless, content-free post-count building. Blogging “look at this great post” is sometimes described as being unable to develop worthwhile content of your own, the sort of thing you can only occasionally indulge in. If someone replies with “Great post!” there is no point to anyone doing so again, right? The only thing you can post agreement with is that someone else is wrong. You can agree with each other that someone else is an idiot.

You are only to post if you have additional content to add. Generally, that means you disagree. Even if you agree, you are extending the post away from where the original poster took it, which can easily come across as a slight in the sea of negativity.

The major exception I can think of is posting examples and stories. “Yeah, something like that happened to me one time…”

: Zubon

Wayback machine: Shiny Happy Week

16 thoughts on “Me-tooism, Re-blogging, and Negativity”

  1. I dunno about that. Sites like del.icio.us were constructed for the sole purpose of linking sites you like, and a friend of mine ran a weblog that peaked at 4000 unique visits/day simply writing a short post and a link for five sites he found interesting.

    The convention that people not post if they have nothing to add is not for negativity, but for courtesy’s sake. The masses all jumping to yell “first!”, “Right on!” and “My thoughts exactly.” are not being positive, but merely forcing one to scroll through pages of crap to find any words of value in a thread.

    Agreeing while taking the point in a different direction (such as stating other reasons for your approval of the subject, specifying conditions, or attempting to clarify something) is a constructive reason to reply, so long as one isn’t trying to hijack the conversation on a tangent. Lastly, what about questions?

  2. Does that fall under negative, for refuting your position, or positive, for being optimistic?

  3. Hm, I recall different behaviour in the World of Warcraft forums – quite often someone would write up an essay about how class X is way overpowerd, class Y needs to do more damage to stay competetive, whatever the author was upset about. Many people would just reply with “/signed”.

    But I understand excactly what you mean, so…

    /signed

  4. I do recall seeing a lot of “/signed” and “QFT.” Users of one message board I frequent have a habit of quote (short) posts in their entirety to show agreement (or changing a few words to razz people).

    QFT annoys me. If the original post is a rant against something, as are most of the petitions that get /signed, does that count for or against my hypothesis here?

  5. A lot of the annoyance factor inherent in people making one-line posts agreeing but adding no further content is that for some reason, people on forums tend to want to populate their signature field with 15 pages worth of animated GIFs, banners, ASCII art and bible quotes. If you’re not going to add anything to the thread, at least don’t make me have to scroll by pictures of your kids and that wise line your football coach told you twenty years ago which you’ll always remember. And yes, your out-of-context, sure-it-was-funny-at-the-time convo snippet from the WoW general chat that had you ROFLing for fifteen minutes afterwards also qualifies.

    Sorry for extending the post away from where the original poster took it. :)

  6. We got away with this in my US History class in my senior year of high school, it was actually encouraged by the fact that you got points for contributing, and so everyone had to speak twice each day, so in a class of 20 of course not everyone has anything truly different to add, so people started saying “i agree”. Then later in my economics class which was most of the same students the teacher told us “stop saying you agree! why bother saying anything if that’s all you’re going to say?” since we were so used to it we started doing it in our other classes.

    Usenet was like this too when it was the primary way people communicated. “QFT” wasn’t an expression but I remember in the 90s people did the same thing, copy whole posts and put “agreed” or something.

    I like writing sketches where people use those words (like shouting “QFT” at a preacher instead of “Amen!”) but not everyone gets it.

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  8. Staying on point in your comment is nice, but lets be fair: a blog is a form of rant as most posts are more than just news, they contain a fair amount of the authors ideas/ ideals, and as such also contain emotion of some sort. So you really can’t blame readers for pouring emotion into their comments even if they are negative as they are just going with the flow.

    I would agree with you when you say that people are prone to posting comments that are negative in nature, but as long as they contribute something to the conversation other than STFU ZOMG NOOB, they should still be considered positive as they help to stimulate thoughts in the minds of others.

    On a side note, what does QFT stand for?

  9. I saw a post expressing this very opinion on another blog.

    All you are doing is repeating somebody elses opinion, therefore wasting precious bandwidth and causing baby seals to die from starvation as their rain forest homes turn into desert because of the profligate use of electricity to drive the interwebs pipes.

    Will September never end….

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