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Your Thoughts About Forum Flamewars

Guest TCMWebAdmin

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I am, have been, and will be only one thing--an American Cheerios consumer.

Plain old wholesome golden oats Cheerios, not any of this Honey Nut Triple

Strawberry Tutti Frutti junk. And for those who like old fogie Raisin Bran, they

can all go to the bathroom.

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Thank you for the thorough explanation of trolls and bullies. I'm just catching up with this thread after several days away from any threads other than the one or two I know to be "safe"; ones I'm fairly sure won't put me in tne middle of something.


I'm probably the poster Lori referred to as disengaging. I really enjoy most of the interaction here, but I've grown weary of defending myself against those who seem to be here just to start things and judge other posters.


I doubt I'm actually going to walk away, but if posting isn't fun there is no reason to be doing it.

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> {quote:title=TCMWebAdmin wrote:}{quote}I should have said this below, but I'm not trying to single anyone out in that previous post.

"If you think a response to you crosses the line, stand up for yourself in response, and let them know, politely, you think they've crossed the line. *Do not respond in kind*. And don't jump into a thread to defend someone else - you're not the police. I am."


I guess you didn't try hard enough because you singled me out by using my own words against me, that's fine. But, as to your point, there is no way to respond "politely". People who throw down a gauntlet do it because they have no respect for the person they are attacking. I don't see where responding like a wimp will move someone to change their tone. As to your second point, you may be the police, but as you have said in the past you can't be everywhere and read every single post. That is why, I assume, you did not respond to the slur against ISRAEL in the "ANYONE FIND IT STRANGE" thread that refers to 9/11. That comment has the potential for escalating into a flame war and I would find it odd if any pro Israel or Jewish fans of TCM, LIKE MYSELF, did not respond in kind.



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> I doubt I'm actually going to walk away, but if posting isn't fun there is no reason to be doing it.

The windmill I'm tilting with is a board where its fun for everyone to post. That's not completely impossible, but it does take "buy-in" from most of the community.


As I'm reading the posts below, I keep hearing Strother Martin saying "What we've got here is failure to communicate." And while I've used the following analogy before, it's utterly apt.


It boils down to this: It takes a certain kind of person to post here... a person who is discerning enough to be especially interested in the type of films seen on TCM.


If all of us showed up at the Film Festival, conversations would break out. In some cases, you'd become engaged and talk with the same small group for hours. In other cases, you might not be interested in the topic, or perhaps some of the people just strike you as not your type. In that case, no problem, you excuse yourself and find another group. No one thinks twice about it. People don't start insulting other people. Few people try sarcasm out on strangers, because you know the response might be bad. You make a special effort to get along and not give offense to others. Or take offense when you're not sure if someone is being funny or sarcastic or doesn't get it. You walk away when you're uncomfortable or just don't like someone else.


Here (and in all forums), without hearing the vocal tones and seeing the body language, people can't help but jump to conclusions about what was meant. In real life, a sarcastic joke, told with a twinkle in the eye and a sly grin, gets a laugh, while the same joke written in a post here can set off a wave of unpleasantness.


Everyone bears the responsibility for what they write. You have to be aware of the context, as both a poster and a reader. If you don't like someone, fine, wander over to another conversation. You don't need to say anything to them. If you see a topic you don't like, you don't need to read it. Just walk away. Once you've picked a fight in public, people will remember that. They won't care that that you think you were "provoked" or were just responding in kind. They'll just remember that you're prickly, or contentious, or mean-spirited.


I didn't see any "rot in hell" comment, so I can't really comment on that. As I've mentioned before, moderating is subjective and no moderator is going to be able to please everyone in a community. I'd rather not delete comments, and I'm not going to edit them. If I think there's a problem, I'll PM you first, and if we can't come to some understanding, I'll put you on post-moderation.


And I'll do that because you come here to enjoy discussions about classic movies and it's not my place to take that away from you. Ideally, you'd never see me or hear from me. And at the most, if there's a problem we can solve together, you'll wind up on post-moderation where I may take a day to approve your post, or I may just delete posts that I deem to be problematic. I can guarantee that no one likes being on post-moderation.


So... remember, this isn't your party. You're invited, but you don't get to decide the guest list. You can't control who else is here. If you don't like anyone else, then best to find another party. If you don't like some individuals, then best to avoid them completely. If you don't like something that's been said, respond however you like, just don't raise your voice. And if you just have to be rude to other people, you'll get a time-out in the broom closet that is post-moderation. They don't show movies in that broom closet and it smells like a pile of dirty sweat socks.

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> {quote:title=TCMWebAdmin wrote:}{quote}


> I didn't see any "rot in hell" comment, so I can't really comment on that.


What was said (verbatim) on the previous page was:


> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}Raisin Bran is much more nutritious than any other cereal mentioned. Any one who doesn't agree with me, or doesn't care, can rot in he**.

That's what someone overreacted to in the extreme.

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> Is this derailing the thread?


I don't know if it's derailing but after reading all of the posts from the last 24 hours or so, it gave me pause to think. I want to say upfront that I don't mean for this to be a directed at MsW. It's question for all of us.


We've had other WebAdmins here before, but Michael is the first to start a conversation about the atmosphere here and ask what we (all of us) want from this community and ask for our ideas to help make it a less toxic environment.


We all love this community or we wouldn't be here and we certainly wouldn't be having this conversation with Michael if we didn't feel there was some validity to what he wrote in his original and subsequent posts.


That said, the question I have is, why are threads like this one and others, treated like open mic night at a comedy club by some in the midst of other posters having a serious conversation whether it's about the toxic environment here or about actors, directors, TCM or movies?


I like humor as much as the next person but I do want to try understand why it seems necessary to try and out "Seinfeld" Seinfeld in threads that don't necessarily warrant it.


It feels like it disrupts the conversation and those that are trying to participate in the original conversation are made fun of for not having a sense of humor (when all they were trying to do was stay on topic an contribute to the conversation that was happening before the thread took such a turn). This tends to lead to disengaging from the thread, at least it does for me.


Sometimes it is possible to steer the conversation back to the actual topic at hand but other times, it seems that the thread goes off on a tangent and the conversation comes to standstill as posters try to see who can be the funniest.


Am I the only one who feels this way?

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I made a strident and venomous post when a poster managed to push my buttons by stating as absolute fact a certain belief that is complete opposite of what I deeply hold dear.


I have used sarcasm when it is plain to me that a poster is not interested in discussion and their only argument to support their statements is: "Because I said so". I do not regret doing so as I believe my comments soared gracefully over their heads and by doing so they inflicted confusion but no harm.


I consider fair game any poster who continually posts lies about TCM even after they have been shown the facts many times and who continually denigrate opinions of other posters. It is fortunate that I often lack the motivation to reply to such posters because I consider them a lost cause and perhaps in need of psychiatric help which can not be provided in this medium.


I believe my only saving grace in these situations is that my posts might be considered clean because I know few good insults which can be typed on a Latin keyboard.


I hope I do not succumb to such impulses often but I wish it plainly and fairly understood that if I do attack some poster I will gladly accept moderation or banning as long as you do not expect also contrition because I would not do it if I did not feel with all my heart that the poster deserved to be ripped a new one..

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SOUH--I respect your decision, but I will remain an old school

original Cheerios consumer.


finance--I once bought one of those off brand Cheerios knock-

offs. They're not bad, but they're just not the same as actual

Cheerios. Another thing, Cheerios "dust" is better than Raisin

Bran "dust."



Apropos of nothing special, I would like to salute another great

food store staple, made right here in the good old U.S.A. Me he

for Yoo-Hoo.



















One last thought about flame wars:


If we take in our hand any volume--of divinity or school metaphysics,

for instance--let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning

concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental

reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it

then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and



David Hume









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I'm sorry to see you leave. I always found your posts intelligent and enjoyable. Just know that what you write is appreciated, as far as I'm concerned, and that you should always feel welcome to express your views here because they are always refreshing and show kindness. Come back soon.

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>lzcutter wrote: Am I the only one who feels this way?


You're not, it's just people are more inclined to respond to "emotional" posts rather than "mature" ones.


>why are threads treated like open mic night at a comedy club?




I was away for 2 weeks and saw the meltdown yet was having too much fun in RL to bother responding. I've been on the internet since 1993 and find most forums/newsgroups/message boards to be like high school; you have your bullies, trolls, attention hounds, quiet intellectuals, goofy art kids, serious students, etc.


This group was better than most...I suppose because of the "mature" topic of classic film, for the most part posters were respectful and left interesting comments.


Sure, there would be the occasional put down, the occasional newbie poster, the occasional troll....but for the most part you could quickly recognise them and either ignore or deal with them depending on your nature.


And that's the crux of my comment- it takes 2 to argue. Two mature people debate, immature people flame, hijack threads and insult.


Case in point: I often post a simple sentence, thinking everyone follows my statement. A counter post will quote me and either say, "huh?" or "you're totally wrong".

Instead of taking insult, I look back and see how others may have read my statement, or if it did not really explain what I meant. But an immature person (on the board) would counter by launching a huge hate fest over it.

It's starting to happen here.


So, you can deal with it the same way you do in RL- get frustrated & argue or just decide not to engage. I often give newbies the benefit of the doubt because they may not be well socialized in netticate yet. Hopefully, they'll learn by your example.


There are so many knowledgeable film fans here, I enjoy their opinions on film, actors and all the aspects of classic film. It's often a limited subject and this group often includes those with a vastly different point of view. I have listened to recommendations (seen a lot of stinkers) but for the most part, learned how classic film works and touches others differently.


Guess I'm a glass half full sort of person.

Damn the trolls!


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OK, I feel really stupid that I didn't figure that out. I thought she was on holidays and it was the short form for a state, or a place, anyway.


Actually, although I was pretty thick not to realize what "RL" stood for, it does give me an excuse to bring up something about these boards and internet sites in general that bothers me.


All the frigging acronyms !


Half the time I don't know what someone is talking about because they're using internet speak, which is loaded with acronyms, and I have no idea what they mean.

And for some reason when I find out, I don't feel enriched - "Oh good, now I understand better, I've learned something worthwhile."

No, I just feel kind of annoyed that so many people choose to use so many acronyms so often, rather than the actual word or phrase.I guess it's partly that I'm "old", although it seems many people my age or older use them a lot. It's also just that I don't want to spend time trying to figure out what the acronym stands for, instead of getting on with reading and writing.


This is definitely not to knock TikiSoo, whose presence on this site I value, and whose posts I usually read, because they are intelligent and entertaining. And she doesn't even go the acronym route very often.


Some may say that this has nothing to do with the topic, and acronyms certainly don't cause "flamewars". But it sort of fits here, if one considers that we're talking about issues on these message boards that bother us.


I'm done. ( maybe I should say " ID". Oh no, that already stands for something.)

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> {quote:title=RaquelVixen wrote:}{quote}RMeingast,




> I'm sorry to see you leave. I always found your posts intelligent and enjoyable. Just know that what you write is appreciated, as far as I'm concerned, and that you should always feel welcome to express your views here because they are always refreshing and show kindness. Come back soon.



Thanx, Vixen... I ain't perfect either, but there are enough real problems to get upset about in this world other than a message board about classic films...


As Orson Welles character, Jonathan Wilk, says in "Compulsion": "For God's sake, are we crazy!!"

(No offense meant to anyone struggling with a mental heath issue.)

YT video here of Welles' famous speech in "Compulsion" with quote above at 1:56 minute mark:



BTW, a classic film channel in Ontario, Canada called "Saturday Night at the Movies" airs this and many, many other classic films... And they have a message board too.

TCM is not the alpha and omega. There are other places on the Internet if you don't like it here...

Not that TCM is not good or anything. Just that there's lots of choices out there...

Just something to keep in mind. If you're unhappy here, there are homes elsewhere that will take you kind of thing...


For example, Lzcutter and some others here at the TCM message board are moderators on another message board called Silver Screen Oasis:



It looks pretty good and one blogger has described it here:



So I may check it out... "Here I come, Cutter!"


As for Willbefree25, she emailed me at a non-TCM addy (that I've shared with a few friends) and has let me know that she is gone from the TCM message board...

I'm going to refer her to Lzcutter and the SSOasis website and maybe she'll like it there?


Michael, the TCMAdmin, has made some good points below and they make perfect sense.

And as for the cereal stuff, yes, humour does help relieve stress and divert angry feelings.

I understand that... But it just seemed to me that it was meant to ridicule WBF25, especially after she let it be known she didn't like it. Maybe I was wrong? Maybe PMs to her to explain might have helped? I don't know?? Too late now anyway...


Re: Lzcutter's reference to "Seinfeld," a lot of the message board does remind me of seeing stand-up comics in action and how they often have to deal with hecklers in the audience, drunks, inattentive or distracted audience members, etc.

It must be tough to have that job and be able to maintain your cool. And just like on the message board here, and elsewhere, you do strive to ignore the hecklers while also trying to entertain users who may otherwise get totally bored with what you are trying to say about classic films.

And it ain't easy. And my experience on this message board shows I ain't perfect and have made mistakes. Live and learn, I guess...


Anyway, enough babbling for now and back to classic films (on whatever message boards you like)...



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> {quote:title=RMeingast wrote:}{quote}As Orson Welles character, Jonathan Wilk, says in "Compulsion": "For God's sake, are we crazy!!"


> (No offense meant to anyone struggling with a mental heath issue.)


That's precisely one of the problems with messaging/discussing on the internet...you shouldn't have had to include that apology regarding the quote. I understood perfectly what you meant and why you quoted that line.

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