Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Providing Information or Just Needing to Win?

It appears to me that there is a growing number of forum participants refusing to accept any viewpoint other than their own. In some instances, problems arise when opinions are presented as facts and the players cannot (or will not) see the difference. Sometimes rude and boorish behavior begins when a poster uses an isolated incident to make an all-encompassing generalization about a particular brand of firearm, ammunition or other related product and is called on it, particularly if he then adds yet more opinions (presented as facts) to the increasingly volatile and vocal mix.

Then come the trolls, posters whose words are pre-calculated to stir the proverbial pot, but proclaimed merely to be in the interest of "spirited debate", which in my opinion, is a lie. I believe that the intent is to generate havoc and promote hard feelings to the degree that emotion overrides manners, logic and just being able to pass along the information asked by the original poster! Those poor souls frequently appear to be forgotten as their thread is hijacked into the netherworld of eternal "pissing matches".

"Thread drift" is to be expected when a topic runs to considerable length; it just seems to happen. However, when the focus of a thread is shifted to a "Can-to/Can-not" shouting match between two or more people, the person originating the thread just gives up, abandons his thread and is not heard from again in the very thread he or she started! I find this sad, needless and frankly rude in the extreme. I just see overbloated egos battling for some sort of supremacy.

My approach has been to present what I believe to be an objective telling of what I have personally witnessed or done with respect to firearms and shooting. That which is subjective or opinion is labeled as such; at least I have tried to do so, but perhaps some subjective prose has slipped out without me noticing. If so, I apologize.

I think that considerably more useful, first-hand information could and would be shared on-line if we could all collectively take a step back and not place "winning" arguments above all else. More than once, I've posted my opinion or observation on a topic only to have the next post offer exactly the opposite viewpoint, but I did not try to decimate that post's author. In most instances, I did nothing. I did not respond, retort or most of all, call names. I posted my opinion or related what I actually saw or did and the next person didn't agree with it. Ok, no big deal. Unless it was obvious that some sort of misinterpretation had taken place, I just leave it alone. The reason is that I believe that if I've written the truth (or at least what I believed to be correct at the time), sooner or later it will be recognized as such. I do not "fight" because my ego is not dependent upon "winning" any verbal fencing matches. I simply post what I've seen once, twice or repeatedly over the years and let the reader(s) decide its merit. In reality, I wonder if "shouting matches" between those who've diverted a thread from information to confrontation accomplish more or less? Do you think that these antics encourage the sharing of facts and experiences or just degenerate into useless blather?

It is my observation and long-held opinion that shooters are usually the "salt of the earth" in many situations, but it appears that some associate differing viewpoints or experiences as personal assaults and "winning" becomes everything.

I fear that we may be losing more than we realize and I find that sad.

How about you?

Just something to think about (or not) and the best to you and yours...