I have been banned from two message boards. Sistertrek (a Star Trek message board where I went by the names Gvok and later The Gnostic) banned me a few years ago and Redlettermedia (a movie message board where I went by the name Gelthor) banned me more recently. I did not set out to be the message board criminal but somehow the dynamics of message boards consistently make it easier for me to fall into that role than not. I have to take some of the blame for this. I clearly did something to make people angry with me and then when they got angry with me I fought back. There is something about my personality that consistently leads me in that direction. But there is something about them too. They are quick to anger and downright annoying and deserved whatever it was I did to them.
The most annoying poster I ever encountered was Fesarius the Christian on Sistertrek. He was not annoying because he was a Christian. I am a Christian (Roman Catholic). But he made Christians looked bad. He talked about holding sabbath on Saturday because he could find no biblical justification for having it on Sunday. He argued with atheists that the bible itself was proof of God’s existence because it was so elaborate and symbolic that “it just didn’t add up” to say humans wrote it free of divine inspiration. He claimed he did not fear the terrorists because the worst they can do is kill him and he did not fear death. All of that would have been fine if they were not been combined with his two other annoying qualities. The two most annoying aspects about him were his smugness (masquerading as sincerity and non-judgmentality) and the fact that the vast majority of his posts had no substance. Typically, he would publish one or two-word posts until his post count reached an a milestone. These milestones were nice round numbers. It got annoying. I pointed it out, said if he would write substantive posts that would be fine but he was just posting in order to get his post count up. He stopped responding to me. If I asked him direct question he would write a post directed to another person. Other people agreed with me and then he went into full-scale drama mode saying good-bye to everyone, telling them how nice it was to know them as if he would never communicate with them again. He was back the next week.
There was Grendel’s Dad. He had the highest post count on the Redlettermedia message board which of course reminded me of the douche bag Fesarius. Grendel’s Dad hailed from Australia and called me an asshole for not knowing that fact. I don’t take shit from the established members and if they give me shit I give it right back. This turned out to be a bad strategy on Redlettermedia because the established members there like to dominate the new ones. Because Redlettermedia had little oversight from the moderators it developed a wolf pack ethic. In this pack mentality the established members considered it their due to dominate the new ones. I guess if I submitted I would still be a member on that message board but I got off on the wrong foot and got labeled as a troll early on.
There was Minuet on Sistertrek. She moderated a few of the topics and was pretty close with the administrator named Wichita. She was Jewish and was always accusing other members of being antisemitic and then became offended when I pointed out that she over used this accusation. She argued with Wichita incessantly. These argument threads went on and on quibbling and counter-quibbling about the minutest points. She hated when I asked questions of other members. Apparently proper message board etiquette is to post your opinions but not ask questions of other members or at least not do it to the extent I did.
There was Action Jeans on Redlettermedia who was Grendel’s Dad’s lackey. For some reason he found it incredibly rude of me that I asked a question that had been asked a year ago in another thread. He claimed I should have researched this question by reading all the previous posts on the website before asking it. After asking this question Action Jeans would hound and harass me whenever I posted anything else. When I called him on this he called me a stalker.
There was my arch-nemesis Admiralbill on Sistertrek. He was a textbook Conservative “Ditto Head” from Texas. He supported everything George W. Bush did and criticized everything about Barack Obama. To him, the “mainstream media” has a liberal bias but Fox News is fair and balanced. I liked to post news articles on global warming just to get him riled up. He was always accusing me of “baiting” him. In my defense there was so much that baited him it was hard not to. That said, I did bait him because he was an angry, insulting asshole and it amused me to make him angry.
Currently I am not a member on any message board. The pattern is clear to me. It was fun for a while to battle these people but eventually the negative energy caught up with me and I started feeling angry. So I got myself banned. On Sistertrek I pushed it until they banned me. On Redlettermedia I asked to be banned. They ignored this request for a while so then I pushed it and then they banned me. (I wonder if they would have banned me if I never asked for it.) For years after being banned from Sistertrek I thought about those people with anger and shame. But eventually it faded. After being banned from Redletter media I did not feel much of anything except relief that I did not get as addicted to baiting the bullies there as I did on Sistertrek.
What can I say? I like to see reactions to my posts. Maybe that was the reason the people on message boards always hate me. I always assumed everyone else has the same motivation but now I am not so sure. Maybe the others just post and do not care how other people react. I find that mindset hard to fathom though (and maybe that is another symptom of the underlying problem). What ever it is, the other members seem to be able to pick up on my energy and it irritates them. That is some of them anyway, the ones who are not like me.
If there is one piece of advice I can give to a person in a similar situation, it is never apologize. I think apologizing is a good thing (ethically), especially if in the wrong. But I never encountered a message board accuser who has ever had an iota of compassion. I tried to extend olive branches to Admiralbill and Grendel’s Dad and both times they used it against me as evidence of my guilt. I think it has to do with anonymity on message boards. People are cruel and unforgiving when they are anonymous. Who knows if they also lack empathy in real life. The best thing to do is what I did. Get yourself banned and walk away.
Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.
- Social Media – My View on – Forums (joannfitz.wordpress.com)
- Four Reasons To Troll Message Boards (winstonscrooge.wordpress.com)
- “Message boards on Reddit and 4chan were ablaze last January… (new-aesthetic.tumblr.com)