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Why I skip the eHam forums 25 - November - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Recently I made a big mistake. I took a half hour to browse through some of the eHam forums.

Finding any nuggets of useful information was difficult as the signal-to-noise level is very heavy on the noise – actually on bad unexcusable undermoderated noise.

In any discussion there are always differing theories, opinions, view of what is fact/not-fact, and preferences. We all bring our personal bias to what we involve ourselves with.

I bring my bias to prefer to discuss facts, and work to a solution to whatever question is at hand – without the need to “prove I am right.”

That need to “be right” is something that we all have, and we’re all better when it isn’t the main reason for our participation in a discussion.

Kept in check it does encourage us to be accurate, fact-check our information, avoid gamesmanship & logical fallacies, and to work to a mutual cooperation hoping the others involved will at least understand our position and views.

Kept in check we can agree to disagree, and learn to share even diametrically opposed views in a “safe way” that lets us remain friends with those we may disagree with.

I was shocked to see little of that ideal in play at the eHam Forums. As a decades seasoned Moderator of forums (do you too remember FidoNet?) I learned that carefully word-crafted Troll Messages still spoil the soup, and a number of openly Troll eHam members were being allowed to run rampant in at least half of the threads I read.

Gallant attempts at fair-minded responses were being met not with a discovery of facts and discussion, but with open name calling and the worst undermining of a forum, the blatant use of Logical Fallacies to cloak the games – not discussions – that are going on.

Perhaps in the end the number of Clicks and Hits is really King, especially when a website needs the advertising revenue to survive.

That does seem to be part of the eHam game.

In discussing what a read with a few others, a positive side did come out – at least the Ham Radio Trolls have their own playground to play in, and hopefully stay away from the rest of the folk.

I should point out that Amateur Radio is not unique for Net Trolls. I have encountered them from the start of the old FidoNet BBS systems and they have always been there.

What is unique about the eHam mess is that usually requiring real names (or requiring call signs) puts a stop to 90% plus of the games.

eHam has attracted Trolls with no self pride who seem to think that we don’t see through their games and see them as wanting.

In this post I’m not putting links, as I haven’t taken time to do the good deed to individually contact the my fellow amateurs to tell them that they are coming over as trolls, nor have I taken the time to complain to the Moderators having found the product reviews enough of a mess that my energy to help eHam has already been spent in that effort.

Rather I publically issue a “Golden Rule” challenge to those involved to moderate those who are leaning towards or who have become Trolls, remove non-factual messages, remove name-calling and ban those Trolls, and actively encourage first hand factual based posting.

I’m hoping they are up to that challenge,

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Comments»

1. Pat Cook, KB0OXD - 25 - November - 2011

The QRZ forums are MUCH better IMO :)

Cheers & 73 :)

2. Kevin Sanders K0KDS - 25 - November - 2011

“Perhaps in the end the number of Clicks and Hits is really King, especially when a website needs the advertising revenue to survive.”

Or they get rid of the garbage and attract new users. Win-win for everyone!

3. k9zw - 26 - November - 2011

It seems my article hasn’t be recognized as a call to step-up and some of the eHam trolls have found out that moderated comments requiring your call sign to be included means exactly that.

Thank you to the good folk who have comments and “knock yourself out” to those who think they would be allowed to bring the problems of eHam to this blog.

73

Steve
K9ZW

4. gm4uls - 27 - November - 2011

I am not very technically-minded, which means that I got into the hobby because I loved the medium, not so much the technology. Consequently I don’t know much, and I’m always being proved wrong. I don’t mind that one bit – after all, the license here in the UK says that our operation is ‘for the purpose of self-training’.

73
Paul

5. ne1rd - 28 - November - 2011

I had invested time in eHam in the 2003-2005 time period but the feckless moderation drove me away. In the end, I decided that I could not, in good conscience, send any new hams to eHam because of the harsh tone, ad hominem attacks, hostility towards new hams (and indeed anything new), and the poor signal-to-noise ratio. If I was unwilling to send new hams there, why invest in it?

I was Director of Engineering at a large website that had forums in the dot-com era. Oh yeah, we had trolls. They grew like weeds. We had two things to combat them: an agressive moderation policy and a feature on the website called “ignore poster.” The feature worked this way: if there was a troll that got under your fingernails you needed only to put that person on an “ignore” list. From then on, no post from that person would appear in any thread you read. It is like they never existed.

It was shocking how different the experience was reading a thread with, and without, the troll (and with, and without, the stomach acid storm in your gut!). It taught me an important lesson about the online experience and the importance of troll-weeding.

eHam may have been a good idea. I wish it had worked. Perhaps it is even working better now than it did when I abandoned it. But, you only have one chance to make a first impression. I suspect I’m not the only one who has walked away after an encounter.

— Scott (NE1RD)

6. davidcmoisan - 3 - December - 2011

I’ve pretty much gone to QRZ. QRZ once had a bad reputation and still has a few trolls, but that board has a better selection of forums, including digital and satellite.

If you think eHam is troll central, you are probably too young to remember Usenet and rec.radio.amateur.*. Rec.radio.amateur.policy is where all the trolls were intended to hang out, and many did.

I have moderated an email list (non-radio) and it is hard work to maintain a community. But maintain you must. eHam isn’t doing that.

de N1KGH

Paul Schleck, K3FU - 18 - March - 2012

The worst are the solipsists who are congenitally incapable of agreeing with anyone else, even if they actually did agree, and saw themselves as some sort of righteous net-martyrs heroically bringing “the truth” (actually, their highly subjective opinions and often false technical assertions) to the unwashed masses. The more you rebutted their opinions and on-line behavior, the greater the sense of self-righteousness and persecution they displayed. They were usually the first to escalate into name-calling and ad-hominem attacks, and oblivious even to iron-clad proof rebutting many of their assertions. What was funny was when pairs of such individuals would come to diametrically opposing points of view on some amateur radio topic (code/no-code, licensing exams, etc.), each demanding that because of their experience and expertise, their pronouncements should be taken on faith. Some of them spread their hate and disruption across the newsgroups and the blog sites like QRZ and eHam. The newsgroups were unmoderated, so there was not much that could be done there, but the administrators of QRZ and eHam could certainly step in when it clearly became necessary. It appears that a couple of the most corrosive trolls have finally left eHam, either asked to leave, or left on their own accord (or are perhaps now even deceased). Several other amateurs and I were finally motivated back in 2007 to set up rec.radio.amateur.moderated, where the sane participants followed, and the apparently insane ones were left behind.

73, Paul, K3FU


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