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,