An observation

in Feedback edited January 2014
Just an observation: Engadget could possibly be the venomous site on the web. Daily bullying by both Android and Apple fans. I visit everyday simply to keep up with the latest tech news. But I no longer read the comments. Always the same "crap", "trash", "garbage OS" comments no matter what the subject with liberal name-calling thrown in for good measure. Hundreds of comments that add nothing of value to the subject, and ridicule for all.

Unfortunately there's a few similar members here who relish their anonymity and tend to lash out at every imagined insult. When Mac-sochist (and this thread is in no way directed towards you personally) asked whether Menno followed the Android forums and corrected every unfair criticism of iOS, it got me to wondering if Android forum members acted the same way and how they accept correction. Somewhat surprisingly, they don't appear to have that issue.

There's actually little attention paid to Apple and their products in Android forums going by posts I looked at. And for those threads that do compare the two, the overall discussion is largely polite and respectful. As an example, there's a 5 page thread asking for purchasing advice between the iPhone4 and HTC Thunderbolt at TalkAndroid. For an eye-opener you might read thru it. There's no way this conversation could take place at AI.

And that's the way the few Android forums members I skimmed over behaved. Another Android forum I glanced at, AndroidCommunity, had members that appear to have the same attitude. They don't mind discussing Apple products, but don't seen too concerned with them. There's no indications I found that they feel threatened when comparisons come up. When questions are posed about Apple products in Android threads, I couldn't find any instances of name-calling or mocking posts either.

AI is a wonderful source for staying up-to-date with the latest Apple news. I appreciate the opportunity to be a member of the forums. I couldn't care less if articles take an Apple slant. Of course they do. It's called Apple Insider for a reason. I'm also intelligent enough to see thru the rah-rah and find the real news behind it. Many of the threads here are incredibly helpful in understanding why Apple does what it does, what issues exist and how Apple deals with them. News is often posted here before any other site gets their hands on it. But there's a handful of members with egos too big for the forum. They attack other members, even other die-hard Apple fans, if any real or imagined Apple slight is posted.

At forums I moderate, neither I nor any of the other mods tolerate personal attacks on members because of their opinions. Of course not everyone agrees, and sometimes tempers flare in certain topics. But the moderators are quick to step in and remind all the parties that respect and tolerance for opposing views is expected. PM's are used is some cases to avoid embarrassing members in public, while other times we may reply to offensive members in the thread itself. But every member is treated as part of the community as much as possible. I've only had to ban two members in the past three years for continuing bully tactics after multiple warnings. Most get the hint and change their behavior. But none of the moderators (at three different tech sites) have ever banned a member because their views differed from ours, or because we felt a member insulted us by disagreeing.

FWIW, the forum members with the most bluster and spiteful comments are often the ones on losing ends of a discussion. There's even an acronym that I've coined for it: TNM, or Taunting and Mockery (thanks Ms Parker). When your opponent feels he needs to stoop to it, you can usually consider it evidence that you're winning. I think AI would have many more members posting and taking part in forum discussions if some of the most vocal and intimidating posters with chips on their shoulders would calm down and understand the harm they're doing by calling names, making fun of others, or automatically assuming anyone with an opposing view must be an Apple-hater. You know who you are. And so do many of the more reasonable forum members.

If you want a vibrant user community, tolerant of opinions that might differ from yours but at the same time offering a view that you might not have considered, I strongly feel some members need to modify their behavior. As it is there's too many instances where misconceptions continue simply because there's too much fear of being personally attacked and belittled if you dare disagree with the vocal few or ask a question of the wrong person.
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