The Twit Filter and Absolute Power

I belong to many forums online and participate at a spectrum of activity levels, from lurker (never posted) to the most active poster. Recently, I’ve noticed a trend that disturbed me.

There was a poster who invariably cried for help like the world was ending, but would never supply enough information in the post to allow a solution to the problem.

Follow-up questions, sometimes in a series of messages, would inevitable result in the discovery that he was wrong about the initial problem, the answer was right in front of him, or the maddening and uninformative “Never mind” posting that left those who came to his aid no better off than before.

I twit-filtered him. And therein lay my downfall.

Live was peaceful without the twit. No more chasing wild geese. No more wasting my time answering questions irrelevant to the problem. No more setting up test cases to prove what I already knew, yet he insisted was false. Life was good.

Then came the next twit.

A professional in another line of work, he assumed that his superior intellect could compensate for his lack of knowledge in the fundamentals of what he was trying to do. Plunging into a difficult task, he was ensnared in difficulties; none, in his opinion, of his causing. The software should have known what he wanted to do. The hardware was insufficient. It didn’t work on the first attempt. He couldn’t make sense of the error messages, which was the fault of the software.

Flick. The switch on the twit filter flies again. Peace returns.

Next came the droning pessimist. For years, he was always able to see the glass as half-empty, and probably dirty, too. Flick.

The eternal optimist was next, sure that monopolies had our best interests at heart, that their policies and maneuvers are not what they seem. Flick.

Peace and quiet. No more twits.

Peace.

Quiet.

Flick.

And then there were none. Few if any postings make it through the filters. The occasional newbie post, an FAQ quickly answered by one of the regulars. An occasional interesting post by one of the regulars who actually finds something interesting. Ah, the peace and quiet of a well-regulated community.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.