Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Interesting times at DPReview

Two things today …

First, I’ve noticed lately that the DPReview site has had some serious performance issues. Very slow response, getting stuck waiting for its ads, that kind of thing. It goes through such periods now and again, but every time it is a major annoyance. It’s a very busy web page and when things starts to take a while it can seem like walking through hip-deep snow …

A moment ago, it paused on me and I got this error:


Sheesh. I’ve often thought that their software team was a bit weak, but this really sucks.

Second thing … there is a new strategy for dealing with miscreants like, apparently, me. Things have been rocky on the site the last few days with acrimony in many threads. The return of several individuals who are known to be drive-by shooters -- floating through the forum dropping insults -- coincided to a two day period in which amplification of the polarization the forum has suffered since 2008 has skyrocketed again.

I admit that I responded to more of the personal garbage than I should have … it’s a little hard to watch someone lie and behave like a creep and just let it go. Despite being from Mennonite stock, I don’t turn the other cheek easily. I watched The Expendables this evening and I tended to agree with their rather direct approach to their problems :-)

DPReview responded today in an entirely unique way. A lot of posts were trimmed from the tree, a thread was wiped out where two long-term members inexplicably used the forum as a private messaging tool and then defended it stridently, and all in all most of the weekend’s worst acrimony disappeared.

After trimming the crap away, they sent out warnings to me and user lloydy and possibly a few others. I’ve never seen this before … they went through several years where they were simply ban-happy … responding to back-channel deals where multiple people got together and hammered complaints in against one or two people by wiping out the unpopular people. Now they have seemingly chosen to avoid unnecessary banning. A very nice change in atmosphere there.

Here’s the message that came to me …


Their comments serve as a reminder to take people on the forum a little less seriously. I have always felt that people who like to trash talk constantly are really just weak thinkers. I’ve seen this time and again on forums and in the work place. People who get way out of their depth tend to get snippy. They lash out, getting personal instead of staying on the topic that upset them in the first place.

Others have a natural tendency to preach and diagnose mental issues when the very act demonstrates that they suffer what they accuse. Some argue the same points ad nauseum, confusing repeated assertions with proof. Several people dodge all technical points, preferring to pretend that they know the answer or worse, just making irrelevant remarks that imply that you are avoiding their clever arguments :-)

The lack of critical thinking can get really tiresome, which is how these acrimonious debates really get rolling. After all, the intelligent side of the arguments is playing too …

So I say bravo to DPReview’s new approach to jar people a bit without the patronizing instant ban. This is how moderation should be done.

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