The Internet is full of strange oddities that have emerged over the years as a generation has spent more and more time on the Internet, and less and less time interacting with people in the real world. There is perhaps no place where this is more obvious than in the comment streams of popular websites, such as YouTube, Engadget, and Gizmodo. In these comment streams, “flame wars” break out endlessly between these different types of commenters. Let’s go through them, just for kicks.
So, we have a few basic types of these commenters. Let’s look at them one at a time. Here goes!
The nerd sees the world in black and white. Everything is either absolutely awesome, or absolutely worthless to him. (they’re most often young guys) Nerds typically have one or more areas of extreme expertise, in which they possess a tremendous amount of knowledge, or at least they think they do. There are all sorts of nerds. You have Science Fiction nerds, Mac nerds, Windows nerds, programming nerds, design nerds, movie nerds, grammar nerds, camera nerds, and the list goes on.
Nerds can be incredibly productive when they want to be. They are often brilliant. The problem arises with their typical lack of social skills, which often leads them to lack empathy and compassion, or the ability to relate to others. They expect everyone to conform to their views. When they don’t, the nerd immediately labels them as an inferior person and begins to ruthlessly belittle and ridicule them.
Nerds often quote statistics and other information sources, and quite often quote the article or video they are commenting on. They do this because they honestly believe that they are irrefutably right about everything, and that somehow their addiction to facts and figures makes them somehow superior to everyone else in the conversation. They are usually wrong.
A grammar nerd may say something like, “I can’t believe he just used that comma there! What a worthless moron! He must have dropped out of elementary school! I’ve never seen anything so poorly written in my life!” A movie nerd might say, “How on earth could this idiot forget that Ben Stiller was in that one scene! What on earth is he doing writing movie reviews!?” If you’ve seen statements like this, you may have seen a nerd in action. If you’re taking this satirical article too seriously, you may also be a nerd. Fear not, you can always change.
Fanboys are actually in the nerd category, but have one distinguishing characteristic. They can always be counted on to applaud those who speak positively of their chosen company or object, and ridicule those who speak unfavorably of it. For example, a Windows fanboy can be relied on to attack anything and everything positive said about Apple. They have no sense of objectivity, and blindly assault anyone who speaks in favor of anything besides their chosen company, Microsoft. Conversely, an Apple fanboy is guaranteed to attack anyone who writes anything good about Microsoft or Google. Neither type of fanboy can comprehend why anyone could possibly disagree with them, and therefore considers anyone who does to be insane. This type of black and white thinking stems from the fact that most fanboys are also nerds. The most important distinguishing characteristic of a fanboy is his ability to ignore anything genuinely negative about his chosen company, while exaggerating everything negative about all others. He firmly believes in his company’s ability to overcome all odds, regardless of any logic or fact.
The troll never has anything good to say, by definition. However, their motives vary tremendously. Some trolls a actually serious, and just criticize and ridicule everything around them. These pitiful creatures feel the need to attack anyone who says or does anything positive.
On the other side of the spectrum is the humor troll. The humor troll just says ridiculous things to watch people react to them. He enjoys sitting back and watching how people react to his bizarre and outlandish statements. He may often pose as a nerd, fanboy, or hater just to irritate the real ones. Hey, at least they have a sense of humor, right? If you’re thinking up something mean-spirited and contradictory to say in the comments right now, you may just be a troll.
Haters have been given the acronym, “Having Aggression Towards Everyone Reaching Success.” This pretty much sums up the hater agenda. Haters come out of the woodwork to attack anyone who writes, produces, builds, or even talks about anything positive. Haters are typically saddened by their own lack of success, and believe that of they can tear down someone else’s success, they will somehow look better because of it. Of course, they are wrong, and this only makes them look negative and spiteful. If you are ever attacked by a hater, give yourself a pat on the back. You must have done something right! If you’re fuming mad right now because of this article, you might just be one of them. Always remember, you’ve got to give respect to get respect.
The Normal Person (everyone else)
Don’t find yourself fitting into any of these categories? Great! You’re either normal, or one of the others and just in denial. Normal people are usually too busy being productive and spending meaningful time with friends and family to comment much on blogs or YouTube videos, but when they do they tend to be laid back and easygoing. If they see a grammar error, maybe they’ll send the author a polite and friendly email or tweet pointing it out. If they disagree with something, they’ll politely explain why, and make a balanced counter-point. They may even contribute something useful to the discussion, or ask a thoughtful question. If you’re laughing right now and thinking of all the countless times you’ve run into all these types of people on the Internet, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re normal!
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