Forum cycles

Pat H
09/16/2012 - 09:59

For many years now I have been a member of first the Italy mag forums then this community. The forums have been invaluable and I have gained so much knowledge. I was online and still remember the sad day that Italy Mag pulled the plug on the Forum after some serious fighting.I have always been fascinated by the seemingly cyclic nature of the interactions here and have wondered what if anything influences the various flare ups. They do not seem to be tied to the cycles of the moon, I thought that perhaps it could be because people were snowed in and stuck in doors triggering cabin fever but that also does not explain it. Perhaps it is because some people feel isolated in a new country and the forums are one of their few ways of communicating in their mother tongue? The difficulty is that the words are only a small component of communication and are always open to misunderstanding. Their do however sometimes seem to be people who are not at all open to others points of view. I guess another question is “Is the internet facilitating communication or entrenching positions?”All very interesting.


I think that's a really good question - and I don't know the answer! I think that the written word is open to many interpretations - and that it is easy to make an assumption that you know what someone is saying without checking out in reality what they meant. I think that there are also some people who like a really good fight - maybe because they can hide behind the internet and would never "dare" say some of the things they do in writing to peoples faces. And then there are those people who like a good fight - regardless - and look to antagonise just for the sake of it. Then there are people whose glass is half empty/and in some cases not got a drop in - who just like to keep posting their own thing regardless of others views - maybe as you say because they have had a hard time in life/italy - I personally don't have a problem with people sharing their challenges/difficulties - it's when it's just doom and gloom that I get twitchy - as that's not as I understand the purpose of this forum - I can't remember the strap line but it's somethign about people "liking" Italy! I wasn't a member of the forum when things went pear shaped last time - but it sounded pretty horrendous from the snippets people have posted in the last few months.  I find it difficult to understand why people would post under various different "names" but I've never been one for game playing - to me a spade is a spade...............

This can quite easily turn out to be a very interesting thread - as long as everyone remembers that it was NOT because of the "fights" that the 'old forum' was transferred to this format.   (If it was, then that would be another failure!) The 'transfer' had been in waiting the wings for Ronald (the then forum administrator) to get his act together and iron out the glitches with this format for a very, very long time - something he has still not actually managed to achieve.   Although his intentions were good, members did (and still do) not like this format - which in turn "killed the forum" to a degree - because it is difficult to navigate and the glitches make it annoying for most. The fights and "names changes" are a completely different kettle of fish.  I've changed my name here because I got banned under other names - usually for being in the thick of any "fight" and calling a spade a spade and those who didn't agree or wanted it to be called a "digging implement" voiced their view in the only way they know - by demanding those of us, (considered by that opposing group to be "my gang") be banned. What makes me laugh is that all "my gang" are here - under different names - and contribute to the forum, helping and receiving thanks from those who previously demanded they be removed.  What is sad about the current situation is that this once vibant, interesting, lively forum is nothing more than an insipid version of what it once was - where it is considered only "please pass me the salt dear" posts are acceptable. I've never been like that - I call it as I see it and will continue on in that way - so my 'persona' is easily recogniseable and therefore, whatever name I choose to use here - is 100% irrelevant - and 'Esme' was the closest thing I could think of at the time to tell everyone "It's me". Moving on, I really am not sure if "Judecas" was banned (as there seems to be no admin) and even if s/he was, why was s/he banned?  Why is it that someone who posts "doom and gloom" is not allowed to remain nor wanted?  If you don't like what someoone posts, feel free to block them from within your control panel, post your reasons for disagreeing or move on yourself, but don't demand they be removed just because you don't agree with what they post.  Argue the toss with them by all means - but what makes anyone think they have the right to have someone removed? Do the membership here really only want to read about or believe that Italy and Italian life is only 'la dolce vita'?  Those who do, are free to continue wearing the blinkers, but there are some who are more realistic and actually like to read a counterbalanced view.  If all the people here agree with each other all the time  - it makes the forum polite, but BORING and it DIES.  And sadly, apart from the threads where there is disagreement (which are usually the ones 'my gang' got involved with), that's exactly what's happened. Feel free to disagree.  wink

Maybe some of us should check the meaning of certain words in foreign languages before using them. In Spanish it is a very vulgar expression.  What are we having here? The attack of the zombies? Sorry, Dolcevita, nothing to do with you. And PatH, I do not know who you were before. I cannot recall your name. In any case, the INternet is a very dangerous tool in the wrong hands. The ones who have remained in the Community and keep on participating in a normal way never start the attacks. The "agents provocateurs" are always the same people. That says it all.

I think there's something in the title - "the community for lovers of all things Italian" - and that's where my problem with Judecas was - he does the exact oppostie.  Having seen him dismantle another forum through the doom and gloom which he was just beginning to build up to here for me that's not in the spirit of this forum and "the community for lovers of all things italian" in his case he seemed to be "a hater of all things italian."  He would write pages and pages of posts all on the same theme which eventually stopped people from posting and became a worthless experience for everyone - and now there's no-one left!  Maybe he removed himself - interestingly I've just checked and there's been no activity from him on the other forum either.  I think having a balanced view is really important - it's where there is a disagreement and it becomes personal and a playground spat that I think it goes a step too far.  It's not about being "right or wrong" just different perspectives - and maybe with what happended on the previous forum here has left a bad taste in peoples mouths in both "groups".  Well not maybe it obviously has!!   I'm wondering the way people write here - is it the way you speak/behave too?  I'll start by asking that one of you Esme as you've said like me you call a spade a spade  - from my perspective of you sometimes you're like a rottweiler - you go for the throat and take no prisoners - is that what you do in real life?  I'm curious........As my interpretation of calling a spade a spade is that I'm honest but don't like to offend (so I've just read and reread what I've written about comparing you to a rottweiler and hoping you take it in the spirit it's meant!!!!wink

La Dolce.. this thread is not about me or who I am, however, I'll ask you to go back into any of the threads you refer to and find ONE SINGLE post where I start the antagonism.  I agree, I go for the throat and take no prisoners with my retaliation, BUT only when 'attacked' first - just as I do in REAL life.  Find that one single post that proves otherwise - if you can. You will not find it - not even in this thread - where I am resisting the temptation of retaliating towards Galas post - which everyone knows has a double entendre and who it is aimed towards - which is FINE, as long as those who dish it out first are able to take it in return without resorting to hiding behind the malaise of "doing offended" and baying for removal of the so called "offender".  Many saw it happen time and time again - and spoke out about it - only to then be tarred with the same brush and declared to be part of "my gang".  Starting to get a clearer picture now? Anyway... moving on, I don't know which other forum you refer to when writing about  "Judecas" - so, I have not seen or read any of the pages and pages of "Italy hating" posts, however, s/he should still be allowed to remain here as s/he has as much right as any other to post her/his views here and not judged for what s/he posts elsewhere - that has nothing to do with anyone here - s/he should be allowed to post whatever s/he chooses about Italy, even negative things and even in a forum for "lovers of all things Italian". Maybe for Judecas, writing posts about "doom and gloom" is her/his ideal of love - who knows?  And more importantly - who are we to judge her/him for holding that point of view? I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if no-one posts anything "contraversial" then the forum dies.  The proof is here - and always has been - look at how this forum has suddenly become more active over the last few days and ask yourself why? It has nothing to do with the phases of the moon, the tide or me - but it certainly does have something to do with how certain groups react towads each other when they have opposing views - and that is not a bad thing because it revitalises the forum - it stimulates it and promotes more and more threads on more and more topics. The choice seems simple - have a polite, dull, boring forum that is DEAD - or - have one that is vibrant, interesting, contraversial and ALIVE! This new forum as it is now (with the exception of the last few days and a few other instances in the past) is nothing more than a deserted hamlet - the 'old' forum as it was, was a thriving COMMUNITY - where people lived and loved and fought and cared. Feel free to make your choice -  accept each and every character as part of the whole - or huddle together in polite self congratulation and eventually rid yourselves of the future by making sure you are abandoned and left to die - alone and forgotten - just like so many delelict hilltop villages in Italy. I am (and so many others are) interested in what everyone else has to say -  I know I am prepared to read and take your point of view on board - even if we don't agree - are you prepared to do the same? I think you are - and that's why I stay - there is hope for the future, for Italy - and for this forum.

This is a real eye opener - I wasnt aware of gangs, double entendres, name changes or any of that - I have always bumbled along avoiding the personal stuff.  It is an interesting point of view - as to why people vent on the net and I suspect it has something to do with being able to express yourself better in your 'home' language.  My written Italian is fairly poor - it would take a lifetime to be able to write Italian as I write English, the nuances, 'clever clogs' references and so on.  As I live here, speak ITalian in business and personal life every day - writing in English on a forum is one of the few ways to actually say what I mean.   Is it the same for others here?  I shall continue to bumble along and avoid the personal - but if it gets too stroppy and childish - Im outahere.... 

It's a great example of how one person says something and the other interprets in another way smiley - so I'm not sure what I put/how I put it that caused you to interpet that I thought you were the one to start antagonism - it wasn't what I intended to say (and I spent a while writing it!!!)........I was just curious as to whether you were the same on here as you were in "real" life and as you say if attacked you go for the throat and take no prisoners - here and in reality.  Maybe things are said on this forum that are interpreted in different ways and that causes the 'reactions'  Me - rather than go for the throat I try to understand where others are coming from - not easy on somewhere like this I don't mind people putting stuff about Italy that doens't reflect it as a bed of roses - far from it -  as it's not perfect nor is any country.   I find it uncomfortable when it all becomes personal and spatty as I would do in real life - and as in real life I have lots of "debates' with friends but it would NEVER become a slanging match as that for me is where the respect goes.  Sometimes I may want to give someone a good slap but just do it in my head!!!!!! But this forum has as its strap line "for lovers of all things italian" and Judecas is no lover of all things italian - I can only speak from my past experience of him - I have no idea how he left but I'm glad that he did. The problem is when it gets too heated whatever the discussion point was gets lots and then it's just about the "fight" which to me is pointless.  It's not to say anyone is right or wrong - we are all drawn to different forums for different reasons - some like the antagonism others don't. Oops - just seen the time - late for a conference call!!!

I am trying to think when I joined the old forum, probably over 7 years ago and before we came to live here. Then it was used for help and information, and for a place to make friendships, there is still a large Marche contingent active on here, and many of us meet socially. So now it is a place to meet old friends again, and still do some learning. I have always had my favourite posters (take a bow Ram) and the advice from Penny is always spot on, she has taken a huge amount of time and trouble over the years to keep us all informed. And there are many others whose internet friendship I have valued.

Can't resist it Ram - "I for one" needs to be followed by "one for all!!" I had no idea to start off with on the other forum I "sort of" followed that it was just one person who went "off on one" in various forms - then I began to notice the subtleties (or sometimes not of the posters) and realised it was just the one person - which made me feel a bit better as I was getting the impression that all the ex-pats who lived in Liguria were either Eyeores (doom and gloom merchants) psycopaths or completely nuts.  And of course wherever you live/post there will always be one or two of these but I had visions of a Zombie type of region!! I've really really appreciated the time and effort many people from this forum have put in to answering what is probably lots of questins that repeat themselves on a cycle - and I look forward to being as "wise in the world" of Italy too (and of course being able tospeak the lingo too!

   QUOTE:- “find ONE SINGLE post where I start the antagonism” QUOTE:- “I'm going fishing now - is it true you can use a silly little Sprat to catch a great white Shark?” Pilch 

QUOTE "But this forum has as its strap line "for lovers of all things italian" and Judecas is no lover of all things italian - I can only speak from my past experience of him - I have no idea how he left but I'm glad that he did." I happen to know that "judecas" has left Italy after spending five or more years bad-mouthing it from within its borders. Believe me, he's not a nice person; his former neighbours are overjoyed at his departure. He continues to post messages of hate on such other forums that are stupid enough to tolerate him, but I for one have a well-tuned filter able to detect his poison and deflect it into the mental equivalent of a spam bin.

I didn't realise that so many people are so affected by ramblings in an online Forum. If this is how it affects you, God only knows how you come to terms with things that happen in the Real World. I think we should all Chill out a bit, and not take things so seriously ...... they are words written by someone, with a point of view (rightly or wrongly), it cannot possibly effect your lives !!

It is strange how new people to this forum appear to know all about certain people/things. I didn't find Judecas being a 'hateful' person - he just had a view - and most of it was right!  Italy is not perfect but then no human is either and just because the problems are discussed doesn't mean we don't love it alll the same!

"What kind of bait would you call that?" I don't get the point you're so obviously struggling to make here - unless of course, you're doing your usual thing of trying to create yet another problem?  Nah, I didn't think so - that's not your style, is it Pilch? I'm off to buy a soap on a rope - I believe in recycling. wink

"For lovers of all things Italian" is a nice tag line for a magazine or a forum, but does anyone love everything Italian? I love my wife very much, but that doesn't mean she doesn't annoy me occasionally. I love our daughter more than life itself, but she still drives me up the wall now and then. I love our home in Italy a great deal, but I still have "What the hell am I doing here?" moments and I now and then wonder what planet some Italians were born on. While I most definitely do not think that everything about Italy and Italians is absolutely, bloomin' marvelous, I wouldn't have just passed my sixth anniversary of arriving permanently in Italy if I didn't think there was more good than bad about the place and the people. Unfortunately, it seems that some people are desperate to believe that Italy is paradise on earth and all Italians are paragons. In fact, it seems that some of those people are thrown into an existential crisis and feel profoundly threatened by anyone who suggests that Italy, Italians, the Italian political class, the Catholic church, the weather in Italy or anything else about the country is anything less than perfect, the result of which can be personal insults: "If you hate it here so much, why don't you just go home, loser!!!!" These comments do not, by the way, relate to anything said by anyone about posts made by the Judecas character. I didn't read any of those, but I do know there are people who feel bitter and disappointed by whatever country and culture they find themselves in. If you take a sour, embittered, negative Brit (or Yank, Aussie, Italian, etc) and dump them in a different country, it's unlikely that they will be immediate transformed into someone with a sunny, positive outlook. I can relate to Ram's points above. Forums - although not so much this one, these days - are important to me as a source of information but also as a way of simply connecting with someone - however virtually - in a language which I can use with some skill. As for the personal spats, most of it flies straight over my head since I find it so hard to keep the personalities straight. A few people I recognise by their style even if they change names, but I find it difficult enough to remember people in real life; trying to keep a personality attached to a forum handle is beyond me. As for Pat's original musings about whether the internet enhances communication or just allows people to more deeply entrench their positions, Justin Webb, a former North American editor for the BBC, wrote a piece a couple days ago which touches on just these points. Al

Hi Alan, to pretend that we all love everything Italian would be nonsense. First of all, and as you said, Italy is not perfect and there would be a long list of things and characters that people -perhaps not everyone- dislike. And we certainly write about those topics and discuss them. This has always happened and I am sure that it will continue to happen On the other hand there are some characters out there who use forums and the Internet for very dark, personal reasons and try to disrupt everything for the pleasure of it. We have had two recent cases who annoyed everyone and had to be banned by the Administration. These people are called "trolls"and they move from forum to forum. In both cases, they were n novices, as they had been banned from other forums. The posts sent by "Judecas" were not only negative but also obsessive. As for the other weird character, Ms Belsito, her posts were also highly disruptive in a different way. They seemed to be the work of a mentally unbalanced person. I did not mention this before, but following her first post I sent a welcome message on the same thread, something that I endeavour to do with everyone who is new on this site as a friendly gesture. Next thing I know, she is sending me a private message asking me to correspond with her through our own personal emai addresses... It is common knowledge that this is not done, mainly for security reasons. The Internet can be a dangerous place.

The Internet in itself is not a dangerous place, but if one allows ones self to divulge personal information regarding location, real name or other intimate details of oneself, people will use these against you and prey on ones vulnerability and paranoia. I have come across many who feel that an anonymous person in a chat room or forum actually is stalking then because of information they had previously divulged, had been used in search engines and that person (troll) makes an educated guess regarding their personality or location. Like all advances in technology people can make themselves more vulnerable because they are unaware of the information available to anyone with limited knowledge of how to use the Web (it's not called that for nothing, ask any spider), like they say 'be careful what you wish for.....'

At the end of the day I believe that it is all about the stated (or implied) purpose of the forum/community. Realistically no-one can argue that this forum was created to have people slag each other and Italy offcreate. That would have a negative impact on the Italy Magbrand. Obviously not everything is perfect in Italy and the discussions of problems and issues can be very helpful. Can this be done in a positive, polite way? Obviously yes   La Dolcevita I suppose it can be difficult to differentiate between Doom and Gloom and Having said that though I believe that a negative attitude serves no purpose.   Esme I have to disagree with you. The infighting and huge amounts of moderation that the old forum needed were a direct   I must admit I have never understood the calling a spade a spade argument. I have never met anyone who reacts positively to aggression or rudeness and it is very difficult to see how you can change a person’s point of view without being diplomatic. As soon as people believe that they are under attack they stop listening and start defending from their trenches.   I also don’t bye the idea that without controversy the forum will die. The forum has a purpose; to share information about Italy. There are so many other forums geared toward people who want controversy or conflict. I would really question the idea that conflict is vibrant.   flyingveepixie is a case in point. Most people do not like conflict and will leave when it ossurs. Flip I would just say be carefull what sites you visit. You will not believe the amount of information malicious people can find out about you on the internet.   All in all I am still at a loss to work out what triggers the flare ups every now and then. !! Who knows?

In reply to by Pat H

  "All in all I am still at a loss to work out what triggers the flare ups every now and then. !! Who knows?"   I do! Someone needs some attention; the opportunity to shine, to beat someone else in an argument by force of intellect, knowledge, education. They pick a fight by belittling the views of another or insulting them in an attempt to impress the forum audience with their superiority. They get their victim biting back sometimes rather too adroitly, so they crank it up & before you know it, the aggressor begins to lose their grip, gets aggressive & starts making threats. The entire audience thinks “what the f**k” & backs off, sitting there wondering what it’s all about. The victim, left facing the aggressor, demands satisfaction &, if he continues to do so, begins to be viewed as part of the problem by the audience who are busy washing their hands. The victim, realizing the audience are without backbone & therefore the impossibility of any support or just resolution, bogs off. The ego has been fed & had its appetite sated, until the next time, next victim. That’s how it works. Pilch