The Usefulness of Forums

Over the years I’ve visited various forums in search of answers to my questions and issues. Most of the time, someone else had the same question or issue I have, and I can often find a good solution. However, it seems that most hardware and software-related forums are turning into “fanboy” sites, where people want to pat themselves on the back and feel good about whatever hardware or software they own. For example, the two Palm Pre Forums that I frequently visit are filled with such fanatics who love their Palm Pre and are blind to any hardware or software issues it may have. If anyone posts anything a bit negative about the Pre, they are immediately engulfed with hateful responses, most of which are accusations that the original poster is an Apple iPhone fanboy spreading negativism. What’s strange, is that these posters are using the term “fanboy” as something evil and negative when in fact THEY are fanboys themselves (in this case, a Pre fanboy)!

It seems that a lot of people don’t want to read or hear about what’s wrong with their hardware device or software package because it might make them appear foolish in purchasing that product. As such, these forums have turned into “Fan Clubs” more so than helpful forums.

I think the big contributor to this situation is the average age of the posters on these forums. For example, having the latest-and-greatest cell phone is a real teenager thing (in my opinion) so most of these posters are teens who will defend their hardware/software purchase blindly. That’s fine with me, but just don’t attack me if I make a comment about your “precious toy” and you get bent out of shape about it.

It’s easy for people to fly-of-the-handle and post nasty, condescending comments since they are virtually anonymous on the Internet. Would they say and act the same way when talking face-to-face with a person? Probably not, otherwise they are will either get punched in the nose or not have any friends to whine to.

So although I like visiting forums for help and support, I also have to wade through all the childish crap to get my final working answer.

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