I lived almost an entire era on the 58 K dial up modem. The humming buzz of the line connecting was music to our ears. Unfortunately, the internet was not unlimited like it is now. Usage was often metered and you had monthly bandwidth. Incoming and outgoing phone calls meant being disconnected from the internet. Most horrifying was the often excruciatingly long and painful wait of days or even weeks to download a song.
One can only imagine my ecstasy when I first discovered high speed internet. I could download a song in a minute. Heck within the next hour, I had a music library. I swore I would never ever go back to dial up. Now if I ever move, the one thing absolutely necessary is high speed internet access in that place. Technology is incredible in todays world. The possibilities are endless. I can watch clips and videos on Youtube, I can keep in touch with people on Facebook, I can catch my favorite shows on Hulu, lookup information on Wikipedia, check out movie times and a whole lot more. I can play games, read jokes, visit forums, blog about mundane stuff and literally spend hours on the internet wasting away, never getting bored.
We have come a long way baby. Unfortunately, amidst all those leaps and bounds of progress there has been one massive backward step that ruins everything. It is the single most annoying, frustrating and enraging pitfall of the internet. It is looming doom and even God does not know how to solve it. The name of that problem is
Teenagers have single handedly ruined the internet for everybody. If the real world faces doom at the hands of a zombie apocalypse, the virtual world faces doom at the hands of teenage apocalypse. Just like flesh eating zombies who feast on brains, teenagers are the content eating zombies of the internet who feast on reason and intellect. It really is a terrible predicament we are in. Its not just sexting, social media addiction, stupidity or the human devolution into human like apes who communicate in grunts and monosyllabic words rather than proper language of any time. Most teens cannot even speak or spell slang correctly, even dis and dat becomes uh-um, yeah.
The problem with teens is that they live a sheltered coddled life. Their parents obviously hate them and would rather have the internet raise them instead of themselves. They hate them so much that they dont even let the old fashioned traditional nannies like television or video games raise their kids. After wonderland and fairy land and Disney land, parents figure teenagers might as well graduate into the virtual land where any fantasy goes like in their childhood fantasy lands. The net result is rational grown up people like us have to endure teenagers with brains the size of a pea, IQ slightly lower than that of an amoeba, and an EQ that would shed enough crocodile tears to flood the Nile in biblical proportions. They are whiny, clingy and needy. They latch onto delusions and live lives vicariously through celebrities because their parents just cannot love the horrible creatures that they are.
It really beats me how and why this disturbing trend started. I don't recollect teenagers being so stupid. In fact I know many articulate, intelligent and eloquent teens, who have bright futures. But for some reason the internet tends to draw these dumb teens like bees to honey. The signs were there long ago, I just never imagined it turning this bad.
One of the first internet message boards I visited was the MSN India section. I would post in the news and current affairs and Bollywood section. One major problem of the forum was that the forum was filled with filth and abusive argument. Granted there was good stuff and good discussion which is why I posted there. However, there were some people who were profane, abusive and argumentative. There were no report functions. I don't think there were even administrators or moderators taking care of things. At the end of the day I did not mind it though. I'll admit I was a noob of sorts to the web at that time, but I never felt a need for someone moderating. Now decorum is a habit, but back then it was kind of real world. Somethings you just cannot control. You shrugged it off and moved on.
My second longest and most enjoyable internet forum stint was at the Tatu.ru forum. In fact I was very shortly promoted to moderator there and was one for a long long time. Obviously this was a fan forum and most of us were fans of the band. Yes and like many fans we did feel a need to 'protect' our favorite celebrities. However, the forum is a great illustration of maturity and reason within fandom in comparison to the mayhem that can ensue these days. The fandom and the forum went through several schisms typical of many Indian soap forums today. The outcome was far different though.
For those who don't know Taty, they are a Russian pop duo. They were famous internationally circa 2003 with their hit song "All the things she said". Their entire image was scandalous and titillating. One controversy was their lesbian image. The second more empathetic one was the image of highly provocative school girls. The biggest rocking scandal came when they revealed that they were not really a couple but everything had been a front for publicity.
There were many different points of view, fans who continued to subscribe to the lesbian image, fans who perceived them as heterosexual women, fans who were able to brush aside the image revelation, fans who felt betrayed lied to and thought it was cheap publicity, fans who thought the provocative school girl image was perfectly acceptable, fans who thought that the image was pedophilia and pornography, fans who thought they were immensely talented, fans who thought they were at best mediocre compared to other artistes, fans who were there for nostalgia, fans who were there for the future. Note how every group is referred to as fans, not haters or bashers because the thing is being a fan does not mean you blindly love everything. Fans can be critical and questioning, fans are not homogeneous groups but unique individuals, just like liking a song on radio does not make a fan, disliking aspects does not make a hater. The most important thing was that we knew we were fans despite going in different directions.
As one can see there were many schisms and subgroups, many differing opinions. That meant several extensive discussions and debates on the music, videos, performances, image, history and future. In fact there were several very heated arguments on each and every one of these subjects. There were also arguments on various other issues like behavior towards fan, basic attitudes, personal life etc. As you can see some of the subject matters were pretty mature and we had allegations of perversion, promiscuity and questioning of personal lives. There was also criticism of singing describing it as 'screeching of a cat with a sore throat' or calling of a concert outfit 'frumpy and fat' or the look was that of a 'slutty streetwalker'.
The point of interest was that moderators rarely had to intervene. There were barely one or two 'diffusions' of argument that I actually had to do. There was one ban and barely any warnings. Basically moderators were there basically to address trolls and spamming. The basic job was to prevent pornographic, commercial or spam posts. The bigger job was to create and promote lively active topics, remove illegal media links, manage information and the day to day nitty gritty like merging, moving etc. Actually, this decorum was seen across all major Taty forums (tatu.us, tatysite.net and tatu.fatal.ru). The only site that was a hot mess was tatugirls.com.
There was no magic formula that helped managed this sort of decorum. No magical set of rules or incredible moderators. Rules can be arbitrary and people are humanly flawed. If there is one word that could capture the ability of such high voltage arguments and discussions to take place is "MATURITY". A very basic and simple human trait that teenagers these days fail to have. Somehow teenagers back in circa 2003-2006 or so had the human ability to grow. For some inexplicable biological reason teenagers exhibit some curious case of Benjamin Button, but they grow dumber instead of younger.
It is incredible how far maturity can go. References to cats screeching or unsavory aspects of personal lives were not done by people who were 'haters'. They still were past fans or even current fans. They had disagreements that they wanted to express. Similarly no one viewed these as 'bashing' and took in in stride. Most important was constructive back and forth which was not frivolous accusations on the other person's intent but real meaty discussions with opinions backed by reasons. These reasons were not any sort of love/hate relationship, but concrete content based reasons related to music, personal preferences, industry standards, sales, interpretations etc. Of course every now and then there were heated arguments and people crossed the line. I think I even railroaded a person unfairly once. But everyone had the ability to move on.
Maturity was not just reflected in people's behaviors, but maturity was the number one rules of the forums. Stupidity was a bannable offense. In fact we were given a free reign to ensure the forum did not sound stupid. We would openly mock and ridicule people who posted dumb and mindless posts. We would openly mock and ridicule the people who had the inability to make sense. We would openly mock and ridicule people who made frivolous posts like I agree, I disagree, or Hahaha without content. We even went on what we call the great modspiracy where we locked all but three game/chat threads because people were just being stupid and wasting time.
Now the tatugirls.com forum was the one we unilaterally and unanimously made fun of for being nothing but a bunch of dumb ditzy twelve year old AOL'ers. They could have been 25 or 55 for all I know, but they sounded like clueless noobs. If they were not discussing boys or make up, they were busy arguing and bitching with each other like a mob of rabid mongrels fighting for a piece of meat.
The only reason I left is because people were starting to take some schisms to seriously, more and more dumb teens were emerging and there was a dangerous trend of people living vicariously through celebrities.
Life is cruel bitches. It is not for pussies who need to go running to mommy all the time. The virtual world is an extension of the real world where the world can hit us hard uncut and uncensored. That is why "dumb, immature, stupid" teenagers don't belong on the internet. You need to be prudent, intelligent, smart, cautious and yes mature to conduct yourself with discipline and decorum if you want to communicate with a diverse age and cultural audience. Actually with all due respect teenagers must socialize with their peer groups, and other better supervised internet settings before being let loose on the internet.
Unfortunately, the internet is now infested with teenagers. The internet is full of people who are running out of their patience. The internet is full of people who actually never grew beyond their teens. There are many great things the internet can do. However, the internet is also a ticking time bomb for the next Jessi slaughter. The worst part is that stupidity is deadly and contagious.
I'm not sure if American Television forums are as stupid, but Indian television forums are full of people whose brains have been washed clean and blank with all the soaps they consume. I'm not sure of their ages and genders sometimes, but it does not matter because the all tend to act like a group of bitchy, ditzy, high school teens, clawing and pawing at each other in their clique wars. Just a whole bunch of people who God knows why get all riled up over television actors and coupling with such vigor as if they are saving a nation from being raped. Just a bunch of people so juvenile and venomous that you would think they were a kid whose candy was stolen and they have to do and say all sorts of mean things in revenge. With the way the internet is going, moderators and administration are things of the past I think. We need certified psychiatrists and mental hospital administrators.
Are you a parent?
If your child is under thirteen, they should not have a smart phone, they should not have their own computer, they can only use computers supervised for school work. If your child is under 13-16 then their computer should be placed in a public area of the house, not in their rooms. Limit their hours on the computer and restrict 'entertainment and social networking' to weekends only. If your child is 16-19, then allow them laptops or computers in their room, but still set ground rules for usage. I strongly recommend that parents discourage forums and social networking activity with strangers until kids are more grown up and mature. There are plenty of other fun sites. Of course there are always exceptions, each child is unique.I firmly believe mom knows best.
Is your favorite television couple under threat?
Ah snap out of it already. Unlike you, they are grown up and can take care of yourself. If there was any threat to them they would seek legal protection, they don't need your silly little efforts. Your spittle and drool as your mouth hangs open in awe at their awesomeness is good enough. As long as you loll and drool enough to lose your minds and be mindlessly attached to them. You know what, mom knows best, just ask your mom why the dumb fucks keep attacking your couple and what you should do. Lets see what she has to say about your life priorities.
Is your favorite television actor/actress under threat?
Ah go boil yer heads will you, it needs some steaming. Do you seriously think they are damsels in distress who need you chivalrously charging your cavalry for a battle. Spare yourself the agony. As long as you keep making out with their images you scrounged the internet for or self pleasuring yourself the watching television shows with them even if it means watching them appearing on screen and dancing like an electrocuted monkey on a tight rope. But seriously, you are a teenage and this pathetic stuff is what you use your freedom of internet for? If only you watched good old fashioned porn, I would not advice your parents to be so concerned for your sanity.You know what though, mom knows best, just ask your mom why the dumb fucks just cant appreciate her stunning superior acting and classiness or bow down and prostrate to his sexy Godliness. I'm sure she will have good advice on your priorities.
Do you feel the urge to tarnish a couple or destroy a celebrity?
Oh golly gee whiz! Good for you saving the world one meaningless endeavor at the time. Who the fuck to you think you are, the next Martin Luther King with some great gifted dream to lead the people to liberty. Seriously how far up your ass do you have your massive head inflated with all that ego. It must really hurt to having to always shove your head up there to conduct your public service. Society must sure have a heavy debt to pay to you. Honestly, why not channel all that rage to something more constructive like the serious issues to plague the world. But I stick by mom knows best, just go ask your mom how to express your immense hatred towards someone in the best possible dissing way. I'm sure she will have some good constructive advice on what to do with your life.
Seriously, the bottom line is most people are well intentioned, good people. In the end its just a show, just another celebrity, just another forum. I don't really mean all that. All I mean is that just be more constructive with your lives. Respect yourself and conduct yourself with dignity and maturity. Make sure to do things that will make you feel good not just today, but ten years down the road that you actually did something constructive. Don't do things that someday down the road you might regret or consider the biggest waste of your life. It might be just the internet, its still your life.