@kicks "Familiarity breeds contempt."
That's the first aspect that comes to mind. It doesn't matter if its a small town, where everybody knows each other and what they are doing or a small group online. The difference is, in a small town or at work, is you can't just leave, so you learn to tolerate the differences and, percieved, faults of others and still remain civil. It takes a mental discipline we have trouble extending online. Maybe in part, because we don't feel accountable.
When I first joined forums and later social networks I purposely used my name, because I wanted to hold myself accountable with anything I posted online. It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname. It was my way of forcing self discipline that I wouldn't say anything online that I wouldn't say to somebody face to face.
Moderating forum communities is something I've done a lot of and it's a task I'm glad to be rid of now. A couple of features of some forum scripts that I miss:
The ability for mods to either combine threads (we don't need 20 threads about blue widgets, let's splice them all together.) And the ability to seperate off topic portions of a thread.
The ability to in some way archive particularly good useful threads or posts into a sort of knowledge base for others to use in the future. Both of these hit on the librarian function.
@bradenslen Well said! I’m old enough to have been in the forums as well.
“It was common practice back in the forum days to use a nickname.”
And it was also common to have a sig.
Slightly off topic: I remember Outlook Express got a lot of heat because they used “—” as a sig separator instead of “— ”…
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