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My .02 (long) (archive)

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Posted by David J. on March 29, 1999 at 15:20:45:

Man, this has gotten a little out of hand.

Almost everyone who's written in about this whole "censorship" issue has at least a kernel of truth to the points they're trying to make, but folks- remember that while we have the right to free speech in this country, what we're really dealing with here is a privilege. We have the privilege of having been given a place to express our feelings. It's free. It's accessible. It's fast, and it's non-"buggy". (Do you realize how difficult it is to provide a forum like that?!)

We could all stand on top of our roofs and yell to anyone who happened to be passing by that we think this or that car/product/person sucks, but most of us follow the rules of society, written and un- that dictate a little bit of consideration for our fellow cit (net) izens. It's the increasing lack of that on this board that's making me shake my head a little bit.

I logged on the other day to do a couple of things. I wanted to post a fantastic experience I had just had with "Dent Wizard" so that other folks could gain insight from it. I wanted to check the archives to find out where I could find Red Line oil. And I wanted to ask if anyone had a parts list of what is supposed to come with a Top Sider. The fact that I immediately thought of the Message Board for all these things is a testament to the outstanding service it provides us. What I found, though, was a raging argument about somebody having badmouthed 1.9s and the ensuing melee. Chagrinned, I logged off without posting. I wonder how many other folks have had good information that didn't get shared or needed tips that didn't get found over the past few days?

We're always going to have those folks that are going to chide and bait and provoke merely for the simplistic pleasure of seeing that people have read their post and reacted to it, good, bad, or indifferently. I don't think there's anyone capable of using a computer and web browser who is so inherently ignorant that they can't tell when this is the case.

So… as consumers, we vote with our wallets. As a societal audience, we vote with our remote controls. And as this whole new "Online Society" emerges, we're going to have to learn to vote with our "Back" button. If you don't like the flames you see and can tell that it's garbage- don't add kerosene. Hit "Back" and let it burn itself out.

Think of it as the equivalent of a newspaper article. If you're browsing the nightly rag and see something that you disagree with, then by all means write a letter to the editor!! But when faced with the same type of thing in an online discussion group, don't take advantage of the fact that you can reply quickly, harshly, and without thought (even though you can and, as we're all realizing, sometimes do).

Take the same amount of time that you would if you had to sit down and write that letter to that editor. Think about it. Reason. Make sensible arguments. Be eloquent! Remember the old adage that "Profanity is the last resort of the uneducated" (though ask my fiancée while I'm driving the Z through rush hour traffic and she'd tell you I must be one dumb motherf**er!).

And also remember that that letter would have to make it through at least one editor before it ever made the public forum.

Alan is far from a censor. I've had correspondence with him several times in the past and a more level-headed guy you'd be hard-pressed to find. As those of you with more than a passing interest in computers know, any endeavor like the one Alan has undertaken with this board is a nightmare of time sucked into a bottomless pit that is only made worthy by the pleasure you take in doing it. In plain terms- it takes a LOT!

I couldn't do it myself. Seen one of my Detailz' "Tip of the Week" updates lately? No. for the simple reason that I don't have the time right now- and I imagine that took about 1/20th of the time a week that the MB does for Alan. Bottom line- call me a suck-up and a kiss-ass if you like, but I've been on this Board for a long time and have been awed by the work that Alan does. If he feels it's within his purview to archive, delete, organize, collate, monitor, moderate or otherwise just yank the whole shebang- that folks, that is his right, and I for one honor it gladly.


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