How to Insult People in Forums

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    Sep 22, 2010 1:57 AM GMT
    It's the Bread/Ham/Bread approach:
    http://www.simple-talk.com/community/blogs/philfactor/archive/2009/01/09/71609.aspxShould you insult posters on newsgroups, forums or online discussions? This may be a strange question to ask, and the answer is generally "no". It is a bad idea, even though your target is usually too far away to exact retribution: Occasionally, however, the urge to insult someone who posts on a forum is irresistible.
    ...
    There will come a time however when one feels provoked beyond endurance and the desire to let a person know what you really think is irresistible.

    What should one do in these circumstances?

    ...
    The answer, I think, was given to me a long time ago when I worked for an eminent consultant pediatrician in a hospital. He had the delicate task of writing letters to doctors who had referred patients to him. Often he had to give them the news that they had misdiagnosed the patient, wasted a lot of time, caused suffering unnecessarily, or even hastened the patient’s demise. In private, behind closed doors, he would wax vitriolic about the dangerous incompetence of the doctor concerned. The letters, however, would be effusive with compliments; any criticism was hedged about with lashings of thickly-spread flattery.

    I was a young hothead, and I eventually asked him why his letters were so mealy mouthed. I didn’t get it.

    "Nobody is immune from politeness and flattery", he told me. "In fact, there seems to be no upper-limit to the amount of flattery that a person can absorb. If you can compliment and encourage the person that you must instruct, then any reproach is accepted more readily. There are ways of phrasing a painful truth about a person’s skills or conduct that will deflect hurt feelings, and therefore be accepted more readily. All you get by haranguing people for their foolishness is resentful resistance."

    I highly recommended application of this technique in forum posting. When the urge to flame somebody strikes, rephrase your thoughts in such a way that the person is impelled into doing the right thing, but does not feel insulted. A nice fringe benefit to this process is that it provides a wonderful way of managing one’s anger and frustration.
    ...
    Having mastered this subtle art, you will find life on the forum far less stressful, and more rewarding, and those "in the know" will understand that you are writing is not necessarily the same as what you are thinking.
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    Sep 22, 2010 2:27 AM GMT
    It was very thoughtful and considerate for you to post this. As they say, you draw a lot more flies with honey than vinegar. And in this spirit, I must say that I cannot tell you how highly I think of your political posts. Keep up the good work!
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    Sep 22, 2010 2:33 AM GMT
    +1. Right on.
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    Sep 22, 2010 2:44 AM GMT
    Nice topic and post, q!
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    Sep 22, 2010 3:03 AM GMT
    jprichva saidOh, get off my lawn.


    icon_lol.gif
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    Sep 22, 2010 5:09 AM GMT
    Excellent post! Thank you!
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    Sep 22, 2010 5:47 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidIt was very thoughtful and considerate for you to post this. As they say, you draw a lot more flies with honey than vinegar. And in this spirit, I must say that I cannot tell you how highly I think of your political posts. Keep up the good work!


    Um, is that bread or is that ham?icon_razz.gif
    Actually I was going to say the opposite: SB's threads draw in a lot more attention because of the controversial way he presents his material (I won't say politically incorrect since a major party thinks like him). It's like the flies like vinegar more than honey.
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    Sep 22, 2010 5:49 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 said
    socalfitness saidIt was very thoughtful and considerate for you to post this. As they say, you draw a lot more flies with honey than vinegar. And in this spirit, I must say that I cannot tell you how highly I think of your political posts. Keep up the good work!


    Um, is that bread or is that ham?icon_razz.gif
    Actually I was going to say the opposite: SB's threads draw in a lot more attention because of the controversial way he presents his material (I won't say politically incorrect since a major party thinks like him). It's like the flies like vinegar more than honey.


    Intelligent and positive contributions are always valued. Please continue yours!
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    Sep 22, 2010 1:14 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidIt's like the flies like vinegar more than honey.


    I have to agree. The flies definitely swarm around the vinegar. People seem to enjoy the name calling more than an intelligent conversation. It takes too much time to read a well thought out post, so the quick, spiteful (sigh.. and yes sometimes entertaining) attacks gather the crowds. It seems to be the nature of this communication vehicle.

    In the end though, the vinegar results in an unstructured rant that has imparted nothing but frustration on the community. Perhaps with a little more honey we might actually hear and consider what others have to say.

    Thanks for doing your part to keep the forums insiteful q1w2e3.