Sunday, 27 March 2011

Should you post on a forum?

I got my own laptop last year,which is my first computer,a Netbook. And since that time I now have three Netbooks,all Windows 7. And so I have started to take an interest in computer software. And I tried Linux Mint 9 for a short time but it did not work out for me. So I uninstalled it, and I now have just got Windows 7 only, on my computer.Which I am very happy with.

But it was my interest in software that led me to join a computer software forum. The most well known computer software forums are Windows 7 forums and Linux Mint forums as well as many others. And I have joined several of these forums, but now I am sorry that I did, and I now wished that I had not bothered to.

I have been writing several post on Windows 7 forums and Linux Mint forums and some others. And the Linux Mint forums has threatened to ban me from the forum because it does not like my posts.

Here is what happened-Because I have my own computer I have strong views about how I want it to run. I don't believe in anti-virus programs because I don't like the idea of a third party program controlling my computer. I dislike security settings of any kind, and on Windows you don't have to have a password if you do not want one. So I don't have a password and none of my computer settings are password protected. So I just turn my computer on and go. And User Account Control is disabled. And on Windows Update,automatic updating is turned off. So that I can install updates in my own time and I CHOOSE which updates to install or reject,not Windows. And I install the updates I want manually.This avoids unwanted updates and unwanted software from being installed on my computer.

I am not saying that everyone should run their computer this way,I am just saying how I run my computers. And I have posted my views and software tips that I know on the forums. And not everybody agrees with them, but that is fair enough as everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Just like I am.

But I have been posting on Linux Mint forums and I was writing on a thread titled,"Do You Run Linux Mint As Your Only Operating System?"
Now I know that on a forum thread they like you to stick to the subject and not go off topic. But on a computer software forum it is impossible to explain something without referring to another,software or another operating system, as an example.

Take this example,suppose the thread was about Firefox web browser. You might refer to Wyzo or Flock browser in your posts because they run off of the same engine as Firefox. And so you mention those web browsers just to give an example. But if you do this,they accuse you of hijacking the thread and tolling and get really worked up about it.

And that is what happened to me on the Linux Mint forums. On that thread I was openly insulted by some of the forum members who I will not name. I was called a troll,I was called a hijacker of threads and forums and other things. But I ignored these insults and did not reply to them or insult anyone back. I just carried on posting about computer software. And it was when I wrote a post about Outlook Express and other email clients,that I got the warning from the forum moderator.

Here is the warning I got-

Andrea Borman-Stop hijacking topics to post your rants.You only display your lack of knowledge about Linux and Windows in general. If you want to talk about Outlook Express,open a new topic in open chat. The only restrictions are-no pornography,no religion,no politics and no offensive content.

This is not the first time you have hijacked a topic. If this behavior continues,you could face a temporary ban from this forum. And if that's not effective,a permanent ban may be considered.


Since when is talking about an email client offensive content? Since when is saying that,Outlook Express or Thunderbird or other clients being impossible to use, offensive content? All right, it is true that I admitted to them in my posts that Linux is not user friendly like Windows is. But when I read the terms and conditions of the forum,I realized I had violated none of those terms. So I had not done anything wrong, but I have been threatened with a ban from the forum.

But that was not the first time I have been made to feel unwelcome on Linux Mint forums. A month ago I started a thread asking if there was a way to remove my Linux Mint password. I got a lot of replies and some insults to my character as well. But some forum members actually liked my posts. But after only three short pages,the forum administrator locked my thread. So that I and other members could no longer post on it. And when I looked on the Linux Mint forums,after searching the site, I saw that my thread was the only one that was locked on the whole of the site. And that none of the other members threads were locked, just mine.

So it seems that comments I got from some of the members on the threads as well as the fact that they locked my thread only,out of all the other members on the forum. Was not about my inability to use Linux, Windows or a computer, but a personal attack against me as a person. And what is even more humiliating is that all of this was done in public,including the warning. Which was posted publicly on the forum page,where everyone on the Internet can read it.

And so this brings up the question-should you post on a forum?Well,that is up to you. But you have no rights on a forum. They can delete your posts.They can moderate your posts.They can write bad comments about you. They can lock your threads and they can ban you from the forum. And some forums will even block your IP address.

And that in my opinion, is a violation of human rights and privacy and I think that it should be made a criminal offense for a website or a forum to block someones IP address. It is as if the forums are acting as the Internet Police, by recording and blocking someones IP address. So how safe are your personal details on a forum?

And then there is the possibility that if you have a software problem, and post your question,that you may not get any replies. But fortunately on Windows,we have excellent scanning tools and Windows Search. So most problems can be resolved there. But on Linux it is not that simple, and that is why more people who are using Linux are turning to forums.

But my advice to anyone who wants to write good posts is to get your own blog or website. At least then you can post what you want and you can modify or delete any bad comments. But you can't on a forum. And if you have your own blog,even if you don't host on your own domain. They are not going to ban you just for saying that you don't like Outlook Express or that Windows is better than Linux. Are they?
So I think that if you do join a forum,be prepared for the disadvantages of it. And there are many disadvantages of a forum.

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