Skip to comments.Internet Forums and Social Dynamics: Part I: Everybody is someone else’s weirdo
Posted on 01/01/2012 5:02:18 PM PST by grey_whiskers
One of the things that is fun about forums such as Free Republic is the sheer volume and scale of topics discussed. Everything from discussions of GOP primary races (come BACK, Sarah!) to speculations on the Middle East, from Kim Jong-un to fitness resolutions for the New Year, from Naughty Teacher threads to black helicopter speculations. If the Internet is a microcosm of the real world, then Free Republic is a microcosm of the internet. And all helpfully sorted by keyword, date, and author in order to make drinking from the fire hose easier.
But of course, not is all fun and games. Free Republic bills itself as the worlds premier conservative internet forum. And as such, it is a welcome place to hang out and talk with like-minded people, away from the rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, sh*t-kickers and Methodists
found on the rest of the internet. Unfortunately, that means that all kinds of people, from Paultards to Mitt-bots, from DU infiltrators to atheist crusaders (a little ironic, that), *all* consider it their dishonor-bound duty to try to worm into FR unnoticed or at least post here, to set the record straight. Free Republic has developed its own defense against such, the famed Viking Kitties and their famous ZOT!
And why is there the necessity for the ZOT? Are we not broad-minded enough, intelligent enough, magnanimous enough, tolerant enough to allow the existence of contrary or dissenting viewpoints? Sure. But thats what the rest of the Internet is for. As G.K. Chesterton wrote, the purpose of an open mind, like that of an open mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. Or, as Rush Limbaugh likes to say, I am balance. Conservatives need a place to go to recharge without constantly being ridiculed, calumnied, mocked, and shouted down by main force.
So what happens? The voices of tolerance are so offended by the existence of an oasis for conservatives (and, whats worse, most of them are Christianists as well -- of all the nerve!) that they seek to plant a flag for reason (as they proclaim it) right here on FR. Which leads to noteworthy fireworks when they try to do so, as many of the ideas which they hold to be axiomatic, are marked as heresies here on this site. As Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) wrote, everybody is someone elses weirdo.
But how is that that people identify someone else as a weirdo? After all, with so many different subjects around, and different opinions available on each subject, conservatism is not nearly as monolithic as liberals and atheists assume (indeed, there are some conservative atheist, some of them even have remained unzotted on FR for years). May I suggest, for the purposes of insight, that we borrow a page from statistics, and in particular, from analytical chemistry? This is not meant to be a rigorous discussion, only a semi-humorous one to get the creative juices flowing. Say hello to my little friend, Students t-test.
Despite the name, and its use in classes, Students T-test was originally developed by W.S. Gosset, who went by the fictitious name Student and worked for the Guinness brewery. Come to think of it, maybe that had something to do with the name he chose :-) Students t-test is used when comparing two small sets of data, to decide whether differences in the data sets are due to chance, or are significant (that is, whether or not, the data sets really are different -- meaning, that is, 95% of the time, or 99% of the time, or whatever -- the differences in the data sets cannot have come about due to random differences). The idea is conceptually simple. Everyone has heard of a bell curve to describe data. The t-test is used to compare, not theoretical bell curves, but sets of experimental data, which have ranges of values instead of infinitely long tails. By looking at the mean of each data set, as well as the range of values of each data set, one can determine whether the two data sets are most likely measurements of the same thing or not.
Thats fine, you ask, and how exactly does this relate to websites or social interactions therein? Consider someones political views as a set of data points, with the extent of liberalness or conservativeness for each topic being spread along the X-axis, and the *count* of topics of which a person is liberal or conservative to that extent as the height above the axis. If you plot out a persons political views in this fashion, you will trace out a curve. It might be a symmetric bell curve, it might be somewhat asymmetric, it might even exhibit kurtosis. But in general, you will be able to get a feel for how a person stacks up, left or right, by talking to them.
And so it is on discussion groups, or in forums such as FR. Typically most of the posters in a self-identified, semi-autonomous site such as FR would, if their political bell curves were plotted, would be somewhat similar: a significant difference between two people could come about if either the overall shape of their bell curve were different, or if they had a particular outlier on a important topic, on which they differed *greatly* from someone otherwise similar. In either case, other people talking to the person would begin to feel that something is amiss here: something which bears an analogy to statistical sampling and comparison. And if the difference is significant enough, the person is outed as a TROLL.
Everybody is someone elses weirdo.
...oh, and Happy New Year.
I’m weirder than a lot of other people put together ;-).
Hope you had a good New Year's Eve. Watched "The Smoking Gun Presents The World's Dumbest..." with the Cubs, didn't even watch the ball drop in Times Square.
Weird does not always equate to bad - some weirdness is a pretty good thing! :-)
All of this, just to justify hate-porn against Ron Paul, instead of discussing his policy issue strengths and weaknesses as rationally as any other politician?
LOL, the country is being beat to death by Leftist fiscal destroyers, and the only guy who is nailing the economic self-destruct process to the wall is being slandered because he wants to point out the reduction - not elimination - in foreign military intervention a strong worldwide US dollar would enable.
Not to mention the reduction is lost military lives.
But hey, go ahead and enjoy ya’lls DU-level “tard” Paul-swarming. Oh - and enjoy RINO Romney too, because that’s who we’re going to get by shutting down the rational discussion of issues FR has been famous for, for so long. Because even if Paul isn’t elected, he could, would and is beating the crap out of Mittens on the economic front. But we can’t have that now, can we?
Happy New Year indeed.
The solution is simple. As I am supremely correct in my views on all things, thought, word and deed, people need only need ask me for the opinions they should hold. Being a generous man I will be happy to give them the correct one.
If y’all only knew...
We watched “Harry Potter and the Latest Compound Subject, Part I,” the one where they gripe in the woods a lot, and went to bed about 11:00. There were fireworks in the neighborhood, which upset some of the pets.
I'm glad to hear you've finally come around to seeing things MY way.
I was beginning to get worried.
I’ve been watching the twilight zone marathon on SyFy.
Mr Wordsworth (Burgess Meredeth) has just been declared Obsolete.
Very timely stuff in my opinion.
You “just to justify hate-porn against Ron Paul”...
(Snicker) Now there’s a parson in need of my guidance ;)
The “Time enough” library/last man/no glasses one is my fave by far.
I’m just glad you’re somebody else’s weirdo. ;’)
Are we supposed to swallow everything that’s on Paul’s plate including his theories of a CIA-plotted 9/11 and domestic coups? Paul, even if elected, would promptly quit the presidency when the CIA told him honest Injun, they didn’t engineer any of that stuff.
You watched that?
You might enjoy this.
Rod Sterling was a brilliant man and social commentator.
It's cute when you think you're weird.
I gotcher weird right here.
I wasn't even thinking of Paul, e'en though his name may have made a cameo appearance.
I had in mind the random one-shot wonder from DU or similar.
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