Someone is *Wrong* On The Internet

This is a blog post about blog post comments.  Not just comments on Linux Journal, but blog post comments in general, especially about blogs that support 'Anonymouse' contributions.

I've been a Linux geek for a long time.  We won't discuss how long, but Get Off Of My Lawn!

When I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory (for a long time, but again, we won't go into that) we had an internal mailing list named NMUG, for Network Manager's User Group.  Fully two thirds of the list members were Linux geeks, gurus, HPC whizes, kernel developers, admins, etc.  The others came from, you know, the Windows world.  We had some wonderful flame wars!  Just yesterday I received a message via Facebook from one of my ex-LANL colleagues who still works there saying, and I quote:

Today on NMUG it was lamented that it's impossible to have a proper flame war without you.

I've also run high-volume, high-visibility, highly contentious blogs in the past. See LANL, The Real Story as an example. 

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I am quite familiar with the spittle-laden delivery style that some of our more passionate Linux Journal comment providers use when trying to make their point on whatever issue has them all worked up.  The authority on this style of internet information exchange, IMO, is Xkcd.

Now please don't misunderstand, I am not attempting to discourage this style of flaming delivery -- quite the opposite.  It is often most entertaining.  In fact, let me share with you one of my favorite "throw some gasoline on the fire" flaming techniques.  Reply to a flame by making a spelling or grammar correction in the offending comment. Works like a charm!

What prompted this thread, you might ask?  Well, I was reading Michael Read's recent  KDE4: It hurt, but did it work? article, and was tickled by the fervor of the anti/pro camps surrounding the great KDE vs. Gnome debate.  Did the anti-KDE flamers win over any converts to whatever was being claimed as a superior desktop environment?  I doubt it.  Did it make for entertaining reading?  I think so.

So, how about if we start a new discussion on the button placement in Ubuntu Lucid 10.04? No? How about the new default color scheme then?

Flame on!  

______________________

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spittle?

Greg Laden's picture

" ..I am quite familiar with the spittle-laden delivery style that some of our more passionate .. "

Hey, it wasn't me, I promise!!!

flaming

Not Bob (liar!)'s picture

Cool to see the 'spirit of the flame' living on... regardless of the message or lack there of!

I know who you are!

Doug.Roberts's picture

Hiya, Bob!

;-}

It's true

Not Bob's picture

Flame on.

Ubuntu - an African word meaning Slackware is too hard for me.

Ubuntu sucks Debian upstream dry, hacks around on it, screws a bunch of stuff up. Applies Debian patches to fix their hacks then
sed -i 's/debian/ubuntu/g' /*
Ohhh sweet spinning cube. Hell the kernel maintainer can't even post in plain text properly to the LKML.

Christopher Smart said it best -
"Ubuntu stop giving Linux a bad name"

battles of wits

Saint DanBert's picture

After 30+ years slinging bits and bytes (and the odd complete paragraph) for a living, I learned that

"It is best to avoid a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent."

I wish that I had attribution for this statement because it is too true
and too useful and sadly not my own writing.

~~~ 0;-Dan

Battle Of Wits ... attrib.

Ted K.'s picture

Per GoodReads.com :

"I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!"
— William Shakespeare

all this ubumtu this, ubumtu

Anonymous's picture

all this ubumtu this, ubumtu that. ubumtu is garbage. the winME, the vista of the linux world. I don't know any real linux people that run a garbage os like that. nothing but a bunch of hype. I hear someone say, i run ubumtu, all I hear is, i'm a dumb fan boy that has no idea what a real linux os is.

You realize that it's ubuntu,

Anonymous's picture

You realize that it's ubuntu, right?

It's all Linux

Domel's picture

Linux is Linux don't matter what distro your running, Ubuntu probably has the best package by default (definitely not the peatiest)out of all distros. I run Ubuntu on some of my servers and guess what makes them different then let say Debian or RH distros, NOTHING! other then the updates and patches get pushed out a lot more frequently.

It's "other than", NOT "other

Anonymous's picture

It's "other than", NOT "other then" !!!!!!!

Um... "distro your running"

Anonymous's picture

Um... "distro your running" should be "distro you're running"... also, "other then the updates" should be "other than the updates".

Excellent!

Doug.Roberts's picture

One of my favorite spelling flames: you're vs. your. Well done!

;-}

--Doug

Spelling

Anonymous's picture

Actually, Doug, you Americans (or, to be fair to other North, Central and South Americans, "United Statesians") refuse to spell "favourite" correctly having felt it necessary somewhere in your past to redesign the English language. ;)

Perhaps

Doug.Roberts's picture

To our friend on the other side of the pond: is it possible that your opinion is coloured?

;-}

--Doug

Ponds and other things...

Bob-El (a.k.a. Anonymous)'s picture

Isn't the Internet fun? It's next to impossible to determine where a person is or where they are writing from. But the anonymity is a false cloak, of course. Words are also fun and I'm glad to see you know how to spell "coloured", but I am not a person of colour. Although I was born in a port city, I did not live near the harbour. My car rides on tires not tyres. With a single word as a clue, you made an incorrect assumption. (I'm sure you know what the word "assume" makes out of u and me.) I live on the same side of the pond as you, mon ami. I, too, am a North American but not considered an "American", although I have never been able to understand why. Spanish speaking peoples of the Americas think of themselves as "Americans" and, as you may know, refer to citizens of the United States as "estados unidenses", hence "United Statesians". Works for me. Or should it be "-eans"? :)

There is no better defense for absurdity than obscurity. - John Locke

Flame Wars

rajjar's picture

This article reminds me of the old saw that goes: "Winning an argument online is like winning an event in the Special Olympics - you might have won, but you're still a retard." ;-)

Heh... I'm more of the thinking...

Anonymous's picture

It is better to not argue with an idiot...it becomes impossible to discern which is which and it annoys the idiot.

Most flame-fests are like arguments with an idiot. Not that I don't relish the fun of pwning someone in verbal combat from time to time, but I keep in mind that I look the part of the fool when I do- so I choose those moments carefully.

better to not argue with an idiot

obx_ruckle's picture

I guess that puts an end to talking with myself.

Sir, you won the internets.

Daniel Romero's picture

Sir, you won the internets.

Oh Man

imacdvguy's picture

I LOOOVVVVEEE people posting terribly obvious things in comments.

Love.

It.

"Someone is *Wrong* On The

Anonymous's picture

"Someone is *Wrong* On The Internet"

He is you; that certainly is not title case.

Sometimes it's not the commenters; it's the site

Rob's picture

I post anonymous comments on a blog from time to time. But I don't do it out of a desire to shield my identity from those who might disagree with me. I do it because I don't want to jump through the registration hoops many sites require in order to post a non-anonymous comment. Plus, I don't like spam.

So please don't lump all of us "anonymouse" users together. Sometimes it's not the commenter; it's the site. Thankfully, Linux Journal is not such a site.

And actually, Linux Journal's

Rob's picture

And actually, Linux Journal's registration is not without pain, either. Any site that makes me keep track of yet another set of credentials I'll use once a year is kind of annoying.

Once a year?

Webmistress's picture

Once a year?

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at LinuxJournal.com. You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

Agree

Doug.Roberts's picture

You are correct, Linux Journal is not that kind of site. However, another blog I ran 5 years ago was: LANL, The Real Story. LANL was a very unhappy place back then, and people needed a place where they could vent anonymously.

flame mode on

crlsgms's picture

so nice to see a topic related to flame wars going in such a big season for us here in brazil. Very good article, id rather be flaming the discussion than just commenting positive points on the argument.

the great problem with flame discussions, is generalization. For instance, kde is good and gnome is also, but every one has its specific points of superiority, theres no way to compare an entire ambient for its own.

I have to make this anonymous

Anonymous's picture

I have to make this anonymous to really get the flame going, right?
Perhpas I'll mispell a few words so somebody can correct my spelling and grammar.

But in all seriousness it looks like the Ubuntu devs ate too many black olives at one time and then left their turd on the desktop. It reminds me of that quote of Tommy Boy; I could take a shit in a box and put a guarantee on it for you.

@anonymous >nobody on on God's green earth gives a rat's.

I think you mean that nobody gives a rat's ass.

That's the spirit!

Doug.Roberts's picture

Very nice! Anonymous comment, a couple of typos, *and* a grammar correction for another comment.

Trifecta!

;-}

--Doug

Ubuntu 10.04 - freeze-ball failure

Unutbu's picture

I could complain about the ridiculous button mis-placement or the vile color scheme, no problem, if only my Ubuntu 10.04 would stay up long enough to get riled.

Instead I (and plenty of others, judging by a search for "freeze" on Ubuntu Forums) are left looking at a static screen, or resume to plain darkness.

So those are frozen out as flame topics.

Ubuntu WORKS!

Anonymous's picture

Hey, come on! Ubuntu works! You guys are all so lame! I've only been running Linux since 1996, and frankly I've found Ubuntu 10.04 to be the easiest system to administer, use, and even recommend! I can't say the same about the previous release, mind you. The failing memory allocation for Radeon-based cards caused me angst for quite a bit until it got upgraded.

I think all you geeks that can't get Ubuntu to work ought to either update your computers (I have a Pentium 3 running it!), trade in your RHEL certifications (yes, you know who you are) or go back to your wussy SissyLinux. Oh, hang on, that's Suse. Hm. Why can't the Germans spell sissy right? And as for KDE vs. Gnome, who the *$%%$ cares? It's Enlightenment all the way for me! I can't wait for version 0.17.4beta5.

muahahahahahahaha
BOFH #119347228491

Oh. Where do I come from then?

not flamewars, but boring tantrums

Anonymous's picture

I don't see any entertainment value in the dumb opinions that pass for discussion these days. 99% of the flamewars you seem to love so much are little better than "I like $foo, therefore it is superior, deserves to kill off everything else, and you are a idiot." So what? Who cares? It is impossible to have a real debate at this level. I like coffee, you like tea, she likes blue, he likes red, and nobody on on God's green earth gives a rat's.

A really good and worthwhile debate goes like "I think this is better because of these reasons: foo, blah, and feh." Then you have an actual basis for a discussion, and can respond with "Your insane passions for foo are well-known; however the problems with foo are well-known such as fee, fi, and fo. I accept that blah has its merits, and a case can be made for feh, but only a weak one because of its lamentable tendency to fum at unpredictable intervals." Baseless opinions plucked out of the hinderparts are wastes of electrons, and that is what constitutes way too much "discussion" these days.

YMMV

Doug.Roberts's picture

I sometimes derive great pleasure from watching people make themselves look stupid, illiterate, and/or just plain inept in some of today's public forums.

Further, I willingly confess, I enjoy bringing a select few of these types of "contributor" to a complete spittle-spraying, mouth-foaming frenzy, if I feel they are particularly deserving.

But that's just me.

;-}

--Doug

You wouldn't happen to be...

fest3er8's picture

Red Robot #C-63 in disguise, would you?

Crush all humans! Well, at least crush the aspirations of those who can't be bothered to communicate clearly and the spirits of those who cannot be bothered to learn even the most basic principles of reasoned discourse.

A proper flamewar is much like Irish diplomacy: the art of tellin' a man to go to The Other Place so that he looks forward to the trip.

Some people are so excitable, they'll take any and every position to oppose you once you have established yours. Others quickly exhaust their limited grammar and vocabulary and fall back on their tried-and-true epithets and personal attacks.

The very worst of the maroons earn a resounding "Plonk!" from me, because there are far too many decent folk in this world to waste even a second with any idiots savant.

not worth the effort

Anonymous's picture

*foam*

Eh, too much work just to satisfy your sad desire for a little cheap excitement in your life. Better you should go watch some reality TV, like Dog the Bounty Hunter or that repo show with all the trashy fat people. That should give you the fix you seek.

I'll bite

Josh's picture

I use OS X as my primary desktop of choice. I switched from using Ubuntu full-time about two years ago. I now use Ubuntu as a secondary desktop. After installing 10.04, I was reminded of one of the reasons why I gave up on Linux: it looks and feels amateurish, and Ubuntu's new theme is a perfect example of this.

The theme looks like it was thrown together in 10 minutes by a bored amateur who insisted on Ubuntu looking "different" just for the sake of it. No consideration was given to the proper contrast necessary for comfortable use. It was too dark in most places, had misplaced gradients that didn't work well together, had clashing colors, and wasn't consistent across the desktop. I eventually switched back to the horrible but more tolerable shit-stain brown of yore.

As a Mac user, I'm used to the buttons being on the left, but it makes no sense in Ubuntu. On a Mac, the application's menu is always at the top of the screen (something I hated at first but came to love), and the placement for the window buttons doesn't matter much. In Lucid, the window buttons are so close to the application's menu that it looks cluttered and makes errant clicks incredibly likely. It's just stupid.

And don't give me that crap about how it's "just the default." The default matters immensely. It is an official statement about the product. If the default sucks, that tells me you don't care about your software. It says, "If the default theme sucks this much, just wait until you find out where else we have dropped the ball!"

Besides, I don't customize my computers much. I just don't care. I rarely even change the background. I am a developer by trade and I spend a lot of time on my machines and I just want them to work and not offend my poor eyes.

Function over form...

JEDIDIAH's picture

> I was reminded of one of the reasons why I gave up on Linux: it looks and feels amateurish

Considering where Linux has been, this seems really quite bizarre. If you were upset about programmer art 2 years ago then you must have been positively livid about it 5 years ago or 10 years ago. OTOH, I care more about how something works versus how it looks. Does it do well under load? Does it do what I want? Does it do it "correctly"? Is it easy to automate? Will it be a bother?

After actually have used the new Macs (and having one under my desk) I can't say that I would recommend one to anyone for any reason except for the fact that it is far less likely to be infested with malware than Windows.

One of the most compelling features of Macs and their smaller brethren is the fact that you can dump the veneer when it's not quite functional enough.

No, function AND form

Josh's picture

JEDIDIAH said:

Considering where Linux has been, this seems really quite bizarre. If you were upset about programmer art 2 years ago then you must have been positively livid about it 5 years ago or 10 years ago. OTOH, I care more about how something works versus how it looks. Does it do well under load? Does it do what I want? Does it do it "correctly"? Is it easy to automate? Will it be a bother?

I care about how something works, therefore I also care about how it looks. Those two things are not mutually exclusive, especially for software. In fact, "looks" are often just as important as raw power. If one cannot harness a piece of software's power because of deficits in the UI, then what good is it?

After actually have used the new Macs (and having one under my desk) I can't say that I would recommend one to anyone for any reason except for the fact that it is far less likely to be infested with malware than Windows.

One of the most compelling features of Macs and their smaller brethren is the fact that you can dump the veneer when it's not quite functional enough.

No, Macs aren't perfect. They just suck less than everything else I have tried. After spending years running Windows and Linux, I had just gotten used to the idea that I was always going to be disappointed. I was often shocked when things worked correctly. On the Mac, it's a different universe completely. Almost everything works automagically, the way it should. The UI is intuitive and -- with a few exceptions like the horrid Finder -- the software is some of the best I have ever used. I have since become addicted to the level of polish and attention to detail. I am a much more discriminating end-user now because of it.

What a load of self indulgent

Alex Stone's picture

What a load of self indulgent nonsense. Software works better? Try running a heavy recording sesssion on a mac, and watching that spinning beachball suddenly leer at you in the middle of the best take. Or try the coremidi "stability" and see if it's sample accurate, and reliable. (yeah, right)

In your little world, using a Mac might be ok, and good luck to you. I hope you enjoy yourself. But don't dare assume that sentiment is universal. Linux might be a bit rough around the edges, but when it comes to performance, you're only limited by the hardware, and your own view of what constitutes "effort in, reward out". As someone who regularly tests hardware limits with large scores, and soundtracks, linux goes further than mac or win ever did, with the same kit.

"Automagically"

What's this? A new dialect from the folks down at Disney? Big Steve now a shareholder is he, so we're subjected to "Cute" language that's warm and fuzzy?

Write like a man. You'll feel better for it. :)

Alex.

Ohhh...

Josh's picture

What a load of self indulgent nonsense. Software works better? Try running a heavy recording sesssion on a mac, and watching that spinning beachball suddenly leer at you in the middle of the best take.

LOL. I stand by my statement. I have used computers for years. I am a professional programmer and I spend an enormous amount of time writing and debugging code. Yes, the Mac is the most stable platform I have ever used. The platform also has the best selection of high quality, reliable software (for a price). Honestly, I never see that spinning beach ball. Never. That seems to be a problem that was common prior to my migration to the platform.

In your little world, using a Mac might be ok, and good luck to you. I hope you enjoy yourself. But don't dare assume that sentiment is universal. Linux might be a bit rough around the edges, but when it comes to performance, you're only limited by the hardware, and your own view of what constitutes "effort in, reward out".

I never claimed that the sentiment is universal, but part of the problem is that a lot of geeks are bone-headed when it comes to Apple stuff. They think they are too smart for Apple products. Notice how you refer to my world as "little." You already think yourself superior. Talk about being "smug."

As someone who regularly tests hardware limits with large scores, and soundtracks, linux goes further than mac or win ever did, with the same kit.

Are you actually advocating for the quality of audio on Linux? I have never heard that one before. My experiences with audio on Linux have been nothing short of disastrous.

"Automagically"

What's this? A new dialect from the folks down at Disney? Big Steve now a shareholder is he, so we're subjected to "Cute" language that's warm and fuzzy?

That's a term I picked up writing code for Linux, douche. :) It was and still is common in the Linux dev community, but I don't know where it comes from.

Now, children

Doug.Roberts's picture

If you're going to properly engage in a flame war, we expect to see a few more spelling and/or grammar corrections.

;-}

--Doug

We don't have to, Doug. What

Alex Stone's picture

We don't have to, Doug.

What do you think we are?

Windows users?

Even mac users are more intelligent than that.....

Allegedly.

:)

Really... thats your argument?

MrShake's picture

I can sum up almost that entire comment with:

"Its not what I'm used to, so it sucks"

That has to be both the most common and least well thought out argument when people compare one OS to the other. Can you come up with a reason that you don't like the left side buttons other than "I'm not used to it"?

As well, you appear to be firmly in the camp of "I don't customize" and are, therefore, not in the current primary usergroup nor intended audience for much of what Linux is. The VERY FACT that you CAN customize and make changes (ever and ever easier) is what makes Linux a better platform for using your PC.

You claim to be a "it just works" kinda guy, but want to complain about the theme and placement of buttons, despite the fact that those things........ just work

I'm just sayin

Huh?

Josh's picture

I can sum up almost that entire comment with:

"Its not what I'm used to, so it sucks"

That has to be both the most common and least well thought out argument when people compare one OS to the other. Can you come up with a reason that you don't like the left side buttons other than "I'm not used to it"?

No, you must have misunderstood me. I am a Mac user and I AM used to it. And I still think it sucks. The button placement doesn't match the platform's overall design.

As well, you appear to be firmly in the camp of "I don't customize" and are, therefore, not in the current primary usergroup nor intended audience for much of what Linux is. The VERY FACT that you CAN customize and make changes (ever and ever easier) is what makes Linux a better platform for using your PC.

Fair enough.

You claim to be a "it just works" kinda guy, but want to complain about the theme and placement of buttons, despite the fact that those things........ just work

What I am saying is that they don't work, and I was trying to explain why.

It's a transition

Anonymous's picture

The change in position of the buttons is a transition towards the global menu that you already know it works excellently on the mac.

The proof is first that the change in position makes evident the design flaw of having 2 menus, and second that they have the perfect excuse going on in the netbook front where they have introduced the global menu as a trojan horse with the aim of saying "you see, it wasn't that bad, let's put it on the main distro too".

Fitts' law is just usability 101, and all Freedesktop implementations have cleaned their sorry asses with it just because "we never followed it, so if we do it now we will allienate our existing users". It was about time that someone took the direction wheel and headed towards appealing those users that are *not* using a Freedestkop distro yet who, FYI are a hell of a lot more than the ones already using it.

RE: It's a transition

Anonymous's picture

To which I say, cheap Mac rip-off without the benefits of the actual Mac. Ubuntu has become more unreliable in its behavior with every release and all the Macification on top won't hide that fact.

Re:

Doug.Roberts's picture

!

Ubuntu 10.04 Good Buddy Do Ya read ME?

hipdad's picture

10.04 is the "cough,cough" Vista of the linux world! The button placement is just a minor irritation. Pulseaudio integrated into the Ubuntu Desktop? COME ON! We are now forced to use pulseaudio whether we like it or not. Shades of MS type behavior? I could go on and on but I also know some of my issues are my own. I stepped back and went to Ultimate Edition 2.4 Gamer (Karmic). Fairly happy now. KDE vs Gnome? I really have no desire to trudge down that road.

PulseAudio, yeah right.

brickviking's picture

I got around pulseaudio with one simple fix... moved it out of the way.

# mv /usr/bin/pulseaudio /usr/bin/palseaudio

That cured most of the problems I had. I loathe pulseaudio, because on my machines, it hardly ever seems to get things right. On one machine, it can't seem to keep my two soundcards straight, and doesn't tell me which card is which. On another machine, it was taking up 151Mb of virtual memory just to shuffle sound around. In my wife's machine, there's only 512Mb of memory in total, and most of that memory is taken up by Cafe World running inside of Chrome, all running on Xubuntu, and was the reason I put the machine together.

Of course, I'd have preferred the option of removing it altogether, but too many packages "need" it installed. Yet I can't see any reason why. Why does Firefox need pulseaudio installed?

As for the rest of Ubuntu, I have no problem with button placement - it hasn't shifted from right to left in all my upgrades of Ubuntu from Hoary to Lucid. Could be that it's because I've upgraded...

'nuff rant.

Brickviking.

Trolls

Matthew Helmke's picture

I too have some experience with this, going back to Usenet and on a couple of local BBSs before that. I wrote a blog post a few years ago that you might enjoy. It is more about trolling styles than flaming, but is related. http://matthewhelmke.net/2007/11/03/the-definitive-guide-to-trolls/

Re: Trolls

Doug.Roberts's picture

Nice! It's fun to observe that the more the internet grows, the more people end up behaving (predictably) bad.

--Doug

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