One of the regular themes on alt.tv.game-shows is how the newsgroup is, in some sense, not as good as it used to be. I suspect this is mostly sweet nostalgia and rose-tinted glasses; after all, there are still well over fifty people who make consistently interesting posts to the newsgroup who are a pleasure to read. I know this because I operate an "accept rule" system which works akin to an inverse kill rule; I only get to see the posters who I want to see.
There are only a very small number of posters who used to post to the newsgroup and don't do so any more that it would be a thrill to see again. (Happily, through LiveJournal and other online blogs, we do get to find out about what most of the LA posse are up to these days from time to time. It's a thrill to hear that so many of them are doing so well.)
Unfortunately, there are many posters who aren't so good to read. The dull and worthless ones drag the interesting ones down to their level and so I end up seeing what the dull ones have to say. There are also some threads which only make sense when you take a look at the thread as a whole - looking at a thread as a whole temporarily overcomes the accept rule system, you get to see what the annoying posters have posted, you are reminded why they are so annoying, your heart rate goes up and you
As well as the interesting posters, we have a lot who are unimaginitive, who write poorly or write about disinteresting things. That's OK. That's inevitable, that's a newsgroup for you. (Many of them try hard and can't help it. It's hard to find a line between "wanting to cut them a break" and "not being too annoyed by them".) We also get some to deliberately write to offend and annoy. The newsgroup is not very good at ignoring them - after all, it only takes one or two responses - and so the trolls keep coming back time after time.
The trolls are annoying, but they are easy to ignore. The people flaming the trolls are probably more annoying; they think they're funny, but they aren't. (Have you ever flamed an atgs troll? Sorry, there's a 99% chance that I didn't think it was funny.) There's also a lot of flaming of non-trolls which goes on; a favourite easy target is Prof. Steve Beverley, whose journalism is frequently inaccurate and biased, but (a) he tries hard and (b) anyone who puts that much effort in deserves the privilege of putting whatever sort of spin on things he wants. It's up to us as discriminating consumers of news to see through it and interpret the news we see however we want. Steve-baiting is easy and gets very boring after a while.
The third most annoying thing about the newsgroup is that there is so much good stuff mixed in with all the bad. It remains my favourite newsgroup over the years and has such wonderful potential. When it's good, it's very, very good. I'm pleased and proud to know some wonderful people on there.
The second most annoying thing about the newsgroup are people who evidently do know very much indeed about game shows and are capable of making intelligent, useful, constructive posts - but don't, because they think it's somehow more worthwhile to post something destructive instead.
The most annoying thing is that some of the good-spirited posters like some of the mean-spirited ones. I'm mentioning no names in either category, because nobody would benefit from a flamewar on this point, but if you think you can guess who I'm referring to then you're probably right. (If you think I'm referring to you, hi! Phone me next Wednesday and tell me what you think of me!)
This isn't even the sort of issue where there is a reasoned argument to be had - there is no other issue involved here apart from "<blank1>, <blank2>(, <blank3>, <blank4>, <blank5>, <blank6>... - there's a lot of 'em out there) and <blankn> have proved themselves time and time again to be unfunny jerks who don't have a worthwhile sense of what constitutes reasonable, decent behaviour and who should be very ashamed of the way they behave". Fill in the blanks yourself. (Dum, dum, da-dumma dum-dum-dum...)
I also do recognise that it's quite a respectable alternative point of view that my sense of humour and my sense of conduct could be out of line with that of the majority - and when that happens, it's probably my hard luck rather than anyone else's. It wouldn't even be the first time this month where my standards have proved spectacularly different to the masses' accepted ones; if that's the case, it would be more than a little egotistical of me to suggest that my values are in some sense better than everyone else's. (Besides, it would be hypocritical. After all, nobody's perfect; I know I've done a lot of things on this newsgroup which wouldn't stand up to judgement.)
To an extent, this is a non-issue. It's the sort of natural personality clash that you'll get when you get any reasonably large bunch of people, many with fairly large egos (the sort of large ego that you need to maintain a LiveJournal, for instance!) interacting with each other for fun.
However, what concerns me is the fact that people aren't stopping and saying "No, that's not right - that's not a proper, respectful, even self-respectful way to go about things." Am I really that far off-base here?
It's probably not constructive to raise such issues in the forum itself; it would only drive down the quality of discussion further. However, a personal LiveJournal seems like a very appropriate venue. Hopefully the right people will get to see it.
Other bit of game show news: ericklendl took Brainteaser for £1500 today in the finest of style. Yay! Whoo hoo! *applause*