Article: The Truth about On-Line Forums…

The Truth about On-Line Forums…

Author: Malcolm M.

The most underhanded, conniving and unscrupulous form of coercion and opinion manipulation on the Internet today is, without a doubt, the ‘on-line forum’. There is no better way to generate negative propaganda towards key web locations – or any chosen target for that matter - than by directing it through unsupported and unfounded forum gossip. Gossip is nothing new. It’s been around as long as the backyard fence – and even a whole lot before. It is largely nothing more than a huge Chinese Whisper started-off with a lie. It is a lie easily made available by cyber-wraiths known as ‘Grim Reapers’ to an unwitting and gullible forum audience who in turn mule the destructive whisper from forum to forum via the almost endless number of available and undiscerning ears found littered across the void of cyberspace. It doesn’t matter whether a ‘forum faker’ (an anonymous ‘someone’ who airs dirty laundry on forums) is considered to be genuine or not. His credibility is not brought into question and that’s the beauty of the way forums operate. Anybody who isn’t anybody can say anything about anyone with total anonymity and under the complete protection of a highly unoriginal pseudonym. Those whose credibility is scrutinized and in turn seriously jeopardized are the ones who are deliberately targeted and subsequently skewered by the needle-sharp end of the forum gossip lance. There is very little recourse for forum gossip victims. Their fate is sealed the minute some Grim Reaper in the guise of a forum faker laces his criticism with the poisonous and destructive word ‘avoid’. Such a testimony is taken on faceless value. The tragedy is that countless web itinerants, forum transients and forum squatters directed to the poison bait via the thoughtless bungling and obscene mishandling of data conveyancing by search engines, believe what they read as being gospel. They take the bait and their brain turns to mush. The seeds are sown – the deed is done. They believe what they read and accept without question what they are told by a slew of faceless nobodies. The lie gets compounded and the poison gets passed on. Chalk–up another one for a fast downloading and a quick dump! After all, what does a forum or search engine really care about the accused being innocent or not? Their culpability goes way beyond caring and well into the arms of convenient helplessness; whatever will be, will be.

Financial motivation is at the heart of all arranged marriages between forums and search engines; who are a lot like shyster lawyers in the sense that they get paid their filthy lucre no matter what the verdict or outcome, so if the money’s good, who gives a damn, right? It’s the so-called law of the cyber-jungle and both the practising shyster and the apathetic search engine conglomerate are renowned for being like identical twins in the way they promote a saccharine-sweet self-image of being reputable, fair, just and impartial. In reality, all they intrinsically exist for is to make their own kind of dirty dollar and very little else. Once they get a ‘chump’ (i.e. any form of forum fool or forum squatter) on-side and on the hook, wriggling-off becomes almost impossible. The bait is too tempting and the need to devour gossip titbits is too great. If the situation wasn’t so laughable it would make a priceless joke. However, the only ones who really get to belly laugh at this deplorable situation are the business racketeers (acting as Grim Reapers) behind the forum witch hunts – and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Business racketeers and all forms of Cyber-villains such as Grim Reapers couldn’t flourish and grow fat on their spoils if it wasn’t for on-line forums and search engines helping them to create slick and successful assassins who ride in the shadow of cyberspace performing their unique brand of mass murder. These assassins, unopposed candidates for the honorary roles of Four Horseman of the Internet’s Media Apocalypse, have been identified as Gossip, Rumour, Hearsay and Innuendo. These shadowy spectres have ridden rough-shot over many an honest truth in their quest to see that lies and falsehood replace fact and actuality in the greater internet scheme of things. As little more than hired guns, they have been used by cyber-villains (primarily rapacious business owners) as an effective weapon against any and all opposition. As the internet has evolved from a sparsely patronized backyard ‘swap meet’ to a grossly overpopulated marketplace, traders have had to up-the-ante in order to get to the top of the heap. Technology has had to be conquered – or maybe fiddled with – so as to get the desired result out of any or all situations involving the making of a fat and murky dollar. Those scrambling to get atop the money mountain long ago saw the need to squash the opposition before said opposition could get even the most minute toe hold in a market already chock-full of greedy deadbeats, vicious swindlers and notorious ratbags; all of whose ethics continue to be as sullied as a well-worn pair of underpants.

Promise peddlers and service swamis (appearing as legitimate web site business owners) have a ‘modus operandi’ (M.O.) that is simple: ‘take as many customers and itinerant visitors for as much money as possible – as often as possible’. Their patter is smoother than that of a shonky used car salesman and their believability more righteous than that of a priest at Passover.

Women are by far the worst offenders in the way they use looks and a dolled-up appearance to guile affluent men who mistakenly equate good looks with absolute trustworthiness. How wrong can someone be? Exploiting accepted good looks has been a trick used by advertisers since the dawn of the fast buck. It’s been used to try and flog everything from car batteries to toilet cleaner. Where once male business owners hired ‘professional models’ to do their dirty work, now these ‘pro’s’ are themselves are getting into the act. Being themselves little more than a cheap form of decoration, these female proprietors -who have knocked-up their own internet sites - try and convince prospective suckers of their honesty by using all sorts of carrot-dangling tactics. For instance, they’ll dress very provocatively and say things like “You can marry someone like me!” This is particularly relevant for the many dubious dating sites with the bimboesque (sleazy female) owners whose ‘show and tell’ tactics make a significant impression on mush-minded male marks. In the first place, who would want to marry one of these floozies if it means getting ripped-off in the process? In the second place, it’s not over-embellished looks alone that matter, it’s everything rolled into one loving and loyal person. A female cyber-shark – or those faceless nobodies pulling the strings behind her - will always fall back on appearance in their advertising campaign, not integrity. It’s an act that’s all shadow and no substance. So, what’s new? Perhaps it should also be noted that these cyber-dolls and their ‘investors’ are known to be the ones who are largely behind forum campaigns aimed at discrediting the competition, however their operation is so slick and so covert that is almost impossible to expose them.

Out of the two types of ploy that these internet connivers liberally exploit i.e. the visible ploy and the unseen ploy, the unseen type of ploy is by far the more sinister. It is used to catch those potential customers not taken in by the ‘arm candy approach’. What they use – as has been discussed – is the ‘Four Horsemen approach’. The objective of such a business operation is a simple one: destroy the opposition by discrediting them and re-directing potential revenue (in the form of customer confidence) to their own web site enterprise which is promoted as squeaky-clean and touted as being against scams of this or any sort. The hypocrisy is delicious as guilt is diverted away from the real scammer to those who are nothing short of blameless. Unsavoury business racketeers will stoop to any deplorable level or dirty trick to see that the opposition (usually considered as other web businesses whose professionalism and honesty pose the most significant threat in terms of lost revenue) - not they themselves - lose both customers and a significant amount of revenue to the point that they go bust. End of problem – and end of another competitor - for the racketeers.

The principle of forums – just like with any ideal - is a great one, but it is tantamount to being an unrealized fantasy scenario as the potential for corruption is far too great. It will work, but only in a perfect world. There are too many holes in the plan and as such it can be exploited by the greed factor – and nearly always is. The once grand and noble plan of an internet as a place for a free and fair interchange of views becomes perverted to the point whereby an on-line forum transforms from an opinion platform into a firing range. The hired guns move in and take careful aim. Search engines help point the way and the so-called ‘friendly fire’ quickly takes out another unsuspecting and innocent target. So great is the success of the ‘Four Horsemen approach’ that there now seems to be an endless number of forum sites; most of which are bogus and merely a destructive mouthpiece and front for the unjustified discrediting of someone’s business opposition. How much credence should someone put in on-line forums then? The answer is: as little as possible. If you can’t ignore them completely, then just treat them as a laugh, a joke and with a chunk of salt large enough to sink an ocean liner; only then will you, in some small way, have taken the first step towards counteracting their unsavoury influence. The purpose of forums as they exist on-line and in the real world is not to provide information or opinions that can necessarily be verified or substantiated; it is more a way of facilitating unfounded assertions, widely distributing half-truths or no-truths and implementing character assassination via negative propaganda.

99.999999999999999999% of all forums fall into any one or all of these categories so it is safer to disregard all rather than take the chance of believing the posted opinions of a forum that may or may not be legitimate (i.e. ha, ha, honest). Dispute anything and everything rather than be conned by misinformation. The only possible exceptions to this rule of thumb are those forums who are not bogus and whose principal purpose is not character assassination. These are extremely few and far between, however. If you have dealt with a site and have an unshakable faith in its credibility through direct interaction, then what they have to say and what opinions they adhere to may possibly be considered as worth considering – maybe.

Many satisfied and successful clients who have used its service structure have said that “HEAVENLY HEARTS is the BEST Introduction/Marriage Agency on the Internet”. Naturally, I would tend to agree as HEAVENLY HEARTS is highly reputable and does not use its intent presence as a means of character assassination by being a directed missile platform for an armed warhead stuffed full of unfounded accusations. However, some times you have to fight fire with fire so any attempted character assassination or attack on the professionalism or good name of HEAVENLY HEARTS via forums or any other means will not be tolerated and will always be vigorously challenged in every possible way.

Search engines, more so than forums, as (privately-owned) public utilities, have an obligation to act in a responsible manner and not respectively leave themself open to be used as a conduit for unsupported negative propaganda. In a perfect world this would certainly be the case. Of course, it isn’t. Regulating search engines is practically non-existent, so they largely get away with murder. They are like an irresponsible gunsmith in the way that they manufacture a potentially dangerous weapon then hurriedly distance themselves from any form of responsibility when the weapon they created, promoted and gave maniacal persons access to is used to cause untold mayhem and destruction. Where does accountability start and culpability stop?

People seem inescapably drawn to gossip and poking their nose in where it doesn’t belong. It appears to be part of the human condition. Whatever happened to minding one’s own business? Why is it that when you open a page on a computer, you open a window? The voyeur element is always present, as is the promise of potential titillation - and the opportunity to indulge in a sampling of a la carte eyeballing - internet style. Resistance to such voyeurism is mandatory, but it is easier said than done. The internet, search engines and forums make opening windows a very appealing activity and recreational pastime. At first glance the vista beyond appears tantamount to being a picture postcard, when in reality it is more like a painted backdrop where the colours begin to run when the canvas is unexpectedly rained upon. What you get is not necessarily what you see, hear or read. Internet surfers who are lured into opening window after window are continuously fooled, manipulated and played for a sucker in innumerable and mostly unseen ways. Information acquisition goes into overload and what is truly fact and what is truly fiction becomes so blurred and convoluted that what is most lost is believability - in almost everything. Any scrap of published opinion is taken as gospel and with no yardstick offered by either the gossipmonger, forum and search engine alike, there is no way to justify its authenticity or refute the scrap as being as worthless as used toothpaste.

A jungle atmosphere quickly springs up given the surrounding climate. Beasts run wild in the undergrowth. Clandestine actions by native inhabitants make planning a possible safari to deepest, darkest cyberspace quite a risky affair indeed. Still, the attraction of having a memorable experience – albeit a vicarious one - overrides common sense. Seduction is hard to resist, particularly when the sound of native tom toms captures the dark side of one’s attention – and imagination.

The jungle experience is very much alive and well, and thriving in its new neighbourhood: the internet. The premise of kill or be killed, once thought to be largely extinct in a world seemingly tamed by modernization, has had a definite resurgence; and all thanks to anonymity of each and every lone computer terminal. Being able to do things - sight unseen – has helped the jungle killers: both man and beast live and grow. The yin and yang’s internet relationship is more like a constant tug of war rather than a happy handshake between the forces for harmony and discord. If allowed to be used more for destructive means rather than for achieving positive benefits, the internet is nothing more than an ever-worsening problem that has no possible resolution.

Being active in recognising the internet’s many drawbacks is certainly a step in the right direction. Working towards making cyberspace less of a war zone and more like a level playing field is never too much to ask of oneself. There will always be winners and losers in any competitive human undertaking, but as to how much positive creation or negative destruction is created as a bi-product of said undertaking, depends upon how much responsibility players are personally willing to accept for their actions and the relative actions of others.

Countering destruction is achievable if the destructive tools themselves are rendered harmless. Tools such as on-line forums need to be brought to their knees and seen exactly for what they are i.e. a form of impotency that has the unique ability to self-procreate. It’s a self-procreation that spawns a relative something from an absolute nothing and has an overall value no greater than that of a malodorous wad of airborne saliva.

©2009, HEAVENLY HEARTS. All rights reserved.

Malcolm M. is a professional writer, academic and former teacher, who with his wife, Lyudmyla, co-owner/founder of HEAVENLY HEARTS International Dating Marriage Agency located at .

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