Monday, October 09, 2006

On Writing & The Ego Of Writers

It never ceases to amaze me how difficult and puissant certain writers and would be-writers get at times. I belong to a forum board, an excellent one for most things, called Absolute Write or AW for short. There are many wonderful people that hang out on this forum board, some established writers, editors and agents, some new ones, some wannabes. For the most part these people get along though opinions and ideas can differ widely.

Yet, as in all other parts of life, there are a few, members and moderators, that seem to think that their word is the last and most truthful and most factual. Some seem to get their joy at being antagonistic to anyone that does not agree with them. And if this kind of personality falls into the realm of a moderator, then the moderator of course can be as nasty and disgusting as they wish to be. They back their "informed" opinions up with the "lock the thread" threat or the more permanent "ban them" threat. It is usually childish behavior shown by people who do not have enough self-respect to be able to read an opinion of someone else which differs with theirs without going bonkers about it.

Sometimes this display of antagonism and power wielding voodoo is funny. Sometimes it becomes disgusting and inane. Sometimes one can only read posts and wonder just how frustrated these people are.

It does not stop there though. It gets worse at times. There are authors that hide behind nicknames. They present themselves as well-known authors, and heap advice and opinion wherever they can. BUT try and ask who they really are what they have published or written and you are met with a wall of silence and refusal. What they want, and apparently succeed at doing is convincing a large segment of new writers, that their opinion is the most important, most realistic and most sane, because they are in real life, well-known writers - though if they told us the secret of their real identity they would have to kill us before the word spread!. In other words AW also has its share of very dominant and very egotistical personalities full of their own self-worth.

I always try to learn something. It is becoming increasingly difficult to even see voices of dissent or other opinions on a board where when anyone who gets the courage to say something not in line with what moderators think, they are immediately attacked and vilified. I can only wonder at this atmosphere that seems to lately permeate throughout AW on some of its more serious threads.

Recently many good people have taken leave of this board in order to concentrate on work, in order to breathe the fresh air and in order to alleviate any stress that is not important. Yesterday, after watching a particularly fragrant display of egotism and antagonism in a few threads, I simply said - okay it is time for a vacation from all this. After I read one particularly antagonistic member, say, "I did xxx for so many years so I know the best. And if you want PM me so I will tell you who I really am." I had enough. You want us to believe you. Put it out there for EVERYONE to see. Let the reader decide if you have the qualifications to say "this is my opinion and it is the ONLY right opinion". What a bunch of malarky. Had enough of it. Need to take a break.

I am tired of reading people tell other writers all about the publishing world as if they invented the entire scenario without even have the respect for others by revealing to us who they are so we can Google the names and judge for ourselves. I am tired of having some 3rd grade author, expect to have his words taken without question like they were written in some document given to man by God. I am tired of watching moderators be nasty again and again, and one sycophant always appearing to defend the decision of another moderator and then just locking threads.

One time I was witness to a discussion. One particularly vociferous member, who was way off made a statement and asked a question. Along comes an expert who is a moderator as well and corrects them and this moderator was right. The poster answered and asked a question. Along comes the poodle of the moderator, another moderator, and proceeds to berate the original poster, by saying "Do you have any idea how many degrees XXX has? XXX is the last word on this." Okay so I go ahead and Google XXX to see just how much I am gonna find on this incredible expert (who was right btw.) What a laugh!

Writers - there are other real fine minds and intellects out there besides your own. I could not care how many degrees you have.

One gets tired of all this bickering, of all this stupid fighting, of all this "expertise" by people who just are on a writers board, who have usually no great claim to best-seller stardom, who get their kicks and enjoyment by putting down others. One gets tired of experts hiding behind nicknames. One gets tired of it all, even when one does try to help the new authors and writers.

It gets old. It gets silly. Most important, it gets disgusting.

I can only hope the voice of sanity and normalcy returns to AW.

Until it does I will keep my distance or just hang out in a thread known as HOL, where the most wonderful and incredible group of writers tend to sit, babble, hang out and just share everything and anything.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Teddy. AW is the most immature writers' forum I've ever joined. I belong to and even we have more sensible, tolerant discussions than AW has.

I think it is largely due to sloppy moderation. I've never seen a board that gets uppity so quickly, and then not be stopped. Half the time, the moderators are involved. Once in a while it's fun to have a bit of an argument, but the atmosphere at AW seems to breed distrust and enmity, and that's never good.

It's sad that a collection of writers can't take the time to phrase their opinions diplomatically.

Teddy said...

I am well aware that at times some of the arguments at AW get out of control, and that is what my post was about. However, it is critical to note that there are many, many great writers and professionals at AW who add to an overall atmosphere of help and professionalism.

I do not know if we should be throwing all eggs into one basket. It just takes two or three sour writers to sometimes ruin a thread.

As to the Moderators. I dont think it is sloppy. I think personally, a bit more balance is needed.

However, all in all, from the writer forums I have seen on line, AW on its good days is way beyond anything else that is offered out there.