Sunday 17 October 2010

Boating types you will find on various forums.

A few months ago Click Here I wrote a piece about the childish actions of some people on a boating forum. At the time I wrote “In a nod to Shakespeare, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” (Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, 222–230)  To be honest “The perpetrators of either gender doth protest too much, methinks" as well.

Almost always misquoted as "Methinks the lady doth protest too much." Gertrude's line is both drier than the misquotation and due to the delayed "methinks" and therefore becomes much more ironic. The last comment I wrote was “Yet the likeness to Shakespeare does not stop there. The perpetrators can be become characterised in their own right. 

Shakespeare also said “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” (As You Like It - Act II Scene VII) The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play then catalogues the seven stages of a man's life. Infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and second childhood. "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Today's the day for catching up on the “Forum Players.” who I think have reached the “pantaloon, and second childhood” point in their lives.

Here are some of the players:-

Troll: The troll lurks on a forum and aspires to verbal violence. Gaining a warped pleasure from the level of trouble they can cause. Whilst gaining a morbid  sense of pleasure from the emotions of disgust and moral outrage they create. The troll attempts to pass themselves as a valid participant who is caring and sharing the same interests and concerns. Trolls can disrupt the discussion and disseminate bad advice. Operating only from a position of complete anonymity. The spineless invertebrate troll demonstrates the lack of any moral fibre and a complete mastery of cowardice.

Naysayers: Naysayers are the saddest people you are ever likely to come across. Given to bouts of melancholy and unprovoked ill-humour, the ultimate aim of a naysayer is to derail, defuse, or destroy the dreams of others through negativity and by generally being shitty about stuff. Born with the instinctive ability to shake their heads whilst drawing air through clenched teeth.

Naysayers pervade every aspect of human endeavour, stifling imagination, smothering and putting a stopper on good old fashioned fun. They have been, perhaps, the greatest handbrake on social development through the ages. Naysayers are universally loathed and despised by right-thinking people. However nobody bears a greater hatred for a naysayer than another naysayer. Beards on either gender of naysayer are optional.

The Bullshitter or Pseudo-knowledgeable: The prefix pseudo is Greek for lying or false and is used to mark something as false, fraudulent, or pretending to be something it is not. Knowledge is defined to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose if appropriate. The Pseudo-knowledgeable or bullshiters are everywhere espousing their general ignorance as fact and the truth as an alien concept. Their conversation starts with a deep discussion on the merits of pump-out -v- cassette toilets, and goes downhill from there. Bullshit is commonly used to describe statements made by these people who are more concerned with the response of the audience than in the truth and accuracy. Bullshit is often used to make the audience believe that he or she knows far more about the topic. The bullshitter generally knows the statements are false, exaggerated and in other ways misleading or has no interest in their factual accuracy one way or the other. Bullshit does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication you can bullshit with only basic knowledge. However nobody bears a greater hatred for a bullshitter than another bullshitter. Accordion playing is obligatory for either gender of bearded bullshitter.

Expert Nitpicker: Nitpicking inherently requires fastidious, meticulous attention to detail. The term comes from the intense and obsessive concentration and careful attention to detail required when searching for nits or lice. Nitpickers will often pore over the detail with great diligence to find all the occurrences of the most minute and insignificant of errors. Excitedly pointing out to everyone the most tiny detail of an error in a 1930's manual on lawnmowers. Particularly as the pointed-out details will seem insignificant or irrelevant to all but the finder. Nitpickers also stifle the discussion by deflecting the conversation in an unwanted direction and then criticising at length anyone else who nitpicks. However nobody bears a greater hatred for a nitpicker than another nitpicker. Accordion playing and beards and on either gender of nitpicker should be made compulsory.

Celebrity: The celebrity on the canal forum is the 'ego' without limits. The curious thing about the celebrity is that it is not a stand alone function. It is always associated with one or other of the existing groupings. So you get the celebrity troll, the celebrity naysayer, the celebrity bullshitter and the celebrity nitpicker.

Specialist: When a knowledgeable person is perceived to be an expert by others when he or she is by definition a specialist. A person may well be an specialist in one field and a layperson in many other fields. An expert differs from the specialist in that a specialist has to be able to solve a problem and an expert has to know its solution. However nobody bears a greater hatred for the specialist than nitpickers, bullshitters and naysayers. Accordion playing beards of either gender are disliked by specialists.

Expert: Experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice in a particular field. In boating, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not necessary for an individual to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a boater with 20 years of experience would be widely recognised as having complete expertise in the use of the canal infrastructure and boating in general. Experts are often characterised by the perceptions of others who are less knowledgeable. Experts are asked for advice on their respective subject, because it is believed they have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may rely upon the individual's opinion. However nobody bears a greater hatred for an expert than nitpickers, bullshitters and naysayers. Experts, usually smoke a pipe.

Observer: The observer is someone who can spot a naysayer at 500 paces. Chronic sadness is a toxic by-product of listening to nay-saying. The observer has gained an effective immunity to the naysayer. An observer can also detect even the faintest trace of a bullshiter at 1000 paces. Bullshit comes in many different packages only varying in strength, quantity and level of repugnance. The observer is someone who can feel the presence of a nitpicker at 2000 paces. High strength irritability is started as the nitpicker draws near. The observer has no sympathy for the cowardly troll and would be quite happy to see the demise of them all.

Average canal person: A person with knowledge of life. Who enjoys the time he or she spends on their boat. They like to communicate and enjoy the camaraderie of the canal lifestyle. They tend to be laid back individuals with a ready smile.

Layperson or Novice: A layperson, novice or newbie is a person who is inexperienced. Usually a person who is completely new to boating and eager to learn. Often identified by asking what is to an experienced boater a trivial and easy to answer question. But a significant opportunity to point out the slightest error at great length by the nitpickers, bullshitters and naysayers. The clean shaven layperson, novice or newbie of either gender does not smoke and recycles waste.

Sniper: As covert as the name suggests is the forum sniper. Who follows the machinations of the forum clientèle. Working in isolation the sniper passes few comments other than to target the Troll, Nitpicker, Bullshitter and Naysayer. A sort of hit and run warfare where their cover is never broken and their role is never revealed. Often the covert sniper will have several logins to the forum which are cycled from time to time. Each of their forum login are carefully controlled and camouflaged through anonymous browsing.

Super Sniper: The super sniper acts the same as the sniper. But utilises a separate troll like on-line persona that is used to draw the real trolls into the line of fire. The super sniper is often the trolls best friend!

Volunteer: There is a new person to be seen along the canal. The volunteer. Volunteers are a hardy group of men and women. Dressed in their 'high visibility' clothing, they enjoy the camaraderie that comes from spending time with like minded people. However, the volunteer hates being used as a political pawn or as a token gesture. The volunteer hates boundaries to what he or she can get involved with. The volunteer is a fickle animal, that thrives on well being. If the role available to the volunteer is repetitive. If the dynamics within the volunteering group are constantly changing.  The volunteer will up and walk away.

Volunteers who work the locks are welcomed by some, such as the average, layperson and novice. They are disregarded as superfluous by the Nay-sayer, Bullshitter and Nitpicker. They are regarded with a benign suspicion by the experts and specialist boaters who do not have any well founded trust their level of skill and knowledge of lock operation.

Worst of all for the well being of a volunteer is when the roles available are limited and not rewarding or challenging. Litter picking to clean up the detritus dumped by the public is a different task to restoring a footpath that has become overgrown by nature. Different in that one is a natural occurrence and the other is symptomatic of the apparent disregard for our environment. There is only so much litter picking that will be tolerated before the volunteers spirit is broken.

Curiously and at the same time understandably there a few volunteers that are found on canal forums. Their role is scorned and belittled by some. They provide rich pickings for the Troll, Nitpicker, Bullshitter and Naysayer. The one thing that picks out volunteers from other denizens on canal forums is that they are smart enough to keep a low profile.



  1. just had a protracted conversation on FB with a bullshitter


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