Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Groundhog Day/ Internet Discussions

Yesterday I posted about the perpetual internet discussions, which like Douglas Adams' perpetual party, stay in flight forever, despite the death or brain damage of the older participants, simply by kidnapping new ones to carry on the tradition.

I read the latest installment of one today, and came across the official name for it – apparently not Lyle Hopwood's Douglas Adam's Style Internet Forever War, or whatever I called it. It's called Groundhog Day. Do you remember the movie? Each day the man wakes up to the same day over again, unable to escape until he gets it right.

After about six years of sporadic discussion on one particular board, the topic of Led Zeppelin and S*t*nism came up again - for about the twenty-fifth time. People were polite. Many were well-informed. Things were going fine for the first few weeks and then a new person posted:

i saw a website once where they played songs backwards to reveal "hidden messages" and they had stairway on their. i listened and personally heard nothing but it was supposedly about how they "liked s*t*n" or something. total bs but if you want to hear it just google backm*sking and stairway and it should come up somewhere.

Then the official seen-it-all-before person posted:

Isn't it time something was included on the Rules of the Board to avoid this? I realise some people think it's new, but with a little guidance, they could be much better informed and less likely to create an unwanted Groundhog Day feeling.

And the official meta-seen-it-all-before person, which is to say one who had seen the previous person's stance before, posted:

While I completely sympathize, I'm glad there isn't. I've been on boards with similar rules and they invariably come of as extremely cliqueish and hostile to new members.

Bonus! It's also a meta discussion in another way! Because it's not even a discussion on Led Zeppelin and S*t*nism, but a discussion on how to react to a discussion on Led Zeppelin and S*t*nism.

In between, an officially hadn't-seen-this-all-before person posted:

If it's okay with everyone, I'd like this to be the final word on the subject…[blah blah blah]

Hah! You'll be lucky.
It's not possible to explain the tedium of one of these discussions without being tedious, although it is possible to convey the excitement of being the new person to the discussion who just happens to have the right answer. And the burning need to post it now, to show all your new friends your chops. So, if you happen to be a new person with the right answer on Led Zeppelin and S*t*nism, please remember that I actually have heard it all before, and try to forego explaining it all in my comments section, thanks. Try Usenet instead.

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