Sunday, April 1, 2012

Do You Get Forum Rage?

It's that feeling of disgust when reading someone else's post on Facebook or in an online forum. Another person's post can make you feel angry, hurt, or frustrated all because "someone was wrong on the internet." It's quite similar to road rage in that it can actually be dangerous to your health (or your computer) if you allow it to continue bothering you.

Forum rage often peaks mid-to-late slow season, when normally productive people are spending more time online sharing ideas and thoughts in the same space, or in the middle of winter after too much cabin fever has settled in. When people are busy being productive, they don't react as angrily to what is being posted online. They take it as a grain of salt and move on. However, it's hard to react without rage when you aren't feeling as happy and healthy as you usually might when there are other things to do and think about. My advice if you ever feel yourself getting wound up about something you see online:

  • Stop what you're doing and step away from the computer.
  • Go for a walk outside, or take a shower, or run an errand, or head to the library, or a cafe, or anything else to get yourself away from the computer and out in some fresh open air.
  • Walking around helps regulate blood flow and calm blood pressure.
  • Fresh air helps clear the mind and restore a sense of balance.

Several years ago I got forum rage from reading posts on DWF. Most of my frustration came from reading very mean and nasty comments from obviously unhappy curmudgeons who did little more than talk about how awful the photography industry was rather than actually getting out and doing something about their own lack of work. I also got rage when my posts would be censored for trying to help other people by offering up solutions that worked for me, but apparently were not allowed because my solution providers weren't supported advertisers on the forum. Eventually that frustration turned to anger nearly every time I visited that forum. Then I asked myself, why am I paying for a forum full of mean people who are also censoring my attempts to help people nicely?! It all seemed very backward and unproductive. I decided my money could be better spent elsewhere on something that I loved and really made me feel good - like a gift for an awesome client or extra trips to the cafe in the middle of the day when I wanted fresh air. (For the record, I've heard moderation is better now, but I have other communities I love more now too. I know how to step away from it all now, so there's a chance I'd go back, but I really don't feel like paying to share my wisdom- that's why I'm on PhotoLovecat- it's free, uncensored, and no one else has to pay to read it!)

There are plenty of "private" places you can hang out for free and share or ask questions online. You might already have a local photography Facebook group, and if not, why not start one? Or how about a private Facebook group of your own set of friends for the really sensitive information that you don't want to trust beyond your inner circle? Some people prefer Google Hangout - whatever is most convenient for you. However, I would caution you that any place with more than ONE member is never truly "private", but I'm sure you're internet savvy enough to know that by now. Truly private matters that would damage you or your family should never be shared online ANYWHERE. Screen capture and copy & paste are far too easy with instant updates that can archive your words long after you've deleted them. Remember, online words are FOREVER, even after they seem to have been deleted or removed.

A few more reasons not to stay in an angry environment online:

He who angers you conquers you. ~Elizabeth Kenny

For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness. ~Author Unknown

If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot. ~Korean Proverb

Are there any forums, or maybe even just Facebook friends in your online life that create rage for you? Were there some that made you angry last week that you want to avoid this week? If you feel like you can't unfriend them or leave them, you can still "hide", "block", or turn off any alerts from them so that you aren't being triggered or tempted to get sucked into the drama. You might be amazed how productive and happy your day feels without any drama in it! ;-)

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and smart solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.


  1. I will say that I feel the DWF has changed a lot since 3 years ago.

  2. I totally understand what you're saying. With me, it's watching posts from other local photogs that I've Liked on FB. I heard about all the great work that they're getting, and I'm not getting and inquiries at all. I find that frustrating and have wound up "hiding" their posts. I'm hoping that my attitude change will help.

  3. And its the same in the popular "gear forum". First of all, people have to get over that fanboy crap. It's become way too annoying and no one who shoots seriously has much tolerance for it any more. Yes we know your brand loyalties, they're plastered all over your forum sigs. Now, unless you have something valid to offer, just shut up. This works the same in reverse for equipment bashing. Most of the troll bashers have never even used the stuff, so again, shut up.

    I don't traverse any of the photo forums that much anymore. And if I do as soon as a thread starts to go south I just get off of it. Because anything you say will just be lost on the idiots anyway, so not even worth typing.

    It's not even spirited debate anymore, but more schoolyard oneupmanship.


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