I don't know a lot of things, but during my short time on this earth, I have observed what I believe to be some predictable tendencies of the particular animal we call human beings. The males of the species are arrogant and proud, yet they have the most tender of egos. They swell with self importance, and rage when insulted. Both males and females are born defensive and only become less so through careful conditioning. When they collect in the groups we know as communities they have a tendency to squabble, opine, piss off, and otherwise make fools of themselves with occasional utter abandon.
Online communities are fantastic microcosms of such behavior, and because posting electronically is such a "low stakes" game, all the issues of human society become amplified and accelerated in the small petri dish that is a bulletin board or forum.
These online communities also provide the ultimate succor for yet another typical human trait: our fascination with social misfortune. Humans also love disaster. We eat it up on the news. We slow down to watch the car accidents. We both bemoan and secretly crave the largest of tragedies. And the smallest. But especially those of a social kind.
There's just no substitute for the enjoyment of watching people behave badly, and there's no better place to do it than online community forums.
If you ever needed proof, I've got it for you right here.
Witness, if you will, the degeneration of a single dissatisfied customer of eRobertParker.com, posting his criticism of the service, into an eight page, 632-post free for all. For those who don't have the patience or the desire to wade through the epic monstrosity, one of the highlights most certainly includes Robert Parker referring to some of his customers, and specifically the one who started the thread, as "point pimps and whores" -- sort of the online forum equivalent of the Zidane World Cup head butt.
I don't have the time or energy to participate in most online forums like this one, but even more importantly, I've seen too many dissolve into rancor again and again. But they certainly do make for entertaining (and instructive) reading sometimes....
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 26, 2015 Vinography Images: Above the Coast 2015 Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 6, San Francisco Imagining a Better Future for the Soils of Champagne A Brief Video Lesson in Champagne Disgorgement Vinography Images: The World of the Leaf Book Signing on May 9th, at Raymond Vineyards in Napa Doorman: Changing My Wine Delivery Life A Singular Expression: The Champagnes of Cédric Bouchard Acid Freaks Unite: Highlights From the 2015 IPOB Tasting
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune