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SmashTheState's avatar

What happened to the smart people?

Asked by SmashTheState (13357points) 1 month ago

Fluther has never exactly been a place of deep learning and introspection, but there used to be people here with a variety of professional skills and personal interests ranging from the mundane to the esoteric.

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I consider the moderation of Fluther oppressive and authoritarian, so I haven’t spent much time here over the last few years. For the last week I decided to make an honest foray back into Fluther to see what, if anything, has changed. And change there has been.

Questions requiring some kind of practical knowledge or creative thought are now completely ignored. On the other hand, questions requiring completely unqualified stating of personal opinion instantly attract swarms of people desperately seeking to shove their oar in the water. I remember a time when there was a qualitative difference between Fluther and sites like Yahoo!Answers or AnswerBag. Now, other than a somewhat higher literacy level, there’s little to differentiate Fluther.

What the hell happened? Yes, I’m aware of the big civil war over moderation here where half the remaining contributors left, but that alone doesn’t seem to explain the near-total absence of people with interests outside of small talk and dad jokes.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

73 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

And here’s the other shoe. Been waiting for it.

What a narrow band of thought you (still) espouse @SmashTheState. You continue to assume that how people behave on fluther encompasses the whole of their (our) interests and experiences. For most of us, fluther is not our ocean, and our tastes and interests are not based on what you think they should be.

janbb's avatar

I’m still here.

chyna's avatar

@smash And your questions and answers are so dazzlingly brilliant? I think not.

Demosthenes's avatar

SmashTheState with his annual “Fluther sucks” post. :) Moving along…

I prefer “personal opinion” questions since it’s opinions and debate that I am mostly here for. While I will gladly answer questions that allow me to put to use my expertise, that is only one type of question I like to answer and I would not want questions like that to dominate the site. I’m not terribly interested in “dad jokes” and I often unfollow a question when it becomes “chatty” but sometimes people just want to relax and have some fun. Nothing wrong with enjoying a variety.

hmmmmmm's avatar

Hey @SmashTheState. I’m still here :) (sort of), but I’ve been working on many things including quitting involvement in any discussion of “politics”.

It seems as though you might have created a couple of false categories, however:

- “Questions requiring some kind of practical knowledge or creative thought are now completely ignored.”

vs

- “On the other hand, questions requiring completely unqualified stating of personal opinion instantly attract swarms of people desperately seeking to shove their oar in the water.”

While I’d love to see examples of your two types of questions, I suspect you would find that “personal opinion” is quite difficult to remove from any discussion or even a formulation of a question. And that is not a bad thing.

Additionally, “smart” is a meaningless term.

But if you’d like to see something different in this dwindling “community”, can I suggest that you try by being an example?

Stache's avatar

I don’t always herdy dur mur flerpty floopin but when I do, I yer der shmer dor her der foomty der shoopin flerpty dur.

jca2's avatar

I find the moderation to be not as oppressive as it used to be. I also find the Jellies to be not as argumentative as they used to be (except when it comes to political threads, which are the exception).

Maybe everyone is aware that Fluther is just a little site, chugging along in a sea of millions of other sites, and we’re all just grateful that it exists and we’re grateful to be here.

ucme's avatar

It’s just a fucking piddling little q&a site, get over yourself Einstein.

rebbel's avatar

I just took a twelve hour hiatus and people start to notice my absence?

janbb's avatar

@rebbel We missed you.

rebbel's avatar

And I’m glad to be back.

chyna's avatar

@rebbel! It’s been forever! So glad you came back!

MrGrimm888's avatar

There are lots of topics, that I don’t ask about here. Like professional sports. That’s not because I think Flutter is full of idiots. It’s just not a site, that will offer many (if any) responses to that subject.

I find a lot of the OP’s questions, and responses interesting, and they add diversity to the pond.
It’s sad, that he would try to insult the community (repeatedly.) In the end, he usually just insults himself. For all his wisdom, he seems incapable, of understanding that there are plenty of jellies here, with knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. Just not always subjects, that he is interested in.

If I went to a park, in the South East US, and tried to get a pick up game of Cricket going (not that I play Cricket,) and nobody wanted to play, I wouldn’t conclude that everyone in the park, is beneath me. Rather, I would understand that Cricket, is a game that draws almost no interest in that particular sport, in that geographic location…

Next time, bring a basketball, or a football, and notice the difference…

Or. You can just tell everyone, in the park, how stupid they are…

flo's avatar

If you want smart people, help put an end to “Google exists.” to any question whether it’s a simple question that can be googled or not.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@MrGrimm Wow, that was amazing!

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I just hope it came off as more insightful, than insulting…

KNOWITALL's avatar

@MrGrimm Yep and the analogy was great.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I was feeling the same as op, and then it occurred to me that intellect isn’t gone, it is, however being buried by the rude, and the mundane.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well.
All the political threads become circular. Regardless of what exactly the original question is about, it eventually becomes a Trump thing. Fluther is really the only social media, that I am involved with. But NY understanding is that it’s similar, in almost every other type of site…

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Patty Political ptsd maybe.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I think both sides, are struggling with that…

wiscoblond's avatar

@Patty Rude as in telling someone you wish they’d lose their eyesight so they couldn’t comment anymore because no one wants to hear from them? I know exactly what you mean.

chyna's avatar

@wiscoblond Did someone say that to you?!

josie's avatar

Sometimes I worry that it’s all my fault

kritiper's avatar

Who here doesn’t love lurve? Who doesn’t want to answer whenever they can so that their lurve score will increase?? In some instances, it’s a real lurve orgy here. It’s like a drug and a poison, depending on your POV.
I’ve found it’s best to just sit back, take the good with the bad, and hope the answer sought comes forth at some point.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I was on the site, for a long time, before I even knew what lurve was. It has no value to me really. My only real use for it, is to be able to tell, how long a jelly has been a jelly…

wiscoblond's avatar

^that doesn’t work for me. (If I had kept my original account all these years I’d be near 50k by now but I didn’t, so here I am with a measly 1k.) :)

Zaku's avatar

“Questions requiring some kind of practical knowledge or creative thought are now completely ignored.”
– I haven’t noticed that. Any particular examples that deserve attention?

“I remember a time when there was a qualitative difference between Fluther and sites like Yahoo!Answers or AnswerBag.”
– Really? I’ve never heard of AnswerBag, but Yahoo!Answers has always seemed pretty atrocious to me. Or is this just exaggeration?

I don’t know when you’re comparing to, either.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Anyone here need to compare the total well-to-wheel CO2 life load for some transportation options?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Lucky Or need help streamlining your international company to maximize profits?

Ha, its nonsensical to believe all expertise is needed on this site fr.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Smart people know which question is smart and which isn’t. Wise people find wisdom even in stupid questions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@smashthestate Also you said you got kicked out of prison, so you committed a crime, got caught, went to prison and still kept raising hell. How well does that speak of your ‘smarts’? Haha. Not trying to be mean, js

Mimishu1995's avatar

@KNOWITALL someone once raised the same question, and then he mentioned Diogenes, a philosopher who he claimed to be smarter than everyone else in his time and refused to act “normal” because he was the wisest man.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@LuckyGuy I won’t need that. I need someone to help me analyze code-switching among different African cultures in formal settings instead ~

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

~They found some thing in legend as to “Get a life” and this “outdoors” that I have herd of?
I have heard of the IRL. Sounds stressful.

snowberry's avatar

@SmashTheState These answers are not dad jokes, but I think they’re pretty funny. A lot of pretty smart folks have donated their best brain cells to try to help this poor soul. Please, if you don’t mind, I’m sure you could add some true value to the discussion. https://www.fluther.com/216271/is-it-a-bad-sign-that-my-lover-addressed-me-by

SmashTheState's avatar

@snowberry I wrote a reasonably long, thoughtful response to her in one of her previous questions and was completely ignored. When I asked her whether she’d in fact read it at all, that too was ignored. I don’t throw my time down bottomless holes.

People here play with her. They think she’s dumb, so it gives them a stiffy to bully her under the parsimonious guise of helping. They’ve often tried to do the same thing to me here, with the difference that I’m both smart enough to see their jejune mockery and wise enough not to engage with it. It’s part of the ugly wolfpack mentality which rules the place.

snowberry's avatar

@SmashTheState Ah, so I’m part of the bully pack. Hmmm. I’ve never thought of it that way. Whatever’s going on, she’s clearly a mess. Thanks for your answer.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Smash, don’t leave the empty roll on the toilet paper spindle. After you finish taking a dump, replace the roll. I’m sure you can find your way out. Thanks. Ta ta for now.

SmashTheState's avatar

Tell you what, @Hawaii_Jake, if you want me to leave all you need to do is click “great answer” on this comment. If this comment gets 10 “great answers,” I’ll leave Fluther for at least a year. You can do it completely anonymously. Go ahead, prove me right. Let the wolfpack show its teeth.

raum's avatar

@SmashTheState I had a much higher opinion of you before this comment. Self-pity is a self-perpetuating thing.

SmashTheState's avatar

You think I’d feel self-pity over removing my expertise from Fluther? The point of this experiment is to let people see whether the wolfpack is able to exercise enough self-control to avoid proving me right.

raum's avatar

No, not self-pity about leaving Fluther. Self-pity about let’s set up this experiment to prove that everyone hates me.

Woe is me.

MrGrimm888's avatar

IMO. The responses to this thread, have been reactionary, to the way the question is worded.

Unless I missed something, nobody asked STS to leave the site.

If I don’t personally respond to a question (any question.) It’s because I feel I have nothing to contribute. Either because my thoughts were already pretty much stated by others, or because I don’t know enough about the subject matter. That doesn’t mean that I don’t find certain questions intriguing. I just don’t talk about stuff, when I don’t know what I’m talking about… There are plenty of threads, that I read responses to, but don’t contribute to. It’s nothing personal.

As far as my contributions to some threads, seemingly being ignored. That’s just part of the way it goes sometimes. I don’t take it personally.

@SmashTheState . If you bothered to hang around, for more than a few weeks, instead of just dropping in every few months, you might have a different perspective.

You are not observing the long view. And you have a “me against the world” attitude. Which I can completely empathize with. But Fluther, is a community. Not just a Q n A site.

I wager, that if you hung around for a while, you may see things differently. I personally don’t want you to go. I know, that I have been mean to you, in the past. But that was when you were preaching anarchy, and revolution. In ways, I felt, might cause people to get hurt. Or hurt others. I’m not here to make friends. But. It happens anyway. The more you interact with this community, the more you find that you have more in common, and are more accepted than you think. I am personally guilty of really ripping into some jellies. But I also find myself defending the same jellies, when the situation calls for it.

There are cliques here. But, even most of them, won’t tolerate another jelly being bullied for no reason.

IMO. You’re approach to Fluther, robs you of the communal bond, that most of us share.

You call us a “wolf pack.” You insult the entire community. You drop in, and out. Did it ever occur to you, that some of us wonder how you are doing, when we haven’t heard from you, in awhile? I know I have. You’ve expressed that you have been homeless, or living in rough conditions. When you leave for months. I worry, that something bad may have happened to you.

You ostracize yourself, more than you realize. I wager, that you live the same way IRL. That’s sad. If you decide to leave again. Drop us a line, once in a while. By leaving you are punishing Fluther. But… You are punishing yourself, as well. You have the opportunity to be a part of something here. Similar to life, there will be ups, and downs. But I think being more than the estranged uncle, that we only see twice a year, would benefit both yourself, and the pond. You already have a room in the mansion, at over 10,000 lurve. Stay a while. Pull up a seat, at the communal table. You earned it. Why not?

I’d love to discuss lobe swapping, and head//body transfers, and the like. I especially found your “Am I insane?” question, very interesting. I didn’t contribute, because it was an old question, that predated my time here. But I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve looked in the mirror, and asked myself the same question. Knowing that someone else, had the same introspective moment, made me feel better about myself. Even if it only proves, that we’re both just insane… What I inferred, was that we are basically ALL insane. Or, that “sanity,” is a subjective, human construct, with no real definition. It made me feel like if someone has not thought about that before, even once, perhaps they are the insane ones…

You affect other jellies, in ways you don’t realize. Your diverse, and original thinking, make you a valuable asset to our community. You aren’t an outsider, except in your own mind…

I’m not going to beg you, to stay. I will still call you out, if I feel the need (weather I’m right or wrong.) And you’re more than capable of defending yourself, from any attacks. So someone disagrees with you sometimes. So what?..

I myself, toe the line often. There was a time when a jelly asked for me to be excommunicated. After some time went by, I found out that that jelly and I have a lot in common, and I consider her a close Fluther-buddy. She even PMs me once in awhile, to make sure I haven’t plummeted off of my fickle edge of existence.

In fact. I’ve probably offended every jelly here, at least once. But they tell me what/how I offended them, and seem to tolerate me anyways…

In a way. I think we all learn more about ourselves, and grow closer, when we really get into it… Then again. These are the words of an “insane” person… So take them, with a grain of salt friend.

Peace n love.

wiscoblond's avatar

I agree with you Smash about the wolfpack mentality and find it quite sad how so many people treat the girl with the relationship issues.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Agreed… If it’s who I’m thinking of. A new jelly…

Mimishu1995's avatar

I don’t generally approve of bullying, but that woman has shown herself to be unresponsive to advice. She even attacked people occasionally when they asked for clarification. The “bullying” you saw is just people’s reaction to her stubbornness, a “fine I’m tired with giving you advice that you don’t take” reaction.

wiscoblond's avatar

People could just ignore her then. Instead they chose otherwise.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^That’s why I rarely get involved with her threads… I think, she’s seeking a lot of rationalization, for her life choices. Not really asking for advice.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I just attempted to explain the reaction. But I agree with you @Grim, she only wants validation…

Mimishu1995's avatar

if you want me to leave all you need to do is click “great answer” on this comment. If this comment gets 10 “great answers,” I’ll leave Fluther for at least a year.

You know what, this is the most clickbaity thing I’ve ever seen. If you get 10 lurves, you get to prove that Fluther is a nasty wolfpack while getting the lurve at the same time. This will become “look at this wolfpack bullying a sad genius, he died a hero and everyone is applausing him” thing. And if you don’t get 10 lurves you get to prove that people still want you here, and further validate your own importance. You are putting us in a weird and stupid situation here, and this is an immature way to ask for lurves.

I have known about your negativity for a long time, and I try to avoid giving my input on this thread because you don’t listen to anyone below you. But as people have pointed out and as you have confessed yourself, you are using this thread as an “experiment” to validate yourself. What’s the point anyway if you only see what you want to see? Even without the experiment you still see us as a wolfpack so why bother?

Look, I know you are a rebel and you are smart enough to notice the flaws of the world, but does it give you the right to look down on everyone else? And are you sure you are the smartest person in the world? You are not just at war with us, you are at war with literally everyone you deem unworthy, like the law. And you don’t seem to do that with an aim to better anyone’s life, you are doing that to prove something to yourself. It’s a you vs the world thing. There is a fine line between not caring what people think and not taking feedback from the world. One doesn’t serve the ego but the other does.

Like @MrGrimm888 said, spend some time to get to know people, like really get to know them deeply, with the depth level that you always preach about. If you are smart enough to see the bad, you should be able to see the good too. Is that deep introspection if you only scan someone for the bad and put them into the wolfpack category? The aim isn’t to be liked because you don’t seem to need that, but to exercise your introspection and actually put your rebel nature into good use. After all, the ultimate goal of rebellion is to better life, not to cater for an isolated ego. That’s why I said before, the smart person can see stupid questions but the wise person can find gold in the same things. The wise person knows how to find wisdom even in the stupidest people, how to connect with people despite the flaws and help others to be as wise as them.

Or you can just quote Diogenes to justify how you don’t need to fit in. But then again a racist can show examples of how white people built civilization and black people only ripped things off to justify racism.

wiscoblond's avatar

@Mimishu1995 I watched it all go down. The pack mentality arrived before the OP got defensive. This is where @SmashTheState is correct. There’s a mean girl mentality here and it isn’t pretty. I’ve been a part of it at times in the past and I’m not proud of it.

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KNOWITALL's avatar

@Smash I dont know you dude but usually the people not feeling any love here are aholes to other jellies, consistently.

I think you sound angry and interesting.

jca2's avatar

I can’t imagine going to someone’s house and saying “What happened to the nice furniture you used to have?” or “What happened to the good food you used to cook?”

janbb's avatar

@jca2 Or as you once quipped on a similar question, showing up at someone’s door once every six months and asking if you can take a dump in their toilet.

jca2's avatar

@janbb: Yes!

“I haven’t seen you in a while. So nice to see you! I really have to take a shit. Would you mind if I used your bathroom?”

Demosthenes's avatar

I just don’t see the logic in griping about being ganged up on while simultaneously putting down an entire site of people. It’s the person who rails at someone for being an idiot, a jackass, a loser, and when that someone responds angrily, that first person says “stop being so defensive!”. Right.

Lots of discussions going on here, but I’ll add what I can: I try to avoid questions that I have no intention of answering sincerely. I didn’t know what was going on in honeybun’s questions because I’d been ignoring them entirely. I’m not interested in answering them, so I’m not going to go into the question with snark and jokes. I can think of one site where you can post a sincere question and you’ll get nothing but jokes in response and if you call them out you’re told to “lighten up”. It’s a massive site with a huge user-base so trying to change people’s attitudes there is like trying to put out a wildfire by pissing on it, but I digress.

Forums and Q&A sites are dying out in general. Facebook, Discord, Twitter, Reddit and the like have replaced them. I can think of at least there other forums that I’ve been a member of for years that are now virtually inactive or consist of a small user-base of around 10 users at most. Of course there’s going to be some “pack” mentality when the site is this small and people are that familiar with each other’s personalities, opinions and posting style. But I’ve clashed with just about everyone here at least once and I still find the desire to post. Mostly because I know I can get comprehensive serious answers to questions that might be ignored on social media.

If one of this site’s problems is that there are too few users contributing, then let’s not bash someone when they express a dissenting opinion (I agree with most users here about 50% of the time, which makes for an interesting experience), and let’s also not put down the entire site and force people to get defensive. I’ve seen some of Smash’s recent questions and comments and I think they’re great. I just don’t see the need for this outburst.

chyna's avatar

I admit I have been snarky on occasion on Fluther. Most of us are guilty of snark. But I have jumped in on hundreds of questions to help a fellow jelly with a problem, give them my expertise or opinions, or take up for them if need be. However, I don’t recall any questions that really thank the jellies for their help over the years. Usually it’s only someone badmouthing the site or jellies.

canidmajor's avatar

Well said, @chyna, well said.

canidmajor's avatar

So wait @SmashTheState, let me get this straight. You’ll leave for another year if we pay you to go (and since “Lurve” is the currency of fluther, that’s what it would amount to, paying you to go). Then you’ll come back again and “blah blah blah Ginger” us to death with off-topic pedantry until such time as…what? We pay you again?
There must be a better and more interesting choice for (and I quote you here) “something to do with my time while I wait for death.”

(So much melodrama!)

SmashTheState's avatar

By all means, let me spare you any further melodrama or off-topic pedantry.

canidmajor's avatar

Yes, please. Thank you.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You assume there ever were smart people here in any larger percentage. I’d say Fluther has always had an IQ of around 110 or so and remains in that range to this day. The pool is lower in numbers and therefore the experience more shallow. Most forums die suddenly but a slow death like this is especially what one would expect when there is not another pool of equal or greater value to swim to. I’d go to Quora or somewhere like that but I’m not creating content for them to monetize. It’s also not as personal. If you know of one I would be interested.

@SmashTheState, I do like your non “fluther sucks” questions.

flo's avatar

@SmashTheState Post another OP: “Raise hour hand if you are one of the smart people on Fluther.”

rebbel's avatar

And ruin my lovely wrist watch?

mazingerz88's avatar

I could be a member of a wolfpack??? Cool! Looking forward to howling together next time the moon is full! Awooooooohhhh!

Darth_Algar's avatar

With this site, like any relationship, you get what you put into it.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Well stated…GA…

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