There was a time when I hung around many types of forum on the internet (gaming ones, Photoshopping ones, comedy ones, ones for adult website owners (I have a past, don’t you know!), etc.) but these days my interests have narrowed and there are only a few must-see sites around and fewer niche groups I care for so when it comes to the forums it tends to be cruise-related ones or nothing at all.

There are many things that annoy me about cruise forums and they all have an underlying source: people. Forums would be far better places if they just kept people off them. But it is what it is, and while people are using forums those people will continue to annoy me so if I have to deal with it I may as well use it as a writing exercise to vent.

Searching

One of the very first things that annoys me about cruise forums is the complete inability for people who use them to comprehend what searching is for. Searching is provided as a function of all forums that I frequent and by using it I can find the answers to questions that have been posed before without irritating regular forum-users. Subsequently, for instance, it’s not necessary for me to ask what constitutes formal wear on a particular cruise because – it turns out – that question will be asked every four days by somebody without fail and it will show up quite quickly (and it will trigger the same responses without fail, those being broadly defined as the helpful ones, the ones advocating rebellion against the cruiseline’s policies, and the ones moaning that the question keeps getting asked).

Bullying

I am a firm believer in sensible freedom of speech (the sort that says “Hey, don’t seriously advocate violence and don’t bully people” but pretty much anything else goes because even if it’s awful at least you’re getting to know the person you don’t want anything to do with). When it comes to the cruise forums of which I’m a member this means that I fully support justifiable, negative posts and comments about the subject at hand: cruises in general or the cruise line or a ship or a specific cruise. A censored view that only permits positive aspects is of no help to anybody and undermines the purpose of the forum itself unless the forum happens to be called Only Happy Things About Cruises For People Who Want To Pretend The Rest Of The World Doesn’t Exist. I don’t support people clearly just trying to get some kind of refund through public shaming of the company and that’s something that should be rightly called out, but when the complaint being made is general enough or believable enough to be true then the old adage of “if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all” applies. The following interaction serves no purpose:

Cruise Forum Bully

It’s passive, I’ll grant, but it’s still aggressive and it’s bullying. It’s trying to get someone to not complain further or trying to get someone to react. You may claim not to know what is hoped to be gained but you do know and so do I, Mister Arsewipe. She’s upset and angry at service that hasn’t lived up to her expectations and she wants to rant about it. That’s what a forum is for. Sympathise privately or in public or question the matter further if you don’t have enough information but just saying something that boils down to you having decided you don’t believe her and that you’re somehow making out that you would never voice a negative opinion about anything is not right, only liked by fellow lying morons, and just paints you as the twat you are.

Comprehension

It’s quite easy to completely fail to grasp what some people are talking about sometimes, most often through a combination of appalling grammar and an inability to spell that seems to be spreading like rot, but most of the time with cruise forum posts the message is short enough that it’s perfectly clear what’s being discussed. A forum is a grouping of topics where the responses to the topics should be on the topic itself, related in some way to what was being stated or asked. Yes, sometimes the topic responses wander off course as is the way of all things but on other occasions there will suddenly be a reply that just makes you stop and think “What the hell has that got to do with anything?”

Let’s take a look at that same post I’ve already used as an example:

Cruise Forum Irrelevance

The original poster is referring to something that took place just recently. The cruise, the crew, the experiences are not some hermetically-sealed snapshot in time that is simply reset and replayed precisely for another ship of cruisers ten months later. Your comment that you had a lovely time ten months ago would have been nice ten months ago but it serves no purpose here. Your comment about something that occurred ten months ago could go in its own post now all about how you had a lovely time on Britannia ten months ago. It doesn’t help the original poster – she’s unlikely to stop dead and think “Well, someone had a good time almost a year ago so could it be that my perception of my recent experience needs adjusting to account for how a complete stranger now remembers something that happened to him?” – and it’s just commenting for the sake of commenting at best, and at worst it’s an attempt to drown out negativity with something positive that a member of Only Happy Things About Cruises For People Who Want To Pretend The Rest Of The World Doesn’t Exist can enjoy.

Cruise Forum Irrelevance

That’s not even the same ship! How is that comment helpful? If it wasn’t meant to be helpful then what was the point of it? Was this a boast? “Ha! You got the crappy staff on your cruise! We had the good ones!”

It doesn’t happen that often to be fair but they are the big frustrations for me. I used to help run a local group that met in pubs in Portsmouth where we’d invite speakers down to talk on a topic then open the floor up to questions from the people attending. The number of times we saw someone raise their hand then either ask something that had already been covered or not ask anything at all and just effectively give their own speech on some unrelated matter was staggering and I see some of that same behaviour on forums. People. It all comes down to people. People really annoy me in general, and they really annoy me on cruise forums in particular.

4 Comments

  1. You, a former adult website owner? Tell me more.

  2. Great article, Mark. I’ve veered away from several Facebook groups for these very reasons. In most instances, a seemingly innocent question or flippant comment descends quickly into all-out anarchy. No cruise line is perfect, nor is every cruise experience, but that seems to be lost on a few people who seem to get kicks out of aggressive exchanges.

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