Surf fans need a voice but how much is too much? Ever visit the forum on Fantasy Surfer or for the lay person; the comment section on Youtube is probably the example that correlates best. The ability to chime in and comment is a wonderful tool, however, the ability to comment as an anonymous user is hardly beneficial.
Chiming In or Just Being Cruel?
I have some favorite surf forums to visit and my favorite is one that I am not going to tell anyone about. Sadly, it is because we have a good group on the forum and I do not want to spoil it. I could publish the name and we could get some great new members to join but is it worth having several new members join that only want to troll? I can visit many other sites if I want to hear people degrade each other.
I was on the Fantasy Surfer Forum the other night and after reading it for a while, I thought to myself, is there anything positive about this activity? The “fans” were carrying on about Volcom, the main sponsor of the event. Comments ranged that the company is a sell-out and that they do not want to sponsor this event the next year. The funny thing is that the fans ignored the fact that Mr. Woolcott was almost moved to tears at the opening ceremony because he was so proud that his company brought this event back to the surfers and the fans. Other comments revolved around the usual which is making fun of the professional surfers in the event. The waves were rough on the first day and some of the competitors got their clocks cleaned. When a surfer has proven themselves as a charger at Pipeline in large surf, it is funny that the fans meet any current performance as that they suck and should not be on the tour. Their attitude towards each other is even worse.
As a business, what purpose does anonymous posting serve? If someone is mad enough to post that my business blows then I would feel that as a business owner, it is my duty to contact the sender and find out what went wrong. When the poster calls himself, “Obamasuxurmomma”, then what way can you even address them to find out what went wrong or how to fix it.
Imagine All the People
Living in harmony. Well, I doubt that would happen but imagine if people had to create an account with a visible e-mail address and their own picture on it? Do you think their tone would be a bit different? I am sure it would be tone down a lot. Plus, if you have some guy posting how the Brazilian surfers suck and the avatar shows him as a 250 pound middle-aged guy, well, the others can point out that in his condition, paddling out on anything less than a 9 foot log would be about impossible.
Wrapping It Up – (I Have to Watch T.V.)
Giving the fans a voice is important and being interactive is a fun way to hear the voice of the fans. However anonymous posting has created a virtual “Culture of Cruel” that really does nothing more than spread negativity. Businesses and web site owners should really sit down and think if our current method is really good for their customers and the business as a whole. It certainly is not helping the surf world.