An Apology, a Complaint, and a Commentary

By Sergio Lombardi

Hello, readers! Having dusted the cobwebs away from our WordPress account, I realized that it has been nearly a month and a half since I last posted here. Time has been scarce as of late, due to a particularly consuming menu/recipe design project that reached completion last weekend. That said, I am now free to return to a more regular schedule, which will include more writing here. During the last month, Dominique and I discussed and eventually agreed upon some new additions to the Japan Blog Review that we think you’ll be pleased with. From now on, you’ll find that, sprinkled amongst our reviews, there will be “commentaries” such as the one that follows. These will concern issues both light-hearted and serious – anything we’d like to give our perspective on but can’t quite necessarily give a thumbs up or thumbs down to. In addition, we’re going to be extending the scope of our reviews to individual blog posts, allowing us new access to some fresh material, as well as the ability to focus on a particular blog post that we feel is indicative of a blog as a whole. I am looking forward to the opportunities that this will afford in terms of writing.

My unplanned sabbatical from WordPress and the few other forums/social sites I peruse reminded me of a pet peeve that I have had since I had an internet port and a dial-up connection. It has been a while since I was away from any of my favorite websites for more than a few days – thus, when I logged back into my usual internet haunts, I re-experienced that phenomenon unique, it seems, to forums. This was the fact that my opinion, input, and indeed, person, had become obsolete and irrelevant in any and all discussions that I had taken part in in weeks prior. Like H.G. Well’s famed time traveler, I emerged into a new and bizarre landscape of which I was entirely ignorant. Centuries and centuries of internet-time had passed between my last post and the modernity of a few weeks later. This, however, is not my pet peeve. People type and talk a great deal, and it’s not unusual for the text to pile up in the more popular threads. What irritated me was that the conversation in almost all of these threads was dominated by very few users. Page after page, the avatars of only a few people formed columns that were rarely interrupted by the lone intervention of a profile picture belonging to a timid and inexperienced poster such as myself. Thankfully, my days of competing in these forum fire fights are over, due to the fact that I no longer care. I have “lost” far too many arguments because I had to go to work or sleep, and after a while it numbs your desire to prove your point on a forum. If forum topic gets too heated, I usually withdraw to go and read a good book so that I can get some good out of the process. Of course, in spite of my inactivity, the fireworks still go on, and the trolls still roam – a fact that can be seen clearly on the GaijinPot forums.

While I am not an active member of the GaijinPot forums, I am an occasional reader. This is for much the same reason as why my grandmother, in her later years, would go down and loiter about the farmer’s market: to listen in on other people’s conversations. I find the debates and dialogues to be of quite a bit of amusement and even insight now and then. Unfortunately, there are those who make the experience much less enjoyable than it should be. There are those who live to prove others wrong for the sake of proving others wrong. There are those for whom life does not seem to extend beyond the forum. And there are those whose self-worth is in direct proportion to how much they can disprove and out-argue others. Anyone with some experience may know to whom on the GaijinPot forums I am subtly referring – a fellow who goes by the user name Glenski. He is certainly not the only “troll” on the forum, but he seems to be one of the worst. A glance at a list of his past posts attests to the fact that a good majority of his comments consist of a sort of criticism or rebuttal that is delivered in a rather snide manner. In his roughly eight-thousand four-hundred posts (on the GaijinPot forums, that is –a Google search of Glenski will reveal that he is a specter in quite a few forums), his style has not changed a bit. When properly ignored or politely asked to keep comments constructive, as most folks like Glenski ought to be, Glenski gets indignant and responds in a manner appropriate for a thirteen-year old: “WTF? Have you even read the rest of my post? Pretty darned constructive stuff there. Ungrateful twerp!” This sort of input is, of course, absolutely essential to any helpful informative thread.

Glenski seems to have some sort of professional background, and I would imagine that he has some amount of experience with living in Japan, as evidenced by his occasionally helpful posts. Given his apparent bitterness and amount of time he spends on the forums, one wonders if he is really using his qualifications to their full potential by disproving countless posters on the former.

In reality, I am only minutely annoyed at his rants and rebuttals – the real victim of Glenski is Glenski, it seems. He does not seem to know this, though. After one poster called him out on his pessimistic and passive aggressiveness, he pleaded to another spectator: “I’m quite surprised that there is still a contingent that sees my posts as condescending. They are never meant that way. Shrug.” Anyone who talks to him on the forums usually has a hard time “shrugging” off his astringent comments. Perhaps, when Glenski writes on the forums, he should follow some advice he gave to a fellow coming to Japan in the near future: “Bring lots of antiperspirant.” Glenski really ought to – he always manages to stink up the place.

– Sergio

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~ by Japan Blog Review on May 7, 2011.

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