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People that enter an online community as newcomers, especially as newbies to the Internet, are often astonished about the negative reactions they get — this is especially visible on UseNet but in principle observable everywhere now and then — because they don't understand the emotions that are caused by a few words or a simple question.

The point is that EveryoneIsaSuccessor. People remember. They put a lot of work into FAQs that contain the questions asked over and over again. When every week nice people enter the community and ask "where can I get XY?" they get crazy and run wild. The same is true for certain kinds of behaviour. When someone uses the same arguments or peculiarities (see WarningSignals) like a "troll" that recently haunted the community, fighting may start immediately.

This is natural, but it also can create more problems than necessary. Some coincidences are accidental. One should seek peace before conflict.

Also, newcomers should LurkBeforeYouLeap?.

The word successor doesn't fit in this context. I suspect a translation problem. Do you mean everyone is a veteran?

A translation problem, I started from EveryoneInherits?. My dictionary offers successor as an alternative to heir, but not inheritor. Is inheritor possible? -- HelmutLeitner

This page seems like "burned once, think twice." I don't think there is a heritage, but merely experience. BadExperience? or UnfairGeneralization?. I'm not even sure this is true. There are a lot of ideals floating around community practice. The more idealistic a community, the more they 'turtle' (overreact) once a troll hits them. There was a great example in the literature of a women's support group (sexual assault victims?) that let a troll antagonize them for a long period of time because they could not bring themselves to control their boundary. In fact, they believed in RadicalInclusiveness, and so they were essentially retraumatized.

People generalize excessively because they are afraid. The more they are afraid, the more they assess the risk of being attacked, the more trivial the criteria will be to put up defenses, the more people will fit those criteria. They will also use superficial criteria because they are easier to assess than more complex criteria. Consider brown people vs. Muslims vs. fundamentalist Muslims vs. terrorists. Depending on how well you can ControlYourself, you will pick either a generalization or a specialization. Generalizations are often wrong because they are based on a small sample. Specialization are also often wrong because they do not catch all the threats; the worst specialization in terms of effectiveness is on a "case by case" basis, although it is often the only ethical one. The inherent tension between the two positions makes this a constant problem, especially since you will never know if your model of the world is correct.

Also, conversely, the more 'realistic' your community — i.e. militaristic — the more trolling will reinforce your beliefs, and the more hardened you will become. Yet, militarism encourages attacks. So, a CryptoNautic community will induce attackers and thus believe the world is out to get them. But of course this is also not the full truth. LimitTemptation, AvoidConflict, the PygmalionEffect, and so on all talk about how one can induce negative behaviour by taking the wrong ideological position. Because these militaristic ideologies are self-reinforcing with induced empirical phenomenon (thereby creating veterans), they are hard to dislodge, but also easy to recruit new supporters. And thus, they are dangerous. -- SunirShah

I think the negative example I chose was not so good, for I don't mean just negative reactions to negative behaviour. "There is nothing new under the sun" which means that no-one can do something that has not already been done or tried. People create systems to serve their interests and think they cleverly deceive this, while every old-timer decyphers the pattern at first sight — sorry, again a negative example.

Assume: someone enters meatball, puts his name in the guestbook, creates a homepage, describes himself and his interests, adds his homepages category and asks whether a topic that's on his mind fits into the scheme. At the same time he removes spam from a few pages. He starts writing and it makes sense. -- Within hours or days he can win the trust of the community and find open doors to walk into the very center of the community. He gets the positive heritage of people that did such steps before.

The pagename problem is still unsolved. OnlineHeritage?? Or should we delete this page? The idea haunts me at least for two years and I'm still not able to express it correctly. Of course there is also the heritage from ones own actions in the past, the HistoryOfCooperation? (or conflict) and the CommunicationHorizon? associated with that. -- HelmutLeitner


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