One of the charming things about discussion board threads is the way the conversation naturally goes off on tangents and how multiple discussions can spring from the original post, like the strands of silk in a spider’s web. There might be situations where it behooves the message board management to keep threads strictly on topic, but in general I love watching a conversation naturally evolve as idea sparks idea and thoughts evoke memories.
Naturally being the keyword, as there is almost nothing so annoying as intentional attempted derailment.
What Is Intentional Attempted Derailment?
Intentional Attempted Derailment (or I.A.D.) is hijacking the conversation for the sake of hijacking it, or more rarely, for nefarious purposes which we’ll discuss later. The most common motivation of I.A.D. is to get attention, or to use the vernacular, because the hijacker “thinks s/he’s cute”. Look at me! Tossing in the tangents! I am giddy with the prospect of attention! I read once that the most despicable quality a woman can have in the eyes of other women is to think herself “cute”. If you don’t know what is meant by that, I am not even going to try to explain it to you, because I’ll just wind up making myself look like a miserable ass while you ask “Why? Why does it bother you if she thinks she’s cute? What am I missing here? Isn’t self esteem a good thing? Why do women do this to each other?” And I’ll just mutter something about “boys do it too!” because I know they do even if they don’t call it “cute”. It’s why my husband hates Jim on the office; I think the term he uses most often is “smug wanker”.
People would like to tell you differently, but there is only a certain amount of attention that can be paid. If somebody is trying to get more than their fair share by unsavory means like I.A.D. others are going to notice, and resent it, because they’ve been trying to play fair. Listening to people, forming a response relating to what has been said and at the same time adding to the conversation, well that takes work and it’s not appreciated when somebody does the virtual equivalent of jumping on a table, doing a cartwheel and shouting “Woo Hoo! Look At Me!”
Of course, sometimes the people most miffed by I.A.D. are the most guilty of it themselves. That doesn’t mean they aren’t right about it being heinous.
Nefarious I.A.D. is when a poster attempts to derail a conversation and turn it into a trainwreck. Sometimes they are trying to start a flamefest on another poster – this is tricky though, because sometimes the flamethrower must come out and even though it’s technically a derailment, it’s not about the flamer’s need for attention. Although a lot of times it is. Like I said, it’s tricky. Just as often, it’s a poster throwing a statement out there they must know will get them singed down to the hairs in their crack because negative attention seems to be like crack on message boards. Without Nefarious I.A.D. there wouldn’t be nearly as much internet drama, which is why even though I know a sure fire way to stop it, I’m not telling anyone. I need the traffic, I have bills to pay.