“I discovered this site a few days ago and was very impressed…seems to be a nice and friendly community, chatting with each other in a caring and loving manner AND also in a very funny way about the fails and I enjoyed it so much, that I like to just read their nice comments for each other and to take part (a bit) in the funny parts.”
~ lottofee, August 17, 2009
You’re probably reading this because you like the camaraderie and banter on Failblog and want to join in. Maybe you find joining an established group intimidating and are worried about fitting in. You may have seen others make a bad impression and want to avoid repeating their mistake. This common sense guide is here to help with these desires and concerns, and to help new commenters gain confidence and end their lurking days.
At the heart of Failblog you will find true friendships. The failpeep regulars are friends—not virtual friends or cyber friends— real friends. As with any large group there are circles. Within these circles, failpeeps maintain their own special history, tradition, inside jokes, and closeness. Some of these friendships are very close. The easiest way to get into trouble on the blog is to attack a regular, but not for the reason that some “outsiders” or trolls will proclaim…regulars do not have special privileges and do not consider themselves “royalty”. Offending a regular will get you in trouble because their friends’ reactions will be swift and spirited. Asking questions, requesting clarification, pointing out problems—these are usually welcomed, if offered in a polite and respectful manner. After all, every regular was once an outsider and was welcomed because he or she possessed these traits.
The most important thought to keep in mind when attempting to fit in on the blog or with any group: it’s not about you, but how you are with others. The failpeeps won’t admire you for your possessions, good looks, education, or wit if your motivation is to impress and collect accolades. But, if you come to the blog wanting to smile, share, and learn, you will find many people interested in your company. The failpeeps love to make each other laugh…they don’t show up with an “entertain me” attitude.
Trolls take many forms, but the core trait of all trolls is selfishness. Trolls want attention and will use all the tricks in their repertoires to get it. Try not to resemble trolls by taking yourself too seriously and changing the topic of conversation to be about you. While you may want to be regarded as funny and smart, the blog is not a competition to see who can get the most laughs or make the wittiest remark or post the most comments. You’ll be disappointed with this attitude and end up resentful of others.
“Mere words? Mere words? Do you have any idea the power that words carry? Words are the currency of our lives, coins falling from our lips and fingers. And far too many of us spend them without thinking, on things that are meaningless or harmful to ourselves and others. Such language becomes bankrupt, until all the spendthrift can do is mouth empty, worthless noise. Those who spend the currency of their lives wisely can accomplish amazing things. Just with words.”
~ Dragonwriter, September 6, 2008
The blog is replete with clever wordplay using all manner of literary devices. Puns by far are the most common device used, and on some fails you can’t shake a schtick with hitting one. Clever failpeeps layer meaning in their comments with crafty phrasing. In order to extract subtlety and nuance the reader must trust that the author’s word choices, construction, spelling, and grammar were intentional and meaningful. Many clever comments appear at first glance to be slightly odd, thereby inviting the reader to look closer. When oddly phrased comments turn out to be just that, poorly worded with misspellings and grammatical errors, the author of those words will soon find they lack readers.
Paying attention to grammar shows thoughtfulness and consideration of others. Lazy writing indicates disdain for the audience and a trollish selfishness. Typos happen, but there’s no excuse for not looking stuff up while using the Internet.
“When do we get to the Jucy bits?”
~Admiral Apparent, thought to himself during a cuddle puddle under the influence of Dragon Grog, date unknowable
With our general philosophy now covered, here is the failpeeps’ Fail and Win List:
WIN and get noticed by the regulars by making some interesting, funny, or clever comments.
FAIL by pouting and complaining that nobody is acknowledging your presence.
WIN by joining in a conversation and furthering the discussion, pun-run, and witty banter.
FAIL by hijacking a thread for your own purpose, interrupting a pun-run, and changing topics.
WIN by starting a new topic at the bottom of the comment section. The regulars read down there, too.
FAIL by believing what you have to say is more important than what others have written and commenting “high up” in the threaded conversation in the belief that more people will see it.
WIN by your own actions and words.
FAIL by assigning actions and words to others in an attempt to be funny.
WIN by waiting for signs of acceptance and welcome before getting too friendly.
FAIL by touching, squeezing, and being too familiar before you know if your actions will be appreciated.
WIN by remembering current events and the interests of others.
FAIL by talking about yourself excessively.
WIN by reciprocating a warm welcome by the regulars with enthusiasm.
FAIL EPICALLY by succumbing to “new poster syndrome” and filling the blog with every thought that pops into your head.
WIN by paying attention and showing sincere interest in others.
FAIL by asking ingratiating questions and not caring about the answers.
WIN by having an informed, spirited debate while respecting the opinions of others.
FAIL by not recognizing that you are not the only one entitled to their opinion.
WIN by supporting your opinions with facts and links.
FAIL by making unsubstantiated claims and later complaining about being attacked when asked to support your point of view.
WIN by settling an argument with logic and a cool head.
FAIL EPICALLY by resorting to insults and threats of violence.
WIN by recognizing when close friends are having a conversation and not interrupting.
FAIL by replying in threads where you don’t understand what is going on.
WIN by laughing at your mistakes and admitting when you’re wrong.
FAIL by making excuses and blaming others for your error.
WIN by recognizing that not everyone will like you and avoiding those peeps.
FAIL EPICALLY by repeatedly replying to someone who is obviously ignoring you.
WIN by recognizing when someone makes you laugh; WIN EPICALLY by replying in-kind to a witty remark you like.
FAIL by being overly critical or judgmental.
WIN by enjoying the banter and joining in.
FAIL by treating the blog as a competition.