Even a brief foray into the world of internet dog forums can be quite an adventure. Any type of internet forum has their own standard issues, trolls, and so on, but we’re pretty sure that dog forums bring out the worst and weirdest in people. When navigating these internet forums, it is often helpful to understand what type of people you are likely to encounter. The Dog Snobs are glad to offer a field guide to ensure your safety when delving into the dangerous world of dog forums.
The Know-It-All (or KIA for our purposes) is the internet equivalent of that guy you avoid at parties. Got a question? A KIA has the answer, usually in conjunction with a story long enough to bore you to death. Got an answer? The KIA does too and it’s better than yours because theirs has unicorns, so ‘Ha!’. The big difference between a KIA and a relatively normal poster is broken down into four easy to remember categories. Firstly, the KIA isn’t in it to answer the question asked, they’re in it to talk about themselves. The story usually only has a vague connection to the original question and it really may not relate at all. Secondly, KIA’s have the uncanny distinction of having done absolutely everything in a universe where time apparently doesn’t exist and you are immediately successful at everything you touch. Experience and activities usually overlap so badly (and nonsensically) the only logical assumption is a time machine. We get multi-sport crossover but there are only so many hours in a day and announcing that your dog not only cured cancer but ran a marathon in 20 minutes just isn’t keeping up the facade successfully. Thirdly, the KIA’s go to defense from criticism is the filibuster. Disagree with their assessment? There will be a fourteen page diatribe responding to your critique, while still not actually answering the question. Lastly, KIAs rarely if ever have actual proof of these accomplishments. Googling them will turn up nothing. In fact a little bit of internet stalking frequently turns up proof of what they haven’t done. Pieces of their stories won’t fit or something will set off your bullshit detector and then it’s just a competition to see who can get the person to backtrack fastest. KIAs will often “substantiate” their answers with posts that end with references to friends or relations who are scientists, references, authority figures, or anyone with direct experience about the question being asked. Despite the fact that anecdotal evidence doesn’t have as much weight as actual authority references, KIAs insist on being “right” all the time.
The Nit-Picker is annoying in the process of clarifying an issue. Really, that’s all there is to say. While they may not actually correct your grammar, if you use a word they deem incorrect, you will be getting first hand smack-down on your incorrectness. The Nit-Picker is also excessively concerned with word usage when in many instances the person has explained their (not actually incorrect) understanding of the word and used it accordingly. They’ve turned patronization into an artform. Rest assured however, if you’ve been victimized by the Nit-Picker, it’s usually not because you’re wrong, it’s because they dislike you personally.
Not unlike the Know-it-All, The Professional has a lot to say but weirdly, not a lot of it is helpful. This person claims to get paid to work with dogs but a short conversation makes you wonder if their clients actually exist. Their total lack of understanding of simple concepts baffles the mind. The Professional can be either innocuous and open to suggestion or absurdly reckless.They start most forum posts by proclaiming their profession and how that makes what they are saying more correct than any of the other posters.
Recognizable by their frequent posts complaining of the latest malady afflicting their dog, the Sympathy Seeker appears to use the internet as a tool to receive digital hugs. Every affliction, ranging from a broken eyelash to constipation, is presented in a most-dramatic fashion. Sympathy from fellow forum users only seems to hasten the frequency of their posts, each one a little more fantastical than the last. It doesn’t take long before people begin to wonder if this is in fact the unluckiest dog and owner in the history of the world, or if Munchausen By Proxy indeed exists with dogs.
The Shit Stirrer frequents dog forums with the sole purpose to ask inflammatory questions that are bound to cause trouble. Seemingly benign questions such as ‘What do you think about Cesar Milan?” are actually calculated inquiries meant to cause a cat-fight (dog-fight?) among forum users. The Shit Stirrer knows exactly what the hot button topics are and makes sure that each and every one is thrown into the mix as fodder for “discussion”. These individuals usually don’t actually want answers to their questions and will seldom follow up after their shit-stirring original post, but rather they like to sit back and watch the fur fly.
Even a newbie in the dog world is aware that there are several different lines of thought when it comes to dog training and that each side has fervent supporters. The Training Terrorist is someone on any side of the training spectrum who absolutely refuses to see any middle ground or consider different perspectives. They will look at like you kick puppies for fun if you use the word “no”, or on the other side of the spectrum, think you are cookie-pusher if you use rewards based training. To these people, regardless of what side of the training spectrum they fall on, training in a way not totally in line with their beliefs is viewed as a personal affront, and they will use any tactic necessary to try to convince the other side that they are right. There is no such thing as a gray area for the Training Terrorist, and suggesting as much is tantamount to heresy.
Unlikely to be found fighting their own battles on dog forums, the sycophant is much more concerned with sucking up to certain other forum users (usually the Know-it-all or Training Terrorist). It is often unclear what their own beliefs are, since they have so closely aligned themselves with others and tend to parrot their posts. These are the annoying sidekicks of the internet forum world.
The Total Novice
1001 questions on every little thing. Not entirely sure they know what a dog actually is. These are often children and have their first dogs. Instead of seeking a trainer, they take any and all advice from other forum users. If they stick around, they usually evolve into the sycophant category, with their nose planted firmly up a KIA or Professional’s ass.
This person seems a normal poster until someone’s opinion counters their’s, then they run screaming. Every other poster is a bully and is picking on them. They often run crying to the moderators and are rarely told to suck it up. They never stomp off, always coming back for more “abuse”.
The Defensive Dog Owner
The Defensive Dog Owner is the person who routinely asks questions, and when they don’t like the advice they get, they become livid and launch a full attack on anyone who dare suggests that they aren’t doing things correctly. It not entirely clear why this person even asks for advice since clearly they aren’t amenable to actually taking it. The Defensive Dog Owner is usually short-lived on dog forums, as they tend to remove themselves (often in a blaze of hateful glory) from the site when people call them on their bad attitude and inability to take constructive criticism.
The Lying Loon
The Lying Loon is a somewhat regular entity on internet dog forums. Although they can fly under the radar initially, anyone paying an ounce of attention will begin to realize that their stories simply don’t add up. Each post on the forum tells an even more wildly unbelievable story, and usually contradicts a prior post. This makes sense however, because it is awfully hard to keep track of so many lies. When called out on their inconsistencies, the Lying Loon will take a break from the site, but not for long. Their desire to lie to complete strangers on the internet overrides any common sense, and before you know, they are back online spinning a new web of lies and infuriating observant forum users.
The Multiple Personality
When other forum users don’t agree with the MP, they create alternate accounts to back themselves up. This particular quirk appears in posters ranging from those that are very obviously the same person to posters that go to great effort to hide that it is all one crazy person.
Active on a dog forum? Tell us which ones we missed!