The anatomy of a lurker.

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WWLAOS

DOMiT

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No, no, put those scalples away, we aren't dissecting anyone...today. Nor will I be exposing any parts of myself, so you can stop covering your eyes (wait, if your eyes are closed/covered...how are you reading this?). No, I was wondering if anyone would care to comment as to why they think lurkers lurk. (a lurker is generally, or at least in this case, someone who reads (or exists within), but does not participate in, a forum (or community).

See, I'm a lurker by nature. Minitokyo is the first place I've ever participated at all. Sure at some other forums in the past I've posted a message or two, but nothing even close to what I've done here. But, I got to wondering...do all people lurk for the same reason? Do they all even have a reason?

I lurk because I usually don't feel my opinions and input are important. Whenever I read a topic and think, "hey, I could reply to that! I have something to say!" it's generally overwhelmed by ten thousand other voices shouting things like "nobody cares what you think," or "what you want to say is hardly even relevant, don't waste other people's time," or "if YOU thought of it, obviously someone else has thought of it first...it's probably common knowledge," and other things of that nature.

Here on MT, though, I've had another driving force: wallpaper reviews. That's where I started out. I stumbled upon the site almost by accident one day and looked around for a bit. I decided this place was pretty cool, so I signed up for an account and started looking at wallpapers...but in doing so I felt compelled to leave a reply. All of you wonderful people were putting up your hard work for me (well...for others, too) to look at, the least I could do is let you know I appreciate it. So, whenever I see a wallpaper I like (and can think of something to say) I leave a reply. A few reviews snowballed into a lot of reviews, and eventually someone added me to their friendlist for some reason (that cool dude, VagrantDreamer...go look at his wallpapers). I thought, ok, why not, and reciprocated the add...next thing I know I'm getting notices about forum topics he's started. I hop on over, think "what the heck," and reply. From there I decided to reply to even more topics, and the rest, as they say, is history. As a result, I've even started interacting more at other forums.

But that's just me. What keeps others from posting? I know not everyone looks at it the same way I do...that would just be ludicrous. So what is it? Indifference? Poor attitudes? Lack of a grasp of the English language? Too busy looking at all the pretty pictures? I'm sure there are dozens of reasons.

Now, I'm not expecting any of my fellow lurkers to delurk for such an insignificant topic, but I'd certainly appreciate it if you did. You guys would be the ones with the answers as to why. All you non-lurkers are more than welcome to post your theories as well. I'd love to hear what people have to say on the issue. (Do lurkers, as people who essentially contribute nothing (or very little) bother you in a community such as this?)

I leave you with one further question: How many forums could a forum lurker lurk if a forum lurker could lurk forums? My guess is about twelve.

You see this kind of thing all the time...it invariably ends with eating people. - Dr. Dale L. Reuss

  • May 26, 2005
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Inferiority complex? Or maybe, it could be similar to what some of my friends do. They call it "People Watching", where they go to a public place and just look at people. See how they interact with others and such.

  • May 26, 2005
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Hmm... I'll start typing a response, then suddenly find it irrelevant and cancel it. I don't know why. I just don't want to post there. I don't think what I say will be well received, or maybe it'll be ignored, or maybe it'll sound stupid... or maybe I just get bored. Can't figure it out.

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Hahaha. I often to that, but not because its irrevelent, but it might piss off too many people. In a board full of holy rollers, for example, it might be practical to not question Christianity.

  • May 26, 2005

WWLAOS

DOMiT

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Quote by ArinamiHmm... I'll start typing a response, then suddenly find it irrelevant
and cancel it. I don't know why. I just don't want to post there. I
don't think what I say will be well received, or maybe it'll be
ignored, or maybe it'll sound stupid... or maybe I just get bored.
Can't figure it out.

Yeah, I do the same thing. Some times I'll spend as much as five or ten minutes writing a nice long reply just to read through and decide, naw, it isn't worth it.

You see this kind of thing all the time...it invariably ends with eating people. - Dr. Dale L. Reuss

  • May 27, 2005
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Thanks for your comment on the other post, I'll respond later.

I'm generally a lurker on the MLs I have joined, so here's why I lurk.
Sure, I have things to say, opinions, ideas. But there's usually one of the following roadblocks to posting something in public:
(A) Written word is easy to misinterpret. I might be saying something sarcastically, but the people on the other end of the connection have no way of determining from my tone, short of putting a hell of a lot of effort into the post, over-whelming them with smileys, or just saying [sarcasm] (or whatever mood I'm in) for every occurrence. I don't want to deal with the misunderstanding that so often arises. There's enough conflict in rl.
(B) Someone less-lurky then I am will have thought of the same or similar thing as I have, and will enjoy having a discussion about it more than I would.
(C) I don't often care about what other people think of what I said. In a more private circle I'm more ready to share (i.e. on Livejournal, for example), because there the group that is most likely to reply has been tested. I know that these people are...well, not brainless, to put a fine point on it.
(D) I'm too lazy to put the effort in. *g*

Reasons I would delurk:
(A) To leave a review for a fanfic or art.
(B) To ask a question.
(C) To hold a discussion with someone I respect the opinion of, even if they've never heard of me before ( 'cause I was lurking).
(D) I am bored.


Anyway, that's my point of view.

If you are in a more private setting (a blog, maybe), are you more likely to delurk?

***
"When I want your opinion, I will give it to you." -- The Godfather

"I think therefore I am severely concerned." ~Unknown

  • May 27, 2005

breadcrust

breadcrust

glowing city lights

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I normally lurk when I just cant think of anything worth saying (eg, im not going to reply just to say "I agree", I reply when I want to actually express my opinion myself). As for people not wanting to know what I think, i couldnt care less about them, I have an opinion and if I want to say something about it, I will!

  • May 27, 2005

WWLAOS

DOMiT

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Quote by idesethIf you are in a more private setting (a blog, maybe), are you more likely to delurk?

Heh...no, actually I'm not. Honestly, I'm not much of a conversationalist even in real life. Other people generally have to keep the conversation going, I just chime in with a quick comment every now and then...I'm more of a listener, really. When I do actualy get talking, I tend to have a lot to say, but the times that I do actually participate are few and far between. Kind of like breadcrust said, I often just can't think of anything worth saying...when I do, think of something worth saying, I still tend to talk myself out of saying it, though.

You see this kind of thing all the time...it invariably ends with eating people. - Dr. Dale L. Reuss

  • May 27, 2005

chibicow

chibicow

i_miss_MT_1.0

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wow! you're sounding so much like a person i know?
(*it isnt you is it?*) thats so odd!
occasionally, i'll not post in a forum or on a wall or whatever, because i get caught up in whatever else im doin and go about my merry way... otherwise, i'll try to reply to someone or on something if i feel i can contribute or just to enforce or argue against a point thats put forward?
thats just me - im goin to mosey along now! not because im busy, but im tired...
goodnight!

gilesaquil

gilesaquil

honora medicum

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Well, I think that it's a reflection of how people are in real life...like if you're not that social or don't really speak a lot, chances are that you won't really, uh, type a lot...or you think of typing, then suddenly decide against doing so...
...though some people who are quiet verbally tend to open up and express themselves when the situation becomes less...personal (I guess, such as being online instead of with people face to face...). At least that's what I think...

  • May 29, 2005
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Revue has found a Rare Item!
Free-of-Spam Thread acquired!

Oh heck, like the others who've posted here, I lurk when I've nothing good to say. I've made it a point not to spam. If somebody has already said what I'm going to, I'd either a) second it if it was ignored, or; b) not post at all. In this case, it's a). ;)

i often delurk when I see a good thread that's being spammed up. It makes it harder for people to discuss anything actually, since all they can see is "Oh yah, I totally agree!" (agree to what?). On a sort of "save good threads" crusade, really. It's a habit I picked up at OtakuBoards.

ShiinaEimi

ShiinaEimi

Never knows best

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Sometimes I don't mean to lurk, I often have something that I'd like to say but when I start to type it, it either then sounds stupid (to me) or I can't think of the right terms/words to get across what I mean so I'll just go back to the thread and watch what other people say.

Sometimes I lack the courage to say things, which is strange as usually I am confident when I am online. (off line is a different matter) I guess deep down I fear being ignored or overlooked which does seem to happen to me alot in some forums.

Hmm, what sig? XD

  • May 29, 2005

RaXiv

RaXiv

Equivalent One

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I rather perefer to say "Stalker" then a "lurker" ... but i wont take voice in this thread. I think that it depends on the person itself.. to delurk or not...

[ Current State: Stalker half-active, always like that to the summer! ]
>>[ Signature updated 28.05.2005 ] << [Latest Work:] | I ... Never Found Our Way |
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lapuk

lapuk

spidey is gay

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Quote by WWLAOS
I lurk because I usually don't feel my opinions and input are
important. Whenever I read a topic and think, "hey, I could reply to
that! I have something to say!" it's generally overwhelmed by ten
thousand other voices shouting things like "nobody cares what you
think," or "what you want to say is hardly even relevant, don't waste
other people's time," or "if YOU thought of it, obviously someone else
has thought of it first...it's probably common knowledge," and other
things of that nature.

exatlcy why i just used to lurk.. a lot of people do that here too in mt.

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when i first came here, i was attracted by the pretty pretty wallpapers and if i downloaded one, i would encourage the artist and tell them what i like about their wall. later, i realized that you need to be on level 10 to get scans, so i just started replying and making up my own threads to raise my level. i find the forums are really addicting because you get so many opinions from so many age groups and cultures. also, most of the questions here are pretty easy to answer so i don't really lurk.

i'm also on this mailing for this manga i really love, but i don't ever contribute because i don't really know what i'm talking about. most people make up theories about what they think will happen or why a certain character acts a certain way. i actaully just go there to keep updated... ^^;;

"SING like no one's listening, DANCE like no one's watching, LOVE like you've never been hurt."

TikaKino

TikaKino

Procrastinating.

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As an example, I have nothing to add that hasn't been said already. But I'll post an "I agree" thread just to let everyone know I would have lurked if I this wasn't an example... :p

  • May 30, 2005

Celessa

Retired Moderator

Celessa

Okaerinasai - Welcome Home

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Meh. **Tosses a rock at the thread and laughs at it**

Lurkers, eh? Well to me, I just post whatever I wish to say and move on. If it was already mentioned about thousands of times before, I tend to ignore it.

If somebody already mentioned a response / solution earlier than I have [which is quite often very rare, since my opinion totally differs from many others - call it very unique lol], then I normally wouldn't start posting in the thread anyways. **Shrugs** I just post what I feel and carry onwards, despite the fact I'm being surrounded by spammers nearly all the time. **Shrugs** Guess I'm one of a kind then. The non-spammer kind, with a whole lot of non-spammy responses. [On topic, I'm directing too, over here.] And a whole lot of long responses to back me up. Mwahaha! **Giggles**

Quote by TikaKinoAs an example, I have nothing to add that hasn't been said already. But
I'll post an "I agree" thread just to let everyone know I would have
lurked if I this wasn't an example... :p

This is an example of classic spam. Go to the ACA forums. They have nearly hundred of posts saying "I agree with the person from above" or plain simply - "Wha?" Spamtastic. It's typical on many forums, some worse than others. **Loads her rocket launcher and darts away**

"No matter where you go, no matter how tough life may be, just remember that always in your heart, you will still be loved."

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