« February 2004 »

Welcome to You Are Dumb's first THEME WEEK. All this week, I will be highlighting five different examples of People Who Think They're Special Just Because They're On The Fucking Internet. Enjoy.

Memo to First Posters: YOU ARE SO VERY DUMB.

Observant individuals have noticed that, unlike most blogs, You Are Dumb Dot Net does not have a feature where readers can comment on a particular entry. This is in part because, unlike most blogs, You Are Dumb Dot Net is not a goddamned blog. But more importantly, it is because I don't want to violate Lambert's Cardinal Internet Rule #1: Never ask people for their opinion, because they will give it to you.

Nothing good has ever come from openly soliciting opinions on the Internet. In fact, openly soliciting opinions on the Internet has formed a breeding ground, a fertile environment in which new forms of stupidity can breed, evolve, and spread. And the most virulent of these, the malignant ass tumor of the Internet, is the First Post.

You see it in places like Ain't It Cool News and other sites that post news items, then allow people to respond to those news items. Once the reading population hits a certain size, somehow, people get the impression in their heads that being the first person to respond to an article makes them special. And make no mistake about it, after porn and e-mail, the Internet's third major function in society is making idiots feel special.

This is accomplished, traditionally, by creating or joining a small subculture, then pouring huge amounts of effort and resources into both growing that subculture and improving one's position in that group's pecking order. That's how you end up with someone proudly proclaiming to be Second Unicorn of the America Online Virgin Fans Of Tom Cruise In Legend Club.

First Posting is kind of the daddy-getting-you-into-Yale version of this, where you bypass all the work and effort and just try to hit "Reply" faster than anyone else on an established message board. This is not just dumb, it's exponentially dumb. It starts off dumb, and by its very nature gets dumber at an astonishing rate. I present to you The Six Stages of Neural-Degenerative First-Posting Disease:

STAGE ONE: People respond normally.
STAGE TWO: People comment idly when starting a reply that "nobody's replied to this yet?"STAGE THREE: "First post!" is typed, followed by something relevant to the discussion.
STAGE FOUR: "FIRST POST!!!!!" is typed. Message contains no other content.
STAGE FIVE: Between two and eight people all type "FIRST POST!!!!!" with no other content. 25% of these people will misspell "FIRST".
STAGE SIX: Between two and eight people all type "FIRST POST!!!!!" as in Stage Five. These people then post dozens of messages about how they weren't the first post after all, how they should have been the first post, how they would have been the first post if their cat hadn't jumped into their laps at an inopportune moment, digital pictures of the cat in question, sworn oaths to be the first poster next time, etc.

There is a theoretical Stage 7, but dumbologists can't agree on precisely what shape it will take or how it will cause all of humanity to die/become alien slaves/crawl up society's own collective ass, so I guess we'll all have to wait about six months to see what happens.

TOMORROW: Online petitions are... well, you can probably guess.