I have a history of being attracted by the chatter of forums. My most recent forum foray happened on an online selling site whose name I shall not mention, but which of course you can guess with incredible accuracy. I was hooked. I spent hours a day there, and I consequently wasted a lot of time reading silly questions.
"Are my photos good enough?" A cheap bid to get me to look at your shop, seen several times a day, along with "How would you list this?" and "Please help me figure out my shipping costs." The strain of not being allowed to answer these questions honestly quickly exhausted me. I soon began skipping these posts.
Others lured me in with their incredible perversion, the ripe, sweet smell of people who should never, ever attempt to engage in commerce of any kind.
It's Complimentary, Watson
Post: "I need complimentary items for my shop. Right now I'm only selling like one type of thing, and I need other things to sell as well. What could I put in my shop that would be complimentary?"
I pointed out in my very civil and helpful response that "complimentary" means free, and I asked kindly if the poster were thinking of giving away gifts with each purchase. (Some sellers do.) To which I received this response:
"Why do you have to be the Grammer Nazi? U know what I mean."
I responded that in fact I had only her own words to go on, so I didn't know what she meant, which is why I was asking. Also that the subject in question was not grammar, and that the reference to Nazis was unwarranted. I further assisted her in arriving at the inevitable conclusion by pointing out that in a retail setting the world "complimentary" has one meaning, and that if she listed an item using that word she would have no alternative but to supply it free, which would mean also offering free shipping.
The moderators deleted my posts and sanctioned me. They directed me to the forum rules, wherein according to them I would find guidelines about "being respectful of other members." I was instructed to read these rules and not return until I could behave properly. And that advice was utterly complimentary.
Going on a Furlong
Post: What do I do with my shop when I'm on a furlong?
Various answers from other users suggested putting the shop in vacation mode, changing the shop banner to reflect much longer shipping times, etc.
Once again - as I am the soul of helpfulness - my remark called attention to the fact that a furlong is a unit of measurement. This is the response I received:
"In fact a furlong is a 'unit of measurement,' so you are wrong. But it's used the way I did, as common slang, as well. I am over 80 years old and I know what I'm talking about. You should read the classics and then you'd know too."
Was my education lacking? I dived right into the "classics," books such as "Misusing Language and then Digging The Hole Deeper" and "Yes I Screwed Up But You'll Never Hear it From Me." According to these books it's fine and even admirable to make up word definitions and then either choose to blame it on spellcheck or defend it as being a correct usage - dealer's choice.
The moderators were quick to sanction me again. Apparently in their world a furlong is not a unit of measurement as I had stated, but more of a "unit of measurement," as the original poster insisted. Also, if I believed the moderators' assertions, I had once again been disrespectful to another forum member.
All forums are as screwed up as their most ignorant and strident members, in an inverse quadratic ratio to the sine of the mediocrity of the moderators. It would be more productive and infinitely more beneficial to mental health to give pedicures to strangers in bus stations than it would be participate in any public forum. And furthermore: