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intriguer

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Original poster
May 25, 2023
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I've enjoyed MacRumors for many, many years mostly as a casual reader, a lurker I suppose; however, the past couple years or so and especially the past year alone, the negativity and attitudes here are not those of people interested in Apple at all, and reminds me very much of some of the most toxic social networks. What happened? Is this a reflection of the state of the world lately, has it been infiltrated by bots, is it trolling for clicks and arguments? It's just really bizarre to me.

If it's not spammers, bots, and trolls, if you are a real person regularly posting negativity and snarky remarks, why? I truly want to understand where you're coming from. Perhaps even more, why are you here? If you dislike Apple so much, and you have no interest in Apple products, developments and Mac rumors in general, if it all pisses you off and is just garbage, why are you here?

I suppose you might argue I've just done it myself, with my first post, but it's become so toxic lately that as much as I used to enjoy MacRumors, I find myself reluctant to visit and peruse, but I don't want to walk away just yet. Instead, I wanted to raise the question with hope of understanding and maybe, just maybe, seeing if others feel the same and maybe we can sway the community in some positive way to change because it just seems to get worse and worse, and I don't want to see it go the way of other social media platforms and forums.
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,832
26,946
What particular subforums are you lurking around in?

I mostly hang out in the PowerPC/Early Intel Mac sections, this subforum and the iPhone forum. Except for the occasional thread here and there in the iPhone forum, I'm not seeing what you are discussing.

But then again, us PowerPC/Early Intel Mac users tend to stay out of the rest of the general forums. It gets old being told that we all use useless/outdated Macs.
 

intriguer

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Original poster
May 25, 2023
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31
What particular subforums are you lurking around in?

I mostly hang out in the PowerPC/Early Intel Mac sections, this subforum and the iPhone forum. Except for the occasional thread here and there in the iPhone forum, I'm not seeing what you are discussing.

But then again, us PowerPC/Early Intel Mac users tend to stay out of the rest of the general forums. It gets old being told that we all use useless/outdated Macs.
I don't want to point fingers. Let's just say generally, I'm here for Mac rumors. And, I flinch with each new rumor lately because it's quickly flooded with snarky comments rather than interesting conversation. I suppose I should venture out more and just ignore them.:)
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,832
26,946
I don't want to point fingers. Let's just say generally, I'm here for Mac rumors. And, I flinch with each new rumor lately because it's quickly flooded with snarky comments rather than interesting conversation. I suppose I should venture out more and just ignore them.:)
I see. Yeah, rumors is never why I came here. I was looking for a community of like-minded users to discuss PowerPC Macs and I found it here. That community is why I've stayed. Of course, most of us also have PCs, early Intel Macs and iPhones/Androids so it's interesting.

The iPhone forum itself is a little more free-wheeling, but lots of people in there with different opinions about things so that isn't surprising.
 

retta283

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Jun 8, 2018
3,180
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I am strongly inclined to agree that the news threads have been the most 'toxic' part of the site. It's been like this since at least when the iPhone came out, I don't remember it being so bad before then (likely just due to the massive increase in users). Otherwise the site is pretty good. There are some threads that are totally beaten to death, but once you learn to just walk away from those it becomes a lot better.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,832
26,946
I am strongly inclined to agree that the news threads have been the most 'toxic' part of the site. It's been like this since at least when the iPhone came out, I don't remember it being so bad before then (likely just due to the massive increase in users). Otherwise the site is pretty good. There are some threads that are totally beaten to death, but once you learn to just walk away from those it becomes a lot better.
My problem with the 'rumors' section is that it's all just talk until Apple either does something or doesn't. I see no need to expend any of my energy discussing something that does not (yet) exist.

So, I guess I have just largely not seen any of that because I haven't been in there.

No offense to anyone who likes to discuss rumors, but I just don't see the point. It's like discussing the merits of vaporware.
 

rm5

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2022
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United States
I think there's been an increase in spam posts/threads, especially within the last few months, and I'm not sure why. Literally the only reason why I'm here is to help people with problems, and to OCCASIONALLY post my thoughts about a new product or whatever. You almost never see me on the news articles, because TBH, I DO NOT CARE about rumors/leaks, they frustrate me, because they're almost never accurate AFAIK.

So in short, I don't really have a concrete answer as to why stuff has been trending in a negative direction (which I absolutely agree, stuff has been). This is starting to become reminiscent of, like @intriguer points out, some really bad stuff happening on social media. I can say that about most other social networks, and I really wished I didn't have to say this, but this site also has some of the same issues.
 
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retta283

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Jun 8, 2018
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I feel like it started, or at least picked up, when the reaction button was introduced.
This was a major factor. There are plenty of people who are farming reactions on this site, which seems pointless. At least the disagree button has been restricted to the news threads (but still contributes to the attitude there) because it used to cause quite a stir. It happens on basically any site that rewards reaction farming, unfortunately. I'd rather see the whole system eliminated, but it's far too late for that I'm afraid.
 

KaiFiMacFan

Suspended
Apr 28, 2023
322
645
Brooklyn, NY
I think the reaction button is part of it; other sites I know that have a "downvote" or "laughing" reaction lead to all kinds of drama or people constantly trying to be the comedian on a post that's meant to be serious. Although I'm fairly new as a member of MacRumors, I've been lurking here for a long time and posting regularly on 9to5mac for a while, and the same kind of thing happens there, with the upvote/downvotes. The moderation is stricter here. Many outright insults are allowed to stay up on 9to5mac.

I also think the internet is just nastier in general than it used to be.

I post on a lot of audio forums, and I see negativity there too, though it tends to be a little less heated. People argue over MQA, belt-drive vs. direct drive turntables, and whether upscaling actually does anything all the time, but those are fairly niche topics and don't generate the same kind of "instant rage" that topics like LGBT Pride (I'm learning to stay away from those threads) and Elon Musk's latest shenanigans do. Personally, I'd like it if the news stuff here was specifically Apple-focused only; I'm not too interested in the latest drama happening at Twitter, Inc. or whatever.
 

intriguer

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Original poster
May 25, 2023
3
31
I also think the internet is just nastier in general than it used to be.
Generally speaking, it is. Healthy debates, backed by facts and thoughtful opinions, are great, additive, and often lead to positive outcomes.

I come from the era of BBSs (eh, even before that) and have watched everything evolve over many decades. Up until the last decade or so, we seemed to be on a mostly positive trajectory and then things just took a sharp downward turn.

Technical and focused forums like MacRumors, at least from my perspective and interests, seemed to avoid a lot of that downturn till these most recent years. Listening to responses here, I think the audience for a while was perhaps more focused and then we saw very rapid growth. I don't know. Just sitting back and listening to everyone's take on it. I find some comfort that it's not just my aged perspective.
 
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rm5

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2022
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Generally speaking, it is. Healthy debates, backed by facts and thoughtful opinions, are great, additive, and often lead to positive outcomes.
Unfortunately, it's true. I try my hardest to stay away from all the bad stuff, but sometimes I just can't avoid it. When people join sites just to spam, it just makes me want to leave. That's why I like sites/platforms with actually good moderation, MacRumors included. And why I try and stay away from TikTok, Instagram, etc., because anyone in power doesn't do a single thing to stop hurtful posts. I know this because people have told me. I can make an exception (to some degree) to Discord, because I've personally had a good experience with that, but that's my experience, and everyone is different. On there, I report something and it usually takes just a few minutes for the moderators to remove it. Or in the case of the server I moderate, I remove it as soon as I see it. But don't get me wrong, I agree with you 300%! It is indeed a generally negative trend on the internet I think.

I work the same way in real life—when I have something thoughtful and meaningful to share, I share it. Otherwise, it's me listening to people's thoughts, and, in a classroom setting, writing stuff down.
 
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ovbacon

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Feb 13, 2010
1,596
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Tahoe, CA
I've enjoyed MacRumors for many, many years mostly as a casual reader, a lurker I suppose; however, the past couple years or so and especially the past year alone, the negativity and attitudes here are not those of people interested in Apple at all, and reminds me very much of some of the most toxic social networks. What happened? Is this a reflection of the state of the world lately, has it been infiltrated by bots, is it trolling for clicks and arguments? It's just really bizarre to me.

If it's not spammers, bots, and trolls, if you are a real person regularly posting negativity and snarky remarks, why? I truly want to understand where you're coming from. Perhaps even more, why are you here? If you dislike Apple so much, and you have no interest in Apple products, developments and Mac rumors in general, if it all pisses you off and is just garbage, why are you here?

I suppose you might argue I've just done it myself, with my first post, but it's become so toxic lately that as much as I used to enjoy MacRumors, I find myself reluctant to visit and peruse, but I don't want to walk away just yet. Instead, I wanted to raise the question with hope of understanding and maybe, just maybe, seeing if others feel the same and maybe we can sway the community in some positive way to change because it just seems to get worse and worse, and I don't want to see it go the way of other social media platforms and forums.
I find a post like this more part of the problem than the solution.

You've been lurking for many years....? like how many years, what does this actually mean. You've just registered and this is your second interaction that, as you so well point out, is immediately negative.

And nothing you say is anything new... really there is nothing new. There have always been haters on any forum for anything mac, pc or any game or console or phone or lp or cassette tape, artist, sport or brand or what you drink or eat. You're acting as if people venting their dislike is a new thing.

I'm wondering why you feel the need to point this out while you've been lurking for years? Because as someone that is not that young I think macrumors is very good and does not have a lot of negative energy.
This place is nothing like fb or twitter or many of the early message boards that could get very very heated.

The moment you in your own post realize that you are contradicting yourself you should probably wonder if this is the thing you need to be posting.
 

rm5

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2022
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I think the reaction button is part of it; other sites I know that have a "downvote" or "laughing" reaction lead to all kinds of drama or people constantly trying to be the comedian on a post that's meant to be serious. Although I'm fairly new as a member of MacRumors, I've been lurking here for a long time and posting regularly on 9to5mac for a while, and the same kind of thing happens there, with the upvote/downvotes. The moderation is stricter here. Many outright insults are allowed to stay up on 9to5mac.
This is the problem! And it goes deeper than just the fact that those downvote buttons exist, because people take that personally, and then it leads to them feeling depressed and then all sorts of problems start happening. I know this because people have come to me and told me about their bad experiences.

There are several examples of your second point, which is people laughing at stuff meant to be serious, on this forum. I don't want to point fingers, so I won't name the specific threads where I've seen this. I know you know this, but that stuff's just nasty, and it's yet another thing that's just a problem on the internet in general. Anyway, that's about all I have to say to this, the last thing I want to do is derail this thread, and I feel like I'm starting to do that...
 
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russell_314

macrumors 603
Feb 10, 2019
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I've enjoyed MacRumors for many, many years mostly as a casual reader, a lurker I suppose; however, the past couple years or so and especially the past year alone, the negativity and attitudes here are not those of people interested in Apple at all,
You are correct and you also answered your own question. You were around here lurking and not doing much but a whole bunch of negative posts inflamed you enough to make this post.

When it comes down to is websites make money by advertising traffic, and clicks. If this forum was a bunch of Apple people who said Apple is great iPhone is great. Mac is great we all love Apple isn’t it great… yeah, that would be super boring.

Do you know what isn’t boring? Some android guy coming in here talking about how bad Apple is and iPhone sucks. He’ll say you know all your Apple crap is trash! It’s going to inflame a whole bunch of people to reply and comment. Then the android guy gets overwhelmed by Apple people, so he gets his friends to come on the forums and defend him. So then you got a whole bunch of people saying Apple is trash and another group trying to defend Apple.

The end result is you have the webpage owner looking back, smiling and counting his money from all the traffic and clicks.
 

rm5

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2022
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My problem with the 'rumors' section is that it's all just talk until Apple either does something or doesn't. I see no need to expend any of my energy discussing something that does not (yet) exist.
I don't see the point either, but that's just me. I understand this site was founded on rumors, and that's great, and I've enjoyed participating in the forums, but, wow am I tired of reading, "[some leaker] claims [xxxx] product will be released next month!" and then the next month is over and the product isn't out... like what a waste of time. I hang around here so I can help people and post (hopefully) meaningful stuff.
 

Puonti

macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2011
1,529
1,151
I've enjoyed MacRumors for many, many years mostly as a casual reader, a lurker I suppose; however, the past couple years or so and especially the past year alone, the negativity and attitudes here are not those of people interested in Apple at all, and reminds me very much of some of the most toxic social networks.
It'd be nice if it wasn't that way, but now that you have an account at least you can use the ignore feature. One of the downsides of being an accountless lurker is that you don't have access to it.

I browse the MR forums through the "New posts" page so I get the firehose experience. Occasionally it's useful to put a thread on the ignore list, but far more commonly it's the username I ignore. It has a more far-reaching, calming effect on the threads I end up reading and occasionally participating in.

I estimate I'm currently somewhere around 400-500 ignored usernames.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,832
26,946
I feel like it started, or at least picked up, when the reaction button was introduced.
Do you mean the 'Like' button?

Or are you referring to a time before the Upvote and Downvote buttons. The forum software that was here when I registered in 2011 had the upvote button (and for a short time the downvote button).

There were wars then and whole threads had to be removed. I don't think this is anything new.

Unless your frame reference is from earlier than 2011?
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Haswell
Jul 29, 2008
64,160
46,602
In a coffee shop.
I've enjoyed MacRumors for many, many years mostly as a casual reader, a lurker I suppose; however, the past couple years or so and especially the past year alone, the negativity and attitudes here are not those of people interested in Apple at all, and reminds me very much of some of the most toxic social networks. What happened? Is this a reflection of the state of the world lately, has it been infiltrated by bots, is it trolling for clicks and arguments? It's just really bizarre to me.

If it's not spammers, bots, and trolls, if you are a real person regularly posting negativity and snarky remarks, why? I truly want to understand where you're coming from. Perhaps even more, why are you here? If you dislike Apple so much, and you have no interest in Apple products, developments and Mac rumors in general, if it all pisses you off and is just garbage, why are you here?

As @russell_314 rightly remarks, if the site consisted solely of those who adored Apple (and there were posts that approached hagiography when the late Mr Jobs was still in the land of the living, something which I, personally, was less than enamoured of) it would be exceedingly boring.

There are those who hate Apple, and there are those who fell into the category of uncritical admirers.

For what it is worth, I do not hold a brief for either category of poster, and tend to give their contributions a wide berth.
I suppose you might argue I've just done it myself, with my first post, but it's become so toxic lately that as much as I used to enjoy MacRumors, I find myself reluctant to visit and peruse, but I don't want to walk away just yet.
I will say (and @russell_314 has already pointed this out), this is an unusual subject matter to write about as a first post, in both tone and content.

Instead, I wanted to raise the question with hope of understanding and maybe, just maybe, seeing if others feel the same and maybe we can sway the community in some positive way to change because it just seems to get worse and worse, and I don't want to see it go the way of other social media platforms and forums.

Assuming that what you have writen is accurate - and it is not entirely wrong - I would argue that there are a number of reasons for this:

1. As others have pointed out, online debates and discussions have become more robust, more heated, more intemperate in tone, and an etiquette has yet to evole to deal with that.

2. Unfortunately, controversy - and heated exchanges - do drive internet traffic; at the end of the day, most such platforms are private businesses, and tend to welcome the sort of online engagement that will serve to increase online traffic (and revenue).

3. However, refining our focus to matters relating to Apple:

Remember, when this site started, Apple was a niche company, a company that had a small slice of the computing market, but which produced gorgeous computers, expensive and exquisitely designed computers that were a fusion of tech design perfection, a perfection where form and function fused flawlessly and worked brilliantly.

Apple also had superb customer service.

Above all, their PR was also excellent, and their advertising encouraged people to think - or to want to believe - that owning an Apple computer made them part of an esoteric elite, people with taste yet fully integrated into - and functioning in - the new tech world.

Thus, it should come as small surprise that some of the early Apple enthusiasts were somewhat evangelical in their admiration for all things Apple.

And many of the early members of this forum came from such a world.


4. That is no longer the case.

These days, Apple (since Apple released the iPhone, the Apple watch and so on) is a massive global enterprise, an enormously wealthy and successful multi-national company - with a degree of wealth that easily exceeds that of most nation states on the planet - which can afford to continue with its computing arm as a loss-leader, but a company where the manufacture of computers is no longer its main commercial, let alone tech, interest.

Owning an Apple product no longer marks you out as someone with taste who buys elegantly designed expensive products that appeal to a small (but informed) demographic.


5. Thus, I think that what you describe as the "negativity" of some posters may derive from this.

While some on the forum are anti-Apple, I think that others are disappointed (and frustrated) that Apple has little interest (not the way it used to, with a delight in design) in designing cutting edge revolutionary tech products (such as the original MacBookAir, which absolutely blew me away when I first laid eyes on it, and, also I must admit, the original iPhone, which revolutionised phone design to the extent that the then market leader, Nokia, was terminally damaged because they failed to anticipate this), and I suspect that some of this negativity may flow from that.

However, Apple no longer needs to be a tech revolutionary; nowadays, their business and commercial needs drive them in a different direction, and, moreover, they no longer have any need to nurture those who had originally bought Apple products and somehow came to invest some sense of their own identity through their ownership of Apple devices.
 
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I7guy

macrumors Nehalem
Nov 30, 2013
34,313
24,052
Gotta be in it to win it
You are correct and you also answered your own question. You were around here lurking and not doing much but a whole bunch of negative posts inflamed you enough to make this post.

When it comes down to is websites make money by advertising traffic, and clicks. If this forum was a bunch of Apple people who said Apple is great iPhone is great. Mac is great we all love Apple isn’t it great… yeah, that would be super boring.

Do you know what isn’t boring? Some android guy coming in here talking about how bad Apple is and iPhone sucks. He’ll say you know all your Apple crap is trash! It’s going to inflame a whole bunch of people to reply and comment. Then the android guy gets overwhelmed by Apple people, so he gets his friends to come on the forums and defend him. So then you got a whole bunch of people saying Apple is trash and another group trying to defend Apple.

The end result is you have the webpage owner looking back, smiling and counting his money from all the traffic and clicks.
Irrespective of the subject matter, some people can’t have a civil conversation. They come in ready for a fight and that is reflected in their posts.

Some posters lose their objectivity and get some mod action due to their inability to keep within the rules. Rather than counting to three and see what their posting, I postulate some blindly write hit the enter button.

I don’t think the rules need to be any more complex by dictating the tone of posts.

MR is a successful site and why not should the site owner benefit from their hard work and risk?
 

russell_314

macrumors 603
Feb 10, 2019
6,046
9,010
USA
Irrespective of the subject matter, some people can’t have a civil conversation. They come in ready for a fight and that is reflected in their posts.

Some posters lose their objectivity and get some mod action due to their inability to keep within the rules. Rather than counting to three and see what their posting, I postulate some blindly write hit the enter button.

I don’t think the rules need to be any more complex by dictating the tone of posts.

MR is a successful site and why not should the site owner benefit from their hard work and risk?
I think you’re right with some people. Some people are genuinely getting upset or angry about whatever topic. I’m angry because the iPhone has three camera lenses instead of two whatever. I think the majority of the inflammatory post are people who are not really angry, but just trying to provoke a reaction. Perhaps the reaction that you get is angry because people get emotional over their possessions, who knows. I have a friend that likes remind me how much Apple sucks every time she sees my iPhone and I just smile. It’s like Apple is living rent free in her head. I don’t care what other people think of my possessions because I’m paying for them so I want to buy something that I enjoy not to impress others. Of course, some people are younger and I guess more emotional.

I think it’s perfectly fine, but whoever owns MacRumors makes as much money as they want. Without getting political, I support that kind of thing. I think that’s the best way. I can word it without getting beaten up by the mods. I’m just saying I think people don’t understand the mechanics of everything so they just don’t understand why mods just don’t crash these people that are trying to provoke others.

The hardest thing to do when if you’re a frequent poster, is try to identify people who are really trying to have a serious debate or trying to provoke people. Sometimes they’re a little more subtle and skilled so you don’t notice them. Sometimes I’m a little slow and it takes me a while to figure it out who I’m trying to debate is just trying to get a reaction out of me. That’s when I’ve learned just to ignore it and move on. I really like to debate because I think it’s interesting to discuss different viewpoints or even technical aspects. It could be politics or something like OLED versus LCD. Once it becomes some sort of emotional thing or someone trying to provoke someone then I just ignore it because it’s no longer a worthy discussion for me.
 

rm5

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2022
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I don’t care what other people think of my possessions because I’m paying for them so I want to buy something that I enjoy not to impress others. Of course, some people are younger and I guess more emotional.
Yes, I agree 100%. I've brought this up in other threads in the past, but I've had some people tell me what I have is "not good enough" and that "I can't do my work because I need something better or different." I can't stress enough how UNTRUE that is, for anyone, not just me! WHO CARES?! If it works for me, it works for me. I do not care about "impressing" others by having "good stuff," I just want things to work.
The hardest thing to do when if you’re a frequent poster, is try to identify people who are really trying to have a serious debate or trying to provoke people.
I think that not only comes with experience on a site like this, but also with age. Others might disagree, but I think the older you get, the easier it is to recognize stuff like that. But I'm still young so I haven't had a lot of those experiences.
Once it becomes some sort of emotional thing or someone trying to provoke someone then I just ignore it because it’s no longer a worthy discussion for me.
I'm very patient, and it takes a lot for me to stop listening, reading, whatever. I totally get where you're coming from though, especially if it happens in an online context like this.
 
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playtech1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2014
677
846
Thus, it should come as small surprise that some of the early Apple enthusiasts were somewhat evangelical in their admiration for all things Apple.

And many of the early members of this forum came from such a world.
This rings very true to me - Apple as a company is so different now that commentary on it and its products is going to be through a very different lens.

My own view of Apple has certainly evolved from unabashed evangelist in the 90s and early 00s, to feeling that it puts out some amazing products (IMHO the M1 MacBook Air and AS Pro ranges are the best computers ever made) but sadly in other areas feels hostile to users - with upgrade pricing, half-baked software and trying to force a walled-garden model being my particular bugbears. 2016 to 2019 was also a particularly rough time to be a Mac fan.

I think all this is reflected in my posts - I tend to ventilate my grumbles (hopefully in a way that is insightful) more than I post about what I enjoy about Apple products. I also now assume - I think correctly a lot of the time - that many of Apple's decisions are driven by its bean counters and not by a Jobsian vision.
 
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