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The Web Is A Weapon - Guest Column: Rodrez

Use It Wisely

Oct 1, 2007

Over the past 10 years, no tool in the world has presented us with as much power as the World Wide Web. From fact checking and numerous forms of contact, to overnight success stories and newfound millionaires. For car enthusiasts, the lightning-quick access to problem solve and track down necessary hard parts has proven itself to be invaluable. Along with the technical aspect, there's a level of communication that brings together different enthusiasts from every corner of the world. Whether it's message boards, instant messaging, or online parts sales, direct access is just a few clicks away. As the Internet continues to nurture the import movement, it has also managed to produce some ugly by-products along the way. With the ability to hide behind their computer screen, dishonest business owners and crooked self-starters have flourished, self-proclaimed tough guys have found a home away from home and a new generation of anti-Honda trolls have wormed their way into the mix. Think of this as a survival guide for the boards, as we take a look at some of the different scenarios.

Business Unethical 101:With the ability to set up an online storefront from virtually anywhere in the world in just a matter of days, anyone can become a part of the e-commerce universe. Fly by night stores pop up daily offering discounts and incredible prices on high ticket or hard to find items. The problem with this is that many don't know who they're actually dealing with, as they'll never meet the seller in person. Those that understand the formula of supply and demand have a good grasp on how companies make their money before and after you place your order, and can spot the signs of a potentially bad seller. Buyers that cringe at the thought of buying aftermarket parts from an eBay seller should take note, many of the fresh upstart businesses that advertise on various message forums sell parts through eBay under private or altered names. Research the company you'll be dealing with in an attempt to try and weed out the good from the bad. Every company in the world will have a few detractors, it's simply impossible to have a perfect record, but buying from a company that many of your peers have bought from in the past could be the difference between being satisfied and being ripped off.

Bottom line: Be careful what you buy and who you buy from, research is key. Don't get caught up with a shady business that won't offer assistance in the event that something goes wrong.

Home of the E-thug:We've all run into them at one point or another. They're easily recognizable, if not by their unpunctuated, bold, capitalized font, then perhaps by their extensive use of curse words and "N" bombs followed by promises of physical harm. Not much can be done to avoid these situations, arguing back is futile and only adds fuel to the fire. You could fire back with more threats and you never know, maybe you'll meet face to face at a random car event and you can slug it out. I can see it now: the two of you sitting in a holding cell next to suspected murderers and rapists and your only source of street cred is a fist fight based on someone calling your car "rice." Is it really worth it? Probably not.

Bottom line: It's not that serious. Move on and find something better to do. You'll be glad you did.

Prognosis: negative
Remember that old saying your parents would feed you that went something like "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Well, that's out the window, long gone. Something seems to come over even the most timid of people once that "reply" button is clicked. Perhaps it's the need to be accepted, or the need to go against the grain. Something forces them to launch personal attacks and degrade others. No matter what the thread is about, no matter what the subject, the hater will always do their absolute best to point out something that isn't absolutely perfect. These guys are a necessary evil in that they bring some controversy to the topics. Their blunt comments force some debate and sometimes they shine some genuine knowledge on a thread. If it weren't for the negative comments, the sites would get boring pretty quickly.

Bottom line: Take the negative comments with a grain of salt. And to be fair, if you post your car on the Internet, don't expect that everyone will love it. Not everyone is going to give you props on your chrome plated JDM bug deflector.

Shiny happy people
Nothing wrong with being cheerful, but no one likes a cheerleader. These are the guys that the haters eat for breakfast. Whether they're rooting for an individual, a crew, a region, or even a particular chassis code, they'll go to great lengths to show their undying loyalty, even when the topic is unrelated to their cause.

Bottom line: Support and loyalty is great, but overdoing it is downright creepy! Other members watch your feet, name-dropping is eminent!

The instigator - here to change the world!These users have a pretty simple job, visit the most popular forums and stir up as much trouble as possible. They'll point out anything they see posted as trendy or worthless and put effort into trying to steer people away from Hondas in general. Many of them have given up on H cars altogether, but for some reason they still wander through the Honda forums hoping to stir up some trouble. Multiple identities and sometimes hilarious Photoshop altered pictures can be expected.

Bottom line: Like an annoying alley cat, avoid feeding them and hope that they'll go away. Honda based message boards are an excellent source to help keep the Honda movement alive and kicking. Sure they can be frustrating at times, but they can also be a valuable resource for learning and a great way to meet other enthusiasts outside of your city. So jump in and contribute. Good or bad, your comments and info help keep them moving.



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