Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When Mac Cultists Attack

I love Mac forums. I love Mac forums for the information they give. I love them for the community they foster. I love them for all sorts of reasons. But most of all, I think I love them for the occasional outbreaks of genuine cultism in response to what can seem the most innocuous question.

You may have observed the same phenomena yourselves. The process invariably starts like this. Some schlep newbie will come along asking innocently, "Hi, can anyone suggest an alternative to Apple's [insert name here].app? Thanks."

Then the first response comes. "I'm curious. What is your problem with Apple's [insert name here].app? Perhaps I can assist you."

At this point, the victim has no idea what they've walked into. "No problems. I'm just 'thinking differently' as they say. :)"

"I don't appreciate the appropriation of that tagline, and I'm sure you are in violation of the board's code of conduct. I will say again, what is your problem with [insert name here].app? Please respond with specifics."

"Sorry, no offense intended," the OP responds. "I'm really just looking for an answer to my original question. I really wasn't looking to get in a debate about the pros and cons of one particular app. Just looking more for a list of alternatives."

"Listen, troll," a moderator jumps in, "if you continue to be unresponsive, I'm gonna shut down this thread. We can't help you if you won't help us."

Another poster chimes in. "[insert name here].app works for me! I love [insert name here].app!"

The OP bravely weathers the storm. "That's great, and I appreciate that others may have different tastes which is why I'm asking for alternatives. So I'll ask any lurkers, do you know of any alternatives to [insert name here].app?"

Another poster expresses their concern. "I have to say, I'm disturbed by your increasingly hostile attitude which is indicative of a borderline personality disorder. Perhaps rather than question the utility of [insert name here].app, you should look within yourself for the answer to what is truly missing in your life. With all humility, I myself have done so when some of Apple's software have come up lacking at first glance, and I'm a much richer person for it. Good luck with your journey."


"That's it," the moderator says. "I'm locking down this thread. The OP can go to Yahoo Answers if he wants to keep up this crap. This is a Mac forum. We will not have our community denigrated by trolls who would slap Steve's hand that feeds them. Best wishes."

Some may accuse me of exaggerating, and I will concede that the above is a composite rather than a re-creation of a single thread, but my larger point about cultism stands. And stumbling upon these incidents of insanity is what, in this day and age, makes my day.


  1. This is exactly what happens in the Mac Rumors forum.

  2. Jose, can you please provide a specific example? :-)

  3. http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/os-x-apps-games/267595-serious-question-shell-osx.html