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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Unfriendly Orthodox

Has anybody else noticed that Orthodoxy tends to show its worst face online?

I have visited a number of Orthodox discussion boards, and with a few exceptions, there seems to be a culture of attack and sheer rudeness. It really is quite surprising. I have noticed this particularly among some of the more conservative Orthodox, especially the Euphrosynos Cafe and, to a lesser degree, at While both have some lovely people contributing, one has to wade through masses of discussions riddled with rudeness and rabid attacks in order to find them.

How is this good for a/ the souls of those involved and b/ wider impressions of Orthodoxy? I dread to imagine just how many people have seen this sort of behaviour and have been scared off Orthodoxy, or worse yet, had previously-held prejudices confirmed. I do take part in these discussions, if only to try to make people aware that we aren't all like that.

It really does upset me, especially as these are people with a wealth of knowledge about Orthodoxy and have so very much to share. I suppose it just goes to show that knowing much about Orthodoxy doesn't necessarily make one Orthodox.

I'm thankful for places like the Ely Forum, where not only is this sort of thing not tolerated, but where the regular contributors seem to have no desire to behave in such a manner in the first place.


Joe said...

Oh sadly I was among the 100 members at both of those forums (considerably earlier in the lineup for EuphrosynosCafe than OC.nyet). They are indeed not spiritually profitable places.

I would suggest avoiding the internet orthodox scene entirely as even the sane places eventually go bonkers--witness the Orthodox section at

Joe Zollars

Michael said...

Thanks, Joe.

It is quite disturbing, isn't it? It's almost as though people forget that there is another person readin what they are typing. I suppose it's easily done when all that is in the room is the person and a computer. I'm just as guilty as any of failing to see the humanity of the person reading at the other end.

Something we can all work on, I suppose.

Still, there's a difference between failing to think of the person's feelings and going for the jugular. :-)

Joe said...

By and large what I think it is, is that the internet attracts the fringe element of any group. Therefore what we have on the internet instead of ye olde regular, devout, prayerful Orthodox Christian is the Pedalion Thumpers.

I generally don't repeat this, but I would give special caution against It is a den of cult fanatics (in particular the ROAC--read schismatic cult that does all evangelization over the internyet) pretending to be ROAC. That's how I got caught up in that whole mess and I'm still going to therapy to get past the issues that came up as a result of that experience.

Joe Zollars

Elizabeth said...

I agree, sadly.
Having said that, the Metanoia list on Yahoo remains, on the whole, a kind and pleasant place to ask questions.

I do worry about whether some of the folk on other Net O boards would be just as arrogant and obnoxious if they were actually talking to you face to face. ........

Orthodoxy needs to be experienced in real-life, not on the Internet.

Joe said...

some of those on other boards I can speak from experience, yes.

Joe Zollars

Merseymike said...

I think its the Internet rather than Orthodoxy, to be honest. It seems to make the mildest of people extremely unpleasant!

Brian said...

Regarding the poor souls, they may be Orthodox alright, but are they CHRISTIAN?

Brian said...

I forgot to add to my last comment that my priest warned me about internet forums, boards, and mailing lists. The Metanoia (as Elizabeth mentioned)(Orthodox-Convert) list is the only one my priest seemed to find edifying. I no longer subscribe to any lists or participate in any Orthodox board or forums.

Ebor said...

Re MerseyMike's comment: It can be what a friend calls, partly in jest "CRT induced Personality Disorder". That is, since all they see are words on a screen, the more ummm excitable posters do not see the Human Being who made the words that they disagree with.

Then there's the principle of the Internet is "Bullhorns for Everyone" 8-)