I do have a question about proper behavior in threads though. It seems like some posters like to "shout down" other posters by posting a lot in a thread. It seems to go like this:I particularly agree that this isn't appropriate behavior. There have been several threads in the past few months that I have stopped reading or resisted posting in because previous posters have been trying to drown out others with "I'm right and it's the ONLY way!" over and over. I tend to walk away from threads in which people criticize a suggestion I've made based on their own individual experience without letting the OP weigh in. I'm not here to validate my personal experiences to strangers; your anecdote is not greater than mine.
OP: I have a problem and its this....
Poster 1: You should try to do this and that.
Poster 2:No, OP should X.
Poster 3: I agree with Poster 1, you should try it.
Poster 2: No, you are wrong, she shouldn't because of blah, blah.
Poster 4: Have you tried Y?
Poster 2: Y won't work. The only thing she can do it X.
Poster 3: I don't think X will work.
Poster 2: Yes it will. You are all wrong. Blah Blah.
Poster 5: What about Z?
Poster 2: Only X will work.
Is Poster 2 behaving properly? It almost seems to be bully-like behavior to me. There are some threads that I won't even bother posting in because I know I won't have the stamina (or the desire) to engage them...
When I read this example, I see various people with quite divergent opinions having a disagreement. In real life there is a broad diversity of personalities, opinions, customs, manners of speaking, etc. An etiquette forum isn't going to make those differences go away and members will need to learn how to interact with people very different than themselves.
If I were to get a report about a thread like exampled above, my first thought would be, "Hmm, why haven't Posters 3,4, and 5 been able to present/argue their case more effectively?" If someone comes better prepared than others to defend their position, why would that be worthy of moderating action? Civil debate can be enormously fun and mentally stimulating but let's face it, it takes practice if you want to be good at it. I'd go so far as to say that civil debate is like a game (think of high school and college debate teams that compete) and some people play it better than others.
The feeling of being bullied is perhaps nothing more than the feeling that you are losing to a better prepared person. It seems to me the remedy is to become a better debater, learn to make cogent, well formed points, present evidence well and then relax knowing you made the best possible case you could and then let it go. Readers are not stupid and they can weigh the positions and to be honest, people really do respect someone who can state their positions well.