This is topic Shocking stories with innocuous titles in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Zeugma (Member # 6636) on :
Hey, it's a meta-thread!

I don't post very often here, but I've been around and lurking for.... a ridiculously long time. I enjoy browsing around these forums for two reasons, I think.... the debates and discussions are often really fascinating, and many of the other threads are just plain entertaining. I also really admire some of the posters here, and enjoy getting to hear different approaches to issues than I would come across in my everyday life. So I guess that's four reasons. [Smile]

However, Hatrack has also been the source of some of the most deeply unhappy moments in my (admittedly very sheltered) life. I tend to empathize very strongly with people in stories, whether they're in books, movies, or real people in the news. Heck, it's not unusual to see me in tears after a particularly good Hallmark commercial, and if I could go back and un-watch The Green Mile I very happily would.

So I've gradually learned to just avoid books, movies, and news that will be so shockingly vile that I'll be miserable for the following week. It's not hard, books and movies are pretty clearly advertised for what they are, and most news outlets give warnings for particularly graphic material.

But for some reason, the very worst and most horrifying news stories always seem to end up at Hatrack. I don't really understand why, especially when the point of the thread seems to just be to have everyone respond with "wow that's awful" until it falls off the first page... but I suppose it's not that shocking when your mind doesn't immediately bombard you with images of yourself and your loved ones in the places of the story's victims.

Ideally, I'd love to see people stop doing these incredibly horrible things to each other. Failing that, I'd love to see the crimes investigated and prosecuted without the entire country treating it like home entertainment. Failing that, I'd love to at least be able to read Hatrack without stumbling across the latest grisly news story. But since my take on this is probably pretty far outside the norm, and since people do seem to get some sort of.... something.... out of posting these stories here, I would really appreciate it if threads about horrific news items could at least be clearly labeled as such, so that those of us who want to can just avoid them.

That's all. [Smile]
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
I generally avoid those kinds of threads myself. I'm usually able to spot them from their titles, although sometimes it's a combination of the title and my familiarity with the person posting it that tips me off. In any case, your request is a reasonable one.

Odd to see you describing yourself as a lurker; I think of you as an active member, but I guess I'm going off of old information.
Posted by Dr Strangelove (Member # 8331) on :
Heh. I don't know that I'd qualify you as a lurker. You have almost as many posts as me in twice the amount of time I've been here. If I cut the time I spend on Hatrack in half, I still don't think I would consider myself a lurker. But, whatever floats your boat.

I agree with you to an extent. I'm not so empathetic that it actually bothers me, but I do find misleading thread titles annoying. I don't watch the news or visit any news sites, so as a general rule, I stay out of threads which are news-related.
Posted by Zeugma (Member # 6636) on :
Hehe, it didn't occur to me that I wasn't a lurker, considering how much more often I read without posting than otherwise. [Smile]

Anyhow yeah, I figure I'm over-sensitive to this compared to the majority of posters, so this is primarily a personal issue. It would be great if titles of such threads could closer match their content, though; last night's "Revenge?" thread totally caught me off-guard, as have at least a dozen threads over the last few years.
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
Originally posted by Dr Strangelove:
Heh. I don't know that I'd qualify you as a lurker. You have almost as many posts as me in twice the amount of time I've been here. If I cut the time I spend on Hatrack in half, I still don't think I would consider myself a lurker.

Of course, if you stopped posting right now, took a year off, and then posted something, a person could easily say the same thing to you, Doc. I'm curious now; how much do relatively new people know about Zeugma? Her pervious SN, recently-returned-to-faith, marital status and chosen profession all seem like common knowledge to me, but as I said I'm coming at it from the perspective of someone who was here when she was more active.
Posted by Dr Strangelove (Member # 8331) on :
Yeah, I know nothing (no offense). I have no disillusions about my relative newbieness. Not only am I a not especially prolific poster who has only been here a little over a year, but I have an absolutely horrible memory when it comes to who said what when and where. So I don't think I'm ever destined to become a Hatracker of lore. But I also wouldn't consider myself a lurker. I would use the term "Regular".

And Zeugma-who-I-know-oh-so-little-about ( [Wink] ), I definitely agree with you about the "Revenge?" thread.
Posted by Katarain (Member # 6659) on :
Thread titles without their specific topic will always be an annoyance to me, but I don't see it as something that is likely to change. We'll always have titles like "Something to consider...", "Wow! Look at this!", "This was interesting...".

Not only is it annoying because I don't know before clicking on it if it will be interesting to me, but because if it IS interesting and I want to read it again later, I have to remember what vague, generic title it had. OR, I'll find that it's not interesting to me in the least, and open it repeatedly because I forgot what it was about. And sometimes, I might miss something that IS interesting, because I'm not in the mood to gamble that day.

So yeah... annoying, but not likely to change.

Edit: Or maybe it IS changing. I just looked at the front page, and they all have pretty specific titles.
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
The threads don't bother me, but I think it's an exceedingly reasonable request. [Smile]

In the interest of getting people to read THIS thread, might I suggest a slight title change? Maybe:

"Shocking stories with innocuous titles: A request for Hatrack"?
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
The colon!

When I was an undergrad, I had to write an annotated biography for a history class. I was goofing off and I decided to spoof the titles of papers I'd seen.

My teacher loved it. *sigh* I felt so guilty because I didn't mean it seriously, but she really liked and I just couldn't tell her it was meant to be funny. I think the title was "Song of the Silenced: Slavery in Ancient Rome." It had the colon, the alliterative, colorful opening phrase, and the descriptive title.
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
Um, how else do you indicate a subtitle here?
Posted by Alcon (Member # 6645) on :
Zeugma, I'm with you completely. Every time I read one of those threads, my first thought is: "I don't want to know this!" and the second is "Why the heck do we feel the need to advertise that crap like this happens?" I too would greatly appreciate it if people would note the contents of unpleasant or graphic news stories in the titles of threads about them. Or just... you know... not post them.

Edit: I don't think of you as a lurker either. I haven't seen you around much recently, but you started posting around the same time I did (least ways with that sn you did) and have only slightly less posts. If you're a lurker then so am I. Admittedly, I don't know much about your life... but then that holds true for most hatrackers, I'm never really much in on the gossip. RL or virtual.

[ October 31, 2006, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: Alcon ]

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