Confessions of a Webmaster




           


Posted by Webmaster
It is time for me to briefly depart from writing about the building of TheLiteraryNet.com, and speak about my experiences as a webmaster. I have wanted to talk about this for a while, and feel as if I have been biting my tongue for too long. Through the process of building and operating this website, I have learned many things about human nature and psychology, both good and bad. Sharing my experiences may enlighten some readers, and help improve human relations by reflecting upon the negative character traits of some visitors.

Being a webmaster involves more than just building, designing, and operating a website. It requires that a webmaster regularly interact with a website’s visitors. By interacting with visitors of this website, I have gained valuable insight.

In general, things must evolve from their original position in order for them to succeed. Some visitors, particularly when the website began its expansion, alerted me to errors in coding that prevented this website from operating properly. I am grateful for that because their actions led to improvements. Others contacted me because they had a legitimate question they were unable to reasonably find an answer to. I have no problem answering those questions. However, feedback from others has not been as helpful. It constitutes less than 5% of the feedback received from visitors, but obvious mental and emotional issues of the senders makes it seem as if their feedback is more abundant. They will serve as the focus of this essay.

People involved in institutions, organizations, and groups are a reflection of society, and the Internet is no different. Unfortunately, not everyone is stable and their interactions on the Internet reflect that. They are insecure, lazy, have narcissistic personalities, and overestimate their importance.

Many people have considered me a smartass, so in the early days of this website, I would respond to rude people with a smartass response. But now that this website has become too busy for me to waste time responding to people who are not worth my attention, I will instead share my experiences dealing with those people with my readers. These experiences can be annoying because they involve the following: 1) Dealing with people who want others to think for them and solve problems that they are too lazy to solve themselves; and 2) Dealing with arrogant people who think it is okay to disrespect others without there being any repercussions.

Lazy People
Many of the useless messages I receive from visitors could be avoided if the senders took the time to read. There are simple instructions on this website that instruct visitors on how to use every feature on the website. They include not only explicit instructions and information provided on different web pages, but also in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website. There are also certain practices that in the Internet era should be viewed as common knowledge. But instead of reading the instructions and information or exercising common practices, those visitors are too lazy to read, which is ironic when considering that this is a literary website.

Rather than taking seconds to read the instructions, they would rather take longer to write and submit an email. And when I read the emails, I cannot help but lose respect for the sender. It is hard to respect someone whose laziness results in them wasting my time.

How do I register?
This question tells me that someone not only did not read the promotional email – if they received one, but that they have also not visited our homepage. Why? I know this because the registration form holds a prominent position in the middle of the screen, on our homepage. I designed the registration form so that visitors could quickly and easily register for this website and begin to enjoy the features that it has to offer (Discussion Forum, Blogs, Books, Listings of Professionals, News, Events, and more...). If people are too lazy to visit our homepage and find the registration form, won’t they also be too lazy to review instructions on how to navigate this website, read comments on the discussion board by members, and review the summaries of members’ books that are available for sale?

How do I build my profile?
When I get this question, I literally begin to wonder if the sender is blind. How else can I explain someone being unable to find or figure out how to do something that is right before their eyes? Once anyone logs into their account, there is a menu of links prominently displayed on the left side of the screen. And guess what? The second link says “Edit Profile.” How else can someone interpret the meaning of that? What do they think the link is there for?

How do I submit my books?
Did they bother to read the instructions on the book submission page? There are explicit instructions on that page telling visitors what they have to do to get their books listed on the Books page. Since I am an author, I know that writing books takes a lot of thought, time, and discipline. However, some of the people who have taken the time to write a book are too lazy to read simple, short instructions. They would rather ignore the instructions. This creates confusion as they find they are unable to submit their books without following the steps needed to accomplish that task. Reading the instructions would prevent them from being confused.

Much of the confusion created by people being lazy could be avoided if they took the time to read and look over the web pages on the screen before them. Being lazy only leads to their confusion, which results in time wasted as they compose emails to me, and more time wasted as they wait for a response. In the meantime, they could be building their literary career by using the services we provide. But that would involve taking the time to read this website instead of expecting me to think for them, and explain things to them as if they are children. Additionally, the fact that over 90% of this website’s visitors have no problems nor contact me about things that are easily explained by the website, tells me the problem is not how this website was designed; the problem is the minority of visitors who are lazy.

The Rude, the Paranoid, and the Narcissistic
Some of the emails that I have received were from people who obviously had either mental health or emotional problems. They are the types of people who think the world revolves around them, and believe that everyone is supposed to defer to them. These people are rude, sometimes paranoid, and think they know everything. However, the limit of their knowledge is apparent as soon as they speak. In the beginning I would give them the attention they did not deserve by responding to their messages and letting them know that the world does not revolve around them. But now I realize that it is a waste of time to respond, because they are not worthy of my attention.

Listed below are some of the interactions that I’ve had with these people. Although I would love to embarrass them by publicly identifying and shaming them for their misbehavior, I would not dare to post their names and enable someone to locate and purchase their books, which is attention and validation they do not deserve. Their initials are used to assist you in tracking their words.

J.L.: Okay. Where am I supposed to create my profile? I’ve joined and signed in and then all kinds of stuff but nothing re setting up profile.
Me: Once you log in, there's a menu on the left side. Under "Navigation" there is a link that says "Edit Profile." Click on that and you'll be able to create a profile.
J.L.: But now where do we go to list our books? I must say that, in comparison to other sites, this one is not one to write home about. Things could be a lot clearer.
Me: The instructions on how to do everything that you asked about are clear. If over 90% of the people who join this website are able to register, create a profile, and submit their books without a problem, there isn't a problem with the website but with the person having the "problem." And because you have enjoyed this website so much that you felt the need to insult us, we are more than happy to reward you by closing your account. Those "other sites" are waiting for you.
As this exchange shows, J.L. was rude for no reason. Initially she showed that she is one of those people I spoke of earlier who is too lazy to read the instructions and self-explanatory links that were on the screen in front of her. That resulted in her asking me a question that would have been unnecessary if she had used her brain to think for herself. When I responded in a professional manner by politely telling her how to edit her profile, she elected to insult me by criticizing this website because simple instructions were too complicated for her to figure out. I then responded in kind, and banned her from this website to let her know that this website will survive without her arrogant presence.

J.L. reminds me of people I’ve known who want to make others as miserable as they are. Instead of being cordial in their dealings with people, they are rude and disrespectful with no justification for behaving in that manner. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the visitors of this website who became members had no problems creating their profile shows that J.L. was an anomaly. She was the problem, and the design of this website was not. Instead of acknowledging her shortcomings, which were not initially a big deal, she elected to insult me and lost access to a resource that would have benefited her.

S.B.: Thanks, but I am not sure I see the point in a directory if there is no simple "search" function for either books, or authors or any of the other categories? Also, I went to unsubscribe from your mailings but it asks me to enter my information in order to be unsubscribed -- another red flag. I think I'll pass.
Me: Your loss. We don't need you. This website isn't a scam. It's more beneficial to you to sign up than it is to us. Additionally, you don't know what features are available, such as a search feature, because you didn't sign up and that feature is only available to members.

Since you didn't seem to notice, your name was included with your email address. The reason is because that's how it is listed in the email database.

By taking 3 seconds to enter your information on the unsubscribe page, it enables the system to correctly match your name and email address with what is contained in the database, so that you will be removed from it and never hear from us again. But because you didn't enter that and feared entering information about yourself that we already have, that did not occur. However, since we don't want anybody in our database who doesn't want to be associated with us, I made an exception and wasted 3 seconds of my life entering the information for you. You will never hear from us again!

S.B. is another example of a lazy visitor to this website. Judging by the falsities he said, it was obvious that he had taken a cursory glance at this website and assumed it to be more simplistic than it is. TheLiteraryNet.com is not a directory, but a social network. S.B.’s laziness resulted in him being unaware of what this website offers. If he had taken the time to thoroughly explore it, seen the features that it offers and how they could benefit him, he would have registered and discovered more features that he could use to support his literary career. However, he elected to be condescending and insulting, and made an enemy instead of a friend.

This paranoid soul presents himself on the Internet as a Christian missionary living on another continent. And while I do not intend to offend anyone, I find it hypocritical for him to claim to be a Christian while being paranoid and leery of someone who is trying to help him. He mentioned “red flags” as if there is something about this website that can reasonably make someone suspicious of becoming the victim of a scam. Reading our Terms and Conditions would have shown him that all this website does is provide a forum for visitors to display their work and network with others. Neither this website nor its operators and owners own the material posted by its members. S.B. was too lazy to read and learn that. Furthermore, if he was comfortable in his Christian beliefs, he would not be so paranoid without cause; he would be more trusting of people who have not given him any reason to distrust them.

S.H.: Delete me from your list. If you don't I will filter you with the next email so please take me out of your contacts.
Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me! Hopefully this woman will forgive me for offering her an opportunity to further her literary career. lol I get hundreds of spam messages on a daily basis, and it would be a waste of my time to respond to them, especially with a response that threatens the sender. However, this narcissistic personality not only took the time to send me said email, but also seemingly inflated her importance.

It’s one thing for someone to request that their email address be removed from our mailing list, which I have no problem doing. But it is another to threaten to do something if their information is not removed. I can guarantee that since this website went online in 2012, S.H. has not received more than two emails from us. So for her to threaten to block our emails is a display of her arrogance, and the fact that she has inflated her importance when she is not important to the current operations and future of this website.

I’m certain that S.H. does not respond to all of the spam emails that she likely receives in the same manner that she responded to me. It is interesting that she would respond in a negative way to the promotional email of a website that could be beneficial to her, especially a website that receives much more traffic than her personal website receives. But that is her choice. I am more than happy to not have a narcissistic personality like hers enjoying the services that this website offers.

People Need to Check Themselves
A former colleague once told me that someone would have to force me to allow them to help me. I do not deny that. Throughout my life I have been fiercely independent and prefer to do things myself rather than ask others for help. If there is something that I have difficulty figuring out, I usually review every aspect before asking for assistance because I do not like asking people for anything. It would be nice if the visitors of this website felt the same.

As shown, some people are just lazy. They would rather spend more time asking for help than is needed to read the instructions on the computer screen before them. Why, I do not know. But it is surprising that people visiting a literary website would be too lazy to read. Coming to a website like this and not wanting to read is like going to a bar and not wanting to drink. Why are they here?

The rude, paranoid, and narcissistic people I have written about have issues. I’ve encountered their kind since childhood, and know them to be troublemakers. They are the bullies who think they can disrespect and attack others. When their opponents defend themselves, the bully pretends to be a victim because their arrogance causes them to believe that nobody is supposed to challenge them, even in self-defense. These people feel that everyone and everything revolves around them, that everything is supposed to go their way, and that they can treat others however they want. They are wrong!

Fortunately, the lazy and disrespectful people I have written about constitute no more than 5% of the people from throughout the world who visit this website. Most of the visitors and members of this website are grounded, friendly people who are looking to promote their literary career. For the few of them who have a question, they ask in a respectful manner and receive a respectful response. And as I mentioned earlier, some also notice errors on the website that need to be corrected. Their attention to detail and concern for improving this website is welcome and appreciated. They should keep sending their email alerts and suggestions to help make this website the premier literary social network. The rude, the paranoid, and the narcissistic should avoid this website like the plague. Their presence is not wanted!



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