Annoying People

Why are people so annoying? Seriously, what has happened to us? Where are our morals?

Annoying is actually not a strong enough word. Both of these items that really annoyed me involve petty theft. Why do we have people who think stealing someone else’s resources is a reasonable thing to do?

Spam Users
I created a new website called Cruiseaholics – my wife and I are addicted to cruises (Latitudes Platinum on Norwegian), so I thought it was a cute name. I’d like to have people join and discuss their cruise preferences and experiences. Now, I’m not planning to be CruiseCritic (although some of their restrictions are just annoying and some of their users tend to be very argumentative), but I thought it would be a nice alternative for what I assumed would be a very limited group.

This morning, I had over 200 users registered for my site. 200! Wow! You know what they all had in common? They were all spam users. Not a valid one in the bunch. While this should not surprise me (I’ve had web sites since the dawn of the World Wide Web), it still pisses me off. Why are you wasting time registering fake accounts on somebody’s website? I suppose the only hope is that the default user limit is set to “contributor”, so they can try to sell shoes or Viagra or whatever.

I turned off user registration on the site this morning. So, I’m not building a community any longer. If somebody wants an account, they will have to email me. It’s sad, but I just don’t have the time to weed out all the real users from the crap. If it were a money-making site, then, perhaps, but for a hobby, it’s just not worth the time.

Warnings That Shouldn’t Be
I learned about a self-service library system this weekend from a neighbor. It’s called Little Free Library. Basically, you have a large bird house (go look at their site – it’s the first thing that came to mind) full of books on your front lawn, and anyone can take a book or leave a book. I see this as a way to build community – if I had one in my lawn, most of the books would come from neighbors on the cul-de-sac. Also, I don’t think people would drive to one, so you will have foot traffic, which means people are walking in the neighborhood.

Here’s the issue – the first thing someone mentioned was preventing people from clearing out the library and going to Half-Price Books for some quick cash. (Having sold an obsolete record collection and then an obsolete VCR tape collection, I can tell any potential thief that it’s barely worth the time.)

It distresses me that something that should share the joy of reading and build community would have to protect itself against theft. I know there are bad people everywhere, but this also pisses me off.

Both of these cases involve community and how easily that community can be broken by someone taking advantage of openness. Seriously, can’t we just have good in the world without having to worry about someone taking advantage of us?