Message boards and e-mail groups for writers should be a great resource. Information sharing, markets, self-promotion, a chance to talk about writing, right?
Wrong. Let’s face it, the average message board is just a chance for people to gripe, snipe, attack, gossip, and generally act like high-schoolers all over again.
So stop it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as writers, you are professionals, and you should behave as such. That means no gossip, no insults, no attacks, no hiding behind pseudonyms or funny names. That means you deal with people fairly, and then you shut the hell up.
Every time you explode on a message board and blister someone who’s offended you, or get in the middle of a knock-down, drag-out verbal war, it’s out there for everyone to see. Forever. No matter how justified you think you are, you are really just presenting yourself as an angry egomaniac. What editor would want to work with someone like that? What reader would want to read your work? You’re just damaging yourself, and you’re doing it permanently, because those messages are never going away.
Just like high school, it’s your permanent record.
So come on, let’s use those boards and e-mail groups for information and for helping each other out. Take all of the rest of that anger and energy and put it into your writing. That’s what we’re all here for after all, right?