Last year many of you probably saw The Matrix sequels. Whether you loved them or hated them, you may have noticed a disturbing similarity between the world populated by Neo and his gang and the digital one we waste our time in. Arbitrary uses of power, masses of people ignorant to what’s really going on and small groups dedicated to spreading the truth about the system.
The fact of the matter is that the Internet is a good representation of the world at large. People get double-crossed, gain and lose friends, make money and try to beat their adversaries. The only difference is that there’s an audience. By paying attention here, you may notice things you would have missed otherwise. Things happen faster here because of the speed with which information is transferred, the ease of spreading it and the lessened need to show any kinds of social graces. This makes the Internet both an interesting and influential space.
Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, I want to draw your attention to a threat that looms over all of us. There’s a group working in the background trying to undermine everything we’ve worked so hard for. These individuals oppose individual freedom and would like nothing better than if you thought and acted in ways more suited to their desires. Not only are they trying to restrict your rights to do as you please, but they’re intent on destroying your intellectual capital as well.
I’m sure this angers you as much as it does me. But you can do something about it. You can call the enemy out of the shadows and take the fight to them. So I’m asking everyone to put aside their differences and get ready to defend your freedom from —– OK, I can’t keep this up any longer. This is really just another list of people who irritate me. Duck and cover baby.
As I’m sure you know, idiots and wankers are not limited to the gym. The online community is brimming with them. This shouldn’t really come as a shock, since these are the same people you see everywhere else. The terms may be strong for some of the people listed below, but not by much. The fact remains that whether you are starting trouble, spreading misinformation or acting as an annoyance, you’re in danger of being that guy. And I KNOW nobody wants that.
Internet Tough Guy – Proof that the obvious may not be obvious to all, the Internet tough guy forgets the mode of communication that he’s using. Constantly threatening people with physical harm and the dreaded ambiguous “consequences,” the ITG tries to send the message that he is not someone to fuck with. Get over it. Unless you’re an uber-hacker or plan on embarking on a world tour of ass kicking, your threats mean nothing. And enough of this “see you at the Arnold” talk. If even half of the people who say this followed through, the Expo would look like Thunderdome.
Modsterbator – Proof that power not only corrupts, but also makes you petty, the modsterbator uses his moderator position for self-gratification. Whether it’s trying to push his products, agendas or pathetic need to lord over others, this crank-yanker uses his position for personal gain first and helping people last.
The Big Bumper – Having no useful knowledge or opinions to contribute, the bumper spends all his time bumping what others have shared. Now everyone does this from time to time, but if you type that 5-letter word more than 2x/day I’m looking at you.
The Search Nazi – Using the slightly flawed logic that if something’s been asked once it shouldn’t be asked again, the Search Nazi helpfully answers all queries with “use the search button.” While there are times that this is appropriate (“what’s creatine?”), many times this just irritates the poster and all of the silent masses (and there are a lot more than you think) that want to know the answer. Not to mention the silly arguments that end up ensuing from these responses.
Mr. Magoo – The mortal enemy of the search nazi. Magoo likes to ask questions, but somehow misses the fact that a topic has been discussed before. He also misses the three other threads addressing it on the front page. When directed to the other threads, Magoo helpfully ignores them and says his question is different. After all, his question was about using creatine and glutamine TOGETHER.
NPC Judge – The judge helpfully critiques the physiques of others (flaws, ‘natch) without ever posting pics of his own. Typical comments range from telling someone with a kick ass build that they’ve “built a good base” or ripping into someone on the small side regardless of how far they’ve come. All prospective judges should post constructive criticism, a compliment or shut up.
The Contenda – As in, coulda been one. The Contenda is always commenting on the accomplishments of others and comparing them to his own. Whether it’s comparing their physique, poundages or professional achievements, the Contenda wants you to know that he could meet or beat you if he really wanted to. Unfortunately, the Contenda misses one key aspect of his little struggle with the rest of the world: no one gives a shit.
The Parasite – The parasite is self-explanatory; he exists for the sole reason of feeding off whatever board he’s participating on. Contributing little to nothing, yet always trying pimp his website, products or services, the parasite draws attention and money from those who invest their time and effort in making a site great.
The Foodie – I just found out this was word. Really. Anyway, in the real world a Foodie is defined as “a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food.” That sounds more like a Fatty to me, but that’s another subject entirely. In the bizzaro world of bb boards it’s someone who is obsessed with preaching the virtues of food to anyone who asks about supplements. This attempt at wit (or showing superiority) is worthless since any jackass knows that you’ll die without food. Next time just answer the freaking question.
Dr. Gym – This scholar (not a student of the game 😉 can tell you how to: cleanse your androgen receptors, starve yourself into maximizing GH release and use ALA to set the Earth back on its axis. It’s too bad that not one of these tips has any scientific basis. They’re based on gym lore, mainstream bb mags and case studies where N=1. This wouldn’t be so bad if our good doctor wasn’t so adamant about his “facts.” Damn it Gym, you’re a meathead not a doctor!!
Sticky requestors – Following the more is better approach to bodybuilding, the sticky requester sees a good post or thread and thinks that it should be shared with everyone for all time. Unfortunately, he takes no notice of the 7 stickies already crowding the first page. Helpful hint #1: Any good thread will stay near the top on its own merits. Helpful hint #2: the people who should be reading the stickies never bother to anyway.
Mommy – No, I’m not talking about mine (she couldn’t give a rat’s ass about bodybuilding, much less think about spending any time on the boards) I’m talking about the countless people who try to convince me that supplements are going to spontaneously hydrolyze my organs. These assertions are based on guesses, hearsay and the ever-accurate mainstream media. Hey, if I want someone to be needlessly concerned about my safety, I’ll call Ralph Nader.
The Quotemaster General — I’m a firm believer in personal expression, so sig lines seem like a good idea to me. Unfortunately some people take it to great extremes, where their sig lines take up a ¼ page and need to be scrolled through. This is particularly frustrating when the person has multiple replies in the same thread. You want to share stats? Fine. You want to show us how funny and/or deep you are? Cool. You want to pimp your website. No problem. Just know when to stop. If I wanted a long list of random quotes, I’d buy a copy of Bartlet’s.
Mangler – of the English language. I understand that this is informal discussion. I understand that abbreviations have sprung up to help move things along (IIRC, etc.). What I don’t understand is when someone asks me: “y r u brkn mi blz bro?” Until someone translates for me, I’m ignoring this crap. BTW, some attention to spelling wouldn’t hurt either; there’s no “T” in biceps.
Procrastinator – I’m not a steroid guy, but I’ve spent some time on a few steroid boards. One of the most irritating things I’ve seen is someone who constantly asks questions to determine the “best” first cycle. Some of this is to be expected but I’ve seen this go on for over 6 months. It’s countless threads full of “should I try this” and “what if I add that.” I got news for you buddy: you’ve gotten all the feedback you’re gonna get. Shit or get off the pot.
The Mole – The mole is a supplement company rep that likes to surf the boards, providing complete “unbiased” advice on supplement companies and their products. Unfortunately he likes to do this without revealing his intentions or associations to create the illusion of strong advocates for his products. He may think he’s being clever, but all he’s doing is hurting his company’s rep and looking like a douche in the process.
Post whore – Many bumpers evolve into the much dreaded post whore, whose only purpose it seems is to accumulate posts. With such gems of wisdom as “I agree,” “me too” and “I heard that somewhere,” the post whore manages to accumulate 1000s of posts without ever really saying anything.
Secret squirrel – Somewhat related to the mole, is Secret Squirrel. Squirrel is a regular poster who takes on a new name to avoid having his comments attributed to him. Usually this is done to attack a friend or prominent board member without repercussion. This is cowardly, even for the Internet where most posters are anonymous to begin with. If you don’t have the balls to be accountable for it, then don’t say it.
Faux Guru – Under the impression that having people following his advice grants him some sort of god-like omniscience, the Faux Guru distributes (questionable) information at will. Having mastered the basics and knowing just enough more to be dangerous, the FG espouses wild theories and advice on training, nutrition and supplementation. This information is usually based on one-sided research where any information that contradicts these theories is helpfully ignored. When definitively proven wrong, the FG usually avoids the question, tries to discredit the references used or attacks whoever dares to contradict him. After all, his guru status is much more important than the truth.
Kid Dumbass – Many of the boards are filled with teens, quite a few of them either know a lot or listen to those who do. I appreciate both their interest and their participation. What I don’t appreciate is every snot-nosed, self-appointed expert who takes what Paul Delia or John Berardi says as gospel and is hell-bent on showing off his newfound knowledge. Of particular note are 16-year-old steroid “experts,” who have never seen the stuff but would be more than happy to hand out detailed programs to the unwary. Here’s a little hint for all would-be prodigies: reading an online article (or several for that matter) makes you an expert on nothing.
The Stunted Troll – Every board has trolls, even moderated ones. Unlike most people, I like having a few around for entertainment purposes. The only time I get upset is when they fail to provide any comic relief. Trolls should be funny; otherwise you really are just wasting everyone’s time.
Witch Hunter – The witch hunter is always out to make someone the bad guy. Whether it’s someone’s business practices, the advice they give or some imagined slight, the hunter is prepared to rally the troops and cry foul at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t matter if the allegations are true, it’s just really important that the accused pay for the horrible crimes they’ve committed. Whatever the hell they are.
Lemmings – Unfortunately, this is a rather large group of people that proves that the online communities mirror the rest of the world. Lemmings typically find someone to follow based on some perceived attributes. Rather than learning to think for themselves, they never question and blindly regurgitate everything their master says. There’s nothing wrong with following the advice of those you believe in, but if most of your reasons for doing something start with ” [insert guru name here] said…” then you may want to keep an eye on that cliff you’re heading for.
The Pied Piper – Closely related to the messiah, the Piper is someone who shows up to lead the lemmings around for a short period of time. Unlike the faux guru, the Piper lacks any real knowledge and gains followers by insulting and trying to discredit others. Sooner or later the piper believes his own hype and attempts to become a Faux Guru. The result: have you heard of Icarus?
Special Bonus Section: Don’t use that phrase!
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that some phrases have become commonplace when referring to working out, eating and supplementing. Some of them are very useful, while others have the notable effect of making the poster look like an idiot. So, I ask for the help of everyone here in retiring these tired chestnuts:
Mind blowing pumps – This one has always bothered me, whether it’s referring to PHs, creatine, or NO type products, only one other phrase (see below) is more filled with hyperbole. I have some bad news for you: if a pump you got in the gym blows your mind, you didn’t have much there to begin with.
Steroid-like gains – This is more prevalent in advertising, but it does tend to rear its ugly head on some supplement boards. The phrase has been used so much, in reference to so many crappy products, that it’s essentially meaningless.
Balls-to-the-wall – Mostly used when someone wants to say: “I train REALLLY hard.” Overused, especially when someone is trying to sound hardcore. I’m guessing this phrase is military in origin and used to actually mean something. Or it’s just something someone made up that endured because ball and wall rhyme. Either way, it’s become trite.
Bro – I have to admit, I’m torn on this one, as many who use it really are sincere. I’m not one to preach about a brotherhood of iron, but I do feel connected in some small way to everyone else pursuing the same goals. Then again, it’s like calling everyone your best friend: if everyone is like a brother to you, is anyone really? Use at your own discretion.
Lean Muscle – As in: “I want to put on 10lbs of lean muscle.” I’m sooo glad people ask this question, because otherwise they might get advice on how to put on fat muscle. Then we’d have a bunch of well-marbled idiots running around. On second thought, I’m guessing no one would notice the difference.
VPX Sucks – Not only do they have the most ridiculous advertising, but… oh, wait. Wrong list 😉