This is mostly aimed at one person in particular, but the lessons are universal, so pay attention kids.
When I started Cornell, part of orientation week was a little 30 minute wowfest called “Travelers Of The Electronic Highway”, mostly going over things kids need to know about the Cornell network. Having been an employee for 3 months at this point, it was all old hat. However, there was definitely a point to it – there were lots of kids who had no idea, and it was worthwhile for them.
Now, there’s a situation going on involving the CTC kids and one angry Canadian – and some basic life lessons need to be repeated here for the sake of everyone’s sanity. You may already know these, but they’re definitely worth repeating for those of you who are new to everything.
If you’re going with a story, stick with it – if you make a denial of something, for instance, you stick with it. Sure, people may not believe you, but if you stick with your story, at least you’ll have more integrity if you change your story later. Then you’re not only shamed for what you did, but you look like a fool.
Never, ever call anyone else on the Internet a nerd/geek/dweeb – seriously. Everyone on the Internet is a geek. I’m a geek. You’re a geek. We’re all geeks. Especially if you have a blog or an LJ. Calling someone else a geek is just an invitation for you to get deliciously flamed for any geek qualitys you may have.
Along the same lines, if you get in a flamewar, watch your tactics. Do not invite your circle of friends to do something and then try to waggle your finger at the opposition when they do what you were asking your friends to do. Do not act depressed and say you want to cry and/or kill yourself and then two hours later claim “I’m quite happy, I only wanted to be rid of you”. Do not claim you have powers to do things you cannot actually do, like delete someone else’s site.
Do not ever make comments about someone’s penis – it’s the teenage version of Godwin’s Law. If you have to claim that someone has a small dick, or go out on a limb and make some long winded explanation regarding circumcision, you’ve lost the argument.
If you have friends come to your aid, make sure they can hold their own – remember, everyone’s already against you; your friend will need a strong defense to even stand a chance. If they work on a gimmick – like typing in Japanese and then being unable to respond to nearly anything else said in Japanese – you may want to find other friends.
Most importantly, if someone gives you a “fade” or “purge” or whatever they want to call it, where they essentially cut you out of their life – be it a casual friendship or a long standing intimate netrelationship – take the hint. Sure, they may be an asshole. Sure, it may be unjustified. Sure, it may hurt like hell. But if you stick around and act like you’re being nailed to a cross, believe me, you WILL be.