I've spent the last ... well, forever ... writing posts on internet forums. Slashdot mostly, but lately I've involved Reddit too. Reddit is unique in that, whereas on Slashdot there aren't enough moderation points to waste them giving people negative moderation, on Reddit everyone can moderate as much as they like, and so you get to see just how much people dislike what you say.
Like this comment, which ended up with a score of -22:
It's amusing that random.org doesn't know where their random numbers come from; that they think they are the result of "atmospheric noise" received by a radio tuned between stations.
You know how you can tune a television to a station, one which comes in clearly, then disconnect the antenna and see nothing but static? Do you think that static comes from the atmosphere? ...because when the antenna was attached, you saw what was in the atmosphere, and it wasn't static. The television station's broadcast is what's in the atmosphere. So the noise must come from somewhere else.
The television's automatic gain will turn up the amplifier gain as high as it needs to in order to receive a signal. However, without the antenna, the noise generated within the components of the amplifier circuit is greater than whatever signal happens to find its way in there, and so the output of the amplifier is just that noise.
This property of electronic components is used to build random number generators all the time. No one has to attach an antenna and point it towards the atmosphere for the circuits to generate random numbers. They can seal the circuits in lead and they'll still generate random numbers.
I thought it was a nice post given that it explains the topic in a way that should make its truth obvious to anyone who reads it. Even so, at least 23 people didn't agree. I tried asking for an explaination when I noticed the score was going negative, but no one responded with one, even though the score continued to become more negative after I asked, and so it wasn't as if I asked too late for anyone to respond.
That wasn't even the most poorly-rated comment, it's just the only one I thought to pick out while I was deleting them all today. There were some other gems in there too, like a bunch of downvotes for suggesting that fuses exist in electronic devices not to protect circuits but rather to protect humans from electrical fires. I can understand that there are always going to be stupid people, but this was in an electronics subreddit and it's a very basic topic.
There was also the time that that same subreddit was having an orgasm over the new edition of "The Art of Electronics," for which there was a free chapter available on the internet. So I had a look. At the beginning were some simple power supply schematics one might find on a web site, then it moved on to more complex schematics utilizing various ICs, essentially just what you would find in the "example applications" section of each IC's datasheets. Seeing no value in such a book, I made the mistake of saying as much, and was down-modded to hell for it. Apparently a lot of people absolutely love that book. I can understand why, since if I'd've had access to it back in 1995, I probably would love it too, since I didn't have internet access back then and so information about electronics was hard to come by. However, it isn't 1995 anymore, and so to be worth $110, a book has to include more than what I can find on the internet. ...and that's the point I tried to make with several pages of text, and I thought I made the point quite well, but as was clear from the replies, most of what I'd written hadn't even been read. People would read just enough to see that I was saying something they didn't like, then reply with arguments I had already anticipated and addressed in my original post, and not even deep within, but like second-paragraph stuff. It was insane.
People on the internet are incredibly disappointing.
I've tried to reduce my time wasted writing posts on Slashdot and Reddit, but it's a hard habit to break. So far the most success I've had is thinking of the many posts I've spent hours writing only to eventually discard the entire text under the assumption that I wasn't going to convince anyone of anything anyway. ...but that only stops me from writing posts on complex topics. I still waste time writing smaller posts which are equally useless. I think that to really break the habit, I'm going to have to learn to substitute it with posting on my blog instead.