James Roscoe wrote:As my grandfather always said," People who go looking to be insulted are rarely disappointed."
And like my mother always said, " If you always expect to see the worst in people, you will."
Bullies will always show their true colors in the end, James.
Tim, part of how we learn what is acceptable behavior in a community like this is through a sort of roundabout reinforcement after a new (or old) person breaks one of the unspoken mores. The manner in which this reinforcement is usually conducted is actually in the best interest of the taboo party. Rather than completely deconstructing the person in question, humorous razzing can take place. Since lighthearted teasing is preferable to complete and utter lambasting, this is a good thing. Being called a dink or troll can be overcome and looked back on with humor, being publicly flayed is more difficult. Also, you'll notice that everyone here teases each other; it is what social groups affectionately do. To be teased is to be a peer, to be treated condescendingly is otherwise.
For an example of the above, you'll find comments like this unacceptable:
"Troll, indeed. I mean, the absolute gall! "
"and as a former successful HS Forensics and Debate coach, could debate circles around most on this BBS"
"I debate the issues"
"Cheers. (insert winky face)"
The first comment is laudable. That's not how you would talk to peers. Nobody (unless they are a tool) says "the absolute gall"; it makes you sound fake in addition to the condescending tone.
The second comment is not only boastful, but inaccurate. While being a HS Debate Coach is admirable, it's not very awe inspiring in this pool of folks. Saying something like that and expecting it to make waves... well, maybe you are too
used to dealing with 16 year old kids. Also, you've got to understand that wine is to geeks what bingo is to the elderly, and internet wine forums are nerd Meccas - nerds roam unchecked in these wine forums, grazing in herds and grunting at the unwary females that find themselves here. I was once considered intelligent, but here I'm like Lennie looking to tend rabbits. No matter how smart you think
you are, one of these MENSA dweebs will make you look like Sling Blade. The really brilliant ones are usually the quietest, too... you’ll talk to one of them for fifteen minutes about yourself at an offline, then make a polite inquiry only to hear something in response like, “I invented solar panels."
The third comment isn't really true since you didn't address a lot of the rebuttals you received. Instead, you’ve stubbornly stayed within your safety zone and dug in you heels as if the act of debating was more important than the material. That's where much of the "troll" thing came in. At some point it’s important to grudgingly give some ground. You seem like a reasonably intelligent guy, but you've obviously got a lot to learn about the whole
world of wine. Until you do, it may be best to listen to guys who have been uber-geeks for decades
The fourth comment and emoticon is the type of passive-aggressive snide behavior that is also discouraged.
You've annoyed some of the core people of this community with these breaches of etiquette. These forum members may not have been exactly cuddly, but see it from their position.
Some of the above transgressions can be forgiven because of your relative newness, the rest can be forgiven simply because -well- this thread isn't a train wreck (we've had some of those), it's a comedy.
I'm saying all this with the best intentions. I'd rather have let the underlying messages behind the responses you've received be your guide, but it's not getting through. I'm not trying to be mean or patronizing in writing this out. The first thing you can do to help this situation is stop replying to people with ruffled feathers. If folks take a poke at you because of what you've said, joke with them and admit some of your lines were a bit Magoo. You'll find an immediate change in people’s reaction to you. I've taken more than my fair share of public paddlings* for things I've said over the years: it‘s part of the learning process. This is actually the most forgiving forum you'll find, so that is a bit of luck for you.
*I'm even on page 12 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1413463134/sr=8-1/qid=1156304825/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-8209811-0956827?ie=UTF8