Like most online writers, I belong to several writing sites that offer a private forum where you can talk to the other writers on the site. The premise is that you can exchange ideas about the site and about online writing in general, and you can all just be one big happy family, working toward the common goal of making that site the best on the Web.

Excuse me for a second... * cough * bullshit! * cough *

The problem with these sites is that once they set up these “helpful, community-oriented forums” they turn them over to the members and let the lunatics run the asylum.

Now, if you're not personally acquainted with a 'writer' then it might be difficult for you to comprehend the size of a writer's ego.

The best writers, the well-known authors, like Stephen King and Dean Koontz and probably even Stephanie Meyers (though I shudder to call her one of the best) will admit flat-out that they have an ego the size of Texas. Most writers do, but only the best will admit it. Writers, or should I say 'WE' writers, thrive on attention and praise and we all think we're the best writers ever to come down the pike.

While there are thousands of excellent online writers, sadly, there are also millions more who think they're excellent writers, when in reality they just plain suck. And most online forums at writing sites are being used as a vehicle for just those types of writers to command the attention they think they deserve.

“MY articles are well-thought out and diligently researched. Why do they allow those hacks to keep publishing here? They're only dragging down the quality of this site, quality which I, and I alone, have worked to hard to develop?!”

“This site needs to remove those ads from the sidebars. MY readers don't want to look at that kind of information. I, and I alone, know exactly what's best for my readers!”

“This site needs to change THIS. This site needs to change THAT. MY articles aren't being properly promoted!”

I could go on and on but if you've ever visited one of these sites you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you've been warned!

At each site, on each forum, there are about a dozen or so writers who command the entire forum. They either start all the threads or the have the final say. Either way, your opinion will never matter, you'll never know what you're talking about, and they will always disagree with you, even if you're repeating something they said in an earlier thread.

And they always end with... “I've been writing on this site for X number of years and I have millions of followers. My readers come to me because they know I'm an authority, I'm the best, blah, blah, blah.... If they were such well-known authors they wouldn't have to write on these sites – they'd have their own book deals.

And here's the real kicker. About a year ago I left one of the sites I was writing on. At the time there were about a dozen of these so-called 'Ace Reporters' controlling the forum. Honestly, it was one of the most negative forums I'd ever seen. These guys were just nasty and most of them couldn't write their way out of a wet paper bag.

I just came back to the site after being away for a year and yeah, you guessed it... those same Dirty Dozen are still there, still in the same financial position they were in a year ago, still writing the same dreck they were writing a year ago, still bitching about the same things they were bitching about when I left and still controlling one of the most negative writers' forums in the world.

Oh, well.... I suppose I should feel sorry for them. But... naahhhhh... why bother? They'd probably just disagree with me if I did!

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