Saturday, January 24, 2009

Carnival Request - The Dangers of Online Communities

Carnival time is approaching quickly and I have a topic for you to contemplate.

Dangers of Online Communities, Cyberchondriacs, Bullies, and Malingerers

Some of you may remember that I was talking about a particular MS Forum at which the members would act like schoolyard bullies and cliques. I've had conversations with fellow bloggers regarding this site and those who seek to maintain the center of attention.

Within any social networking community which caters to the chronically ill, there may be participants who take their hypochondriac tendencies and become cyberchondriacs. Also there may be folks who pretend to have the illness in question in order to find a group of sincerely supportive people in which to feel welcomed.

This opens the door to the question - what are some dangers and drawbacks to online disease-specific communities and forums? what do you do when bullying, stalking, and harassment get out of control?

What I'd like you to do is create a post related to this topic and submit it for the Carnival. I've already got some input on this would like to hear what everybody has to say.



  1. I'm guilty of avoiding MS forums because reading what other people are going through can both terrify and depress me about the future. However, I enjoy reading the blogs of people who show an overall strength through their struggles and do their best to stay positive through horrible thing. That's selfish, I know ... but it's how I handle knowing that I have this disease. I need to know there are people out there living a good life despite MS. I spend a lot of time trying to combat it with diet and supplements and have even recently begun entertaining the possibility that it might be aspartame poisoning rather than the MS I've been diagnosed with. I think that's a pipe dream really, but it is a shining hope for me. Maybe I'm the opposite of a cybercondriac? I've felt very lucky so far in not having had as rough a time *knock on wood* as most people I read about. I also have guilt having it easier than most, so far and fear that someone in the community will reject my right to comment when I'm feeling good.

    BTW - thank you for your blog. You are a very strong and admirable lady and provide great service to the MS community.

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  3. Lisa,
    These forums do tend to attract the chronic whiners but I have met some wonderful people too.