It's Never Worth Fighting with Fanboys

Excitement for Windows 8 was enough to bring out the Apple fanboys to rain on the parade

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When Windows released the developers version of Windows 8, the blogger masses were excited about the slick preview, we at The Atlantic Wire even speculated that Windows 8 might be the next it thing, and possibly lure Apple-philes away from their iThings. That was enough to bring out the Apple fanboys who were quick dismiss anything with Microsoft in front of it by spewing their feelings in comment threads (including ours) across the blogosphere. But such passion is to be expected when you rain on a Mac parade. But maybe it shouldn't work like that, argues Gizmodo's Mat Honan, who decries the Windows 8 haterade: "I don't really get those who treat brands like sports teams, offering blind allegiance over self-interest. That's just zealotry." Fanboy hate is unwarranted, but does a blog takedown do anything to solve the problem?

It's not that a case against fanboys doesn't make sense, a blogger or developer's opinion shouldn't anger readers so much. There's something about fanboy passion that takes discussions into a dark place, explains Infoworld's Galen Gruman. "I do get the joy and allegiance one can form with technology.... But sometimes, that stimulation stirs up a hornet's nest, especially among the many fanboys whose attachment to specific technologies crosses into unnaturally personal territory. Often, that takes the form of online trash talk."  And not only do these remarks create a community of hate, but they certainly won't convert anyone who disagrees. Fanboys have no credibility, explains Honan:

If you're not intrigued by Windows 8 and Metro, if you can't recognize that it's a big leap forward, if you're not excited about what it means for you, personally then you don't really care about technology; you care about brands. You care about platforms. You care about politics. You're a fanboy.

And really, even if you do utterly hate the latest gadgetmacallit, you don't have to be so rude about it, argues  The Loop's Peter Cohen. "Use what you want to use--Windows, Android, OS X, iOS, whatever. Just stop being such a dick about it."

All of this makes a lot of sense, but pointing it out to a fanboy won't change his behavior. Fanboys will be fanboys, no matter what, as you can see from Honan's comment thread. His post generated many thoughtful points, but every so often out came an evil remark. Like commenter das7002: "No it isn't. Metro is awful and needs to die in a fire." Or, the one that began "Here's why I hate Windows 8," from commenter BlaqkAudio. Honan's post only provided yet another platform; haters gonna hate.

But maybe those writing fanboy takedowns know the efforts are mostly futile and are just trying to bait fanboys to further prove a point. Or, perhaps as fans themselves, they just want to express their disappointment in their fellow technophiles. Sure, Honan and others get the message across to a calm audience, but in the end, there will always be that one nasty hater, filled with passion, that will let you know just how much Microsoft, or Apple, or Google, or whatever sucks.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.