The trouble with forum users is that, quite often, they really DO know what they’re talking about. Forum users use forums so often that their minds become so full of facts, they can’t help but be extremely well informed.

Which, from a journalists’ point of view, is extraordinarily irritating, given that the first rule of journalism is NEVER to ruin a good story with the facts.

Thanks to forum users, us journalists can no longer just trot out the same old tripe, week in, week out, expecting to flummox our readers with our seemingly endless knowledge about everything. By and large, forum users know much more about things than we do, and take great pride in telling us so if and when we get things wrong. Which, as every forum user will know, is far too often nowadays, what with the standards of journalism nowhere being near high as they once were in ‘theoldendaze’ etc.

One of the more intriguing habits of the forum user is to embark in an argument with another forum user – about a subject on which both forum users believe themselves to be experts. Soon, other forum users will join in, encouraging the two original forum users to do things like “get a life” or “go for a pint” – neither of which are likely to happen, given that these are forum users we are talking about remember…

Forum users also appear to be able to stay awake for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. I’m wondering therefore whether some of them might like to volunteer to become astronauts, what with their ability to pick up on the minutest issues, seemingly at any time during the day or night. The idea of one or two or them being fired into the stratosphere, strapped to a tube that contains thousands of gallons of fuel to which someone has just set light, does have its appeal, after all.

To be honest, though, I think forum users, mostly, are great because, in the main, they are well informed, surprisingly eloquent and, most of the time, well worth listening to as a result. Without them, the websites to which they contribute would be far less interesting to visit. And they keep us journos on our toes when we get lazy as well.

Sometimes (not very often but occasionally) forum users can be annoying, rude, unfair and/or hilariously ill informed about their chosen subject. But the great thing about having a forum on a website is that if its users become unbearably tedious, we can fire them into the ether at any time – at which point they’ll come back with a different name but carrying the same attitude, no doubt, in which case we’ll fire them into the ether again, and so it goes on.

Forum users, I salute you. With more than two fingers, mostly.