resource frugality: ignore the timesucks

Dealing with time vortexes is an irretrievable waste of time.  In this case I am talking about time-sucking people online:  in forums, comments, reddit, whatever.

Sometimes you don’t realize you’re dealing with a time waster until you’ve already paid them some attention:  bail as soon as you figure it out.

The truest conservation of your time and resources occurs when you identify timesucks immediately before wasting any time on them.   Then you can ignore them on forums, mute them on YouTube/G+, filter them in email, etc.  You will be amazed how much you can get done with you reject low-value interactions.

Here is a field guide to early detection of time-sucking parasites.

the Hopelessly Vague

This type of timesuck is incapable of crafting a descriptive title.  Do you think they will be able to describe the problem for readers and then be able to process the answers?  Avoid.

Common thread titles include:

  • “help”

  • “help!!!”

  • “help needed”

  • “advice”

the Sub-literate

This fellow never mastered English as a first language and is completely oblivious to clear and correct use of communication.  If a person reads 10 posts that talk about “brakes” and then writes about “breaks”, that is not a typo.  It is a failure to notice what’s directly in front of them and take correction.

Do you think this person will be able to understand the subtlety of what you are trying to say?  Do you think this person will notice that what they are doing in reality is different from what they are telling you they are doing?  Do you think they can accurately read a repair manual or other technical information?

Frequently seen:

  • “this are that” homonym errors

  • “I don’t know,,,why you would say that,,,I have done it many times..”

  • “Don’t Put Chains on Your Tires or You Will Be Sorry”

  • “Well first I did this then something else but I got distracted with my own run-on sentence but I did find one at NAPA they had a sale on sparkplugs I also checked oil level and washed my car but it didn’t make any difference what do you think is wrong?”

the Damsel in Distress

Don’t.  Just don’t.  It will be a mud pit of entitled Daddy’s Little Princess + an embarrasing pack of leg-humping horndogs.  Avoid.

Frequently seen:

  • “girl needs [whatever]”

The Lonely/Lazy

This person wants handholding for something they could read about or google quickly.  The answer is often on the same page in a sidebar, pinned/sticked post, or FAQ.

Often writes:

  • “what is the best [whatever]?”

  • “I don’t know anything about [whatever] so you’ll have to give it to me step by step”

As an unwanted bonus, this black hole of need will kindle a Holy War between regulars who want to give the man a fish and those who want to teach the man to fish.

the Drama Queen

This person lives for conflict and excitement.  Known equally for hyperbole, excessive punctuation, and scaremongering, and pot-stirring.  Ignore.


  • “[whomever] stole my [whatever]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  • “What???!!??!?!?!!!’’

This person could stir up more $hit than a black water macerator.

the Ideologue

The ideologue sees the world in black and white, and preferably in clichéd terms.  Don’t waste your time unless you are in their echo chamber.  And if you are, don’t waste our time.

Often heard spouting:

  • whatever talking points the radio jock was delivering this morning

  • parroting soundbites about whatever party/candidate they hate

  • reviews use words like “junk”, “trash”, and “nothing but problems”

the Manipulator

This fellow thinks he is exceptionally clever and will use low-end marketing techniques to gain eyeballs.  Ignore;  people who consciously manipulate you are not your friends.

Common titles:

  • “Need input from REAL [fill in the blank]s”

  • “I bet you can’t [whatever]”

  • “Try to beat this”

When called on it, uses these deflections:

  • “well it made you look, didn’t it?  LOL”

  • “Relax, it’s just words”