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The Psychology of Fanboys 289

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the welcome-to-the-summerdome dept.
Testiiiiing writes "CoolTechZone.com's Gundeep Hora publishes his thoughts on why fanboys act the way they do. 'For fanboys (and I use the term with utmost respect, at least for this article), their appetite to support their favorite company to beat the big, bad corporate heavyweights gets delusional at times. And why not? After all, we all like to cheer the underdog... reasonably. In addition to cheering for the little guy, fanboys also think it's their responsibility to spread the word about their favorite company. Combine their need to do marketing on behalf of their adopted companies and their products with the passion to make others see things their way, and you have a powerful group of people.'"
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The Psychology of Fanboys

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:55AM (#19550111)
    M$ is clearly not an underdog, and I work with a guy who is quite a fanboy....
    • by PinkyDead (862370) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:57AM (#19550145) Journal
      They're not fanboys. They're minions.
    • by mrbluze (1034940) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:15AM (#19550363) Journal

      $ is clearly not an underdog, and I work with a guy who is quite a fanboy....

      Fanboy, zealot, fanatic, fundamentalist, bigot.. other stuff. All the same in essence.

      It's all just people who believe beyond reason in something. I know.. boring but true. When people know only a bit of what there is to know about something, or therabouts, they get really idealistic and passionate about it. It's human nature. Then, after time, if they get to know enough, they become cynical, or at best, just plain realistic.

      Fanboys are the result of feelings of ignorance and insecurity. The more a person feels the pressures of both, the more he tries to convince others of what he thinks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LingNoi (1066278)
      Yes I thought that I was strange the article mentions both Mac and Linux but leaves out Microsoft. Presumably Mac and Linux users would have both used Microsoft products at some point and have a broader view of experience on the topic.

      I can not say the same for Microsoft users. In their eyes just using a different operating system makes you a heretic that hates Microsoft and wants to see it burn.
    • by Hijacked Public (999535) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:48AM (#19550673)
      I think that is some kind of perversion of brand loyalty.

      Many people derive a large part of their identity from the brands of product they buy and view any negative commentary on those brands and directed at them personally. If a guy has Windows computers, a Windows handheld, a Windows DVR, and knows a hell of a lot about Windows, and you tell him that Windows sucks he may, at the very least, see that as an attack on his consumer acumen and lash out at you.

      Then you have the people driving Dodge vehicles with graphics of Calvin pissing on a Ford logo. Or vice versa. And Nascar fans. Or sports fans in general. I enjoy handmade cutlery and every so often visit web forums dedicated to just that. The brand loyalty people are there even, as this thread [bladeforums.com] will clearly show.

      In a psychological sense Fanboyism is a lot deeper than the article suggests, and it is a consequence of a culture as materialistic as Western culture tends to be.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        In its most basic and correct formulation, the goal of public relations and marketing is to disintegrate ration from action, and use autonomic responses in its place; basically, its a mechanism for controlling the will of public by means of turning them into easily trained animals.

        The fanboy phenomenon is just the evolutionary extension that maintains the existing pipelines of manufactured consent, as broadcast mediums become less of a part of daily life.

        Unfortunately, there is not any obvious solution to
      • by pointbeing (701902) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:56AM (#19551693)

        ...In a psychological sense Fanboyism is a lot deeper than the article suggests, and it is a consequence of a culture as materialistic as Western culture tends to be.

        Excellent.

        Extending the parent poster's logic just a bit nobody wants to think they selected anything other than the best OS when in reality the best OS is the one that meets your needs. Some people have a lot of their personal self-worth tied up in their selection of computer platforms ;-)

    • by dave420 (699308) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:48AM (#19551559)
      I've found myself defending Microsoft quite a few times. It's not because I'm a die-hard Bill's-cock-sucking cheerleader, but because I actively like engaging in rational debate, and when someone says something to me, framed as fact, which is clearly not true, I will point out the inaccuracy of their statement. That's not being a fanboy, but being rational. I do the same for Mac, Linux, my fridge, Pluto, whatever. I like technology, so I want to get to the bottom of the discussion, not get to the bottom of the discussion with "my team" on top, as I don't have a team.

      Fanboys aren't always logical. They may be logical 99.9% of the time, but that 0.1% will cause someone like me to call them out on their bullshit. That's the problem with fanboys, in my opinion. I'm a technologist, not an appleologist or a linuxologist or a windowsologist. I couldn't give a flying fuck what logo is on the software/hardware/candy I use, as long as it does what I want it to. I want to be proven wrong. I want to learn. I don't want to be using the second-best technology just because my favourite CEO says it's the best when real-world application tells me, and others, otherwise.
    • by BasharTeg (71923) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:22AM (#19552151) Homepage
      It's called Commitment and Consistency, and it's one of the fixed action patterns described by Dr. Robert Cialdini in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In my opinion this is one of the most common fixed action patterns today. People buy in to technologies through Social Proof, and then once they consider themselves part of the group, Commitment and Consistency kicks in.

      "Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment."

      I'd like to point out that although there are many good reasons to run Linux and I certainly appreciate it as a product (I run Linux, FreeBSD and Windows), there are many people who run Linux but can't give you a reasonable explanation as to why. It's a perfectly legitimate choice if you were to pick operating systems out at random, or if you could not afford a commercial operating system, or for many other reasons. However, most "fanboi" type Linux advocates and users don't have a logical reason for using Linux. Instead, they rely heavily on social proof. Linux users are "sticking it to the man", a perspective which fits with the age and demographics of many Linux "fanbois". More specifically, Linux "fanbois" will describe Microsoft's business practices as a reason to run Linux. This is a valid reason to run Linux and to advocate Linux if you're informed on what exactly Microsoft's business practices are, but most Linux "fanbois" will only say that Microsoft is a monopoly and that they bundle products. They have no knowledge of the specifics, they're only parroting what they read in forums and someone's blog. They claim there is evidence out there to support their position (And there is!) but they have no knowledge of it. Basically, you could say they're right for the wrong reason. The "reasoning" that drove them towards the "right" answer is Social Proof. The Linux movement, composed of Linux advocates, manages to convince not only intelligent people who choose the operating system for logical reasons, but also empty minded "fanbois" who are convinced by Social Proof that Linux is superior, and that by running Linux they will be part of an exclusive club of the Elite who run Linux (starting to relate to Scarcity). This easily convinced "fanboi" then spends the time to get Linux working on his computer. This isn't always an easy task depending on driver support, learning how to install an operating system in the first place, and other technical factors that can make switching to Linux difficult for a novice. Once that difficulty has been overcome, the "fanboi" feels that he has invested a great deal of time and energy into Linux, therefore there must be some kind of payoff. The "fanboi" is very unlikely to be able to even use Linux for anything other than an internet appliance, running a web browser, email software, etc, from X, so very little of the actual benefit of Linux is lost on the "fanboi". Yet after having invested himself in Linux and "learning how to use it" (even though he didn't really), the "fanboi" has finally reached Commitment and Consistency. Having put time and effort into Linux, committing himself to it, he can't believe that he spent all that time and effort for nothing. Even if Linux was a horrible operating system (which it isn't), the "fanboi" would still be a solid believer in the superiority of the system he installed, because he cannot accept that idea that he might have wasted his time installing something either horrible OR closer to reality: something he isn't knowledgable enough to use.

      There's nothing wrong with any of this, with one major exception. The "fanboi" may end up learning Linux really well which makes for a great job skill and a deeper understanding of computers as a whole. What's wrong with the "fanboi" is the fact that he and his ilk act as advocates of the system while speaking from a position of ignorance, based on Social Proof (other really smart people run Linux) and Commitment and Consistency (I run it so it's t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by endianx (1006895)
      Simple. It is a case of claiming Windows is better than Linux (easy) vs. actually learning to use Linux (complicated).
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:55AM (#19550117)
    ...a "fanboy" (or, more often, "fanboi", and sometimes even "fangirl") when I disseminate correct information about Apple on slashdot, clarify a misleading story, or correct completely and utterly factually and provably incorrect claims. It's not even about trying to "convert" anyone to anything. I usually respond by asking if the person calling me a "fanboi" could point out anything incorrect that I said in my post. That is usually followed up with brilliant posts about sex acts.

    So, here's another question: this article is called "The Psychology of Mac Zealots"; what's the "psychology" of people who instantly call anyone who posts anything about Apple a "fanboy"? The article talks about how "fanboys" might be right, but also says that being anonymous and abusive (and therefore annoying) when making their point is a hallmark of a "fanboy". So how can a person who is neither (and also is correct about a factual point) a "fanboy"?

    It isn't about "rooting for the underdog" or trying to create "converts" (directly, anyway). It's about wanting correct information disseminated about something you're interested in. And if it adds factual information to the discussion, what's wrong with that? To me, saying that something is obviously better or "rocks" or that something else "sucks" with no logical reasoning to back it up is what makes someone a "fanboy".

    Cue the posts calling me a "fanboy fanboi"!
    • by garcia (6573) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:59AM (#19550157) Homepage
      Cue the posts calling me a "fanboy fanboi"!

      I'd like to follow that up with a dissemination of correct information. You are a "fanboi fanboy". Thanks, just wanted to clear that up before this thread got out of hand.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And note how fast his fanboy buddies modded him up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sciros (986030)
      I don't agree fully, although your POV is logical :-) I've always thought of "fanboys" as simply HARDCORE UBER-FANS regardless of whether they're right, wrong, trolls, etc. Sometimes being a fanboy has nothing to do with liking the "underdog," or the dominant player for that matter. G.I.Joe fanboys collected all the action figures, read the comics, watched the cartoon, drew their favorite GI Joes, argued for Snake Eyes's total domination in every Pirates vs Ninjas debate, etc. Total fanboys. But, nothing "f
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by abaddononion (1004472)

      So, here's another question: this article is called "The Psychology of Mac Zealots"; what's the "psychology" of people who instantly call anyone who posts anything about Apple a "fanboy"?

      I agree with you. I thought the notion that fanboys root for the underdog is ludicrous. I mean... how long have Playstation supporters been being called Sony fanboys? And the PS2 was SO not an underdog last gen. According to this mentality, there is no such thing as a Microsoft fanboy, or a Square-game (i.e. Final Fantasy) fanboy. That's just pure nonsense.

      This is a very poor way to attempt to classify fanboys. I doubt this guy even uses teh intranets. (itsajoke. If someone's a fanboy of his, I dont ne

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644)
      It's a silly situation, because for every five level headed Apple supporters like you, there's one rabid Apple fanboy who posts 10 people's worth of comments where he/she actually does stretch the truth, and basically acts ignorant towards reality and such. This in turn brings out not only the anti-apple zealots, but also plenty of people who just decide to troll the fanboy for fun. As is usual in most debates involving more than two people, the noise of the extremes drowns out the real discussions that sho
    • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:13AM (#19550335) Homepage
      Yes but do you "correct information" when it would put Apple in a bad light*? Being objective is a two way street. If you only provide information in Apple's favour then yes, you are in fact a fanboy/girl/person. Just because what you say is correct doesn't mean you're not one. I'm not saying you are, and I'm sure as hell not about to check your posts to find out. It's just something to consider.

      *: Any response to the effect of "Apple never does anything that puts itself in a bad light" would be an instant confirmation of fanism. Every company, person, organisation, and thing has negatives.
      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:27AM (#19550455)
        That's an interesting point. I'd just respond by saying two things:

        - If you're a user of a product by choice, you probably believe the positives outweigh the negatives, one would hope, so naturally you're going to have less negative things to say about it in general.

        - Personally, my main concern is submissions and highly moderated comments with incorrect information; nearly always it's negative information, so the items being corrected are already skewed to the negative side, meaning that the corrections will nearly always be "positive".

        If some moron is going nuts about "ZOMG iPhone r0xxxx and it's better than every smartphone EVAR" (or the reverse), I don't see any need to respond to that at all. But if someone says "We don't know if iPhone has a removeable SIM, so Apple is really screwed in Europe", and then I say, "Uh, yes, it's already been proven that it does have a removable SIM and there is no technical reason it couldn't be used on any carrier in Europe if Apple chose to sell it unlocked," that, in my view, doesn't make me a "fanboy", even though it casts Apple's situation in a positive light. In fact, incorrect information nearly always casts the subject in a negative light. Someone saying "the MacBook Pro is the greatest laptop ever" doesn't need to be "corrected" because that's a subjective opinion.
        • by dylan_- (1661)

          couldn't be used on any carrier in Europe if Apple chose to sell it unlocked
          Wandering a bit offtopic here, but I was under the impression that in the UK at least, and probably other EU countries, you can't tie a phone to a network and must allow the customer to unlock after a "reasonable period" (for contract subsidised phones). Of course, now I can't actually find a link that states that so I could be wrong...
        • by toleraen (831634)
          Just because you're a user of product by choice does not mean that the positives outweigh the negatives of the product, it could just mean that the negatives for that choice aren't as bad as the negatives in the competition. For instance, most of the time at home I'm running Windows XP. Not necessarily because I want to, but because the competition just doesn't provide the operating environment I need. If I could easily run all the things I needed on OSX or Fedora, I would.

          There are always negatives t
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tim Browse (9263)

          If you're a user of a product by choice, you probably believe the positives outweigh the negatives, one would hope, so naturally you're going to have less negative things to say about it in general.

          I can't believe there's this many comments on this story but nobody has mentioned cognitive dissonance [wikipedia.org] yet. It's a powerful force.

          I mention it in relation to your comment about product choice, because studies have shown that once people have chosen a product, they look for evidence to support their choice, or give greater credence to marginal advantages of one product over another, and even avoid lines of inquiry that might show that choice to have been a mistake. Which sounds like a fanboy to me :-)

    • by GreggBz (777373)
      Oh please you are whineing about what???
      Usually, if you point out an error about Macs or Linux, or even Microsoft on slashdot and site a link you get modded informative.

      I really don't believe you. So site some example posts, where you get more then 1 or 2 rude responses, when you point out something error or inaccuracy like you say.

      There are a few idiots in the real world. And as you say they might post things about sex acts, but they get the flamebait treatment here. You can't honestly think that anyone
    • by joss (1346) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:16AM (#19550377) Homepage
      > I usually get called a "fanboy" (or, more often, "fanboi", and sometimes even "fangirl") when I disseminate correct information about Apple on slashdot

      That's because you're posting on a Linux fanboy site.
    • by MontyApollo (849862) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:26AM (#19550451)
      I don't know about your case in particular, but people that seem to defend Apple and "clarify a misleading story" on Slashdot do seem to be overly sensitive to these issues. A lot of commentary about MS or Vista is misleading or wrong, but nobody gets overly indignant about it. Whenever there is a story about Apple that is remotely critical, there is usually a storm of protest to "clarify" the story or to often call it flamebait.

      I think the group effect is fanboism even though the individuals may not be guilty.

      It is pretty annoying though the way the Apple fanboys mod down any comment remotely critical. Rightly or wrongly, you might be associated with these people. People flame MS all the time and get modded "funny", but the exact same comments directed toward Apple make certain people genuinely upset.
    • The most biggest group of Fan Boys are the Grammer Fan Boyz. I Can't remember the last time the wasn't corectid for my grammer. They are clearly the mostest annoing, I can deal with the lennox, MS, Mac, OS/2 zellots but them grammor Folks are awful.
  • Artical /.ed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oliverthered (187439)
    But I'll have a guess that it's a little like being religious, other people can tell you all sorts of bad truths about your beliefs but that still doesn't stop you believing.
    • by goombah99 (560566)

      But I'll have a guess that it's a little like being religious, other people can tell you all sorts of bad truths about your beliefs but that still doesn't stop you believing.
      For example, the article is cleverly disguised to make people think it refers to apple, but it really refers to the Linux proselytizers with a persecution complex that go around saying debian is better than redhat or vica versa while all the while feeling like chistians to the lion of redmond.
    • by bmac83 (869058)

      Holding nearly any "belief" of consequence requires coping with and resolving the tension created by the criticism of those who do not hold that belief. If there isn't a good way to criticize something, I don't really think it's much of a belief... just a fact.

      Sure, there is such a thing as "blind faith," and it is not particularly endorsed by many religious people with a strong history of study in their faith. For example, Jesus promoted a rigor of discovery modeled after "ask, seek, knock," indicating

    • by bcattwoo (737354)
      I think politics is an even better example of this. It is hard to fathom how so many people can be in such rabid lockstep with everything "their side" believes. All that seems to matter is that your guy is slightly less evil than theirs.
  • Hardly. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bynary (827120) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:56AM (#19550133) Homepage
    In addition to cheering for the little guy

    Sony is hardly "the little guy". In other words, fanboyism exists at all levels of the market.
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@OOOopto ... inus threevowels> on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:01AM (#19550195) Journal

    The fanboy is fixated, a product of the Skinner box of technology. They find a particular product/service to be so useful, so much like what they have always wanted (read: reinforcing), that the idea that there is anything different/better out there is inconceivable. Also, deprive them of their fixation, and they go into withdrawals.

    The fixation is unhealthy and limiting. People with fixations are frequently unable to adapt to changes in their environment. They cling to a thing even after that thing ceases to bring them the comfort/serenity that it first did. They will viciously attack anyone who disparages they chosen tool, unable to see the light of even the most cogent argument.

    I've personally never let an individual piece of technology/software or service consume me. Some are nice, some are useful, some are downright cool. But this is the Internet Age -- if you wait five minutes, something new and better will invariably come along. If you don't allow yourself to be open to new ideas and ways of thinking, you're bound to be left behind.

    • by Sunburnt (890890) *

      I've personally never let an individual[...]service consume me. Some are nice, some are useful, some are downright cool. But this is the Internet Age -- if you wait five minutes, something new and better will invariably come along.

      That's the exact reason I hit F5 every five minutes.

      And I mean every five minutes.

    • Yeah, but in addition the fanboy's choice of product is validated by persuading others to use the same product. Hence the proselytization. If someone else chooses the same product they must have made the correct choice themselves.

      Oh Yeah... Linux rocks.

       
      • by Billosaur (927319) *

        Yeah, but I'm not about to pick a product/service based on the zealotry of some users; what I need is quality information, a breakdown of the good and bad points, which everything has. Screaming from the top of your lungs how great something is doesn't inspire confidence in me, especially when you ask about limitations/problems and are shouted down for even suggesting there might be any. The fact that the "fanboy" is going to claim victory just because I did my own cost-benefit analysis and decided to use t

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TapeCutter (624760)
      Yes, fanboys remind me of the streotypical expert who is said to "know more and more about less and less until eventually they know everything about nothing".
    • by Speare (84249)

      I think that many fanbois sound more like they're a product of the Stockholm Syndrome box of psychology. They justify and excuse the shortcomings of their platform, thanks to all the history and resources they've invested in their product of choice.

      Sure, Microsoft has been influential in the industry thanks to many circumstances, but fanbois resent all the negativity about the glaring shortcomings. You can swap "Microsoft" for Linux, Apple, OS/2, Sony, Grateful Dead, America, and the Democratic Party,

  • When someone uses the term "fanboy", it tends to conjure up an image of someone who is so fanatical in their support that they ignore all logic and reality in pursuit of ensuring that their company is the one that wins "the war". (Whatever that may be.) As such, it tends to be a rather derogatory term used to discount someone from a discussion because their fanaticism makes their opinion useless.

    Unfortunately, there's a growing trend of abuse in relation to the term. More and more I'm hearing *real* fanboys preemptively use the term to discount others. For example, any true fan of a game system should be willing to acknowledge its faults as well as its strengths. I very much enjoy my Nintendo Wii, but I know that its low cost came at the expense of raw horsepower. That doesn't bother me. Similarly, PS3 fans should be willing to acknowledge that their system is incredibly expensive (in comparison to the rest of the market) and that there is a fairly small game library at the moment.

    Yet what I regularly hear is the PS3 fanboys jump in and yell, "Anyone who likes the Wii is a Nintendo fanboy! After all, how could you not like a $600 Bluray player! The game system is FREE!" Or something to that effect, anyway. ;)

    This constitutes an outright abuse of the term. Now I'll admit that it doesn't help the situation that many Wii fans (and even worse: fanboys) don't like Sony or their business practices. So they tend to cheer on any difficulties that the company may be having. (I'll even admit to this myself. I don't want Sony around if they're going to install rootkits, shut down distributors, sell exploding parts, ignore customer service, or the billion other anti-consumer things they've done of late.) That still doesn't justify the abuse.

    Similarly, a lot of Windows users are simply familiar with what they are used to. So they're not so much as fanatical themselves, they're just highly resistant to solid logic that's often used by the Mac community. They're also quite used to the Mac users of yore, who were very much fanboys. (I'm sorry, Mac OS 8 was NOT that great of an OS.) So they also abuse the term in an attempt to get people to stop pestering them about how much better the Mac is. They're comfortable, so they don't want to be bothered. Sometimes they even become a sort of inverse fanboy in that they hang onto ever possible wrong they see with the opposition. (Case in point: Java is slow.) Never mind if it's still true or not. It was once at least sort of true, so that's good enough.

    So next time you think of using the term "fanboy", think for a moment. You may be abusing the term and making yourself look bad at the same time.
    • by beavis88 (25983)
      I'm sorry, Mac OS 8 was NOT that great of an OS.

      Shit, it wasn't any worse than Windows 95!

      (Not that either of them were great...)
    • I suspect that for this discussion the "elephant" is going to be the FOSS fanboys, though I guess they're more often referred to as "zealots". It's interesting that the linked article only refers to the mindless dedication to a company and not to a cause. IMO the latter is the more harmful and destructive, and *much* more common on Slashdot.
      • by Tony (765)
        It's interesting that the linked article only refers to the mindless dedication to a company and not to a cause. IMO the latter is the more harmful and destructive, and *much* more common on Slashdot.

        So true.

        There are so many fundamentalist libertarians around here, it makes me sick.
    • Inverse Fanboy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tb()ne (625102)
      You bring up a good point with case of the "inverse fanboy" who feverishly, persistently, and often irrationally criticizes or insults a particular company or product. The phenomenon is widespread but I think it needs a better name. If there's not a prevalent term yet, I vote for "flameboy" or "foeboy".
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)
        You bring up a good point with case of the "inverse fanboy" who feverishly, persistently, and often irrationally criticizes or insults a particular company or product.

        Or country ;-) The word is bigot. We don't need any neologism for it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Every technology has their fanboys. There are Mac fanboys, Windows fanboys, Ubuntu Linux fanboys, Sony/PS3 fanboys, Nintendo/Wii fanboys, etc. To me a fanboy is someone who ignores reality to show everyone how 'great' their choice of tool is. Apple/Mac/iPod fanboys typically defend Apple even when Apple is being an asshat. Linux fanboys love to bash Microsoft even when they have actually produced something good and useful. Windows fanboys love to point out how BSODs on Windows 2000/XP/Vista are exceedl
      • by russ1337 (938915)
        I consider myself an Ubuntu fan-boy, and I'll usually tell people that I am to Caveat my sales pitch...

        My fanboyism is really just that I see people wasting money on software they don't need. I have colleagues that end up stressing about their kids computers getting viruses etc and having to deal with spyware and all that crap, and I try to pitch Ubuntu and will usually burn them an ISO for them to try.

        I'll 'fanboy' just about anything I think is great.... But I do try hard to temper the 'sell' so
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      Similarly, a lot of Windows users are simply familiar with what they are used to. So they're not so much as fanatical themselves, they're just highly resistant to solid logic that's often used by the Mac community.

      Solid logic. I'm not sure why some people assume that if they have in their possession "solid logic" they have a license to annoy the rest of the world until it's converted.

      Apple specifically, they don't run a computer business. They run a cult. People don't have anything against Apple's technolog
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:06AM (#19550259)
    Combine their need to do marketing on behalf of their adopted companies and their products with the passion to make others see things their way, and you have a powerful group of people.

    Right, here's the kind of reactions [thebestpag...iverse.net] the marketing of a group of unstoppable fanboys achieve.

    I too am someone who witnessed the sad transformation of a Windows/Linux guy into a Mac fanboy. Now every little problem I have on my computer, be it slow connection, or program hang, or WHATEVER, serves as a reason that I should be constantly reminded "how much I need a Mac".

    "Man, you SO need a Mac!"

    "Shit, dude, you gotta get a Mac."

    "Macs are sooo cool, let's find you a Mac."

    Everything on a Mac is godly and I apparently and struggling to survive without that on my Windows system. Even shadows! How the heck can I work without shadows behind my windows?! Impossible.

    I'm suspecting that when you sum up the total of positive and negative effects of rabid fanboys defending their limited view on the world, the picture isn't nice. I'm sure there are people who will despise Mac and Linux without ever seen them, just because of the overly zealous fanboys that nagged them incessantly.
  • by Sunburnt (890890) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:08AM (#19550275)

    How, exactly, did this trolling article make it to the top of the Firehose? Have we become Digg while I was sleeping?

    Man, I must be new here.

  • sigh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by twoboxen (1111241) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:09AM (#19550291)
    I guess it's a slow news day. How am I supposed to avoid work all day when this is all slashdot has to offer :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Halo1 (136547)
      You have no idea what you are talking about. Slashdot is teh best site evar. Go back to Fark if you can't appreciate the editor quality we have here.
  • by svendsen (1029716) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:09AM (#19550295)
    I'd like to know how anyone can be a fan boy for anything that boils down to luxury items? I mean the answer is easy: you bought something and need to justify why you bought it even if it sucks. You'd rather say product A is amazing and is a cure all vs. damn made a mistake need to fix it. You can also tell how unhappy a person is with their product by how much energy and effort they put into attacking the competition.

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:12AM (#19550325)
    Isn't everyone a fanboy for some reason or another? Aren't the Ford guys who put that Calvin sticker peeing on a Chevy logo (and vice versa) fanboys? And how about all those Harley Davidson tattoos out there, would you call that 300 lbs leather-clad biker a fanboy? And then there's the people who watch a particular tv show and say "Hey, you gotta watch this..." and then is hurt that you don't have any interest in watching a bald guy picking songs from a juke box in a Jersey restaurant.

    Finally, I know a guy who is as close to a luddite as you can get..no computer, no tv, just a regular phone and a radio for electronics. Prefers reading to everything else and doesn't give a whiz about what bike he rides, what clothes he buys, anything; whatever's on sale and fits he gets. But if you ask what he's reading, he'll say he's reading Grapes of Wrath for the umpteenth time and then he'll talk your ear off about how Steinbeck is the only good writer America ever produced, and on and on for an hour or more. So that makes him a Steinbeck fanboy, doesn't it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by svendsen (1029716)
      I don't think so. I think if he was a fan boy he would TELL you what he is reading and why it is the best without even being asked. IMHO fan boys will interject their opinions on their cult of choice when a) it wasn't even asked B) not even remotely close to the topic being discussed C) they know no one cares about D) they know this is the millionth time they have talked about this with the exact same group of people.
      • by Nimey (114278)
        c.f. the Gentoo fanboys a couple years ago who would bring up their distro in e.g. Debian and Slackware articles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Otter (3800)
      And how about all those Harley Davidson tattoos out there, would you call that 300 lbs leather-clad biker a fanboy?

      Absolutely! Someone who ties his self-image to a motorcycle he went into the shop and bought is every bit as pathetic as some nerd who does the same with electronics or entertainment industry products. I'd be less likely to tell the biker that to his face, but that's not the same thing. Anyway, nowadays someone who even owns a motorcycle is less lame than the guys sticking Orange County Choppe

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      And how about all those Harley Davidson tattoos out there, would you call that 300 lbs leather-clad biker a fanboy?
      Only when he wasn't listening.
  • Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GWLlosa (800011) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:13AM (#19550327)
    Tech/Gaming hobbies can be expensive. Just ask someone who has played WoW since launch how much of their money Blizzard has now. If it weren't for the fact that Blizzard/WoW is "amazing/ohmygod/awesome/cool", then it'd be possible that that money was misspent, right? Your average person is convinced he is not a fool. Fools don't make stupid decisions. Therefore, your average person is convinced that that PS3/WoW/iMac they just bought must be worth every penny. Given the prices on some of these things, the products (and their companies) must therefore somehow be 'better' than they seem. Result: Delusional Fans.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:14AM (#19550345)
    How is 'fanboyism' any different from cheering for your favorite sports team, political candidate or having faith in your religion.

    And in keeping with the tradition of analogies on /.

    Apple hardware is like the Yankees, someone paid far too much and got so little.

    Either way, both the Yankees and Apple suck.

    Yours Truly,
    Curt Shilling
    • And in keeping with the tradition of analogies on /. Apple hardware is like the Yankees, someone paid far too much and got so little.

      D'oh! You should've used a CAR analogy you insensitive clod!

      /P

  • Astroturfing?

    Sometimes a company likes to promote the idea that they actually have a fan base (you know, to generate 'buzz', stomp bad opinions against them, etc etc). See also Microsoft (though they are hardly alone in this). Incidentally, political figures and ideologies have a good parallel in fanboys and astroturfing as well.

    Trolls?

    Sometimes it can be (at least in my case years ago, it used to be) great fun to go in and advocate for The Other Side (tm), just to see what folks would do with it. Som

  • Yeah, I know people can argue about which stuff matters.... but In This Case There Is No Stuff. Nothing. The Entire Article IS Ccompletely Empty Of Anything That Could POSSIBLY Be DEFINED As STUFF.

    Ah, that feels better.

    (Sorry for the random CAPS, the lameness filter told me "Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.", well I was trying to yell, thank you very much).

  • Fanboy seems to be the calling card of someone with passion behind a product or company. Take away the tech and IT and gizmos and they're just fans. As in sports fans.

    Hardcore fans have their team. THEIR team. Armchair coaching while watching the game, collecting memorabilia, indoctorinating others with how awesome his team is and, if they're doing less than awesome, it's because of external influences and not lack of awesomeness.

    Kind of like those "Da Bears" sketches on SNL.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)
      Fanboy seems to be the calling card of someone with passion behind a product or company. Take away the tech and IT and gizmos and they're just fans. As in sports fans.

      Hardcore fans have their team. THEIR team. Armchair coaching while watching the game, collecting memorabilia, indoctorinating others with how awesome his team is and, if they're doing less than awesome, it's because of external influences and not lack of awesomeness.


      Well yeah, but aren't these sorts of people idiots? I remember reading Byte ma
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Belial6 (794905)
        Yes, they are idiots.

        I would disagree with the idea that everyone should only buy from the company that has the absolute best tech at that moment. As you said, one side would win. Sometimes Intel is the best, sometimes AMD is the best. The problem is that if no one bought AMD when they were not #1, there would be no AMD, and Intel would not get better. So, perhaps, sometimes, fanboys do us all some good by keeping a company afloat during the hard times. Whether their propping up of crappy products f
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:27AM (#19550457) Homepage Journal
    Fanboy seem to be looking for a replacement for religion. I mean okay you like your PS3 or Wii but why do you care if anybody else does? Same for Apple, Windows, or Linux.
    I think part of it is defending your choice. People like to be right so if you bought a Wii instead of a PS3 you can feel that you are better or smarter than those that bought a PS3. If you bought a PS3 you might feel that people are insulating you be cause they are taking such glee in the lack luster sales of the PS3 so you defend it.

    Frankly I find it depressing that people are now identifying themselves with some marketing juggernaut like Sony, Apple, Microsoft, AMD, Intel, and or Nintendo in place of some spiritual or ethical framework. Oh and before anyone makes some comment about killing for religion how many people got shot or hurt trying to get a PS3?
    "It benefits a man not, too sell his soul for the whole world, but for a gaming console..."
    • I make my livelihood on a Mac. It's in my best interest to advocate for it. Same with Firefox and Textmate and Unix.

      But why folks fight over game consoles is beyond me. There can't be that many professional gamers out there.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        There is a difference between saying I think x is better because and being an avid fanboy.
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      Oh and before anyone makes some comment about killing for religion how many people got shot or hurt trying to get a PS3?
      Not that I'm trying to defend the ludicrous console fanboys... but all the same, I doubt that most of the people doing the hurting and shooting were any more than touts hoping to sell the PS3s at a profit, or at worst criminals hoping to steal them for the same reason (or possibly to play them, stranger things have happened).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dhasenan (758719)
      I have a vested interest in other people using Linux. The more people using it, the more likely it is that software will be released for it. Likewise with the Wii or PS3.

      This doesn't hold for areas where the competition is mainly for implementation of an existing format. In those cases, you don't get nearly as much fanboyism for particular implementations. Also, you don't get as much fanboyism for the generic product. It seems to make sense intuitively, but I'd be interested to learn why that is.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        "I have a vested interest in other people using Linux. The more people using it, the more likely it is that software will be released for it. Likewise with the Wii or PS3."
        So if Linux declines in popularity move to a new OS. If the Wii doesn't get all the game you want then buy a 360 or PS3 when the price comes down.
        Heck I have a GC, PS2, Wii, and a Dreamcast. They are all a lot of fun and I got them all cheap.
        Only the GC is now useless.
        Your vested interest is only the cost of a console or in the case of Li
  • Companies are just groups of people. I can't be a fanboi about anything but an excellent product, and few companies make all excellent products. This keeps me from drinking the kool-aid of some populist cult based on a plastic object, but does let me praise true excellence where I find it (TextPad).
  • Just as how middle eastern countries have their fundamentalist wackos shooting AK-47s into the air and hating Jews, we Americans have it too.

    But, we have no religion to grasp onto, no AK-47s to shoot, or civilian areas to blow up. So we improvise in a capitalist society. We grasp on to our favorite video game console, car, team, or whatever sellable good/brand. We discuss and agree with others that have made the same purchase we do. We fight with others against who bought a competing product. Our symbols(Ch
  • ... we call 'em Jehovah's Witnesses....

  • Typically when a group is labelled, the most interesting thing is the psychology of the group that is doing the labelling. A label is used to contain, restrict, and demean someone with an opposing view, or a view that you simply do not understand. After all, they aren't doing what most people do, so they can't be right can they... But I'm not a lemming so therefore they must be labelled as something else. If the psychology of the fanboy were really important they would name themselves. People in general do not trust people who go against the grain, particularly if they are sure of themselves. This is an issue that is gratly exaggerated on slasdot... where you must begin every post with " In my humble opinion...but I could be wrong...not to be a fanboy but..." If you just state what you think, you are a zealot or narrow-minded, or a fanboy. It should be a given that anything you say is your opinion, people should realize and accept that whether they agree or not. You should not have to beg off abuse in advance. Labels are just a part of the phenomenon of people not being able to accept individual differences (in my humble opinion) through insecurity.

    People would label me a unix or mac fanboy depend on the individual comment, but it not because I have a particular attitude about those things, no religious zealotry, no overarchign RMS-philosophy, just that those tools do what I need done. If I ever needed a windows machine, or a PS3, or whatever. I would by one... It has just never come up as an issue. The non-fanboy can't accept that though.. in general...
  • To paraphrase Al Franken, there's a difference in love between a three year old who loves their mommy ("you said something bad about mommy! You are against her and me.") and a grown man ("yes, it is a legitimate criticism you bring up, but a minor con in the relationship")
  • by CODiNE (27417) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:31AM (#19551261) Homepage
    Original article is titled "The Psychology of Mac Zealots", which was changed here to "The Psychology of Fanboys" a much more neutral sounding title. Yet the summary still includes enough information to pass on the meme that Apple fanboys are suffering from a Napoleon Complex. Let's see... small marketshare, check. Support for their favorite company, check. Yeah... it's fun to slam Mac users ain't it? Couldn't possibly be any Windows fanboys out there right? Or even "PCs" in general, naw only those small-marketshare crazies. Those poor misguided children.
  • Where's the point about intellectual and emotional maturity?

    I've always felt that, at least for some, rabid and rapid defense of something is a sign of personal need to justify one's choices. Perhaps I just spent a good chunk of money on a console or a laptop. Perhaps I think I'm okay financially for it, but, deep down, I'm a tad nervous as most large ticket purchases probably do to many folks. And I can't return it. Then I go online and see just how horribly ill-sighted my choice was, in the foaming, state
  • The fanboy label gets thrown around a lot.. If you show a liking for anything, someone will label you a fanboy. But, sometimes a product really can just be a good product. Recognizing that fact doesn't automatically make you a fanboy.

    For example, people here are quick to call Walt Mossberg (tech columnist for the Wall Street Journal) biased for Apple -- a fanboy, because he has given good ratings to a lot of Apple products. But, when I read the columns, I see them as taking care to fully analyze the
  • See also (Score:3, Funny)

    by idontgno (624372) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:24AM (#19552175) Journal

    Amiga Persecution Complex [catb.org]

    Signed,
    idontgno
    former Amiga fanboi

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