I subscribed to places like alt.feminism and alt.republicans and argued. I argued so much that it actually affected my life. Arguing with strangers I've never met was far more attractive than studying. My time spent arguing online left little time for anything else. My grades slipped and I flunked out of college. At that point, most people hadn't even heard of the internet, so "internet addiction" hadn't even been thought of.
Well, when I left the big university for community college, my access to the internet was cut off. I actually got good grades and performed well. I eventually made it back to the big university in 1995.
I got back on usenet. And again, my grades slipped. And again, I flunked out. I went back to community college where there was no internet connection. My grades improved dramatically. I earned my Associate's Degree.
For a third time, I returned to the university. But, this time I stayed off usenet. My grades stayed consistent from community college and I graduated with a BBA in Management in 1998.
The 2000 election didn't bother me much when it happened. In that election, Bush and Gore both moved so close to the middle that I couldn't actually tell them apart. Both looked like the same candidate, although Bush actually had a personality. When Bush was awarded the presidency through a questionable Supreme Court ruling, I didn't actually care. What did it matter if Bush and Gore were the same? I had just returned to school for a BS in Computer Science, so I had other things to worry about.
Bush has since left his moderation aside. In the years of his presidency, I have come to hate the man, his policies, and all that he stands for. I thought for sure that he would lose in the 2004 election. It came as a shock when Bush actually won.
A huge debate emerged asking why Bush won. I couldn't stay on the sidelines and started writing letters to the editors of newspapers and online organizations. My letters seemed to disappear into a back hole with little of a response. Frustrated, I turned to Slashdot to post my letters. My first journal entries were copies of letters to editors. I started picking up friends and responding to their stories. It turned into my usenet experience all over again.
Slashdot is superior to usenet or regular bulletin boards in many ways. One of their better implementations is the way they organize conversations. You can easily track what people said and when they said it. You can jump in the middle of a conversation and it doesn't throw anyone off. With everyone tracked by id's, it's easy to learn who you're talking with from conversation to conversation.
One of the downsides is that Slashdot is also more addictive than usenet. I've noticed that I'm spending far too much time here. I work 40 hours per week. My commute is 2 hours, one-way (long story). That translates into 12 hours per day that I spend related to work. So, I have 4 hours per day to myself. On top of that, I'm attempting to work a second job. I'm looking to enter graduate school in the fall. And, I recently got married. That literally leaves no time for Slashdot.
When responding to a single post takes over an hour, then that's a problem. Ignoring my second job to post on Slashdot is a problem. Ignoring my first job to post on Slashdot at work is a bigger problem. Most of all, ignoring my wife to post on Slashdot is the largest problem.
So, I'm cutting myself off from Slashdot. I doubt I'll return to anything similar until I retire. No offense, but there isn't enough time in the day to destroy my life by arguing with strangers.