Have we lost civility and respect on Audio forums?

I think we have.  I have seen many discussion on audio forums and how nasty they can become when you have people disagreeing. Seems like there are a lot more know it alls now. I been in 20 years and I can still learn.  But I also know I know quite a bit. Like cables can enhance the sound and higher end well designed gear can truly be ear candy special.  Is this just on audio forums or the internet period. 


It’s the world we live in. People like to hide behind the relative safety of a computer screen. It’s similar to the those that feel invincible when drunk and learn the hard way that drinking doesn’t make them bigger. I wonder just how many would act the same in person. Things seem to have exponentially gotten worse after COVID. I have wondered if the virus didn’t alter some yet undiscovered things in the human brain!  There are a couple of sites that I have abandoned just because they become a source of stress instead of pleasure because of it. Some aren't properly policed and others can be overly monitored calling you out for petty violations. Life’s too short for that.

Seems to me it's been that way for a few decades all over the internet. All about anonymity. 

It’s a question I often think about and if it’s really different or if it’s easier to notice in the Information Age. 

I don’t know the answer and I do know being nice is a luxury we can all afford. Especially if we can afford to look at online for😳

Some have, but not all for sure. We all have our moments, and triggers...after all, it’s a subject we’re passionate about, and likely proud of. Something near and dear to us, so it inherently makes us a bit more vulnerable than a topic we don't give a hoot about.  It's also subjective, so is harder to make a point others will agree with. At home and work, there are very few people who know as much, or care as much about audio as I do, but on the forum there are lots...and some know more and care more. It can be threatening when someone challenges an area you may have felt you had some expertise in, or at least enough experience to feel confident about...especially if you’re not used to that. It’s so much harder to have a discussion online than in person too, and lotsa of subtleties get missed in print that would help ease an actual conversation. It’s people...I have faith most are just fine.

There’s also the fact there’s really no wrong way to do audio if you’re pleasing yourself and not harming small children in the process.😄 Enjoy it and have fun.

I used to tell people in my office to be careful with their cutting off and flipping the bird to someone in traffic, It may be me on my bike or their boss, if they can be civilized by the water cooler or at meetings, why can't they be civilized on the road. It never changes, on a nameless, faceless forum people will be jerks when they have a bad day.

For some people , audio is like a religion.

And religions have often led some people ,  far from reason .

@calvinj I agree with you 100% but its happening all over the place not just in these forums. Society in General especially in internet forums where people are anonymous. Even our own congress is out of control!

I think we have all been duped into thinking we all need to hate each other.  This is just my observation. Divide and conquer. 

My premise; I'm surrounded by sociopaths operating at various levels of practice.  That may seem extreme, but the amount of dysphoria these days is proof enough.  

Rather simple; it's positive and constructive, or it's negative and destructive.  I acquiesce, rather subjective.

I do work to practice just that.

Take all of the aforementioned and toss in an unhealthy dose of trying to be that influencer that can garner the most attention, clicks and followers.

Civil discourse is frowned upon, seen as a form of weakness, enabling toxic masculinity to rise to the fore. To own someone is the objective with any amount of pain you can inflict along the way just icing on the cake. Indeed, we are surrounded by all manner of sociopaths.

All the best,

grislybutter: Ironically, I used to work with a girl that flipped a man off while driving.  It happened to be the top man at Exxon, one of the largest refineries in the area and they held the largest contract that the company I worked for had, worth millions.  This man went into the office and told our president that it was her or he'd cancel all of the contracts.  She was fired on the spot!

@everyone I have had to catch myself.  People challenge your integrity. People speaking disrespectful to you. I come from an era where I was raised by grandparents and you just didn’t say certain things to a woman or a man.  The internet has made it easy to be thumb thugging out here.  Because you never see people in person. But I just think in Audio we got to be better.  I’m going to enjoy this passion of ours.  Not argue all day. 

No we have not lost civility and respect altogether. However certain people out there find that anonymity of the internet gives them free license to say whatever they want to. I find audio forums to still be generally civil with the occasion exception.

Emotional investment in one’s beliefs can bring out the worst in people. For instance I know, as much as it can be known that basic cables are audibly transparent although it is possible to make cables with high enough inductance, capacitance and/or resistance to turn a cable into a low pass filter. I know as much as something can be known that power cords make no actual difference unless the gauge is too low to power the component ad needed. I can say these things with zero vitriol but one can count on some very uncivil responses. And fingers will point my way in accusation of uncivil behavior. And it goes both ways. Emotional investment can do that to people. Simple statements of fact will seem like a personal offense. 

I think the inability to accept that one might be wrong is the bigger problem. My experience is that a lot of systems may not be good enough or properly matched well enough to hear differences.  If your equipment or set up isn’t transparent or have a low enough noise floor or isn’t properly matched up in a decent living environment you are not going to hear a difference. Some people will not accept that they don’t have experiences with equipment that can do those things. Then that person will apply all of their personal findings to people that do. Unfortunately one’s fact may not be another’s fact is the bigger problem. The inability to accept that one might be wrong can be highly detrimental in having discussions.  I’m willing to accept one might not hear a difference on their system but the arrogance to tell someone else that they can’t hear a difference in their system is special.  Then to consistently and repeatedly insist on them being wrong is where things cross a line. We have to be honest when discussing things without being disrespectful. The minute I hear someone say they can’t hear a difference. Personally I think that their system is not resolving enough or they are just hell bent on not accepting things make a difference.  Either way I just don’t trust their opinion and if they don’t trust mines I’m fine with it. I’m not going to respond 20 30 times. It’s called agree to disagree.  It’s called disagreeing without hating or dissing the person you disagree. If we are being honest. If you don’t hear differences your set up isn’t the kind I probably would prefer.   That’s not being mean that’s being honest without hating or being disrespectful 

Interesting - I am up early this morning enjoying reading the threads from last night’s Daily Recap email and thinking about what a peaceful and respectful place this forum has become primarily, I believe, through moderator intervention. Of course it still has its moments but by and large the discussion here has become peaceful and constructive. 

+1 @knotscott - great post. My dad taught me many years ago the arguing in the workplace isn’t a bad thing, rather it shows folks are passionate about what they do. It’s only when it becomes personal and/or disrespectful that it becomes a problem. Man he was wise and I miss him (and mom) everyday. 

+100 @celtic66 for “it’s positive and constructive or it’s negative and destructive”. Words to live by my friend!



The inability to accept that one might be wrong goes hand in hand with an emotional investment in one’s beliefs. 

The forum is about stereo music and those boxes of wires we pay exceedingly higher prices to buy ...which reproduce that music. Let’s face it, in the large scheme of all things, not of very high importance. So when a poster starts acting like an ahole, it reveals much more about the integrity and intelligence of that individual. It’s the main reason people leave the forums. The negativity is just not productive and too ugly and offensive to want to be part of the audiophile community.

Personally, this forum has been way more considerate this year than in the past.

One of the pickles is we're dealing with 90% opinion and 10% facts.

A big percentage of that 90% opinion is stated as a fact, and when you have a blizzard of contradictory 'facts' swirling around, a lot of feathers get ruffled.

There is also in some cases where with some people you have to accept that they will always want to so called win an argument. But when you have made an investment in equipment with low noise floors that have been tested to a -140 db. When your equipment is designed and has been measured to reduce distortion. When you can run a program that reads and measures  the distortion  in the second and third harmonics in each Dac chip and you have a program that can make adjustments in real time to limit the distortion. Then you put it in a good listening environment.   Then you matched it up with the right cables and a great source and source materials there are those that don’t have that kind of system and have an emotional investment in their own position will never accept your findings.  We as audiophiles have to accept that they don’t hear a difference because they just don’t have your system. We can accept that they can’t hear in theirs. Their system is not built to hear the differences possibly. But one someone tells me that I can’t hear a difference in a my system that they have never heard in person I pretty much have 0 interest in their opinion. I didn’t want to brag about what I have or what my equipment has been measured to do. Because no matter what I say some people will get offended. In my system there is a scientific and audible difference in what I’m hearing because of the highly resolving systems with cables that match that throughout.  When I didn’t have the experience in the this hobby I used to feel the other way but when I grew in this hobby so did my ability to purchase better equipment along with the knowledge to put things together. In closing one thing that we as Audiophiles must accept. If you like it I love it for YOU! You can be right in hearing or not hearing it in your system but you shouldn’t let someone who hasn’t heard your system and doesn’t know the specs or design of your equipment tell you anything that they deem as fact. They might not have enough experience in listening and picking out differences. They are a random person on the internet that you know nothing about. It’s ok to peacefully disagree and move on. ENJOY THE MUSIC EVERYONE! ENJOY YOUR SYSTEM 

All hobbies or subject matters of interest have insufferable twats, elitists, condescending jerks, naysayers, and open-minded passionate people that are excited to explore new frontiers. 

Engage how it suits you! Opinions can't replace actual experience. 

@thecarpathian you are 100% correct that’s why I responded in length in the above posts. I get what you are saying 100%. You hit the nail on the head. For example you can have a great sounding system without the expense of having an expensive system. But good, better or great is partially in opinion and some equipment is just built better or differently because of design and materials to produce a more ear pleasing sound or sound that is more resolving, detailed and transparent simply based on design. Some seek that. I do. Others don’t I accept that. Doesn’t make my position a fact or them wrong. @2psyop there are just folks that will want to be right no matter what. I try to stay away from them. That type typically doesn’t learn or evolve. We have to accept in each forum there will be a couple of folks that will be like that no matter what. I’m still learning in this hobby after 20 years and I accept there are those who know more than me and it doesn’t bother me. I don’t have to insist that I’m right.  



Thank you for not all capping your thread title.  It lowers the temperature right off the bat

@mahler123 you know what.  You are right my friend. I agree I will not cap them if it creates a calmer discussion and you are 100% right it does. 

Cool.  And to answer your question, I’ve seen much less civil Internet forums than Audiogon.  As bad as it sometimes gets here, we sound like a bunch of EU Diplomats compared to the general on line tone

Any social media site, even one small and somewhat esoteric as this one, is just a microcosm of society.

There are lots of friendly, helpful people on this forum. I enjoy it very much. Even the "nasty" discussions can be entertaining when you consider that whether a person can discern a difference in audio cables may not be a sound basis to judge their worth as a human being. That said, there seem to be common threads to the unpleasantness:

I can tell you what you hear, or don't, with your ears, your equipment, in your room

You asked a specific question which I'm going to ignore in order to answer a question you didn't ask

You have a $1000 budget so I'll suggest a $5000 component

No matter what the topic, I'm going to respond with the same opinion, relevant or not 

If someone has made a purchase or built a system that they are proud of, I'm going to tell them its junk-"midfi"- if it costs less than my system and that they are gullible suckers if their system costs more

I can express authoritative opinions about equipment I've never heard

If someone posts a question I consider unworthy, I'm not going to simply ignore it, I'm compelled to tell them their questions are dumb

Oh well, just my thoughts which may differ from yours, which is fine. In any event, I appreciate the useful information conveyed through this forum and the daily diversion from greater cares. Thanks to all who contribute.

I wish you all a joyous Holiday season filled with family, friends, and inspiring music.

“But when you have made an investment in equipment with low noise floors that have been tested to a -140 db.”

“I didn’t want to brag about what I have or what my equipment has been measured to do. Because no matter what I say some people will get offended. In my system there is a scientific and audible difference in what I’m hearing because of the highly resolving systems with cables that match that throughout.”


-140 db is certainly an amazing SNR for any component. What is the actual DR/ SNR of your system measured from the listening position? 


I've  been playing with audio gear for over 60 years never saw a forum on the subject until I found this site. I did play on many sports teams over the decades (it was my bliss) while I do not know much about forums it appears to me like society at large you have all types of personalities here including your share of outliers.  On sports teams we are driven to win and teammates from corporate types to hippies, liberals and conservatives, black, white and whatever color of the rainbow you are with vary divergent views on life pull for one another to be successful. That teammate frame of reference should be on display here nonjudgemental, supportive, instructive and goal driven to maximize audio systems of members at whatever their disposable income level allows. Afterall we are in loose terms an audio team.

Each thread I read here I learn who and what to not respond too. Stay away from certain subjects such as tweaks and cables, as these subjects bring out the best in people here. 

Op in life and in this forum there will be different level of maturity, knowledge, experiences that will cause us to disagree. Some of us we are fortunate to have parents who have integrity and they pass it to us.So it does not bother me in this forum if they disagree with me nowadays.

I love the smell of burning rebuttals in the morning.  They pair well with coffee.

@scott22 the best coaches and teammates would pull the best and most useable traits out of the players to help the team win. You are so right. 

@waytoomuchstuff yes lol. A long time ago I went to listen to a well put together super system. I came home and looked at my set up like it betrayed me.  It looked back at me and said WHATEVER! YOU BETTER TURN ME ON AND SIT DOWN SOMEWHERE! 

Compared to much of the world, especially the social media and political universes, I find this forum an oasis of civility. And yes, better than it was when certain now-exiled provocateurs were running at large.

Have we lost civility and respect on Audio forums?

yes indeed, but this is hardly limited to internet forums -- the problem is quite universal



This forum is filled with people who do not - and have not - owned the equipment filling it with toxicity.

Those of us who buy things - and want feedback from others who own similar equipment - are at a loss to find fellow users in all the bullshit of "power conditioners dont work"  "cables are a waste of money" bullshit form those who have never owned these things.

It really sucks. Would love to engage with fellow McIntosh and Nordost users ... without all the BS.

Still looking for a forum like that ... Hifi Rose has a good user forum that is about supporting each other.

If posters knew they would be known by name and later meet the people they exchange with online, they would be more polite. Internet fora allow anonymity and the illusion of no consequences. For people of questionable character and poor impulse control, online life is their license to behave badly without consequence. For them, the categorical imperative has no meaning, nor does the notion of action and consequence.

This is an interesting read. In a way, it parallels the society we live in. People hiding behind screens, disagreements quickly becoming hostile or just feeling you have a sense of superiority or entitlement because you have been a member of a forum for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, like every day life, the people that need to read this thread don’t believe it pertains to them or believe it’s off topic and don’t care. In many cases, they have a low social IQ. The first time I posted a comment on the forum I was greeted by someone who was “protecting” the integrity of the forum. Since I recently rejoined the forum after a break with a new user name, he thought I didn’t have the right to comment on a thread regarding DACs for consideration. Since I owned the DAC, I recommended it for consideration. A pretty basic post. The “protector” assumed I was some sort of Russian bot trying to sell something. These type of people lurk around every forum. I’ve just learned to filter out all the noise. 

“Those of us who buy things - and want feedback from others who own similar equipment - are at a loss to find fellow users in all the bullshit of "power conditioners dont work"  "cables are a waste of money" bullshit form those who have never owned these things.”

What about the ones who have owned them? 


I think the Hoffman forums cater to what you are looking for in likeminded audiophiles