Again, I find myself surrounded by net-holes that seem to have forgotten the simplest of basic communication etiquette. In the following case studies I relate matters of censure perpetrated by two who've temporarily traded their maturity for a negative image.
They fail to understand the importance of choosing their words carefully. Identifying constructive responses for a conversation are instead replaced with knee-jerk, off the hip, reflexive interjections. They've hunted down the possibility they’re in the wrong and killed that possibility to near extinction. The biggest sting is: these are select peers I've associated with in order to broaden my writing knowledge or literary career.
I only have myself to blame.
We’re not talking of the little shits enjoying their anonymity by slagging down others with every harsh expletive, taunt, or slur in the dictionary. I mean the BIG shits who've reached a level of arrogant hubris allowing for nothing and taking no shame in it; adults who should know better by now.
They might know the technical definition of humility, but not how to be humble. Their lack of tact when communicating is coupled with little forethought in the consequences. They open their digital mouths in front of an audience and show the kind of unkind people they aspire to be.
CASE #1: Hitler with a Halo
Let’s start with a writing group I've recently parted ways with due to the ever-tightening moderation the group’s creator and the lapdog she appointed to help. I bear no malice towards the majority of the group. They've been the nicest and most informative bunch of ink jockeys I've come across. It’s the appointed moderator’s recent act that defined the final straw. It's what has me on the other end of that bridge and toying with a box of matches.
The group itself was well-structured; a place for everything and everything better damn well goosestep there quick. This left the rest of the venue free for constructive communion. No great lists of ads interspersed with the occasional tidbit of useful information. Blogs went here, for-hire literary services went there, and so forth. The ideals of this segregation into categorical order benefits all involved.
Apparently, I missed out on a conversation that went nuclear about politics or religion or both. I returned to the group after a short hiatus to find an admonishment from the moderator dictating we were only going to be talking about writing from here on out. Politics and religion were no longer allowed as topics, only writing.
Where I come from a polite discussion should not consist of any of these three: sex, politics, or religion. You want to chat about that there’s someplace else for it where politeness is moot. If you choose otherwise, be ready for the consequences. However, this was a writing group where all three have been freely discussed in the past. Sometimes as the base for new stories.
The off-putting thing is that the genre of Erotica is fine to advertise/communicate about, but not the latter two subjects. Aren't there writers who specialize in genres that benefit from critiquing the religious or political nature of current events? Now they no longer have a voice. This is the line that’s been crossed. Those select topics are sent to the gas chamber while everyone else can get in line for their armbands and talk about who they've screwed lately.
All topics of writing have their place, but for me a forum about writing should be utterly devoid of censure. If a discussion becomes heated it can be taken elsewhere so others not involving themselves can enjoy the remaining benefits. Like civilized adults…
The structure of this group dances along the dividing line, because it directs the ads and services into specific places while still allowing them to exist. Stepping over the line and censuring topics because someone got opinionated is a poor choice. If you can direct people without issue, you can direct the trolls to take their argument outside. The rest of us might want to chat about a short story detailing the latest news of a presidential nominee’s sexual affairs with an underage Catholic schoolgirl. Like civilized adults…
CASE #2: Segra-Baiting
Another instance with a peer led me to cease following his discussions on the grounds he firmly, rudely, and publicly made it known I wasn't welcome to communicate on his thread. There was no forethought to forewarn. There was no bad blood shared that I knew of because any prior issues were resolved. However, he’d previously exhibited an arrogance I should’ve realized was one of his natural traits and avoided the probability of conflict instead of being subject to it again. That’s what I get for giving someone a chance.
'Segra-Baiting' is another cutesy contraction where a discussion-starter targets one or more individuals for a bit of public shaming. The “bait” is an open forum with a worthwhile subject. However, only the privileged few the OP wants to surround him/herself with can comment as they wish. They follow his desires for communication lest they suffer his smarm. They wait for that one sod who thought their opinion mattered to speak up, so they can be singled out, shot down, and dismissed for public enjoyment – cool kid’s table bullshit.
No tact is used. No questions are asked to determine the true intent of the victim’s input. No forethought is used to determine if the knee-jerk reaction will result in negative response. You weren't invited, even though the forum was open to all, and you’re not welcome. What you say has no purpose even if it has something to do with the discussion. You are the weakest link, piss off. When this occurs more than once it gives the impression the OP is looking for a court jester to whip rather than someone to chat with.
The impression I’m left with from both cases I simplify to:
"It must be nice to hide behind all that arrogance-ridden anonymity, and not be accountable for your actions thereby freeing you of your responsibility of acting like a civilized adult."
This article is not written as some paltry act against someone who hurted my widdle feewings. This is neither revenge nor hate speech. It’s a reminder that we left the sandbox antics back in grade school. Stifling someone’s ability to communicate without reason is censure bereft of tact, forethought, or humility. Censure for the sake of displaying hubris only shows others the kind of undesirable waste of human skin you actually are.
- TACT: Know what words are best to use based on what you know of a person and where they are to be used. If you don't know them enough, the best course of action is to simply be civil.
- FORETHOUGHT: Realize your audience's demeanor and their conversation's direction before posting a response. Nobody cares jack shit whether or not you're 'FIRST!', insinuating you're screwing their mother, or reading all about your seeping wound when the venue is all about cooking custard and knitting cat shawls.
- HUMILITY: Words mean N O T H I N G until they're spoken. Once so, their importance is determined by the interests of listeners. Realize that no matter how much ego you're toting, your words will retain the same value. Filtering them through said ego makes them all that harder to want to listen to or increase the value of what you have to say.
Conversely, who the hell am I to talk? All I know is that if you made it this far, you either found value somewhere in my ranting or a masochist that keeps reading further until they find it.