These forums used to be a lovely and wonderful place. I'm not talking about "birds and bunnies and butterflies", I'm talking about practical, sensible considerations: it was a community of intelligent men who shared a common interest, and who engaged in cool conversations that were interesting and instructive to read, and sometimes delightfully funny, too!
Disagreements weren't uncommon, but when they occured they were argued in sane and sensible ways that appealed to reason. Sometimes there were unfortunate misunderstandings, but the moderators of the forums acted wisely, and with measured responses. At that time, we could probably have survived without
moderators, because for the most part, the forums were self-moderated.
Well, times have changed.
Frankly, guys, I'm appalled
at many of the posts that I've seen, lately. In some cases, it seems as if people are eager to start a fight at the slightest provocation. There's no effort to see if there's some misunderstanding; it's just a knee-jerk reaction: Attack
! In other cases, people mock and insult one another, in a way that's just disgusting
to me. And in many other cases, there is an utter lack of civility that just poisons
the atmosphere. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
I no longer look forward to logging on here. In fact, I am quickly coming to dread it. The fact that I continue to do so is only because of a sense of duty. A duty to... the memory
, I guess, of what these forums once were. But it's also that sense of duty that compels me to try to find a solution to this "issue" of what the forums have become. If we don't solve this, the problem will only grow worse. If the problem grows worse, the attrition of good men who have the knowledge and skills to make our gaming better will not only continue, but will grow worse. And of course, so will the mood.
Here's what I'm thinking, about how we can deal with this problem. If you've got a better idea, we're all eager to hear it.
Maybe you've heard the expression, "Ignore the problem, and it will go away."
That's exactly what I propose that we do... but in a way that might be a bit different than what you might think I mean.
If someone makes a post that you think is offensive, don't respond. At all. In any way. No matter how
mad you are.
You see, some people, for whatever reason, think it's fun to "get a rise" out of someone. These guys think it's entertaining
to watch someone get angry.
Well... don't give them the pleasure. In fact, don't even give them the courtesy of a response, since such "courtesy" can be misconstrued as "a rise".
Instead, hit the little red and white button at the bottom of the avatar panel of the offending post. That will set off a silent alarm.
Then, the provocateur can enjoy getting a rise out of a Moderator, instead. Since you won't be a part of the conversation, the Moderator will focus all of his or her love on the provocateur.
In the panel on the left of your User Control Panel, you'll find a button that's labeled "edit Ignore list". If someone is consistently
rude, aggressive, or obnoxious, then I suggest that you put them on your "Ignore" list. Many of you have made new friends, here. I propose that you inform your friends via P
essage that you are putting the provocateur on your "Ignore" list, explain why, and invite them to join you in doing the same thing. If your friend agrees, then he, in turn, will PM his friends, and do the same thing. It will be a chain reaction that will spread.
Of course, the idea is that if enough people ignore an offensive person, he will eventually find himself alone, with no one to hear him except others of his kind. Indeed, he will find that even his legitimate questions and concerns won't be heard, except by his fellow provocateurs and the forum moderators... and I somehow suspect that because of their heavy workload, forum moderators won't be able to respond right away. If ever.
He'll either change his behavior and join our community; or, he'll eventually leave, because no one responds to his posts except for other people who have the same aggressive, rude tendencies. So: no need for finger pointing; no need to make threats of "banning" someone; no need to make threats of any sort, at all. Silence
is the key. I think of the idea as "The Silent Revolution"!
So, what about those people who have an abrasive personality, but who have strong skills that are of value to our community?
Well, that will have to be your decision, on a case by case basis. Even so, I strongly believe that sometimes, we have to swallow a bitter pill to heal what ails us. For me, deciding to ignore such a person will be a sacrifice which must be made, for the greater good of "us", the AGEod community.
Are you sceptical about that? Well, I have two simple questions for you to think about:
How many good men have left our community in disgust, because of this issue that just keeps growing worse?
If we keep one talented but obnoxious contributor to our games at the expense of losing other men in droves, is that an attrition that we can endure?
Before I go on, I want to say that everybody
gets angry, sometimes. Everybody
has said things that they regret. But here, we have the luxury of editing our posts. Correcting our mistakes. Adding an apology, if its the right thing to do. Mistakes happen; but the wise learn from their mistakes. So: give people a chance to "wise up", before you consign them to oblivion, OK?
In my other threads, I always talk a lot about being a "gentleman". Let's make sure we're on the same page, OK? By "gentleman", I mean a man who is courteous, who avoids brash words and behavior, and who is tolerant of opinions which differ from his own. It doesn't require a college degree, discriminating taste, fancy clothes, or a big bank account to be a gentleman. All it requires is the common sense to see the wisdom behind the ideal of gentlemanly conduct, and the strength of character to act that way, even when it isn't easy.
talking about being a "boyscout"! My husband is the consummate gentleman. He's also unquestionably one of the toughest and meanest s.o.b.s that his foes will ever meet, if they push him to that extreme. I've seen him 'mop the floor' with "tough guys" who mistook his soft-spoken courtesy for weakness. I wish I hadn't, and that's all I'm going to say about that. My point is that courtesy and tolerance aren't signs of weakness in a man. More often than not, it's a sign of strength, especially when it's tough to restrain your urge to lash out. Call it "strength of character", if you want to. I do.
Speaking from a woman's perspective, I'll add that thugs attract the kind of women that they deserve.
So do gentlemen.