Oh no! A blog post! Someone must be QQing about something, passive aggressive cannons charged to full!
Yes and no.
You may've noticed I've been less active here. It comes in waves. If I'm not here that means I'm elsewhere. Writing other genres, playing other games. In short keeping things fresh and keeping myself from burning out. I'm in one of the phases where I am doing lots of little bits in different places, which means I'm seeing behaviour from lots of groups of people. Some patterns are arising.
For once, while this post is certainly applicable to a chunk of people on Chaos, it's not actually aimed at or prompted by anyone who writes here. I just wanted to get my thoughts down in the written word, this was as good a place for it to live as any, and maybe it will influence one single person, you never know. That said, if you read this and think 'This is totally aimed at and prompted by me' then sure. Assume it is. If the below applies to you, own it and fix it.
Here is a thing we know. Wheatons Law came into existence for a reason. Because people are asshats on the internet. Not everyone, but a big ol' chunk. This is just an unfortunate truth.
But why?
This is what I don't get. I mean I half understand it on like.. I dunno. Call of Duty or something. It's still unnecessary, but at least that's a game and setting where the point is to go murder people. From my understanding that is the sum total of the game. Adrenaline and aggression, so all right.
But RP sites. Or PVE environments. I used to play WoW back in the day, so something like a PVE server there say.
The point there is not to attack other players. It's not aggression. It's either doing your own thing or playing cooperatively. So why are people so outright hostile and miserable?
Particularly people who are doing well. Get someone to max level. Get someone good gear. Get someone in a staff position. Get someone known as a leader. Get someone known as a founder who's been there longer than anyone else. Conservatively about 50 percent of them are going to turn into terrible human beings. They are going to belittle and bully people. They are going to throw their weight around because they can.
On the Chaos side of things, I would say that people are confused when they complain about cliques. Cliques are natural and healthy, they are going to happen and there is nothing wrong with them. The real problem is bullies. The real problem is an atmosphere that says as long as you are in with the right people, it's okay to hurt and harass others. That's a thing. Can't fix it, no point complaining about it. It's not in my power, I just choose not to interact with those folks. There's enough people that I can do that. Life goes on, I can still RP and do what I like.
Back to the internet in general. Back to the big question. Why? Surely not all of these people are just terrible in real life. Surely if you talked to them one on one, if you understood them they'd be okay. In half of these venues, the cold hard truth is that anyone who becomes 'someone', anyone who has enough power in whatever form to abuse it like this, is probably kind of a nerd. Whether they identify as one or not. I do. But these are not the people who are going out and partying every night. A healthy chunk of them were or are not super popular in their offline lives. That's why the have so much time to dedicate to online. That's why the choose to stay in online worlds where they've managed to accumulate perceived power. Where they've found a group of peers.
And you know what? That's okay. I'm not saying they lead sad little lives. I spend a lot of time online. I'm pretty happy. I have a job, two houses, I travel when and where I want. I am a nerd, I play a lot of online games, and I am happy with my life. I am sure lots of other people are too. So don't get me wrong. I'm not saying they're pathetic losers. That's where this line of thinking usually goes, but it's not where I'm going. Bear with me, we're getting close.
What I am saying is that these are people who have usually been hurt. They were bullied. Or they were lonely. They felt marginalized. Belittled. Not enough.
And here they've finally found somewhere where they can be who and what they want. Where they've found some respect.
And they immediately become the people they hated. The ones who hurt them. And they hurt other people. And I just don't get it.
For me, I have been hurt in just about every way you can think of. I bounce back, as I said, I am doing pretty well now, but you carry that with you. I am not.. I am not a paragon of what a person should act like. I'm not going to say I am. But while I will absolutely fight with people, I do not go out of my way to hurt them. I do not bully. I do not chase. I do not belittle. I do not engage unless and until I have been engaged. Because I have been hurt, because I know how terrible it is, I would spare other people that, if I can. Hurting someone else does not make me feel good. It does not somehow lessen the pain I carry around.
To elaborate, from my own experiences, I fight all the time. I do. I am terrible for it. I do not back down and I feel the need to protect everything, but I still remember the one time I said something I truly regret in anger. Maybe a decade ago, perhaps more, I was angry at a boy on the school bus. I was fat and plain and an easy target, so I learned to fight. And he picked one with me that day. I call him nothing but trailer trash. And the moment I said it I regretted it. I am still embarrassed by it. It was true, but it was not his fault, not his choosing, and it was too personal. It was the sort of comment that when said in anger could really hurt someone. I did not know all of his situation. It was a rough place I grew up in. On top of not being able to afford the things, the status symbols of childhood, I didn't know what his parents were like, what his home life was like. That was out of line, regardless of what he had said, and I knew it.
There are people who have hurt me quite a bit, and because I listen and pay attention, I know them. I understand them. I could hit them back with low blows that will absolutely hurt them. Honestly, emotionally hurt. And I choose not to. I will tell them to kark off any day of the week, I will snarl and growl, but I will not take that personal information and use it to fight back. Gods knows sometimes it's justified, or feels like it, but I do not want to hurt people like that. I do not want to be that bully. I cannot control what other people do, but I can control what I do.
Here is the other thing. You do not know who you are talking to. So many people I have spoken to are so.. I don't know. Wounded. So vulnerable. They hate themselves. They're alone. They don't think they're normal. They don't think anyone else feels the same, can understand, cares.
And these people who have power, who are 'important' choose to go after them. You don't know what those kids ore going through.
On Chaos alone I've talked to so many people who are going through really rough things. Do they need these people they look up to attacking them? Do they need to feel the community is out to get them? God no. 11 out of every 100,000 people commit suicide in North America. Thats like.. 1 in 10,000. That's not that big a number. They don't need you telling them the things they tell themselves. They don't need you chasing them from their one little haven.
People, particularly older generations, say we lack empathy because me communicate less and less face to face. I liked to think the internet was drawing us together. I can interact with people all over the world and they are just like me. They are my friends. It's not us vs them. It's all just us to me. But maybe they are right. Because I do not see a lot of empathy. I see a lot of bullies.
And that's just sad.
So I dunno. Maybe stop that?