So I’ve been trying to write this for a frigging week, and I still haven’t come up with a way to fully avoid sounding like I’ve got up on my grandstanding martyr box. I apologize; I hate that shit. But I’d rather say it poorly than not say it at all.
I’ve been an editor here for a long time. I am very good at telling when a piece of text deserves its own spot at e2, and when it would be better suited to a daylog or blog post. There’s a gray area of course, but sometimes it’s clear. Two weeks ago I cross-posted a little snippet of text to both my blog and its own node here. I wrote it and I liked it for what it was, but there’s no way it needed its own node. I did this because I wanted to see what would happen if I quietly violated my own standards. I suspected and hoped that people would call me out on it, and I wanted to see how that would be handled.
Among those who noticed and objected to the writeup, it was largely handled by talking shit when I wasn’t around and sending abusive msges, usually profane, sometimes taking issue with my heritage, intelligence, or role at E2, and almost always confrontational and ugly.
This was hardly a scientific study, and it wasn’t meant to be. It was just my own curiosity poking a button to see what would happen. I have no way of knowing how much of the anger was due to me being me, to me being an admin, or to random bilious whim. A downvote is one thing - telling someone to fuck off and die is a little different.
If it was simply because I’m me, I’m baffled; to my knowledge none of the angry responses came from people I’ve had any unpleasant encounters with. Resentment based on reputation is silly; I think I’m only famous for cookies and rabbits. If it’s sheerly because I’m an admin, I’m doubly baffled, because, come on. Interestingly, some of the most spiteful and profane msges I received were the first contacts I’d ever had with these users. That seems like an unwise foot to start off on with anyone, not to mention with any admin, but it is the internet and you can do as you like.
I don’t know that this already-too-long editor log will reach any of the people it ought to. If you liked, didn’t care about, or didn’t see the goofy little wu in question (which I’ve just deleted), obviously none of this applies. A few people disliked the piece and sent diplomatic queries, which I appreciate more than you know. I am not delusional enough to think I will ever be liked by everyone, and maybe some of you have long-held grudges I can’t remember the roots of (/msg me for christ’s sake; I’ll probably apologize.) And in any group, some people are just bound to be dicks.
But if you are one of the people who imploded with fury at seeing an editor apparently flaunt a rule, and took it as evidence that E2 is unfairly and perhaps corruptly, cliqueishly edited, well, I guess I apologize for furthering your thinking. However there is no excuse, in this or in any other adult social group, for forgoing basic civility as a first step in dealing with conflict.
I am confident that there is no one on our staff who would respond to a sub-par writeup with rude or profane msges. If I’m wrong, please correct me. We know that our users are, duh, an essential part of this user-written website, and we want this to be a pleasant place. Not perfect, not completely free of conflict, just generally respectful. E2 is already far ahead of many public forums in this regard but evidently we still have a ways to go.
If you see me, or any other editor, behaving in a way you think is inappropriate, whether in noding, editing, or personal communication, it is ok and encouraged to speak up. I do not mean general bitching and rumor-mongering - I mean saying things like:
“/msg editor I don’t understand your writeup x. Am I missing something?”
“/msg editor wu y is a little bare. Do you think you could flesh it out?”
“Can I ask why wu z was deleted?”
“Uh... this wu of yours seems to be an E1 relic. Mind taking a look?”
“This one doesn’t seem up to current standards. Are you sure it needs its own spot?”
Since this is pretty much what we sit around saying to users all day, I cannot imagine that anyone on staff would take offense to msges like these. Or who wouldn’t answer them. None of us got the job because we were unable to take criticism. I have always enjoyed the rumor that I am a bot, but I am actually a normal person who can be talked with. There’s seriously no need to either prostrate yourself or freak out profanely. Talk to us like we are nice guys and you increase your chances of being treated the same way. If you’re shy or paranoid, msg trusted editor A about the actions of unknown editor B. If there’s not one person on the staff you feel you can talk to, well that is a problem I can’t fix.
The bottom line is that if you enjoy E2 and would like to see it grow and become better, please address disagreements directly, rationally, and with a civil tongue in your head. Developing a default of general courtesy goes a long way toward making this place unique and amazing among similar sites. If you can’t manage this, you are not doing E2 right.
In other news, here is a list of topics which are now empty as a result of my ongoing plagiarism sweep. Details in last month’s editor log here. I’ll be adding to this list throughout the month. More empty topics can be found on my scratchpad.
And, if you’re not listed on the address registry
or birthday list
, and would like to be, I’m the lady to msg.