I try not to node about noding. I try not to feed the fires of self-involvement when there is so much more interesting to write about in the world. And even so much more that isn't interesting. But for the second time this year, I feel the need to make a comment on site politics. And to talk about some stuff that has been bothering me for a decade that I haven't known how to talk about before now. And I have a justification for doing this: I've written about some stuff that is so boring, that I feel that I have earned the right to treat E2 as livejournal, at least in a daylog.
I wrote Bullies and Bullying several days ago, to mixed results, and perhaps it was too personal to be of interest. It was personal, because much of it was taken from my own experience, including experience with people on here.
And today, I am reading a meandering chatbox discussion about how someone might have azamothed because someone else had been saying offensive things to them. Or at least, people believed they had been. The culprit in sending the annoying messages seems to have a mixed track record, with some people saying that they had been quite aggressive and annoying with commenting, and others (including myself), having had relatively good discussions, with just the "normal" amount of internet opinionation. There seems to be more conjecture than facts at this point.
One of the things I wrote in "Bullies and Bullying" is that bullies are not always, or even usually, sadistic people who single out someone for abuse just for the sheer sake of it. Often bullying behavior can be seen as a quite rational response to behavior that is rude or anti-social. Sometimes a community will have quite strong standards of conduct that are so ingrained that they are not even aware of them. When someone tries to join that community, that person might come across as quite rude, and that community might come across as exclusive. Their natural reaction to enforce community guidelines very well might seem like the actions of a clique of bullies.
And I think that case comes up often here. But I don't know, facts are missing. Is this a case of someone malevolently harassing people? Is this a case of someone being unaware of the convoluted standards of a tightly-knit group of people?
I don't know.
Almost ten years ago, in the winter of 2003, I managed to seriously offend one of E2's most popular users. She and I had been getting along well, but I was perhaps a bit presumptuous about the closeness of our friendship. In a fit of boredom and depression, I called her home phone, which was publicly listed on her homenode. She responded by publicly telling me not to talk to her, in terms that were unkind, and for the last decade we haven't spoken. I also believe that she might have instigated other people to verbally attack me.
Was it inappropriate of me to initiate a level of familiarity that someone else didn't want? Quite probably. Was the other person a bully for publicly insulting me? Quite probably. After ten years, I can't even figure out my own situation, and it is very hard to parse when other people's conflicts are the results of innocent misunderstanding or narcissistic bullshit.
We are part of an evolving community. Even after a decade, the standards of how we interact with each other are hard to explain. Be aware that we are all often enforcing rules, and some of those rules might not make sense to everyone. Also be aware that in the simple act of enforcing those rules, we might be starting a cycle of exclusion and anger that can quickly grow out of control. And be aware that second or third hand reports of someone's behavior might not be the best thing to go on: someone who might be hard for one person to deal with might get along quite well with someone else.
Since this is merely a log, a sketch of my thoughts, I won't offer any conclusion more than that. After this egregerious noding about noding, I will be sure to go back to writing about more important things.