________ ________ ________
2017-12-01 / \/ \/ / \
/ __/ /_ _/
I've written and re-written this phlog / _/ / /
three times now, I've got something eating \_______/_\___/____/\___/____/_
at me but every time I write about it it / \/ \/ / \
just sounds over-dramatic and stupid. / _/ /_ _/
/- / _/ /
There's a pattern I've seen in recent \________/\________/\___/____/
years where a specific kind of element moves
in to a long-established community for who knows what reason, with only a
fringe interest in it, and demands the community change to accommodate it. The
community invariably splits between people who feel like they should change to
accommodate the whim of the new element and oppose the people who don't want
to change, people who refuse to change and openly clash with the people who
support the change and people who just want to get on with whatever the
community was doing in the first place.
Imagine a small basketball league, just amateurs, they're happy playing
ball. Then one day a friend of a friend of a friend of one of the players
comes in in a costume of one of the mascots, just a bit of fun. They let them
throw a shot for show and everyone loves it and has a good time. Then the next
game the friend shows up in costume again, this time expecting to play. The
players are like, hang on, ok, you can throw a ball but there's more to
basketball than that, there's rules and teams and everything but we're happy
to have you try out.
"Why should I try out? Why should I know how to play basketball? I'm here,
in costume and people cheered for me when I threw a ball last week, that's
more important." The newcomer responds.
A third of the team stubbornly agrees, the newcomer is wearing a costume
and we like the mascot, they should be allowed to play even though they don't
know the rules, the rules can be changed so they can have the newcomer in the
costume on the court. Maybe they know the newcomer's friend's friend, maybe
they just like the costume, maybe they hope more people like the newcomer will
come if they let the newcomer on the court, maybe they hope by letting the
newcomer on the court no more will feel the need to come.
A third of the team flat out refuses to let the newcomer on the court, they
were here first, the rules are the rules, it's a sport not a game, they had to
learn to play, they had to try out and they have to wear the uniform and so
should the newcomer.
Both these thirds still call themselves basketball players and wear their
team's uniforms but rarely play, instead the court becomes their battle
ground, their platform to spew hate and bile at each other and spread
misinformation and flat-out lies about each other.
The last third are the ones with the ball, they're just trying to play
around the chaos that their league has turned into.
Cat, you're rambling, what's your point?
I dunno, I'm just venting hot air I guess. I just see this happening again
and again and more frequently and it's really getting frustrating.
If we continue the analogy above, I'm not in the league or even a
basketball fan really, I'm more interested in the whole; the game, the fans,
the teams, the uniforms, the hot dog vendors, etc. I think I've mentioned on a
previous phlog file that I'm a "fan of fandoms" so mostly, while this process
is disheartening and uncomfortable to watch it doesn't really affect me
Recently though I've seen it happen in a community I was a part of in my
youth, when the community itself was also very young. I left a long time ago
and the whole space has changed considerably since I was involved but it still
stings a little to see it happen to something you used to really love. In this
instance, too, the disruption has been especially vitriolic, genuinely
horrible, and over nothing. Just one irresponsible comment from a nobody about
another nobody and a big part of the community starts to shake itself apart.
It's ridiculous and honestly sickening the way these increasingly large
groups of people behave online.
Have you ever seen The Wire? There's a scene at the end of season three
where, avoiding spoilers, everything is coming crashing down around one of the
crime bosses and his crew is caught up in a vicious war with another crew but
for reasons that are completely false. After revealing to one of his
lieutenants that this whole thing has come about because of lies, the
"Don't matter who did what to who at this point. Fact is, we went to
war and now there ain't no going back. I mean, shit, it's what war
is, you know? Once you in it, you in it. If it's a lie, then we fight
on that lie. But we gotta fight."