Disengagement TacticsMay 7, 2008
So, here’s the thing- how do we operate online and create spaces where we’re not constantly subjecting ourselves to foolishness? The big push I’ve seen in the last few years in terms of the way many of us are dealing online is a certain set of tactics for disengaging from the crazy.
The fact is, the more we utilize the power of the internet to speak truth where we once were silenced, the more folks will try to shut us down.
Mentally & Emotionally
The first step to disengaging is disengaging mentally and emotionally.
The problem is, some part of you imagines that the person on the other side is listening, rational, and simply doesn’t know better. Or maybe, that if you talk s-l-o-w-l-y and clearly enough comprehension will occur. Or that if faced with enough truth, the stupid must melt.
And sadly, like the comic demonstrates, this is a battle you cannot win. So how do you get your rational side to admit this? (or your emotional side to give up on them?)
I like to imagine the situation this way: If a random screaming street person came up to you, would you attempt to have rational debate with them?
The internet is a big street. There is a lot of screaming.
No, I don’t have to listen
There’s a trick that abusers know well- they convince folks to keep taking abuse by appealing to their sense of fairness, to “giving a second chance” and all those sorts of things which are great tools when you have a situation built on good faith.
But the problem is, these people aren’t working in good faith. Odds are, by the second or third exchange, if there was any good faith to be found, it would have shown up by now.
There is nothing that says you have to give equal time, or “free speech” to people on your blogs or forums. Even more so if they’re not paying you for the right. These same people would shout you down if you did the same on their spaces, the only difference is, why take the time and energy to shout them down when you can simply moderate comments or ban them?
My house, my rules. And the internet is full of places they can go, no need to squat on my property!
Moderated comments are your bestest friend
You want discussion but you don’t want flamewars? Moderated comments. Or, have limited posting rights to the people you know are cool. Foolishness loves to get a soapbox and especially if it feels that certain views are “underrepresented”. Because, you know, sexist, racist, and heterosexist ideas are totally totally oppressed views these days…(“Man, did you hear? They lynched another straight white guy! Then the cops shot him 50 times. Then he got raped! We’re so silenced, it’s like being invisible! Maybe if we got a white guy in political office, we could change things!”)
And there’s no reason you have to be anything BUT arbitrary about who you let comment or don’t let comment. A lot of times they’ll accuse you of being the very thing they’re doing, yet for some reason, despite their “crusade” for equality, you notice they never seem to be slamming on Stormfront, or gay bashers, or sites that advocate rape or violence against women… Funny that.
Do not read
If anyone ever makes you seriously angry, like personally angry? You should disengage immediately. Not because being angry is wrong, or bad (odds are Nazi McSexist needs his or her ass beat anyway), but because being angry feels crappy. And enough of it is bad for your health. If you know someone writes TeH CrAzY, then don’t read it. Like, if it ends up in your inbox as an email, or as a comment to approve, delete it on general principle.
You may wish to take secret heehees that they could have spent a good hour crafting some perfectly crafted argument about how slavery was good, rape is not rape, and gays are bringing the hellfire and you casually, cheerfully, deleted it without a thought. By not reading the crazy, you win.
“But what if they’ve changed?” the Jimmy Cricket asks. So what? If they’ve changed, good for the world. But they’ve already taken enough of your energy and time, why waste any more on the -chance- that this one person learned not to be a complete fuckface?
They can take their new and improved ass elsewhere and others can talk about what great people they are. Your victory is in being free. Remember, they’ve already proven they don’t like to read. Why give them the consideration they won’t give you?
Fuck you, I’ll stay positive
Feel free to keep your comments to just your friends, if you want. Maybe the internet could do with more examples of sane posting, instead of insane, asinine snark. Maybe it could do with a reasonable discussion that isn’t interrupted by random screaming street person pissing on the party.
Anyway, I’m hoping to find more of the folks I consider friends on my blog here, and less random people. You may find the commenting moderation to get more strict, probably if I see a dramatic upswing in asinine behavior.
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