I had a conversation the other day with some friends about the online hostilities and chipped in my two cents on how I handle it. I’ve also had others (over the years) of G+ ask how I handle this- so I figured I’d type this up (based on the conversation I just mentioned and post it).
The Wrathofzombie Guide to Handling Aggression
The way I handle aggression (both in-person and online) is to become emotionally removed (as much as possible) and attempt to calm the situation. Once heated dick-waving starts happening, dialogue breaks down and there will be ZERO communication going forward. Hostility, bitterness, side-taking, dividing, and more dick-waving will ensue. This doesn’t help either side make their case and the message is lost in illogical chest thumping. I will still attempt to have a dialogue and talk about shit, until I can see that reason/calm talking will not garner anything and then I move on. I do not engage.
Another thing that has really enlightened me as of late is I am responsible for 500 volunteers at my current job. My organization (and me directly) constantly has to navigate the frustrations of the volunteers who have been with the organization for 20 years and how we do things now. Rumors, hostility, toxicity, resentment, getting yelled at, accused of shit, blah blah blah are standard fare for my day. Some of the accusations about myself and the where I work are quite astounding and mind-boggling. I have tried to reason with people. I have tried to show logic. Most importantly, I have tried to be transparent (as much as possible on what is reasonable for a volunteer to know about organizational operations)… Some of them get it and I HOPE they will take that knowledge and disseminate it throughout their department and that it will curb the rumors, hostility, etc. Now sometimes this DOES happen and some of the volunteers see I am doing the damned best job I can and that shit takes time. I have not done this with a raised voice, being aggressive, disrespectful (even when they are to me) The other side is that I’ve seen these volunteers I’ve just talked to go back and still get swept back up into the rumor mill and it was a lost cause…
My point on this is this obstacle I’m going through is happening in person and has taken 7 months thus far and is STILL ongoing and could blow up at any moment… And this shit is going on in-person when people are supposed to be more empathetic, prone to reason and able to see emotions. Remove that element with the cool faceless efficiency of the internet and it has damn near zero chance of changing or assuage a person’s grievances or perceptions (can it happen on a one on one basis with private messaging? Absolutely. But in a forum setting with multiple people such as G+ or FB, I highly doubt it). Getting riled up and defensive (to me) solves nothing- and all the aggression I’ve seen over the time of the internet prove this (just look at how the RPG G+ community and how the numbers have dwindled because of attitudes- also people are STILL arguing about shit that happened years ago… How has this made our hobby better or stronger?)
Will I take shit and accusations from people…? No. Will I support my friends who are being attacked by assholes on the internet…? Yes. I will attempt to have a dialogue and smooth things over. I will do so as calmly and respectfully as I can- even if they are not respectful to me (or my friends), because that is how I operate. I try to be the damned nicest person possible, even when assholes do not deserve it. If they continue to be aggressive, I block them or ignore them. However, I don’t rise to the bait, because I know it really won’t solve anything.
The other thing, and this may seem cold, but by and large, a person’s existence and opinions are inconsequential to me. If we can’t agree/get along/don’t like one another- fuck it. I will not lose sleep over the matter. I do not wish them ill-will, hatred, or hostility. I just do not ponder them at all… because to me, their opinions do.not.matter.
I do not get the sheer amount of hate, spite, or whatever that many others have received over the years- but I have gotten some due to my logo, my fuck-all attitude, and what is contained in the pages of Hubris… and I’ve handled it as I’ve mentioned above, and thus far my approach is working (for me at any rate).
Our hobby is small and exciting and fun… but really all the fighting, posturing, dick-waving, and bitching does absolutely ZERO good to anyone of us. It causes fatigue, resentment, bitterness, and further hostility. When aggression comes your way, don’t rise. Don’t argue- just give them the symbol (#itshislogo) and move on with a smile on your face and enjoy your day.