Web Search nikon coolpix digital cameras The Miserable Annals of the Earth: Totally freaking out, dude

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Totally freaking out, dude

Here's how it goes when I join a website... well, it happened when I joined an APA back in the early 90s, too, so I guess it applies to any kind of social organization where people communicate with each other through text. But, anyway, here's how things go:

If the website has any kind of content moderation, I will, inevitably, post something at some point or do something at some point (usually the latter) that is either an inarguable violation of the Terms of Service (if only because most websites that are moderated deliberately leave their TOS somewhat subjective, so creative mods can generally find a reason to get pissy with anyone if they really want to) or that isn't actually a violation of any known written TOS but that pisses someone off anyway.

When this happens, I will get a Come To Jesus email from a mod telling me I've fucked up, explaining how I've fucked up, and warning me in no uncertain terms that if I continue to fuck up this way, I will be suspended or banned.

When I get this kind of email from a mod, one of two things will happen. If I'm in an unusually pleasant mood, and the mod him or herself isn't being a total little bitch about it, I will acknowledge the error, apologize, thank the mod for pointing it out, and advise I'll do better in the future.

This has happened, I don't know, maybe three times in my storied history with such organizations.

If I'm not in an unusually pleasant mood, as I usually am not at times when mods end up sending me warnings because when mods end up sending me warnings it's usually because some fucktard on a site who has been there longer than me has done something to piss me off, and it's already escalated to flamewar status, and by that point half a dozen to a dozen other regular users of the site will be jumping all over my shit while completely ignoring, or actively supporting, the fuckwad who originally pissed on me, because that's how it works with these things, and I'm pretty goddam aggravated by all this, and then, to top it off, I get some shitty note from a mod telling me my behavior is unacceptable and I need to mend my ways OR DIE... ::DEEP breath:: ...as I say, if I'm NOT in a great mood when I get one of these aggravating little "Dear Huck You Suck" notices, and especially if the mod sending the note is coming across like they're God on the Throne and I'm some scabby little pederast trying to sneak a cigarette in the holy lavatory, well... then I will respond in a much less pleasant way.

Which will result in me being banned from that site.

In the old days, if I still had any interest in the site, I'd just set up another account using another email address, but nowadays, with everyone hip to the ISP number dealio, you have to go to a public library or use a buddy's computer to do that, and sometimes it's not worth the effort just to get back into a place where you're clearly not welcome anyway.

Now, every once in a while I happen across a site where the management has a wonderfully enlightened attitude towards free expression and they've taken a vow to never, ever, under any circumstances ban any user no matter how provocative, controversial or confrontational that user may be.

When I come across these sites, one of two things happens:

Either (a) within a few days, a week at the most, I so infuriate the operator of the site that he or she make a one time only exception to their rules because I am just SUCH a total shitbag and they can't STAND it, or, (b), within a few weeks, a month at the most, I have so utterly alienated everyone on the site that there's little point in me hanging out there any longer. Anything I post becomes the equivalent of trolling, because no matter what it is, the only responses I get are bile, vitriol, and screaming abuse.

This happened at Aaron Hawkins' site. It happened at MTG: Salvation. It happened at HCRealms. It happened on the old AOL boards I used to post to frequently. It happened in the Amateur Press Alliance I was once a member of. It happened when I was writing for that dickbag Dave LeBlanc at CBEM. And it's happening again right now at LouisvilleRPG.com.

It's not like I don't understand what's going on here. I'm different from most people... better... and even when I share a hobby interest with others, I tend to do so in my own special and unique way. Sometimes being different (better) is all it takes to get me booted from a site; Aaron Hawkins, who was a pretty cool, pretty funny, pretty smart, and goddam articulate fellow in his own right, simply could not handle the fact tht I was indisputably cooler, funnier, smarter, and more articulate than he was. (Also, I was white, and male. Aaron didn't have race problems, as long as the white people hanging around on his site were female, comely, and frequently flirtatious. White guys, on the other hand, seemed to baffle and annoy him in about equal measure, and white guys who were smarter than he was just pissed him off like you wouldn't believe.)

Hardly anybody running a social website likes anyone who is smarter, funnier, and cooler than they are, and I nearly always am, so I start out with that against me going in: once I start posting on a site, I tend to get a lot of attention, and that tends to put some people's noses seriously out of joint. (Again, see Hawkins, Aaron, above.)

When you're posting to someone's blog, the above is enough to get you booted in short order. When you're posting to some hobby site, well, what happens there is that I generally enjoy the hobby, yes I do... but I enjoy it in a different fashion from other people.

For example, I used to play a game called HeroClix. This game is a brilliant idea, but it had pretty rotten execution, which is to say, the rules for it sucked, as they would force your clix representations of Spider-Man or Captain America to move and do battle in ways that greatly contradict the way Spider-Man and Captain America are presented in the comics. For the vast majority of clix players, this is a matter of no import; it's a game, after all, separate and distinct from the source material, and sometimes when you adapt from one media to another, you have to make some changes.

I never accepted that, so I created my own House Rules for HeroClix which made the game far, far superior to the official version. And whenever I'd go on a HeroClix related site, inevitably the subject of my House Rules would come up. At which point, a great many people would become offended by the very notion that someone out there would dare to create house rules for Their Beloved Game, and as tiny minded tools have done when offended since time immemorial, they would immediately begin launching personal attacks and abuse at me. And I would respond in kind, because that's what I do, and then, well, see above.

The situation at LouisvilleRPG.com is essentially the same as this. I roleplay, but I don't use the Dungeons and Dragons rules system when I do. I have my own roleplaying campaign called World of Empire, and I use my own original rules system for it. I didn't completely create the system; I inherited a system from a guy I used to game with up north and I added a lot of my own original subsystems to it. But the system works extremely well for the kind of detailed, nuanced roleplaying... TRUE roleplaying... that I enjoy... far far better than Dungeons & Dragons, which isn't designed for real roleplaying anyway.

So I went over to LouisvilleRPG.com to try and find a few more players for my campaign. At that time, I had only three -- my wife, one of my stepdaughters, and Nate. Three is an okay party size, but a few more is better, and anyway, about half the time my stepdaughter had to miss sessions, and two is just too small a party to get a lot done. Anyway, I wanted a few more players, so off I went to the site.

Where it was basically the HeroClix thing all over again. I posted a few notices saying I was looking for players. A few people responded that my game sounded cool, and what version of D&D was I running? To which I would spit venomously and say "I don't use D&D, D&D isn't a roleplaying system, I use my own system". (No, really. I'd type back something like ::spitting contemptuously:: I don't use DnD, I have my own system. I want to actually ROLEPLAY, not move a cardboard stand up around through a dungeon packed with monsters and treasure and moronic magic items.)

Which, for some reason I will never understand, would tend to really piss some people off.

Fortunately, LouisvilleRPG is one of those very enlightened websites where they never ban anyone no matter how big a jerk they are. So I still have an account active there. But I've pretty quickly alienated a great many people there through what they describe as my 'arrogance' and 'rudeness', which I myself prefer to think of as 'refreshing directness and blunt, straightforward honesty'.

I'm not quite at critical mass there yet. But it's getting there. I'm not yet at the point where anything I post draws screams of outrage and bellows of derision. I am, however, at the point of diminishing returns and rapidly escalating flamewars. Here's how this goes:

I'm posting in some thread. Or someone mentions me or something related to me in another thread, innocuously.

Out of nowhere, some cretin will suddenly swoop into the thread and toss a few ad hominem insults at me. These insults are often poorly spelled and the words in the sentences frequently don't mean what the writer clearly thinks they mean, but, nonetheless, the hostility is clear.

Me being me, I'll respond in some way, advising the person who has just attacked me that no, it's Dickheads Get In Free Day on some other site, not here, or merely wondering out loud how he can see to type with his head wedged so far up his ass. Something like that.

Then it's on like Donkey Kong. Out of the very ether a screaming horde of snot-spackled fapwads will condense in a boiling knot of poor grammar, creative spelling and vigorously incorrect punctuation, screaming at me for being rude and crass and mean and unkind and generally taking enormous issue with the way I'm being so insulting to that poor, poor guy who... er... um... well, you know, just that poor guy I'm attacking, for no reason, apparently, at least, as far as these hobblewits are concerned. So I start returning fire at all these new hecklers, and here's the thing about me in these circumstances -- if someone starts up with me in a textual environment, they get the whole ammo belt back from me. I do not stint, nor do I pull punches, nor do I hold back any troops once I've been engaged. I bring the fucking heat. I'm not firing a few warning shots, I'm out to scorch the entire region where my attackers are standing down to the bedrock and then piss in the smoking ashes. You come at me, you insult me for no reason, you disrespect me in a textual environment where I'm not worried about losing my job or getting beat up, then the gloves are fucking off, bitch. And if you were stupid enough to come unarmed to this battle of wits, if you were dumb enough to bring a butter knife to a goddam orbital nuclear exchange, my friend, well, that's too goddam bad for you. I'm the nicest, sweetest guy in the world IRL, and I'm still the nicest, sweetest guy in the world in a textual environment as long as we've got the mutual love and respect mojo working, oh yes I am.

But if you decide to get it on with me, if you decide you really need to get down and get funky all over my ass, if you feel it's absolutely imperative that you get right up in my face and spray spittle, well... brace yourself. The sky is about to fall.

But, again, here's what really pisses me off about these situations: I never, and I mean, not EVER, insult anyone first. I don't fire until I'm fired on. That's a constant; that's who I am. And yet that carries no weight in these things. Some fuckwit drops into a thread and calls me a piece of shit, I tell him he'd better stop typing so fast or he might accidentally bite his boyfriend's dick off, and suddenly, I'M the bad guy! Suddenly there's blood in the water, the posse is out, and the lynching is well under way, and nobody says a word to the first guy who started the whole thing.


It's all about ME. Naturally.

We had one of these things flare up yesterday. I'm bopping along in a thread, having a good time, and some dicknose comes in and starts bitching at me. So I verbally slap the shit out of him. Abruptly, forty three other bungholes swarm the thread, calling me every name in the book, and when I say "okay, SHITBAG over there started it, what about him?" all I get back is "Well, you're a bastard and you don't like D&D so shut the fuck up".

It's, as they say in the trade, a total bummer, dude.

But fuck them all, anyway. I'm right, they're wrong, I'm weak, they're stron... no, wait, I screwed that up.

Anyway. I have a fabulous wife and great kids and I run a fantastic roleplaying campaign and the objective truth of the matter is, D&D is a suck system and anyone who plays it when they could play something better is a retard.

So screw it.

* * * *

And here's the latest, starting with the last paragraph of one of my most fervent detractor's latest screed about me, and then moving into my response:

Also if I were a better man, I would take Merlin's approach and turn my back on you and have all the others follow suit, I wonder how long it would be after you started to post and realized no one was responding to you before you just disappeared, your last active date drifting from days to weeks, weeks to months, and finally months to years.

I'd enjoy that. But here's the thing -- the people with the character to actually do something like that on this site are the people who have enough character to realize I'm much, much more than the description above. They have enough presence of mind to see that I've posted an enormous amount of original material to the site, I've linked to a lot of interesting stuff, I have my own subforum devoted to my own original campaign and game system, that I contribute significantly. Unlike certain others, and despite what some of those people insist, the insults that get thrown in various threads do not define me, nor do they comprise most of what I offer to this community.

And they will also never acknowledge that if you really want me to stop offering personal insults, the answer is so simple even a dimwit could implement it -- STOP INSULTING ME.

And stop taking my opinions regarding various game systems personally. If you think you're one of the exceptional few who can play DnD while still being an intelligent, creative, and imaginative roleplayer, well, you probably are. Certainly those people exist on this site. They have apparently always been able to discern that whoever I'm talking about, I'm not talking about them, and, well, the fact that they can discern that means, they are correct.

If, on the other hand, when you read me saying things like "DnD is a system generally designed for gamers who do not want to roleplay on more than a two dimensional level, and who are not interested in engaging either their intellects or their imaginations while gaming in more than a rudimentary way", you completely disregard the word 'generally', or the self evident fact that this is simply an opinion expressed by some guy you've never met whom you would simply ignore if you actually had any level of maturity or self respect, and instead, your hackles immediately rise, your craggy brow ridges furrow, and you say to yourself, in whatever glottal sublanguage it is you speak in the echoing, cavernous, yet still shallow depths of what your betters might generously label your 'mind', "Garsh, he's talkin' about ME, I'm gonna throw a FIT", and then, you throw a fit, well, you have created a self fulfilling prophecy, and then fulfilled it yourself. Congratulations.

But in point of fact, I wasn't talking about you, I was speaking in general, (the tip there is the word 'generally', easily overlooked by morons, dimwits, slopebrows and mouthbreathers throughout the ages), based on my experiences and observations. Which I am entitled to do, as is everyone else on this site.

Those who insist on seeing me only through the lens of the various spirited defenses I have made of myself after (and ONLY after) being attacked by tiny minded trolls, are, well, tiny minded trolls. Said tiny minded trolls, who regardless of what I post, where, on what subject, will continually find occasion to barrage me with insults simply because, well, I don't know what it is simply because, it used to be my arrogance but I owned my arrogance so then suddenly it wasn't my arrogance any more (personally, I think said people just can't stand the fact that I actually know how to spell; I think it drives them berserk), anyway, these soulless small brained little dimwits who continually buzz around all the threads I participate in whining and sniveling and crying and wringing their hands and sobbing and whimpering like bitches and throwing out their little fifth grade invective, these are the people who can [i]never[/i] ignore me.

They do not have it in them. They know they should. They bluster. They huff and they puff. They strut around, as much as they can strut with the piss from their last tantrum still dribbling down their legs, and they fume, and they sputter, and they snarl like little rat dogs.. "Oh, we should just ignore him and be above him and not engage him and oh that's what we should do and yes, let's by all means just ignore him and OH MY GOD DOC NEBULA IS A LOAD!!!!! SMITE SMITE SMITE SMITE SMITE SMITE!!!!"

These people... and they know who they are... will never be able to stop screeching at me. They do not have that level of self control, and they will never have it. They cannot fathom that (a) I never insult anyone who hasn't insulted me first, and (b) there is much, much more to my presence on this site, or on any site, than the vituperative exchanges that other people incite, and then cry like little fucking toddlers about.

These characterizations of my detractors are doubtless what some of those detractors (the ones who have managed to edge, barely, into triple digit IQ ranges) would characterize as 'passive aggressive', as I'm not specifically naming names. (They use that term because they heard someone smarter than them, probably some guy on an afternoon talk show, use it once. They're not really sure what it means.) However, to name names would be to pay far more individual attention to these droning gnats than they actually merit. They know who they are, and right now, they are fuming at these descriptions, largely because deep down in their hearts, they know I am entirely correct about them. They will posture and preen endlessly about how they should just walk away from the altercation, and stand above it all with the lordly majesty that will forever be beyond their grasp. But they can't. They can't.

They don't like me, so whenever I post, on whatever subject, they will have no choice but to come buzzing in like the insects they are and start pelting me with their dung yet again. It's simply beyond their capacity to control. It's what makes them what they are... and what will always keep them from being what they aren't.

They will never contribute anything but abuse. They have no creativity in them. They cannot add anything to the sum of what was here when they arrived except offal. They have never created anything; if ever an original thought stirred by spontaneous generation arose from the sterile, empty barrens of their minds, it would have immediately gone mad and committed suicide from the overwhelming existential horror of the emptiness around it. They use the products of better human beings, while simultaneously sneering and jeering at same. They beat their chests and declare proudly that they don't care if they spell the words they use correctly, that it isn't important to them if they actually know how to use the language they are attempting to communicate in appropriately, and, hell, why should it be, when all they want to do with it is attack, attack, attack?

They are lazy, they are stupid, they are insecure and insanely jealous of anyone who has any ability to create something worthwhile out of nothingness, and like jackals to a campfire, they will never be able to keep themselves from continually heckling anyone whom they dimly perceive with their vestigial little protosentiences might be their better.

So ignore me, bitches.

I fucking DARE you.

* * * *

I present this because it's a pretty good summary of how I feel about this sort of thing. Not just to drive X crazy. ::grin:: Although, you know, I say good business is where you find it...


At 11:33 PM , Anonymous X said...

Off-topic, but I'm sorry I haven't posted lately, especially two posts back. I've been VERY wrapped up in a thing, and ALL my old innerweb haunts have completely dropped off the radar lately.

I'm sure your tracker has told you I haven't nipped by but a handful of times in two months or so, but I did see the appeal, and not that I didn’t care, but too lost in my own thing to bother. Sorry. I know what that sound of crickets chirping feels like, and no one doing great stuff should ever get that, unless they’re Hitler’s head or something.

I feel like a dick.

But I’m not getting back to normal very quick, and you know. Don’t expect anything, and I promise not to let you down…

At 3:43 PM , Anonymous X said...

You're no doubt composing an interesting essay right now...

Did you see the time on "Polically Incorrect" that Harlan Ellison was bitching about the innerweb and Pen Gillette called him a Ludite, rather heatedly?

I bet they had a beer together after the show. It's not necessary to let these things go nuclear.

At 3:45 PM , Blogger Doc Nebula said...

>>the behavior you describe for yourself is not in your best interest.

I don't know. It's not AGAINST my best interests, and I enjoy insulting people who deserve it. So... I don't know if that's true.

>>I'm speaking as a friend -or whatever we are-

Tough to define. Trying to remain civil, but as you and I obviously have some history you don't want to cop to for whatever reasons, I don't know what we are. Hard to be friends with someone who manifestly doesn't trust me, though, especially when they know who I am, and won't let me know who they are. Also tough to measure exactly where your words are coming from, when that same applies. And while it would be lovely to judge all ideas in a vacuum, you and I both know that the world doesn't work that way. Intentions matter.

>>and won't play with you on this if you flame me for criticizing bluntly.

I don't believe I have ever flamed anyone who hasn't insulted me personally first, or in some other way behaved so unacceptably as to deserve it.

>> I like and admire you, and therefore don’t expect the courtesy from you that I do from total strangers, but there are limits.

I don't know why you like and admire me, or even if you do, given the givens. You could simply be saying that to shine me on. So I have to shrug and move on. However, as YOU expect courtesy from total strangers, so do I. As you will 'not play' with those who do not provide you with a minimum acceptable courtesy/civility/respect level, neither will I. Unless, of course, coerced, which on the Internet, I generally am not.

>>I understand where you’re coming from. I do. I’ve had ulcers before. People in general suck, and are stupid. I believe that.

Yes. And they spell poorly, and behave unacceptably.

>>But you need to find a new balance- between biting your tongue when annoyed- (flaming strangers is immature, full stop)

Well, see above.

>> and putting up with shit like you have to in the real world, and act more the way you would in person, (I find it neither very brave nor ethical of you to do otherwise online)

I would behave this way in person if I could, and do, when I can. If I'm capable of responding to people who disrespect me for no acceptable reason with the derision and rich invective such disrespect deserves, trust me, I do. It's just, as you seem to be aware, in real life one rarely has these opportunities, because in real life, those who disrespect others are cowardly little shits who only do so when they feel they are safe (and often, their perceptions are correct).

Now, perhaps you know me or have known me in real life in the past, and you question the truth of this statement, but I can't help that. Without knowing who you are, I cannot address your current or past perceptions of me.

>> –instead of so much employing your impressive skills at creative invective.

You're not understanding that I ENJOY it. If people are going to disrespect me, I ENJOY rendering them down into verbal goo. If they're going to be rude, at least allow me the pleasure of eviscerating them in their chosen medium.

>>When you give vent to your impulses, you’re part of what makes the internet and so many forums nasty- part of the problem.

No. The problem is ad hominem attacks, or personal attacks launched by someone who cannot separate opinion from personality. I say "DnD sucks", they say "well, you're an asshole". They are the problem. If I then say "Okay, well, YOU'RE actually the asshole", I am NOT part of the problem, and if I say "If I'm an asshole, then you must be the tongue swabbing me clean", then I am actually part of what makes the Internet fun and cool. Which is to say, that occasional bit of even slightly original wit that makes one smile and that enhances one's day.

>>Also, you give yourself too much credit in asserting that the other guy always started it and had it coming. I’ve seen you very arguably not meet that standard much more than once, though not on a forum or APA.

You'll need to cite, and hopefully link to, examples. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any time I've done this. (My presumption, though, is that at some point in the past you perceive I have done this to you. But you don't want to tell me who you are, so you won't give me an example, and therefore, I cannot explain myself or defend myself. So as long as this comment remains unsubstantiated, I feel the only fair thing to do is leave it alone.)

Besides, I'm talking ABOUT forums, here.

>>You’ll probably have noted that I’ve tried hard to be diplomatic since I began posting to you. I work at being an adult. I think you do, too.

I appreciate civility, and I try to be civil myself, yes.

>>Geeks have to. This is an area to be applying the same. You could be educating the morons if you softened your approach.

It's not my JOB to educate the morons.


Yes, it is. Beyond that, it's very nearly a moral imperative in some instances. However, when one is conversing about a certain subject matter, it is absolutely okay to state one's honest opinion as regards the subject matter. It is NOT okay to offer personal ad hominem insults, although there are exceptions to this... Rush Limbaugh is a professional commentator and therefore, it is okay for anyone to say "I think Rush Limbaugh is a gigantic douchebag". He puts his character in issue every time he goes on the radio or TV and spouts off some unbelievably asinine opinion.

>> Kids think like that- I did until I was almost 30.

I'm still a great believer in truth. You're going to have to do more to convince me than simply say it.

>>After all, if it don’t get you laid or paid and ends up ruining your fun, a new strategy is called for.

The obverse of that is, if it don't get you laid or paid and ends up ruining your fun but you feel the alternative would require you to become someone or something you wouldn't have very much respect for, keep doing what you both enjoy and think is correct and acceptable. Nobody has the right to treat me with unmerited disrespect, and not one single person I have ever been insulted by on the Internet has come up with even the vaguest glimmer of a valid reason for them to disrespect me. Because I don't like Frank Miller's DARK KNIGHT? Because Kurt Busiek behaved like unprofessional tool towards me on a public forum and I called him on it? Because I married a woman who makes me happy? Because I don't like Dungeons and Dragons? Please. PLEASE.

>>You’re driving away people you could have enjoyed eventually if you’d put a smidge of honey on top. I won’t believe you if you deny it.

It... absolutely no disrespect intended, but I'd have to do a real extensive self audit to discover just how much I care about how much you believe me about anything. However, I will say this... I generally don't enjoy the company of fools, and here's a real benefit to my behavior... it causes the morons to break cover real fast.

>>If you want to post this and get into it civilly, feel free to edit your name and the word shit and this paragraph out. I’ll try to remember to check back soon. I am okay with some blunt talk, just no insults…

I think I've been civil. If you disagree, please let me know. And if you want to have private chats, I wish you'd get yourself a Google or a Yahoo email address or something. I nearly blew this off, then shrugged and figured "what the hell".

At 4:11 PM , Anonymous X said...

Look, promise me you'll think real, real hard and long before there's any possible unloading on me, public or private, and I'll immediately drop you an email and cop in full upon getting the message.

I'm no one you'd care all that much about, and I've never lied to you.

This anonymity crap is stupid, and clearly bugs you- I aspire to do no harm- to you or anyone else in life, and don't wanna bug you that way.

I do hope, however, that I've demonstrated in the last year and a half that I can conduct myself to your standards in conversation, absent an unlucky bad start.

…And that was with the anonymouse thing against me all along…

Either way, the first exchange of comments we ever had on this blog is the easiest cite. Go look. He just used unfortunate phrasing.

I did get that you do it for fun. You're denying yourself other fun making yourself a pariah.

You can't do anything about the billions of illiterate retards in the world with internet connections. You can adjust yourself. That’s why I spoke of finding a better balance; I’m not asking you to just stop. Adults have to search for the best balance all the time; you know that.

I don’t feel like replying to the rest in detail at the moment. Sorry. Maybe later.

At 5:42 PM , Blogger Doc Nebula said...

Jesus Christ, I can NOT format this comment right. Fucking blogger needs goddam format buttons in its threads...

Look, promise me you'll think real, real hard and long before there's any possible unloading on me, public or private, and I'll immediately drop you an email and cop in full upon getting the message.Okay. Done.

This anonymity crap is stupid, and clearly bugs you- I aspire to do no harm- to you or anyone else in life, and don't wanna bug you that way.Anonymity isn't stupid. There are real world consequences to honesty, yet honesty is a basic human need... we all want/need to just say what we really think sometimes, we all want/need to express all that stuff we normally repress. The Internet lets us do that. But people have been fired over what they put on their blogs, and until we get a Congress liberal enough to pass a Worker's Bill of Rights, that shit will continue to happen. So anonymity can be very important, and as the Man With A Million Internet Names, I'm hardly one to try and deny that.

What aggravates me in this very specific instance is the suspicion I have that you are indulging in that classic Internet option -- the Do Over. I.e., at some point in the past you have pissed me off badly, and now you want to start all over again, and have me simply judge your commentary completely divorced from any previous history we might have had.

I get that, I do. And if I were a published professional author and you wanted to offer me feedback that you felt I would not be receptive to if I knew your real name, because of past personal feuds or whatever, I could see that. I'd hope I'd be more professional than that, but, well, few are and I probably ain't that exalted. But I'm not a professional anything right now, and I doubt you want to offer me any feedback on my call center techniques, or how to refill a photocopier, that you feel I'd be unlikely to accept if I knew you were Billy the Fuckwad, douchebag extraordinaire who insulted me and my entire family four years ago in Brussels. So it's not that you're being anonymous, it's that at some point in the past I have known you by one name, and under that name you have committed acts you do not want to continue to answer for.

The upright thing to do in a case like that is say, hey, I was a total douche before, and I'm sorry, and I think we could have some interesting exchanges if you'll let all that go, so here I am, apologizing and hoping you'll get over it. And if what you did is something I can't or don't want to get over, well, you're at least allowing me to make that decision for myself, and you can feel like, well, you tried, but I was a fuckbag and wouldn't let things go.

None of that is the same as protecting your identity out of the very valid fear that your team leader at work will come across a blog or comment thread somewhere where you happened to say "Rush Limbaugh is a gigantic badly cured goatskin bag full of fermented yak vomit" and, being an enormous dittohead himself, immediately knock fifteen points of your next eval, costing you a raise you've been waiting six years for. It's just ducking consequences for what you've done in the past.

Ain't saying I haven't done it, mind you. But I haven't done it in a while, and I sure don't like it when it's being done to me.

I do hope, however, that I've demonstrated in the last year and a half that I can conduct myself to your standards in conversation, absent an unlucky bad start.Certainly. And I'll certainly judge you not just by the distant past but by the more recent past, as well. Best I can do.

Now, I get that you think I'm closing doors by being unwilling to allow people to show unmerited disrespect for me without some sort of consequences for their rude behavior. I do. And I see your logic. Here's what else I see -- rude behavior is rampant on the internet, because it has no consequences. I'm here to tell... whoever... that rude behavior directed at ME on the Internet will have as many consequences as I can bring to bear, using only my keyboard and what natural gifts for language are mine to deploy.

At 7:04 PM , Blogger Doc Nebula said...

Okay. I promise to wait at least a few days and I don't think I'm likely to flame you anyway. Whatever. Tell me who you are or don't tell me who you are. If I was a Herculean douche, well, show me and I'll apologize. If you've browsed here that long, you have to realize that's true of me. Or you're reading some other blog.

I had thought my previous comment in this thread was clear on this subject, but if it wasn't, well, I'm sorry. I shan't flame you. And I'll wait a few days, if that's your thing, before I do much of anything. Okay? Tell me what's up.

At 8:49 AM , Anonymous X said...

[Let's have a standard thing that if I want to make asides not-necessarily for posting at your call, I'll set them in bracketed pargraphs.

Are you changing policy about calling it River City? That site name in your post tends to give it away, y’know?]

Not driven crazy- maybe a bit frustrated, but as it turns out, you had something to add since I've noticed, so here goes.

Okay, I need to add, not argument, but background; a personal illustration of my own experience this week and the principals and benefits I was talking about for forum behavior (This is only the second forum I've ever posted to, the other being pretty dead): also, a heads-up about a place I think you’d be welcome, and like. Go to http://apolyton.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=24, a forum about an old game for which I’m gay. I post as Buster’s Uncle and I wish to direct your attention to “The Strategist custom faction project” thread, specifically my interaction with Ironwood.

As background, this putz, Ironwood posted in the “Sister Miriam de-uglified” thread weeks ago to criticize my hard work. I was feeling hostile and paranoid at the time, because the moderator had just moved my thread from AC general without any notification, and my reply to Ironwood wasn’t all that rude, but not model of courtesy either. Illuminatus, the moderator, posted to call me out on it, too, and he was about half-right, so I conceded the point. When Ironwood didn’t reply, even after I made alterations to the picture, I felt I’d been subjected to a drive-by. The thread’s still high on the first page, if that gets your curiosity going, but check the Strategist first, with that history in mind.

So, Ironwood posted in the Strategist thread something like Monday, having obviously not read much of anything, to ask what the point of the faction we were creating was. It wouldn’t have been a deal without the history, but it wasn’t without. My head was in danger of taking out bystanders when it exploded, but my reply was cordial, and gently encouraged him to read the damn thread.

I promptly fired off a PM to my collaborator, (which was when I found out about the censor program on the forum after almost two months of heavy posting) and one (also bitching [one of the words I may not use, as it turns out]) to Illuminatus, mostly to call his attention me playing nice.

So a few days later and to my surprise, Ironwood posted back- and had helpful suggestions! Oh. My. God. I’m still flabbergasted. He’s become part of the collaboration now! I had to do a prompt follow-up PM to vyeh and Illuminatus, admitting my error in judgment of the guy.

He was still a tool the first two times, but turns out to be very much worth putting up with.

I’ve exchanged numerous PMs with Illuminatus, by the way, discussing forum manners and stuff, and have ended up making friends, to the extent people who’ve never met but like each other can be called that.

And that’s what’s been working for me lately, and where I’m coming from- also there’s a LOT of my game art posted, the thing I’ve been wrapped up in since February- I’ve discovered a talent I didn’t know I had- I can alter stuff in Photoshop like a mother.

The thing in all this that you’ll find most interesting is if you navigate over to the Off-Topic forum. http://apolyton.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=147 I’ve not been there a handful of times and don’t know the specific rules, but they’re mostly very bright people who seem to mostly write in credible English. They are geeks, and have a reputation for being a mob of trolls- but harmless, as long as they stay there and troll each other.

I think you might be very happy there posting on your interests, and get many satisfying responses as well as opportunities to ream in an environment where it’s hard to get banned.

Good hunting, sir.

[And I'm dying of curiosity to find out if we're cool or not... Post something, if we are.]

At 11:58 AM , Blogger Doc Nebula said...


I don't know how 'cool' you guys are and I shudder that someone thinks I'm some kind of arbiter in that area. But I get enough shit already, I don't need to join another forum where, apparently, the mod will ban you (based on what I've scanned there) sometimes for reasons nobody apparently understands. No. That way lies worse madness than I already suffer daily.

Nate loves CIVILIZATION. He should go over to your boards.

I understand you want to save me from my folly. This is what led to the chapter of our history you have previously described as 'me being a Herculean douche'. I don't care about that nonsense any more and while I certainly disagree with your characterization I'm not even wanting to dredge all that crap back up, but I urge you, I URGE you to stop pushing your enlightened codes of behavior on me. It IRRITATES me. I have your feedback, I have your examples, I'm going to do what I want to do, and you need to stop trying to make me conform to your standards of behavior. I hate that shit.

There's a guy a LouisvilleRPG who endlessly lectures people on the proper etiquette of thread conversations. He's a pompous windbag and filled with fuck, and his writing style, which could be be described as being something like Dr. Phil if Dr. Phil just ate Willie Wonka, is a significant part of why I fucking hate him. (Also his hypocrisy. Like so many others, he singles me out for reproof while ignoring the egregious behavior of other people on the site he likes better.)

Your writing style is much, much more fun to read than his is, but I don't need a messiah in my life right now, especially as regards my behavior on Internet forums. My Real World Life is pretty decent right now. I blow off steam on forums. If people weren't tools to me I wouldn't be tools to them, and that satisfies me, and will have to satisfy you. You are more than welcome to continue commenting, but please stop lecturing, pontificating, and urging me to Act More Like You Because You're Sure It Will Work Better For Me. This is what derailed us before. As Nedermeier said towards the end of that wonderful movie, "Let's stop this now".

At 2:02 PM , Anonymous X said...

That is an explicit dclaration of the sort I asked for. I hope you won't pull that 'subject is closed' thing TOO quickly every time, as that would be boring of you, but I've said my piece. It's not my problem.

I refuse to promise to never give you advice. I also refuse to never say "Well you know by now what I think about THAT, so please take it as read". But I haven't been all that forthcoming with advice on this blog before, outside talking story, and that's the trend to bet on. Not my problem.

I do have to fight these terrible urges to try to save the world, all. the. time. Siiigh. Read too many comic books as a kid. "Not my problem" has slowly been becoming a mantra for a log time.

I will add that some of our distance on this is clearly culture clash on account of you being a doggon yankee instead of a real American. But your yankification is not my problem, so...


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