05 September 2008

A plea for reality

I am sure it's out there in the blogosphere about the huge scandal at 123Stitch. A long-time poster went AWOL and came back under a dummy name and was rude as HELL to people. Despite the fact that people were asking where she was, were genuinely concerned about her, and were hurt by what she did. Joanne won't let us discuss it. A LOT of people are angry. A lot of trust was violated. Since we can't post there, it's taken to the blogosphere.

It is beyond my realm of reasoning to figure out why someone would go online and proceed to hide under another persona, either by taking a fake name, or even just by being a bitch. The fake name I just don't understand. Yes, it's "the internet;" you're talking out into a nameless void, but that doesn't mean people don't get hurt by things you say or do. My family thinks I am nuts when I speak of friends I have that are online; they don't understand how we create bonds. But we do; my online friends have gotten me through the tragedy of my grandmother's death, the joy of going to get Robbie Doobie Doo. They are the first people I rush to tell when I win fair ribbons, and I worry that I let them down when I don't win; I know that's wierd, but y'all have been my biggest cheerleaders and you got me through some difficult moments involving blending filament. If you are going to be horrible in an online community, you have to be brave enough to be nasty under your own name. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut. A lot of us feel like she was amused by our concern, maybe amused by how we reacted and that makes it worse. There is a trust involved, and when someone breaks that trust for their own entertainment or to fill some void, it starts to undermine our group.

And I think it's time that we all stood back and took a look at our actions. How do we treat other people on the boards? Would we say those things if we were face to face? Could what we say and how we act hurt someone. People have said so many things about me that just cut me like a knife; someone told me once that, since I had gotten mad and kirked out on my boyfriend, who had cheated on me with someone online who played him for a fool, they could understand why he didn't want me. Who says something like that to another human being who is hurting? What gives anyone the right to do that? Because, I assure you, no one would say that to me in real life and remember the next few minutes of their day. And I have always tried to go on the theory that people are fragile. The fact that I remember what was said to me, worried that it was true, and that I did deserve that, and still think about it, that shows that. Part of our communal trust is to be aware that what we say could affect someone long after we've tripped merrily on our way, and to act accordingly. I try to do that, even when it means I have to delete posts. Maybe that is why I post inane posts; I would rather your last impression of me be that I amused you, not that I made you angry.

I think I am starting to ramble here, but I guess it comes down to being respectful. A lot of people are hurt, and bewildered by this situation. Personal responsibility plays such a big part of all this; if people would just stop and think 3 steps ahead before they did things, or did them with kindness in their hearts, this would have been avoided.


riona said...

As a member of the 123stitch board who reads very selectively ... just the stitchery related stuff, the jokes, the recipes, the silly list games, the job and husband/SO vents and the pet posts ... okay, maybe I am not all that selective ... I am confused. I have been reading about this situation without really knowing what the lady wrote and in response to what sort of post. I fear it marks me as an inveterate gossip, but I truly am curious to know what actually went down. Perhaps you could e-mail me with some information if you feel it would be appropriate. If not, don't worry ... my curiousity is mild and will dissipate shortly under the pressures of real as opposed to virtual life. I do understand your point about the written word being very hurtful, though ... and the internet is just too instantaneous ... we all hit that enter button without too much self-editing. A shame.

Vicki K said...

What distresses me about this is that this episode seems to have caused several people to not only step away from the message board, but has also caused some to pull away from their blogs, too! And that really bugs me because the message board and the blogs I read - they're my internet community! I have no personal stitchy friends where I live! Y'all are it! (Women here knit, quilt, or scrapbook .. but no one is interested in xs.) So it irritates me when ONE PERSON can cause so much distrust! aargh.

Pumpkin said...

I'm not aware of this situation but I'm bewildered as to what happened! I feel people use the internet to say things they wouldn't normally say face to face. In other words, they are using the internet for something to hide behind because they are cowards and...just truly NOT nice.

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls