I’ve probably mentioned that I hang around this website called Fantasy Faction, loitering with the other bad seeds, discussing our fantasy and science-fiction literature and shunning the non-believers. Being of the nerdy persuasion and having had access to the internet since I was young, I’ve spent a lot of time on message boards over the years. I was even some sort of administrator type person for a video game politics forum a few years back. We sent flowers and a nice letter to Jack Thompson, who proceeded to continue being a crazy person.
I’m big on etiquette and manners, though I often choose to ignore them in favor of sounding good. I also dislike drama, though often find myself at the center of it and I’m known for hyperbole. Still, I’ve learned a few things, like not being a troll, not starting pointless flame wars, how to ignore people who just want attention and how to avoid being a smug douche. When confronted with those types of people, I usually just ignore the thread or write around them. When I respond, I try to avoid doing it directly. This may seem passive-aggressive, but its more for the sanctity of my sanity.
That being said, there is this guy that makes me crazy. I ignored, thinking perhaps I was over-sensitive. Then I noticed other people being irritated by him. And still others. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of why. His posts come off as both smug and defensive, as if you could some how forget how he is the Font of Knowledge for the Universe, so he will prove it to you anyways. But, while annoying, the guy can occasionally muster a good point. Hard to see through the piles of bullshit yet to be raked, but those good points are there. I don’t want to silence the guy, because maybe someone doesn’t like my voice or opinion and I don’t want them to silence me.
We all go through life viewing things from our own unique perspective, filtered by our experiences and opinions. We interpret the world through a context of ourselves. The Context of Me involves minimizing my external stress factors, because I do a good enough job making myself crazy that I don’t often want or need help.
The Context of Annoying Forum Guy is that everything is self-referential. He is the guy who always has to reference his own opinions while giving you his opinions. He’s the guy that makes everything about his Epic Novel Which Has Been Read By Acclaimed Author You’ve Never Heard Of. He’s the guy that will give you all the crunchy numbers and statistics to prove that he is in fact right, but when you poke a hole in his logic, will then shun the non-believer. He is the sort of asshole who probably doesn’t mean to be, but just can’t shift his perception of the world past his own bloated ego. On better days, I chuckle and ignore. On the worst days, I find myself contemplating technology that will allow me to physically pimpslap someone through the internet.
Yet I am still only perceiving these actions through my own filters. One of those old adages, those ones your parents or grandparents tell you when attempting to appear wise, has stuck with me. That which we dislike in others is a reflection of what we dislike in ourselves. These are the traits we attempt to avoid, be it for moral reasons or because we are ashamed of our own bad habits.
I’m going to keep Annoying Forum Guy anonymous for a few reasons. The first is that I don’t point fingers, because I don’t want somebody pointing back at me. Goes against the whole ‘no drama’ policy I’m trying to establish. Keep the action and intrigue to the novels, people. The second reason is that Annoying Forum Guy’s name doesn’t matter. You don’t know my particular case, but if you’ve spent any time on message boards or comment sections on the internet, you know Annoying Forum Guy or some other incarnation. And thirdly, I have a moral message for you. And you’ve read this far, so you may as well keep going.
It comes down to fairness, respect and integrity. Words that often get chucked in with honor and out with the trash. It comes down to being an adult and treating others the way you’d like to be treated. Being both empathetic and sympathetic, while still maintaining a low tolerance for petty bullshit. Love thy neighbor. Some other tiresome cliche.
I’ll wind down my rant now. I mentioned above that I’ve been on Fantasy Faction, writing some articles on some stuff. My latest can be read here. Progress has been made on the Western, though not as much as I’d like. I have a handful of drafts started for blog posts, but I can’t bring myself to finish them. I’ll try and throw another short story up here later this week, for your viewing pleasure.
In the meantime, be nice to each other. And remember: Arguing on the internet solves nothing. It only makes you look dumb.