Sierra Wyndsong (sierrawyndsong) wrote,
Sierra Wyndsong

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Of Friends and Trolls - A Really Long FAQ

Disclaimer: This is a very calm entry. But It will likely annoy people. I have a reason for my cold, slow-burning anger.

Sometimes a stupid comment is just that : a stupid comment. It doesn't necessarily mean that someone is a villain. The person might be well-intentioned with the comment, but the person on the receiving end might have a filter that is going to color that comment before it hits the destination. Now, that thought can be applied on various sundry things across the Internet. Insert your own personal bruhaha here.  It's all about respect. Treat one another with dignity and respect. Because that is how I treat anyone who comes into this space. That said, I am not your babysitter, your mother or your bodyguard: I will not protect you from yourself and I will not defend your honor if you pick a fight.

For me, the impetus to pen this particular entry came after I was discussing some of the comments I received in the entry regarding public record. In it, someone attempted to make a point by bringing up my daughter and the possibility of how I would feel if someone published her photo on the Internet without permission. I chose to let it slide, my Husband, not so much. He asked if the person really wanted to get their ass kicked. I explained the context of the comment, as I am wont to do because I believe clarification can sometimes alter a response. It didn't. Still, he responded. So, leave my daughter out of it. If you are making an example, use something else. I will still get the point. My husband cares nothing for context or examples when it comes to protecting our daughter. And yes, as he said, the body won't be found. Besides, if you are so childish and weak that you have to make veiled insinuations that could be construed as subtle threats to my daughter, then you have already lost the initial argument anyway and started an all out war over something else.

I don't normally promote violence. But I am with him on this one. Don't get personal with my kid. I am sure the person was trying to get my attention in a grand and interesting gesture. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt this one time. But be sure, if you make a comment to one of my entries, I will read it and I will reply. Period. Even if something you say is a repeat of what someone else said. Even if something you said offends me. If someone takes the time to read my journal and then give a reasonable and thoughtful reply, I will read it and reply. That said, had my husband posted his thoughts as comments, I would not have censored them. He had a reason to be angry.

Now, I have come across that person's comments on other blogs, visited their blog, and interacted with them through private message option. The person has outed someone before but his group of friends applauded him vigorously because he outed someone who was considered a troll and was annoying them. Through our conversations, I got the impression from his comments that he was trying to out me. One of the comments was asking me to verify whether an old blog on blogspot has my actual name attached. It did not. I've since locked that blog because, well, I have a couple of friends who identified themselves in comments there, a couple of friends  who contributed to the blog, and well, it's been dormant since 2007. And, the blog was originally started as a test of sorts, wherein sometimes I picked a topic to make an argument about, whether I was actually for or against. It was a practice in writing. But not really an indicator of me or my friends personally.

Will I Get A Prize If I Find You
No. I don't think it is polite to unveil or reveal someone's identity online without permission or at least warning. Other than that, you likely won't be able to find me. And if you do find my name, I really don't care. You are sad and pathetic if you have to spend the amount of time it will take you for zero satisfaction. That, and really, no one will care. I don't write anything here that I wouldn't say to anyone's face. And yes, I say some unbelievable, venom-laced stuff sometimes. Still. I have three sets of balls. Would you like to borrow a pair?

And even if you did have my birth name, it is highly unlikely that you would find anything of remote interest. All of the writing I did at the newspapers are years old and locked behind subscription required archival. But hey, you might be desperate enough to pay for a subscription. And, well, I really don't care if you do find me. Nothing scares me. If you find out who I am and try to make threats, I will laugh at you. Then I will give you directions to my house. And if you are stupid enough to show up on my doorstep and threaten me with bodily harm, you won't leave the yard. Period. And as far as threats toward any type of legal action, please. I never print anything here that isn't a matter of public record and never in an inappropriate manner that would speak toward Defamation or Libel.

But, go ahead, dear ones. Let Google crawl away. You are wasting your time. I have taken a lot of caution over the years to be aware that what I say can have a backlash on the people I associate with, my employers and my family. So, I respect that. To that end, this online ID is not linked to my birth name. Now, am I hiding my identity for a reason? No. Truth be told, everyone I know who wants to find me always Googles for Sierra Wyndsong first, even my family. Of course, fond reader, you are probably asking why I made the stink about public domain. Well, because I despise the blatant hypocrisy that is currently going around. And I had an opinion about that hypocrisy. I mean really, if you are worried about your safety, don't put your name anywhere associated with your blog. Ever. Period. If you are worried about losing your job, offending your boss, etc, perhaps you should rethink what you write. But don't reveal yourself time and again and then mount a smear campaign just because someone does it elsewhere in a context that paints you unfavorable. 

Do as you would have done to you. How can you honestly expect other people to grant you certain treatment when you don't take responsibility for your own self? It's childish. Grow up. Here's a dollar. Go buy yourself a clue.

Why Do You Have An Alias
Now, all that said, do I need to hide my identity? No. Do I have an obligation to hang myself out there? No. Here is my blog. Here is the information in various forms about things I will discuss, likes, dislikes, memories, etc. You are welcome to read. I don't friendslock. If I don't want something on the Internet, then I write it in a Word document or I write it down in a leather-bound journal.  

Wait. Go back. Rewind. What was that again? If I don't want something out on the Internet, I don't put it out there. Period. Publishing something is a choice you have to make and then you have to decide how widely published you want that information. Is it just for yourself? Is it for a small and trusted circle of friends? Is it for everyone at large? It is a decision that should not be taken lightly and one that you should decide before you even approach the keyboard.

There are many things that I have "blogged" about that sit in my personal journal on my Desktop. They have never made it online because it would serve no purpose to anyone. Some of the vilest ranting will never be read by anyone but my husband. And sometimes my friend Mallery. Of course, it is always nicer to call him and go on a verbal rant. But I am considerate when I enter someone else's domain. My comments at other blogs are always polite, fun, and complimentary. Rarely do I make a rude comment to anyone. Either I will emaiI the owner of the blog with a reasonably worded note of concern or I bring my complaints to my own blog.

But What About Friends and Trolls
The only censorship that will occur on this journal will be if someone requests that I delete a particular portion of their comment or they wish an entire comment gone. Then I will simply screen the comment so that I still have access. I don't approve of censorship. That said, within this blog, there is no such thing as Freedom of Speech or where you have "rights". I run this place like a limited dictatorship. This is my domain. If you don't like what I have to say, and you can't think of a reasonable approach to commenting, then go elsewhere. I am sure someone else will embrace you.

As for my friends, they respect me and my play space. They already know coming in here that they are going to read opinions that are locked, loaded and ready to fire. They make their comments from the heart and I respect that. But be assured, I have a multitude of friends who come from a variety of backgrounds that cross many mixtures of race, class, religion, sexual preference, etc. Just because you don't agree with something my friends say, doesn't mean that they are wrong. And it doesn't mean that I should summarily punish them. Or that I am evil for failing to punish them. It's called being a reasonable, rational, mature adult. You should try it, if you haven't. 

Not everyone is going to agree with you. And sometimes, even if they agree with you, they might not like the presentation of the argument. But that is how we learn and grow. By listening to what other people say, especially those who disagree with us. If all you ever hear is YES, then you miss out on the possibilities that NO has to offer. In my experience, there are a lot of people who pay lip service to someone who they don't want to upset, and it comes across as support of the argument rather than them just being a friend and supporting the person. The problem with that, is the person then thinks they have support for their issue. You should always try to determine whether someone is just nodding their head and agreeing with you because they want to support their friend, despite possibly disagreeing with your issue. Also, just because you think someone is who they say they are, does not make it a truth. Even if you have met these people in person at conventions. I know someone who flipped out because they thought a white man was picking on their POC friend. The friend is actually white. Beware that people will paint themselves in whatever light necessary to promote their own agenda. And everyone has an agenda. 

I will not rake my friends over the coals in front of someone else. If I think there is concern to be addressed, I will do it in private or I will make a statement of my own. But I will not ban someone just because someone else thinks I should. My friends say things that I don't agree with or that I don't believe in. Unless they just go beyond what is reasonable behavior, I will let it ride. And by reasonable behavior, I mean base politeness and common courtesy.

But they Called Me Names And Made Me Cry
Boo-fucking-hoo. Chances are, where my friends are concerned, if they made you cry - you likely deserved it. I roll with a bunch of over-educated, well-read, self-described assholes who will eat you alive on many and sundry topics of conversation ranging from Saturday morning comics to D&D to coding to religion to diversity, ad nauseum. They are a very opinionated bunch and they all think they are right. We usually hash it out over sushi and/or disc golf. Though really, they very rarely post comments to my blog. They prefer to read and then send me email. Except for Xaviera. Do not provoke Xaviera. She will make you cry, flail and fall out of your chair and ball up into protective fetal position. And I will not protect you from the wrath of Xaviera.

As well I won't protect you from anyone else, especially yourself. If you need a babysitter or bodyguard? Get the fuck off the Internet and go play checkers. Clearly, dodgeball lessons were not offered in your schools.

Likewise, do not attempt to tell me how to speak or act in my space. If you were offended by something I said, take a moment to breathe and review. Especially if you were picking on word choice. I don't use racial slurs, I don't tolerate racial slurs, that said, I am talking about standard slurs and not someone mixing sarcasm with a normal everyday word. I will use words like articulate, gal and boy any damn way I want. If you have a problem with that, bye. This is not a PC-driven space. I don't do politically correct. I believe in common courtesy and politeness. Period. I don't need some buzzword to teach me how to act. And no, I don't have a problem with people who are politically correct. I am just telling you that I am not that, and so some of what I say might make you squick. Or squeek. Or flail. Whatever.

Now, if all that isn't good enough or reasonable enough for you, then chances are, you are an overly-PC fucktard or twunt who needs to go read another blog. Because I don't believe in holding the language hostage. And I do believe that context matters. I do believe that intent matters. I don't care what word was offensive 20 years before my birth. And just because one person tells me that something shouldn't be used doesn't mean I am going to buy it immediately. For example, if I use the description "lynch-mob mentality" to describe a group of people who are off the rails and behaving in a mob-style fashion, then I am going to use that description. Get over it. It is accurate and in context. Unclench your assbud.

But I Am A <insert specialty group> Here 
I reside in the 21st century. I suggest you join me here. I am not going to apologize for things I didn't do, things you think I benefit from by way of past transgressions of people who died before I was born, things that you misunderstood, things that you chose to take offense to, things you provoked by bringing up the topic of conversation, etc. I feel bad that bad things happened to really good people across history. Those things were not my fault. And no, I am not going to let you make me feel guilty just because you think I benefit from something. You don't know me personally. And everybody's got their something. Everybody has something in their life that has caused them near insurmountable hardship. There is no such thing as a free lunch - for anybody. I believe in equality. Across the board. Period. I make it a point not to purposefully offend someone personally and try to use a standard barometer of reasonable behavior. I deal with each person individually and with regards to their own unique situation.

Here is the thing. I used to make a living off of interviewing people on the very best and the very worst days of their lives. More often than not, it was the latter. The world is not a nice place to live in. Get over past wishings for apologies and take a step forward to make a difference. Through the Internet, past the monitor and over the other person's shoulder is a world we have no capability of knowing. We don't know what truths lie beyond their keyboard. We don't know what drives their comments - bad day, stupidity, unfamiliarty with the language and catch phrases, etc. Does that mean we should just give a pass? No. Does that mean any one person deserves better or special treatment than someone else? No. It does mean that we should try and understand what is being said and what is really meant. I will be nice to everyone until they tell me in various ways not to be nice to them. Because I want people to be nice to me.

Really, just be aware, you will know that I have offended you when you taste your tears and feel the urge to curl up in protective fetal position. Because just as much as my blog posts can carry some venom, they are nothing compared to what comes from me focusing my attention on you. Do not engage Sierra in threats - veiled or otherwise. I will rip your head off and stick it on a pike so I can smile and wave at it while I am blogging my thoughts on the experience.

And no, I don't care what PC-riddled group you run with who has convinced you that you are entitled to anything and anybody. That's not here. I will not tolerate self-aggrandizing, entitlement driven, LCD who come in here and try to pick fights. Now, if you can be polite and play nice, then please join in the discussion. Keep it nice. Keep it sweet. Be reasonable. Act like you have a freaking conscience and ethics and some semblance of a reasonable moral code. Clearly you have a brain if you have made it this far into the essay. Use it.

Tags: etiquette

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  • Five By Five

    It's about the quality of communication. It's about something being "Loud and Clear". It is a shortened form of saying "I understand…

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    I really hate it when people only hear part of what someone is saying or they only read part of what has been written and then they work off of the…

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