This isn't a call out or pointed at anyone. I am just working through some thoughts and feelings.
I was in an online community through Facebook, at one point. It was called Boring Group and I found it through a girl I liked when I was in 8th grade. Her parents owned a swanky restaurant in Fresno (so, yeah, swanky is relative) and they had a beautiful house with a pool and barely any furniture. After a period of time, Boring Group had a fracturing and lines were drawn and teams were chosen. In its place, Snoring Group settled in and took over. There was a huge behind the scenes tumult that was alluded to in the forums, but never made overt. Snoring Group and Boring Group II: Electric Boogaloo (side note: Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo was actually written by a woman in Boring/Snoring Group) stared at one another warily and occasionally IMs became posts, causing drama to bubble up again and again.
Soon after the rift, Snoring Group's mods blocked a member and no warning was made clear and neither was the reason for the block released. The ousted member instant messaged most of the remaining members looking for allies and reassurance. He wasn't popular enough to warrant it. He was viewed as combative and he didn't agree with the majority views. For me, the problem with the situation was that he hadn't broken any stated rule, and he hadn't been warned. He just disappeared from the group one day and reappeared in my messages. I tried to start a thread about it and there was a lot of noncommittal talk, but ultimately he hadn't made himself popular enough for anyone to care. But, I cared. I thought he was a malignant ass and I wouldn't have pissed in his mouth if his teeth were on fire. However, my personal feelings were overruled by my sense of fair play.
If anyone can be cast out of an online community without a reason being given, how could I feel safe? His ousting made clear to me how transient my membership in any community could be and that uncertainty was made more acute when it only took the click of a button to push one out. I left SG amid the celebratory congratulations that filled the forum after the boot was given to Mr. Unpopular. I didn't trust them anymore. One member gave me her password to log-in and I saw that they were all mocking my exit. I didn't know any of them IRL (my old friend had left during the earlier split), so my sadness wasn't their concern. I left FB for 6 months after that and, although I went back, I made only one post, my last, in December of 2013.
Sometimes, I get SG déjà vu when I am online and it makes me want to bolt. Ultimately, I had to come to terms with the fact that I am unfailingly honest and internet communities deal in overwhelming politeness. They can make me feel included and cared for and lovely. But, they can't feed my cats if I end up in the hospital. I might be showered with compliments about how I look, but no one can really see me without my framing the image. They can beg me to tell them if I am going to hurt myself, but if I do or don't, they will never know what I have done if I don't seek the attention. When I tried to kill myself at 15, my parents called it a an attention seeking "cry for help." I don't cry anymore.
I often wonder if I am the only person who decides the value of a comment based on previous comments I have seen posters make. If I see you (This really shouldn't be in second person because I don't mean "you" the reader. I just can't write "poster" and "commenter" over and over.) fawn all over every depressed commenter, I don't feel your responses to me in my moments of sadness have value. If you post "you're beautiful," "you are so pretty," "hawt" to every selfie that appears, then I either think you lack opinions or don't share them and your compliments mean nothing to me. If you rush in to voice the zeitgeist whenever you comment, I don't need your input; I will just go to the source. If you tell me in privacy how much someone bugs you and then I see you pandering to their ego, nuh uh. If you tell people you don't have contact information for that they matter to you, you can get fucked because it all feels so empty and low stakes; I certainly don't want to hear that I matter to you. I might matter for entertainment's sake, but if I go and you only see me online, the void I occupied will fill up right quick and that's OK. I seriously don't mind. But, when people tell me white lies to avoid conflict, I always interpret it as people deciding how I will react for me and I loathe that.
I prioritize the truth over the comfortable. I am not going to feed your ego with lies and I don't want that from you either. I might fuck up and if you tell me I did and can show me how I did it, I will learn from that. If you can't show me that I did, I will accept that we don't agree and respect you for telling me just the same. I might even admit that my difference of opinion makes me a classist asshole (I am in some instances). I don't need to agree with people and I fucking relish a logical, dispassionate debate. If you can't divorce a difference of opinion from a rejection, that's cool just don't assume that I can't.
Perhaps this is unusual, but the people I trust are the ones that rub other people the wrong way. Commenters who voice their opinions without support interest me. There is a combination of confidence and detachment that makes me know they either mean what they say or relish conflict or are incredibly stupid. I will pay attention long enough to discern which of these is at work or accept a new assessment that presents itself. I worry that an ousting of the voices that are objectionable leaves a mutual admiration society and I don't trust those. Plus, those who are open and obvious about being assholes are easy to avoid. This leads to me refusing to dismiss comments. Let the objectionable voices stay on record. Let the dialogue stay active instead of dissolving into an echo.
I don't really know what I am hoping to gain from this. Perhaps, I am too cynical to be social. But, that can't be true because if you cut me, I bleed glitter. My heart is made of kittens and I make babies smile. I suppose I wonder if I am the only wary member of GT.