The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: May 22, 2001

A Question of Tolerance Part II

By: Huntress

Leave your guns at home, forget about your knives and swords, you just need a computer, an internet connection , a bit of free time and the right mood – it’s time for a new kind of war. Our battle scene: various message boards.

Guestbook flames are not much fun, since they could be deleted. Email flames are not much fun either because you will not get the kind of reply you want. Message boards are the best way to create a nice little flame war.

Well, someone tried to start one at The Help Desk. The thread where it began was closed by the staff of the forum and that’s a good thing. Like CereCere said in her explanation, this message board is not mainly a discussion forum for private matters, it should be helpful and flames aren’t helpful at all. She also mentioned another message board, at Angel Eyes, a very well done Ayanami Rei Shrine. Curious as I am I went there to find the traces of people whose posts were deleted at The Help Desk.

And there it was, two pages full of flaming and lots of banners. “Wow!”, was my first thought, “compared to this mass of hatred the whole Nightdragon war was nothing.”

For me, someone who knows just a few of the people that were involved and only because of their former posts at The Help Desk, it was astonishing how some people could rant and rave about somebody else and get that much applause for that. As usual one wonders how the whole thing started and how it got that far. What happened the first time these people met somewhere in the web? Did they start insulting one another from the very beginning on? Was it one minor misunderstanding, one thing led to another (“You were mean to a friend, so I am mean to you!”) and now both sides have gathered their followers and the positions have hardened and no one will move an inch towards the opponent (not without shooting insults at him/her first).

The worst thing about this is that at least some of the people involved in the conflict seem to be no kids any more, they seem to be reasonable when you read their posts and messages to other topics, they are intelligent and often helpful, they can be friendly and humorous. Well, there is a dark side in any of us and some of us don’t mind showing this side in public.

As I have learned from all these message board comments, there are three kinds of people who take part in such wars. The first kind are the one with the hidden needles, they wrap their attacks in polite words but their words still hurt someone’s feelings. Next are people who openly attack and use all kinds of swear words and obscene words to insult their enemy. Third are people who can be called “blind followers”, they just post short comments that make others feel that they are on their side.

It is sad but true that such message board wars don’t do anything good, not to the anime fan community, not to the people who visit these boards and not to the people who post the flames there. Perhaps you think that at least the ones who wrote the flames will feel a lot better afterwards, they have found followers, people who agree, people who feel the same and they feel stronger now because they are not alone.

What they might forget is that outsiders like me who read the rants, the insults and ravings, who look at the insulting banners and all this stuff, just wonder why someone acts this way and if this is the first impression they get from the person who posts such insults is that he/she is just another flamer who has no arguments and just likes to be mean to someone else without any reason at all.

As I said, that is the impression, no matter what the truth might be, writing flames that ooze with hatred always make people seeing the worst side of you. They will feel sorry for the target of the flames, only those who know the reason (in case there is one) will agree. The best way to deal with someone you really hate is ignoring his/her existence. If this person is really bad he/she will make more and more enemies without your assistance. Don’t visit this person’s page, ignore this person’s emails, guestbook entries, message board comments. It is said that love and hate are two sides of the same thing, both tell “this person is important to me”. If you spend your precious time (and time is always precious, because it is limited and you never know how much you have left in your life) making insulting comments, creating insulting banners and all that, you really show that you care about this person, hurting him/her is worth all the troubles it causes, all the time that is wasted for your campaign.

On the other hand it might also happen that someone who knows something (it might be a bit or much) about a certain topic tends to have an unlucky choice of words presenting this knowledge. Not many people like getting advice with a moralizing undertone or like getting their noses rubbed into their lack of knowledge. Maybe you don’t mean it that way, but that’s the way others (not all but some) feel about your comments. They think you are showing off and you like acting as if you are superior to them.

Both sides, please don’t forget that there are people who love watching such wars, who love reading all the negative stuff, who love to see how you and your opponent tear each other in bits and pieces. They are like vultures and hyenas, they might even act as supporters hoping that the show will be more fun that way. Do you really want to feed their needs?

And there are also people from outside the anime-fan community who might come across your little war, who will smile and say: “Look at these anime fans, as I always said, they are just little kids, yelling, hitting, destroying. Anime is nothing for reasonable people, it is just for people who will never grow up....”

The net should not be a place for those meaningless wars, it should be a place where you can have fun and gather useful information. Do you really have fun getting hurt and hurting others?

Comments on this article can be sent to: Huntress.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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