Learn and Know When to Stop

Dusk

This will be a very different and drastic post than the usual. Why? Because pride was at stake here and unwanted terrible memories flashed back for me. I refer to a Twitter drama conflict that took place recently in which I intervened of my accord, and the cause of all this was just one guy expressing himself. Since then, I’ve begun to have sleepless nights and greater stress in daytime, though I’m beginning to mellow down a bit now just writing this post. I am writing this as a neutral mediator who stopped this conflict by myself, and I wish to share my personal thoughts with you. I am not holding anything against anyone; that’s just life. Because this is a very sensitive ordeal (at least for me), I will not be naming anyone and I shall refer to the aforementioned guy as “John” for anonymity’s sake.

John put out a call for justice to fellow anime fans in a particular group. This was concerning a Twitter argument between himself and a girl who disrespected people with anime avatars on Twitter. Now, I don’t know the exact details of the argument, but it was enough to set off a fire. Seeking a place to let it out, he went to this particular anime group to tell his story. The admin responded saying that this was not the right place to tell the story, and I agree very much, since this group has a different purpose and is not meant to be used to reach out for anything (unless within limits) other than the group’s sole expressed purpose. Better to blog about it instead of posting it in a group where no one didn’t want to hear about it. John was understanding at first and left it at that.

But then some people replied to John in manners that were not appropriate and could have been worded better and carefully. John was offended and it all spiraled into pure drama and dark humor from then on at both sides’ expenses. That’s when I stepped in and intervened. The end result was that both sides have come to a standstill with bruised egos and scratched prides, but no real damage. The group voted not to ban John, but it felt to me that the group believed they were doing the right thing especially after some of their members’… lack-luster reactions. John was willing to apologize, but unable to make peace, he has decided to leave the group of his own volition and yet, I still have doubts that he’s learned his lesson. Although the outcome was not ideal, I feel relieved that this situation was resolved somehow. My opinion is that both sides were in the wrong for letting this situation blow up. You both made a huge public mess with a complete lack of discretion and regard for several bystanders around you, including me, who were just looking to have a good time online with anime.

But for all the big trouble caused, this did give me a unique insight into this niche anime community as an intermediary. The online anime community is an entity, and it is very capable of inflicting harm in real life, make no mistake. People may interact with close friends in different ways such as a love/hate relationship, but when interacting with a stranger in that same way, it may have different consequences. While I’m fortunate enough to have stopped this from escalating further, I cannot help but wonder what would have happened had I not intervened. John could have been completely banned and ostracized, and the group may then be viewed as being too elitist or a bigger authority which to fear in the anime-blogging community. Quite frankly, this seem like a social nightmare to me. It makes me question exactly what kind of society fits the anime blogging or twitter community. True, the ani-sphere twitter community is a far less formal medium than the blogging medium, and it has allowed for a greater interaction amongst anime bloggers and thus better flow of ideas for the blogging community. But this atmosphere also increases the risk of bolder actions and skirmishes in the twitter community with a major conflict emerging once in a while, like this situation. This situation reminds me of myself in a way somehow. Being deaf, I have gone through several ordeals, but there is this one particular ordeal that I have never mentioned about with anyone, not even my family, before until now simply because I did not want to remember it.

Cutting off hair.

In late middle school, there was this group that was composed of “popular” people (such as jocks, cheerleaders, etc. The cliché kind). Some of them were grouped with me for a team project, and I didn’t really get along with them well at all due to my extremely poor communication skills. One of them mistook my poor communication skills for ignoring them, and he didn’t like it not one bit at all. So, he started to spread rumors. Within a week, I was ostracized. People started ignoring me or hurling minor insults laughing at my expense, and the people I once considered friends began to leave me one by one. I started to lash back at them but to no avail, as that only served to stir them up more.  This escalated until I was completely isolated and powerless to even fight back. Although they started it first, I was still in the wrong for lashing back and letting the situation get worse. And I regret it.

But there was this genuine good-natured person who had strong influence and helped me. He was the student council president. He knew about my circumstances from his parents who were friends with my parents, and when he finally heard about the rumors, it was too late. He did the best he could to stop the rumors, and he did manage to curb the rumors eventually. But the heavy fallout was still there when we graduated from middle school two weeks later, and by the start of high school, all was nearly forgotten. But I was still ignored for some time throughout high school with fewer new friends who stuck with me, including the now former-president. Pride was not an issue here unlike the Twitter drama, but it bears some resemblance to the situation I went through in middle school. It’s far too easy to overwhelm and goad one person with great numbers, and I’ve never really recovered from that, which is why I have a tendency to avoid large crowds today in addition to the noisy and busy atmosphere.

And that’s why I absolutely hate these kind of conflicts to the extent that I’d involve myself in this Twitter conflict. I hate the fact knowing that it’s now perfectly possible for this kind of situation to happen anywhere, whether online or in real life.  Not only because this is demeaning but because I’ve personally went through this kind of fight and ostracism and I know the feeling and pain very well. It’s thanks to this past experience that I’ve learned to stay calm, cool-headed, and semi-neutral at all times. But for the first time since middle school, this Twitter drama shattered this barrier and brought back burning emotions. I acted quickly and as calmly as I could, keeping my emotions in check. Truthfully, I was pretty close to lashing out on both sides, but thankfully, my conscience and experience held me at bay.

Cure Peace

So, if something like this happens again (and it will!), I implore you to use your common sense and be reasonable no matter which side you’re on. If you can’t handle it, walk away and don’t look back. If you want a fight, then by all means, go ahead; I just hope you’re prepared for the consequences, unlike me. If you’re having fun, well, who am I to stop you but yourself? If you want to stay out of this, that’s fine I suppose, since this is the Internet where anyone can be anonymous (I know I will the next time this happens even if it is hypocritical for me). The only reason why I got involved in this conflict is that I know and like both sides too much to let the same situation that happened to me pop up again. Do not bother telling me face-to-face that you were just joking around; to me, this was not funny at all. I have to say this to the anime blogging/twitter community and to the world as well: Do consider and think about the other side’s circumstances plus the time and place before you start to react, and know how and when to stop.

I’m not asking people to change and I also don’t care if you choose to ignore or bash this post. I’m just glad that everyone have purged the hate out of their systems and that Valentine’s Day was here to soothe people. At any rate, if anyone’s still feeling uneasy, look to your friends for support. And just remember; we are still humans, capable of making mistakes. There is no need to go further than necessary.

*Comments have been disabled since I only want to share my message, not to start discussions or arguments. 

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