I have an issue with the word "punishment" on adult forums and in virtual worlds when the term is not used explicitly for sexual roleplay. Makes me twitch. I'm an adult and I accept consequences, not punishments. I expect others to do the same.
I'm not in prison with the Captain from Cool Hand Luke. I'm not in a mental hospital with Nurse Ratched. I'm not in school with Professor Hand or Snape. I'm an adult on an adult forum. I do not accept the authority of anyone on a forum to "punish" me. Warn me? Yes. Ban me? Yes. But I'm a grown-up. There is no Mommie Dearest for me.
I don't get bullied, but I do get annoyed and, of course, baited. I've been hooked and I've given out my fair share of virtual goats. I pay attention, I take my chances, I accept informed risks and I deal with the consequences.
Seeing posters, across several boards and blogs, talk about "punishments" for other posters takes me back 30 or more years to school and makes me wonder if some people are attempting to gain and exert the control they could never quite clasp their little hands on back on the school grounds. Replaying that psychological script over and over again hoping for a better result. Perhaps someone could argue it would be a kindness to let them have their illusions, maybe even give them some kind of closure, but I think that's more condescension than kindness. And there's a kind of arrogance in doing more than wondering, right? Who the hell am I? Are we? And that's my point.
There is someone arguing for equal treatment of all posters without bias, history or context on RLetc.com, but she is arguing to a group that has bias, history and context, led by an administrator who has bias, history and context, about a poster that has bias, history and context while including her own bias, history and context about that poster in her arguments rather than separating the issue from the poster...which is, ironically, exactly what she is arguing for.
I read a couple of posts over on SC MKII from a poster who was irate about another poster who voluntarily left the forum as he was voted into the Cornfield. Why? Because it's not "punishment" if he voluntarily takes a time out. No pound of virtual flesh is taken if he buggers off on his own accord rather than taking his medicine from the group. I can understand quarantining someone who is making a mess in the forums. I can understand a mod deciding to give someone a warning or even a time-out, thereby giving everyone time to regroup, reset and breathe, but punishment? The arrogance of that astounds me. It seems small and mean and strangely personal to want to punish a poster on a forum. What an incredible investment it is too. It's not enough for me to ignore you or move on to a forum with fewer assholes or be glad you got quarantined or banned and enjoy the peace, but I want to see you punished...? I want to stand in the courtyard with the other peasants and watch you beheaded or drawn and quartered while I mutter bitterly, "That'll teach you." I want to see you get your comeuppance? Feel my version of justice? Sate my desire for retribution and control and a level playing field or a perfect world I don't have the power to create or maintain myself? On a forum? Wow.
I said on the Utherverse forums back when I was learning forum dynamics that it seemed to me the power is with the poster, or reader, depending on how you look at it. I think you abdicate that power to a stranger in the ether to your own peril and I think it is a foolish and unnecessary choice. It seems to me that if you are so invested as to rabidly and repeatedly decry the lack of punishment of another poster, you have already given some of your own power away.
I see it often enough to comment on it. Of course. It's the forum circle of life. Most of the time when I make comments like this one, it might follow or even link to something and someone specific, but it is usually motivated by having seen it enough to build to a comment on a pattern. Like a straw on a camel's back that makes me do something I know to be foolish (I'm observant, but not immune), which is to acknowledge and comment on the phenomenon at all.
The thing is, I'm all too aware of how much people love their forum fights. Stepping in between the players is to risk "getting cut." As I've said before, I know for many people forum wars are like embattled family dinners - stay the fuck out of them if you're an outsider - and like wrestling entertainment - fake fights with real pain. People take on character roles, none more obvious than the guy who skipped the pretense altogether and went straight for the bad-guy character and named himself "Fuckwad." And for every "Fuckwad" there is a foil and a "Nurse Ratched" who net nannies everyone to death and annoys the fuck out of all but her most loyal supporters and there is a "Mother Teresa" who is far better at tone and timing than "Nurse Ratched" so people appear to love her and listen to her when she makes her occasional call for peace (completely confounding the confused "Nurse Ratched" in the process)...for a while anyway. Each person playing a necessary part in the drama and each one getting something out of it.
I've been told my part to play is that of the buzzkilling curtain puller exposing the actors on the stage.
That's why I say...
Don't mind me. Carry on...and enjoy.
Repost. LeeHere Absent, Mar 14, 2011 http://gotvirtual.net/community/threads/thats-what-she-said.772/page-26#post-35131
Thought-provoking reply from Cody/Dakota here.
Interesting insights. A primal want and a kind of dependency. Interesting post, Cody. I read it twice. Thank you.
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