By Riot_Sqrrl 1 Comments
In the past six months, I have trafficked Comic Vine more than any other website. There is a fan community here that shares intelligent, thoughtful discourse about our shared passion; discusses the implications on overlapping media like film and television, and generally supports new entrants into the site, rather than ostracize them. Previously, I used another screen name and contributed to the wiki quite frequently, making a few friends on the way.
But then, I made one enemy. Carelessly, I posted a joke, which, when taken out of context, seemed to be at the expense of others. It certainly wasn't my intent to demean others, but that is how it was perceived. One of those who felt insulted immediately responded. I gave my rationale and attempted to move on, but this person wouldn't let it go. I confess that my pride prevented me from just apologizing and ignoring him. I am often wrong, but wouldn't admit my mistake to him because I got the impression that this individual hasn't been told "no" often enough in his life, that he gets some pleasure from making others back down from him online. I heard a story from one of my friends to support this.
Still, all I asked was that he let the matter drop. He decided to escalate things, publicly insulting me with unbecoming language and heckling me in my own blog. He went through my wiki posts and explicated them for grammatical and mechanical errors, taking pleasure in pointing out my mistakes. I quickly realized that this individual didn't want amends. He just wanted to break me. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of emotional connection to complete strangers I meet on the Internet, and so, his provocations just evoked the instinctual need to defend myself. He really doesn't have the power to give me any satisfaction, nor the ability to take anything away that I cannot replace.
But he did have the power to make my Comic Vine experience a hell. Administrators are limited in their ability to help when the offending party is not threatening harm, violating FCC regulations, or compromising the legitimacy of the wiki. So, I cut my losses, deleted all of my personal information from the old identity, and opened a new account elsewhere. Problem solved.
I write this with hopes that you, the reader, will be a better person than I was. If you meet this kind of bully, don't give in to your pride and just walk away. Let him think whatever he wants, because the odds are high that you cannot change his mind anyway. Don't resort to profanity or threats, because then the administrators look at you as the instigator. Why invite punishment upon yourself for someone else's angst? This virtual world is not a playground; people won't think you're punking out if you choose to walk away from a fight you can't win. Despite my attacker's subsequent boasts to others that he dealt with me like other "idiots who has gotten in his way," ultimately, I am on Comic Vine elsewhere doing exactly what I was doing before, but having learned the lessons that what I think is funny might not be perceived that way by others and that having to have the last word only eggs on the emotionally unstable.
Be careful, and enjoy.