Communication Breakdowns

That would be a refreshing change of pace. This seems to be a growing issue here and I have personally drawn back considerably from my engagement with BBS for this very reason. There is a pattern that has developed over the past few years of gang-ups predicated on what often seem to be deliberate misreads of a poster’s intent. Or at least the assumption of bad intentions. I’ve DM’ed with numerous other users over the years who have expressed frustration with this aspect of the community and I’ve also seen mods directly attempt to intervene with less intrusive measures to no avail. I try to be extremely conservative with my flagging and give posters the benefit of the doubt, but when that boulder is rolling downhill there doesn’t seem to be much that can stop it. I hope it changes.

So… now I’ll just sit here and wait for the flags.


And I thought I was the only one that felt that way. I’ve also backed off because of it.


You most certainly are not the only one.


I feel this way. Can I say that? Maybe I shouldn’t.


We’ll find out soon!

ETA: Your first edit was valid. You should leave it.


Push back from marginalized posters within the community might seem like ganging up…unless you recognize that their threat assessment might be more sensitive (and more accurate) than yours.

Have you ever been hanging out with, let’s say, a Black woman, and she’s subtly changed direction or left a place early? Yeah, she spotted a threat that you didn’t even know existed and deftly avoided it.

Those community instincts have benefitted us all for a long, long, time and you might not even have noticed. While moderators have limits in what they can do until a bad actor does something overt, the community can probe and discover a bad actor’s intentions much sooner. Orenwolf is awesome but can’t be here 24/7.

You’ve missed out on a LOT of bad behavior thanks to that “gang.” And it should be noted that a lot of the folks who jump in early to challenge suspect behavior are Leaders - who got to that state by flagging content that moderators agree with at a high rate.

That’s not a great way to engage in discussion. The Preemptive Victim Card isn’t a strong play.


You’re right. It’s just me.


Take a scan through [The General Moderation topic] from the beginning. 90+% of the banned users are the result of the behavior you’re now condemning. It’s a real rogues’ gallery. Take a look at it.


Yeah, I’m not talking about banned users and it’s disingenuous to frame this discussion that way. I’m talking about long-time users and people who join and find themselves lambasted out of the blue. Like, even old format users who get pounced on for, and I quote, “not agreeing the right way”.

If you feel that critique isn’t valid, awesome! I’m glad you’re having a great experience. Many, many other people aren’t.


I’ll let them speak for themselves, but you’re missing that a lot of long-time contributors have also backed off of contributing or just plain left for the opposite reasons - that they aren’t being supported against racist, misogynistic, homophobic trolls and are being marginalized in exactly the same way they are IRL.


Really? Do you really think that’s what I’m advocating for?


It almost seems like…

Is happening right here, right now.


You don’t know how right you are.


Im going to venture my two cents and say I agree with both viewpoints. Sometimes the sensitivity to threats is set higher than I think is needed here, and we assume ill intent when it’s just disagreement.

But at the same time, the people whose actual lives are threatened have a right to be that alert. It’s kind of on those of us who aren’t in that position to weather that reaction with some understanding and acceptance for being on the receiving end of something that might feel unfair, if that makes sense? It’s ok to be uncomfortable because someone might assume the worst about what we just said. For example, I didn’t interpret the last comment directed at you as saying that you were supporting the underbridge crowd but it felt that way for you. I think Duke was just saying why some folks have their reactions set higher than you.

In my single sample size experience we can talk through that sort of misconception with little more lost than some discomfort. And for my part, I think those of us with some privilege should bear that weight for a while. But yeah…I’ve felt that discomfort and know what you mean. This is still the most civil place I’ve seen on the internet. Or in most areas of real life. I worry that we’re all getting lost in the sense that it’s unsafe to disagree and be disagreed with. I know I struggle with that.


But it’s all true isn’t it? Like putting aside anyone’s intent for a second in this very thread. In fact if I just ignore intent as a concept. What do I see?

The reality is we are holding a bizarre kind of partially fossilized conversation in a liminal space none of us have any particular claim to. Because space is contentious and friendships are built on trust and vulnerability there’s a limit to a space like this perhaps.

Some people’s position is absolutely going to take more patience and understanding and willingness to work for than another person can deal with… and that’s ignoring the very real onslaught of legitimate bad actors any public space on the internet gets.

And since water flows downhill this can pretty much be expected to take the shape of whatever known or unknown biases and traumas anybody has for whatever reasons valid or not.


I mean, honestly, I’ve felt that way in the past here.

But I am also a white guy. A white guy with, well… a history. I come from an abused home, and am in a marginalized group currently. And I come from both the side of the marginalized and the marginalizer. (It’s stunning how quick your life can change when you tell your deeply southern family you’re gay. And then you realize that maybe your friend who acted a little queer didn’t have a hunting accident after all, etc). So when I run afoul of this, I really want to make myself better. I ask myself not if I said something that hurt others, because, how would I know? I didn’t see it the first time. Why would asking myself again change things? I assume straight up that I caused harm. I might not know exactly how I did that, but I apologize for it. Because it DID happen. And then I try to ask what I did wrong and how I could be better. And if it turns out I still feel I did nothing wrong in the end and that’s the conclusion I come to, that’s FINE. Because I listened, sincerely listened, and tried to make myself behave better.

There’s a lot of inherent bias and unconscious bias and it’s a big blind spot for me. Even after coming from a history and belief structure that taught me that bias. So I try not to take it personally when someone calls me out for it. I’m grateful for the opportunity to realize I’m doing it.

And my apologies, when I give them, are intended to be as sincere and full as possible, but I really honestly oftentimes miss the bias I have. I’m working on it. I’m a life long project here.

So that’s how I approach it. I don’t feel silenced here or whatever, but I also realize that my unconscious bias may be presenting my communications in a way I was unaware of them being and that way IS causing harm. And when I get to learn that, I try to correct it and be better.


I don’t think you’re advocating for those positions. I think you’re advocating for not listening to the people who are affected by them.


And that is precisely the point of my original post. I truly appreciate the mods and leaders here; it’s the only online forum I can tolerate for the very fact that they are so vigilant.

But that’s also not what I see happening in a significant number of threads. There seems to be an intentional misreading of intent; an assumption of the worst intentions from the jump.

Again, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. So I can be dismissed out of hand, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a gate keeping mentality that has taken hold here and it is really gross.


I mean… come on, man. Seriously?

We’ve disagreed numerous times in the past, but no one can look through my comment history and come to that conclusion.


I don’t think it’s intentional though. I think it’s a side effect of some people being threatened in most aspects of their lives and finally feeling safe here, and then we maybe aren’t used to being the ones who are misunderstood. I see it as a temporary correction to the unbalanced real world.