Anonymous asked: Thank you for your post today. It really needed to be said. I also feel the same way about the infamous 'hate-reading' that occurred a few months ago (in your absence.) Do whatever you want in private, but it says a lot about someone's character when they publicly seek attention for their negativity & defend it. So many people were hurt by that and never said anything. I've felt my own muse deteriorate because of it, though I know it probably wasn't directed at me. Think before you post, people!
You’re welcome, anon, and thanks for your kind words but I’m not about to call out anyone’s character for things done or said in the past.
To be honest, in my early days on tumblr I think I was guilty of similar things. There really is a fine line. For example, I could make a post saying I really just can’t read stories that involve cheating (I think I did at one point). Obviously my intentions in that post would not be to say that stories that include infidelity are poorly written or bad - “Hero of the Story” by atetheredmind is one of the best stories out there, and cheating is central to its plot. Instead, I’d really just be trying to express that I can’t stomach the idea of cheating, and reading about it causes me emotional distress. But the thing is, as people read my post and started chiming in, the dozens of people who had written excellent stories including infidelity might begin to feel awful.
Now, do I have the right to talk about whatever I want? Yes.
Should I? That’s the real question.
Is it so important that I feel solidarity over my personal inability to read about infidelity that I risk hurting other people? In this case, the answer is probably no. But if I posted it, would I be a rotten person? Probably not. It would, however, not only potentially hurt others, but put me in a position that makes people assume things about my posting intentions that would reflect pretty badly on me.
Sometimes, there are things in fics that are so damaging to those that read them that it might behove you to step up and say something. But it really is such a grey area. And I’m not even actually talking about negative reviews. Sure, I’d be the first to admit that real constructive criticism is almost always lacking, which typically renders negative reviews worthless and hurtful, but I think that the posts on tumblr are much more damaging, as you can not only see the OP, but you can see all the other people chiming in to “gang up on you” whether they actually have you in mind or not.
This is the crux of the issue to me - focusing on the negative aspects of what others create, and just generally hating on things makes a person feel really powerful. It forges bonds between people very quickly, although those connections are often unsubstantial and fickle. But mutual hate brings people together, albeit in what I consider a cheap way. Hating something carries no personal risk. Very rarely are we judged for what we dislike. Our loves and interests, however, are incredibly risky, as we carry them so close to our hearts. If I tell you I love cartoons, and you express a complete disdain for them, it’s probably going to cut me pretty deep. If we sit and talk about how much we despise reality television, however, we’ll both feel like we really understand one another, even if that’s completely untrue.
It’s a lot harder to be mindful of what you post, frankly, because of all these things. And sometimes, even often, people really mean nothing by it. I’m not calling out malice, at least I hope I’m not. I’m calling out thoughtlessness, which can be equally, if not more damaging to an online community such as the one that exists now. And if someone doesn’t care about that, or think it doesn’t matter, that’s their prerogative.
So that’s a pretty long response from someone who said she wasn’t going to talk on this subject any more, but it sums up all of the reactions that I have seen or that have come my way from my original post. I’m not of the school that says everyone needs to be nice to each other and we need to live in a field full of rainbows - I rarely follow people back for my own personal reasons that have nothing to do with them. I am certain that this inaction is passively hurtful to some, though my intentions are not to make people feel badly.
What I am saying is that certain type of posting actively hurts way more people than it helps, and people need to be cognizant of that. If they want to continue, that’s fine, but I personally think it’s somewhat unethical, and am going to stand up and say so.