how to not be an asshole and still maintain your moral standards
because it seems that for a lot of people there’s nothing in-between “I don’t like x thing because it’s bad for x reason and if you disagree then you are evil scum” and “yeah sure do whatever you want!!! give everyone a chance to express their creativity/opinions no matter what!!!!”
1. Know your shit.
One of the easiest things to do is to make yourself look like an idiot because you didn’t bother to look for more information. Before you form your opinion, be sure to rationally look at both sides of an argument and do as much fact-checking you can before you give your input. This goes for anything. Politics, shipping discourse, what have you.
(something to note: not everything works the same in other countries as it does in your country.)
2. If necessary, make a distinction between what is genuinely harmful/derogatory and what upsets you personally.
This is important especially when someone asks you how you feel about a certain subject. There is a difference between Actual Pedophilia and “there is nothing Technically wrong with this ship but the age gap is big enough that the potential for a power-imbalance bothers me greatly, and I want no part of this”.
3. Don’t start shit.
Callout posts, angry messages, and witch hunts. Anon or not, just don’t do it. You might think you’re doing the right thing, but you’re probably just going to make people want to spite you instead of listen. Calling someone names or telling someone to kill themself is shitty.
Also, don’t infest someone’s tag with opinions they don’t want to see. If you feel the need to vent but don’t want to start discourse, use read mores and slashes inbetween words (li//ke thi//s) so that it won’t show up in the tag.
Now, I’m not saying you have to be completely passive about things you don’t like, but there are other things you can do to avoid them, like…..
4. Just block people.
Let me say this again.
JUST. BLOCK. PEOPLE.
Or unfollow them. It’s super easy. One click, and they’re gone.
You’re allowed to have opinions. So are other people. And guess what, you don’t have to look at them. Shocker.
If you’re going to post something and it would make you uncomfortable if people gave it context that you specifically don’t like, say it. State it clearly, and let people know that if they do it anyway, they’ll get blocked.
Think of it this way: if you throw a party and someone shows up and starts doing things and telling jokes etc that make you uncomfortable, what do you do? You don’t invite them to the next party. And if they weren’t invited to begin with, then you take extra precaution to make sure they don’t come again.
Remember, it’s your blog. It’s your party. You’re the host, and yeah you want to make sure your guests are happy, but you can still set boundaries. How much tolerance you have is up to you.
(see also: blacklist. I’ve surprisingly never used it. But it can very easily control what kinds of content you see or don’t see.)
5. Be patient.
If someone is doing something harmful, it’s possible they just don’t know better. People are limited by their life experiences and might not know to think differently because they never knew they could.
People change. What were you like a year ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago? I highly doubt that you’re proud of everything you’ve said and done in the past. There were jokes I’ve said and things I’ve liked that I would never dream of saying now.
This is why I think it’s so, so important to not immediately condemn someone. People don’t often make complete 180s, so don’t expect them to. People don’t like being told they’re wrong, and might need take some time to sort out their thoughts/unlearn their behavior before substantial change happens. Does this excuse their behavior? No, of course not. Even without ill-intent, people can absolutely still do damage.
6. Know when to speak.
This can go a lot of ways. Certain fights aren’t yours to fight. Don’t talk over anyone else. Admit when you don’t know enough about something to give a proper opinion. Recognize when something isn’t worth the time or energy.
Also: learn to recognize traps. People will try to send “gotchas” disguised as innocent questions. These are usually done with the intent of twisting your words and making you sound problematic no matter your response. Even if you’re not sure, just don’t respond. Avoid confrontation and discourse whenever you can. Resist being petty if you know that it’d just start more drama.
That’s it. I hope y’all can go out and try to be decent people. Have fun. Your internet experience is up to you. You don’t need to make it someone else’s responsibility.