No, seriously, stop it.
I count myself lucky that I go through periods where I live under a rock. Where I’m more focused on school,video games and getting ready for a move in a few weeks (at least this latest rock period). It seems I’ve missed a lot of controversy, and that suits me just fine.
Some time ago, I’d search it out to see what I missed. I mean, after all, who doesn’t like a bit of gossip? I thought too that it’d give me an opportunity to see who was a toxic member of the online pagan and polytheist community, so I could avoid them.
But what I’ve realized is that enough of my day is wasted. Enough of my time is wasted getting distracted by little things. From someone who is trying to finish college and suffers from a pretty severe case of high functioning ADHD, my time is taken up by any number of things, so it always feels like I get nothing done. And I realize that, when looking up stupid controversy bullshit, that really is getting nothing done.
I’m empathetic to a fault. I actually realize my extreme empathy will later play a more entwined place in my path, but for now I have to hide myself sometimes. I literally cannot take the extreme violence and belligerence that comes from some people, whether it be in person or online. It’s physically and mentally stressful to read those things. But like a glutton, I always would, because as much as it would make me tense up, we all love to read that gossip. It’s an unhealthy habit, especially for my place in life.
So this is me saying that controversy can go fuck itself. That the belligerent idiots who start flame wars can go fuck themselves. I’m committing myself to be a valuable, if not always an active participant, in the online community that I want to be a part of, and that means that the easiest way to stop the trolls is to not feed them. Ah, life lessons of the internet. Discourse and discussion are good, but frothing at the mouth anger never solves anything, and it just makes other people want to punch you in the mouth.
There are too many stressful things going on in the world for me to deal with the petty shit that other people drag in to the community. So before I go looking for that harmful gossip, those intriguing but diseased tumors of the trolls, I’m cutting them out of my life now.
And here’s a challenge for my readers, few you may be- when you see that juicy bit of controversy, that flame war going on, stop before you involve yourself and think- don’t I have something better to do with my day, and is my participation, if even observance of this, just giving more credit to the people I don’t want to be an active part of this community?
While this approach won’t work for all problems, it seems to be a good one for this type, because by starting a flame war, they are seeking validation. They are screaming for people to pay attention to them, and when you do, you validate that and give them more fuel for the fire. Passion and enthusiasm for a topic should not devolve into idiocy and rage. Those are very separate things that people confuse on a disappointingly regular basis.