When did we become the bullies in the schoolyard?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 31, 2008 3:55 PM GMT
    I have posted on here for 6 months to a year. I am no virgin. I have gotten into heated debates with many. I always say I try to debate issues but I am as bad as anyone. I try to stick to issues then someone says something personal and I respond in kind. It is not a great trait. It is not the better part of me. It is ego and a flaw in me. I am short tempered and a bit of a know it all. I will be the first to admit it. Unfortunately.

    But more and more, I am seeing people attack people on here, not because they personally were attacked, but because either they did not agree politically with the original poster, or they just wanted to jump on like a gang attack. It is like a gang initiation on MSNBC Lockup. He is down, everyone is getting their licks in, so I will kick him too.

    What happened to us? When did we become THEM? I assume that most everyone here has had to put up with some BS for being gay. Some more than others but we all have had to put up with it to some extent. Being taunted, being different, even if only in our own minds. Not being a part of the "popular" group, or not being a "jock", or being a jock but scared to death that the other jocks would find out that we were queer, or one of "them". To some extent, we have all been through it.

    So why now, why here, when we have a forum to talk with each other, why do we attack each other? So you like Obama? So you like McCain? So you come from a blue state or a red state? So you are big, or skinny, or fat or small, or whatever? You went to an Ivy league school or you never finished high school. When did we become THEM? Lord of the Flies?

    We are all gay. We all share that. We all want a good and decent life. We might disagree on how to get there but we all want to get there. The rest is just details. Why do we so quickly jump into that gang mentality of us vs. them? Attack the different one. Like we have been attacked for being different? Can we drop that? Can we be better than that? Can we take a second and appreciate each other? We are all gay men. Different in a million ways but similar in a very important way. We are all walking the same road. It is as easy to lift a brother up as push him down.
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    Oct 31, 2008 4:17 PM GMT


    Hey Triggerman,

    We posted something like this on the main forums called 'playing nice in the sandbox'.

    There's an ad on Canadian TV all about this subject . It shows examples of IM, email and forum talk all overwriting each other. Nasty stuff.

    Then the screen clears and message is:

    Technology has no conscience.
    We do.
    Think critically.
    Act ethically.

    Very nice post you did, by the way. The Lord of The Flies comparison is apt.

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Oct 31, 2008 4:21 PM GMT
    Well said, Triggerman...

    But if there is an "attack" as you have stated, it might be the way the poster
    has stated his position and the degree of respect given the opposition.
    I've been "attacked" a couple of times on threads I've started (the infamous
    "yard jockey" thread being one of them), but I brought it up and had better be prepared for what can come of it.

    I have no problem with others in disagreement of an idea or position I may have... its more the way its conveyed back. When someone disagrees with you and explains with some specifics all I can say is "I disagree" and explain why. If I say... "God your an idiot" or "what a clueless person", it invited a host of unfortunate comments and tension since the comments
    would have become personal.

    Some don't know how to disagree without making it personal (and nasty)and thats unfortunate. When it becomes inappropriate, I'd just rather pass. Thats not what its all about here on RJ in my opinion.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Oct 31, 2008 5:01 PM GMT
    You make very good points, Triggerman.

    Although, I have been preaching that for years, I fell victim to major abuse by a young guy who is so arrogant and insecure that he took my answers to his asking for help in several of his posts as a sexual come-one and "preying" on young guys, His unbased attacks got a nasty response from me for which I now feel bad,... exactly what you are talking about.

    We should all remember what make us human and that we are all facing the same pressures from the outside.... we could at least be civil and kind to eachother and certainly here on RJ,
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Oct 31, 2008 8:49 PM GMT
    There's a difference btw debate and bullying

    You can get your point across while being a little snarky without calling anyone names icon_cool.gif

    A well placed fact here and there goes a long way further than dropping an "F" bomb icon_rolleyes.gif

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    Oct 31, 2008 8:55 PM GMT
    Well, I agree with you. This is an opportunity to lead by example.

    I am weak and egotistical, defending my pissing ground However, I do want to be and try to be fair.

    Here your opinions are in the minority and I am sure it isn't easy.

    Terry
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    Oct 31, 2008 8:59 PM GMT
    Sometimes I think that the old adage of never discussing politics or religion has a lot of wisdom to it. Then again once you eliminate those topics then it gets pretty boring.

    It is not just RJ that sometimes suffers from a lack of respect when it comes to debating issues. Listening to radio talk-show hosts is a real eye-opener for someone like me who gets most of his information from reading.

    Appealing to people's prejudices and fears sells unfortunately. It is "entertaining". The days of thoughtful commentary from the likes of Eric Sevareid, Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite (who turns 92 on election day) are sadly long gone.
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    Oct 31, 2008 9:32 PM GMT
    Well said Triggerman.

    I was just thinking the other day about this very subject. But I was also thinking that, not only do some people jump on the proverbial "band wagon", other members seem to view themselves as superior to those with poor grammar or spelling habits, and take every opportunity to point these out while ridiculing the poster.

    This really makes me angry. My father and 2 of my brothers suffer from learning disabilities. Each of them is considerably intelligent, but have an incredibly hard time with spelling and written grammar.

    I think we should all climb down from the high horse, jump down off the pedestal and step off the soap box, and take a good look around.

    We're all just people.icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 31, 2008 9:51 PM GMT
    Yep, there is a bit of a gang-mentality here....

    Debate is one thing.....personal attacks are another....

    Gay men are no different than the rest of the world....humans love to gang up on the other....

    Probably why "Lord of the Flies" remains my favorite book....a book of fiction, but so, so true.
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    Oct 31, 2008 9:54 PM GMT
    Lord of the Flies is all I've seen in the gay community. Nothing new to me.
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    Oct 31, 2008 10:03 PM GMT
    is the law of unintended consequences ..icon_eek.gif
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    Oct 31, 2008 10:58 PM GMT
    GQjock saidThere's a difference btw debate and bullying

    You can get your point across while being a little snarky without calling anyone names icon_cool.gif

    A well placed fact here and there goes a long way further than dropping an "F" bomb icon_rolleyes.gif



    I agree with GQ. Even though we're gay, we still need cojones (with thick skin - pun intended icon_twisted.gif ) when participating in a public forum like this.

    That said, the stereotypical gay male is often catty and sarcastic. He is probably more likely than his straight, bullying counterpart to ruthlessly cut others down (especially other gay men). I've blogged about this phenomenon, and my thesis is that this is basically a defensive mechanism reinforced by deep-seeded insecurities. People with a healthy respect of self and others aren't given to these inclinations, so you perhaps you can begin to recognize that this is really the effect of "hurt people hurting people." I'm not saying that you should sit there and be a doormat, but I am saying that you should consider the source of these attacks.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Oct 31, 2008 11:04 PM GMT
    It'll all be over in 4 days. Then we can go back to the nice, friendly conversations and beat up on folks that haven't come out even when they probably have a good reason not to.

    Group hug!
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    Oct 31, 2008 11:04 PM GMT
    The oppressed often become oppressors. It's human nature to be apart of the dominant segment of society.

  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Nov 01, 2008 12:31 AM GMT
    When Chucky left, I thought that would be the end of bullying on RJ. But guess what icon_question.gif I was wrong icon_confused.gif

    I think the Kyle thread was the most ridiculous bit of bullying I've seen here in a long time. Also the microwave thread.

    Some times I think it is a group of children that invade RJ every now and then. It's time some people on here grew up.

    Mike
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    Nov 01, 2008 1:04 AM GMT
    RyanReBoRn saidThe oppressed often become oppressors. It's human nature to be apart of the dominant segment of society.

    There you go, the abused become the abusers. Its a cycle.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2008 1:08 AM GMT


    It's a cycle, but we have the power to choose.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2008 1:43 AM GMT
    meninlove said

    It's a cycle, but we have the power to choose.


    I guess that would depend on your situation.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 01, 2008 2:14 AM GMT
    WOW ! what a beautiful day it was outside today !! Don't you agree !?


    oh....er...oops....wrong room....sorry.

    ;)
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    Nov 01, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    I think I just inhaled a mosquito.
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    Nov 01, 2008 5:27 PM GMT
    As in email, posting to internet forums is best done with a little thought - and sometimes with a cooling off period!

    Frequently responses come from those who haven't actually read the OP, and definitely not the whole thread.

    But I'll tell you, I used to be active on a forum at Fodors.com (the travel site) - their "lounge" section, which includes almost anything, was frequently far nastier than anything I've seen here at RJ. Most people here are far more respectful.

    One thing I have noticed, though, is that sometimes when an honest question comes along from a young guy who's just finding his way, he will get as many kicks as helping hands. The fact is that nobody knows it all - and it can take a lot of guts to humbly ask for information. So the answers might be given with a little humility,too.
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    Nov 02, 2008 9:58 AM GMT
    I stand behind what I said.

    I will not try to get too deep into why we do what we do.

    Oppressers and oppressed? We are all gay men on here. Who is who?

    I, personally, am tired of it. I like to debate. I love when people disagree with me. I have absolutely no problem with that.

    But, when it switches from debating topics to attacking people, I do not want to do that anymore. I have no interest in that.
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    Nov 02, 2008 2:02 PM GMT


    We're with you on this Triggerman,
    and we'd also like to add our observation that 'the abused becoming the abuser' may be true in some specific cases, but is the reasoning for clemency brought forward by just about every perpetrator on the planet.

    Most gay men love having nice places. Apartments, townhomes, houses. How about nice hearts, too?

    Personally, we both feel it's better to lift each other up, inspire and lend a feeling of elation to those around us to make the world a better place.

    When we see bitter interaction and flame wars we often think it perpetuates a societal depression.

    .....just our thoughts.
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    Nov 02, 2008 2:46 PM GMT
    Triggerman askedSo why now, why here, when we have a forum to talk with each other, why do we attack each other?


    There's something about the internet that magnifies the worst (and also the best) in people. If you take a look at the comments in Youtube, the reviews on Amazon.com, or just about any other public forum, you'll see people posting things they would never say to a person face-to-face. I've seen crazy, insulting remarks on forums outside of RJ about astronomy, swimming, opera...you name it. Go figure.

    They're not bad people. They're a little bit like people who, in real life, are normally socialized, domesticated types, but then succumb to road-rage when they get behind the wheel of a car. (I am not above this myself, I'm sorry to admit).

    I think the Lord-of-the-Flies mentality arises from the fact that people generally post (and drive) in physical isolation. To make matters worse, all of the non-verbal queues that tell us whether to take a comment seriously or personally are eliminated on the boards, so it's easy to think the worst. For those who have bullied and those who have been bullied, taking a comment personally fits a familiar pattern.

    It would be nice if we were all more self-aware, but that's difficult for everyone, gay or straight.

    and SurrealLife said
    It is not just RJ that sometimes suffers from a lack of respect when it comes to debating issues. Listening to radio talk-show hosts is a real eye-opener for someone like me who gets most of his information from reading.


    I imagine the low level of acceptable public discourse (talk radio, some TV debate programs) also contributes to the slash-and-burn approach.
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    Nov 03, 2008 6:28 PM GMT
    ruck_us said...the stereotypical gay male is often catty and sarcastic. He is probably more likely than his straight, bullying counterpart to ruthlessly cut others down (especially other gay men). I've blogged about this phenomenon, and my thesis is that this is basically a defensive mechanism reinforced by deep-seeded insecurities. People with a healthy respect of self and others aren't given to these inclinations, so you perhaps you can begin to recognize that this is really the effect of "hurt people hurting people."


    Exactly. That's always been my thought on the issue, too. The plain, simple fact of the matter is this: for myriad reasons, many gay men are emotionally damaged, at least at some point in their lives.