Saturday, January 09, 2016

Why I Don't Allow Anonymous Comments on Any of My Social Media

I was watching someone this morning get into a fight with some Gamergaters on Tumblr, and once again I was glad that I don't engage in a lot of arguments anymore on Blogger or Tumblr. I'm sure that makes this blog less interesting to read, but my peace of mind is worth a lot more to me.

I'm actually on my third blog on Tumblr. My first was deleted around 2011 when I was reported for harassment. The person who reported me was actually a virulent and dangerous bully who thought it would be fun to make a friend of mine think she was being stalked. When I called her out by name and url, she reported me and my blog was deleted. Oh, well. I made a new one, and a new one after that.

But ever since then--and a number of other fight incidents--I've disabled the ability to reach me anonymously. There were a lot of people following me back then who were friendly to my face and sending me hate messages and bullying notes when given the opportunity to hide their identities. And since I don't exactly think the best of people in the first place, I decided to cut it off. And here on the blog, too. The pointless, endless fights just aren't worth it.

Someone was asking me on Tumblr why I don't allow anonymous comments, and it just made me suspicious of them. What mean thing do they want to say to me that they're too cowardly to put an identity to? I suppose I could just be paranoid, but... well, that was the case before: friendly to my face, cruel with a mask on.

Look, I'm fat. I'm not really attractive, but I dare to post pictures of myself online. I lean left politically, especially socially. I'm anti-gun. I'm anti-war. I think we should take in more refugees. I'm pro-LGBT and pretty open about being bisexual. I think Black Lives Matter. I think libertarians are ridiculous. I love The Phantom Menace. I am mentally ill. I am poor. I'm receiving public aid, including Medicaid. I'm too old to like cartoons and know who Maddie Ziegler is. I like pictures of naked women. These are all polarizing things that people can't stand, and they want to send me hate-filled messages about them. And I don't want to hear those messages because, as an abuse survivor, I don't need messages that validate the negative thoughts I have about myself. But even if that wasn't the case... who cares? Who cares if some asshole is angry because I felt good one afternoon and wanted to post a photo of myself drinking an Icee? (Yeah, that's something I got a snarky, anonymous comment about once.)

I don't really want that person to have the momentary, immediate satisfaction of calling me a name or trying to make me feel bad about myself just to make themselves feel less weak for a second. Find another way to be empowered.

And some people have opinions that I honestly consider... brutal. Brutal and hypocritical, especially when it comes to poverty and social welfare and the economy and race and politics in general. And I feel like engaging those opinions--particularly in a civil conversation--just legitimizes them. These are people who tend to identify themselves as "Christians" and "patriots" and then act like anything but, and who provoke other people into being angry so that they can pretend they're just getting vitriol over their beliefs and not because they're acting like assholes. They think pushing a liberal to be anything other than polite and civil is "proof" that people who believe in social justice aren't as compassionate as we claim. I'm not going to reward your barbarism with civility so you can feel like your merciless arrogance is somehow respected and tolerated as a legitimate opinion. I'm not going to validate you by caving in to respectability politics. Sorry, you can find someone else to play that game with.

It's not like national debates are going to be settled by two strangers on the internet and the tone with which they write messages.

I see a lot of people who say "You just don't want to be disagreed with." And that's not actually true. But at the same time, as someone with no power or influence... who the hell cares? That's just a self-serving way of getting mad at me for not wanting to subject myself to your negativity.


Nathan said...

I remember when you got a lot of abusive and nonsensical anonymous comments on Tumblr, so I really don't blame you for turning it off. It's not a matter of not wanting to be disagreed with, but how do you respond to criticisms that don't make any sense in the first place, and are just mean for the sake of mean?

Autumn said...

I've never understood the anonymous comment. If you feel strongly enough about something to comment, then you should take responsibility for it. Then again, I cannot imagine putting someone else down and feeling good about it so I guess I have no reason to be anonymous.

By the way, even if our opinions differ, I always appreciate seeing you post what you think. Some of the most interesting posts on here are just ramblings about how you feel about something and it's always interesting to see how someone else thinks. If we agree, we often agree for different reasons and if we don't, I can see the (often valid) points to the other side.

So thanks for keeping it up!

Nik said...

Good on yah. My thinking about the Internet and social media has gotten a lot more cynical the past year or so, as it becomes clearer that it's a perfect way for the nastiest impulses in humanity to flourish without fear of retribution. I'm intentionally dialling way back on online interactions in 2016 just to see if it makes me feel less depressed about the whole mess.

Some Guy said...

I love when you post stuff like this. You make so much fucking sense! Just curious, but did you build the AT-AT yet?

MC said...

I notice that a lot of the people who get mad at getting blocked on Twitter because they are harassing, sealioning assholes use that same kind of argument... that by removing them from your feed or not allowing them to yell abuse at you, you just don't want disagreement.

Your social media is your house, and as such, you are allowed to invite or kick out anyone you want to spend time in it.

I understand completely why you'd not allow anonymous comments personally.

SamuraiFrog said...

Nathan: Yeah, I'm sure you remember who I was talking about. And there was a lot of mean for the sake of mean.

Autumn: I've been pretty sensitive and defensive all my life, too, ever since I was a little kid, because I was abused and I'm mentally ill and because my mother was always scared of other people and made me scared of other people, so I've always been something of a target because I get upset easily. I have a lot of experience with that weird part of some people that really gets excited by making someone else feel bad. Or worse, that part of someone else that thinks winning an argument is making someone else feel bad, and then says "Why do you give other people the power to make you feel bad?"

Nik: That's a good idea. That's probably part of the reason why I posted here less than ever in 2015.

Some Guy: Oh man, not yet! I'm going to post pictures when I do. We got snowed in and I was thinking, yeah, it's time, but we got a new video game for Christmas (a Lego one) and I started playing "just for a bit" and suddenly it was four or five hours later. I get de-anchored from time walking around those hub worlds.

MC: Thank you for reminding me I meant to look up what "sealioning" meant. I saw someone use it on Tumblr yesterday, and it's actually the guy I referred to in the beginning, who's always arguing with people who are attacking him about his gender identity. I feel bad for the guy, but I have to gloss over a lot of his posts because the stupid MRA negativity he gets thrown at him is just too much for me. It's not arguing, it's screaming until one side shuts down and then claiming victory.

And that comic is a hundred percent accurate. I see that happen fifty times a day on Tumblr.

Roger Owen Green said...

I wrote about sealioning. It's not about disagreeing, it's about some people just being assholes.