Wednesday, January 21, 2009

what better measure of what you were doing here than what you can leave behind

I'll likely have more to say on this topic than this one entry, but I did want to get this into print before I curled up for sleeping.

To preface anything I say: I, though I have walked the streets of Babbage (and found them lovely) and gone both to town meetings and social events, have not made Babbage the center of any of my experiences, by and large. I met Madcow Cosmos for the first time in New Babbage; I met Elda Luna for the first time in New Babbage; I discovered what an Air Kraken was the day Oolon Sputnik took Elda, Edward Pearse and I through his Etheric Transport Cabinet for the first time.

These are memories I cherish, and I still love the look, the layout, of New Babbage. But I freely admit, Caledon called harder, and I moved closer to Caledon as the days turned into weeks turned into years.

But, this doesn't mean it doesn't sadden me to see the same tragedy befall Babbage as befell Caledon--or at least, once befell Caledon, before Miss Kandace Commons, with the thanks of a grateful nation-state, left Caledon in a flurry of bile, curse words and poisoned shards of spite.

To wit, in this post from Babbage's forums, entitled Farewell New Babbage, posted by a rather well-known Urchin-about-town, Mr. Django Yifu asks--and considering the tone of some of the posts I've been reading through, he asks in an extremely gentle fashion--"How peaceful was Babbage before the return of Miss Commons?" in and amongst his other points.

Miss Commons' reply to this was just as full of spite and bitterness as I've come to expect from every other dealing I've had with her:
"This was brought up in previous threads before, but what I find sickening is that 'as a Nation State,' we seem to have an inability to dissent without being labeled as 'uncivil.' Pfft. Very very little has been said by anyone in the massive amounts of posts that have been generated that could rightly be labeled as uncivil. I'm sorry that you find it so incredibly offensive that people might explore and investigate topics and candidates who are vying for control over New Babbage, but so be it. As Mr. Merryman pointed out, the populace of New Babbage have an impressive ability to ignore rational argument in favor of complaining about the 'tone' or 'intent' of a post without nary a care for its CONTENT. Yes, I called someone a liar, with clear evidence that they did in fact lie. That's considered uncivil? Pardon me, I consider lying to be uncivil. I'm the one causing trouble by pointing it out? So be it. If a candidate who's attempting to become our new fearless leader is a demonstrated liar, I think that is important for everyone to know, so I put it out there."

So, let's see, more or less in order, these seem to be Miss Commons' main points. Do accept that I am broadly paraphrasing things:

* 'No one's saying anything less than respectful, what's your problem?'

* 'You people don't care what anyone says, as long as it sounds polite, so I'll just say what I need to say because truth is more important than phrasing!'

* 'Baron Wulfenbach is a big liar-head and he's always going to be a big liar-head and I've proven that so nyaah.'

You can see where I might have a problem with this.

But it doesn't stop there. Miss Trafalgar begs Miss Commons' indulgence, in not turning every forum post into a whinefest; Doctor Obolensky tells her to back it down because she's only contributing to the problem; a fellow Urchin, DreddPirate Bob, feels deep dismay for even mentioning the election to Mr. Yifu, as now Yifu is fully sick of the whole thing and of Babbage entire; and Miss Franizzi outright asks Miss Commons to stop.

Does she listen? Does she even reflect once on the impact of her words and consider moderating her behavior? Apparently not:
"ME stop? No offense, but that's bullshit. This was a clear personal attack aimed at me for no reason. Hypocritical, truly."

I have to laud Doctor Obolensky for this next reply:

Even if it *was* a personal attack, it was about the mildest one I have seen. When you post, just take a brief moment to ask "Am I making this worse?".

Because you are, really. I don't really know if you intend it or not, but you take the slightest spark, and throw gasoline on it with the way you phrase things, and the words you use.

A solution to a problem rarely involves attacking a symptom with a sledgehammer."

Wiser words, in debates like this, might never have been spoken. And I tell you this knowing full well what I have said, in Caledon, and the last little contretemps I found myself in. And what did I do? Backed the hell off. I keep myself away from chat most of the time; if I get concerned about something, I always now stop, and ask--"Would responding to this harm Caledon seriously?" And if the answer even verges on a 'yes', and I can see no other reason to interact at that point but retaliation, I do not post.

How hard is that, truly?

Apparently, far too difficult for Miss Commons to grasp:
"There is nothing offensive about my posting, only the apparent need of certain residents in New Babbage to assume hostile intent. Contrary to what you seem to imply, it's not me against 'the rest of the internet.' There are actually rational people who grok what's being said. For the rest.... they can put on their big girl panties and deal with it, or leave."

Now, in all fairness, I must add something else before I finish this, namely, the words of Miss Kamloops, who claims Miss Commons as a close personal friend:
"As someone who knows Kandace in real life, and has known her for many years prior to me joining SL (2005), it upsets me to see people constantly attacking her for 'just wanting to hurt Babbage' or 'causing drama'. She has undoubtedly been tactless and hurtful to many residents and especially Shaun since being ousted, but this was entirely in response to BEING ousted for unjust reasons [ ... ]It has nothing to do with wanting to start drama; she really does care about the outcome. I don't say this because I am standing up for Kandace. I say this because I think many people don't understand her and take what she says in a way that differs from her intent in posting. In conclusion, she is tactless and blunt, always has been and always will be, but she does care for Babbage immensely and does want it to succeed."

I am not Miss Commons' friend. After she exploded for the first time--over security orbs in another sovereign nation, of all ridiculous things--in Caledon chat, and upended everything into a mire where the cursing spewing from her lips could have blistered lead paint at five paces, and easily two-thirds of Caledon promptly closed the window when she spoke--and we all could see exactly who left, as that was the time on the grid where every group window opening was followed by a running count of who joined and who left--I will never be anything less than overwhelmingly critical of her, without any additional forays into attacks on those with whom I am friends. Just her alone, I do not like, I will not like, that's plain and I'm uncompromising in this.

But for whatever reason, I have been where she is. I have perceived an issue so great that I was willing to cast aside decorum to breach the walls of silence, and make my voice be heard. I was willing to fly in the face of convention to save something I loved, something I thought then was truly at risk. I have railed against the darkening of the light, and mourned that my words were not heeded.

But nearly all of you know what happened after that. I listened. I grew up. I moved on. I accepted that wrong action, even for right reasons, remains wrong action. One of the guiding precepts of my life, here or elsewhere, is that beginnings must be clean, if endings are to be clean. I did not begin with clean hands; therefore, the entire process was tainted.

I know this now. And that is exactly what is infuriating me from a distance: Miss Commons seems doggedly determined to keep shouting her supposed 'truth' from the greatest height, into a megaphone, while carpet-bombing Babbage residents with biting sarcasm and bitter venom. And she doesn't see it.

Right now, almost all vocal residents of New Babbage just want the whole process to be over already. It has turned uglier than even Miss Commons' once-infamous wrangling with Winterfell in CalChat; it has made several residents of New Babbage leave New Babbage, establishing homes temporarily--or perhaps not so temporarily--in other sims, and--at least in the case of Yifu, and I know this well, if there's one, there are others--inspired more to leave the entire grid.

And she doesn't see this.

Even someone claiming to know her well calls her tactless, blunt and hurtful.

I know the life of a sledgehammer. I know its mental weight in my hand, the effort it takes to swing at objects at a remove from myself; I know how much power it takes to keep it moving forward until it strikes its target and the target shatters from the force of the blow. I know how often there is peripheral damage, shrapnel shards sunk into innocent flesh, feelings and hearts hurt and bleeding from what my hammer has done.

I am trying to be better. I am trying to choose my words with care. I am trying to know that if I engage in argument, in the fostering of drama, that I am part of what holds things back from escalating to lethal levels. I am trying to listen more than I speak, and speak carefully when I do.

The sledgehammer has no conscience. The sledgehammer swings, and it will strike whatever is in its path as it swings for the target. Ideals, philosophy, young thoughts, old feelings, all are crushed in an instant. The sledgehammer doesn't care.

I care. I hope to all my gods Miss Commons does too. But once we reach the point where people see our names and log off, rather than face what we might do, what we might say--we have lost the battle. No amount of shrieking into her megaphone, insinuating the concepts of so-called 'rational' discussion while she proves by her very wording her argument is anything but amount of ground gained in these pitched pit battles will equal the amount of ground she has lost.

Believe me, I know. At this point Doctor Obolensky is right--she is making the problem worse, and she needs to stop. She needs, more than anything else, to choose her words with great care. She needs to stop putting out fires with gasoline.

Because a New Babbage turned over to the winner of the elections, that turns out to be empty? Serves no one. And that really seems to be what things are pushing towards unless something changes.


Darien Mason said...

Thank you Miss Orr. Eloquently said. How Miss Commons was readmitted to New Babbage is beyond me. And why she is allowed to continue her tantrums in the Ning is even further beyond me.

Do they want her to rip Babbage apart until she and her handful of enablers are the only ones left?

BardHaven said...

She is one of the more vile, useless people I have met in 15 years online...or at least the persona she assumes online is. Considering the sheer degree of uselessness of so many people I have virtually met, that is saying a lot indeed.

I believe I said that to her face at one point during our hour long flame war over security orbs in CalChat some monthes back.

When she finally huffed out of Caledon (by her own choice, as Desmond still sadly cannot find the nerve to ban or discipline ANYONE), she told all who would listen that Babbage was Nirvana and Shaunathan a kind of God. Funny how I am not surprised by her reversal.

She enjoys destroying is what she does.


Emilly Orr said...

Good points, both of you.

Doctor: I'm wondering how much of her accusations of the Baron's supposed "lying" are centered on the discussed possibility of his enforcing her ban from Babbage. Because it really does sound that self-serving.

Lord Bardhaven: that does say something. I'd also add that in conversations with a friend earlier, outlining the situation, I briefly entertained the possibility that Prokovy Neva might, just might, be less objectionable than Kandace Commons.

Now there is a terrifying concept.

Capt. Red Llewellyn said...

my post to It Commons that i was unable to post due to the closure of that thread (silly me, i went and watched the innaguration..came back and it was closed)....please to enjoy! [grins] would go after a Django comment that said "YAY" sorry, it's long!
Double YAY! and Kandace, you have *always* been this way. this is nothing have established with your actions and words that to be an argumentative spiteful bully is your raison d'etre.

in a blog post of your own which i quote without permission here (i was sure you wouldn't mind) this is how you treat visitors to our city. and you post it with pride.

[20:32] You: I think he's pissed. :P
[20:32] Lighthouse Visitor Counter: Left Proximity: Soosh Benoir
[20:32] Django Camel: Yes
[20:32] You: Pity, I wanted to show him mine. :P
[20:32] Django Camel: He just told me he was offended
[20:33] You: Why? He didn't make those ships.
[20:33] You: It's irrational to be offended.

anyone who takes your harsh words and is offended is considered "irrational" what is irrational is that after all this time you still just don't get it. you can't be mean to people, bullying, then call them irrational when they don't like it. THAT is irrational or mayhap sociopathic. Hmmm hard call.

it was peaceful when you were banished (and so typical by your own admission that by use of your many ALTS you did not stay away) i don't understand...why would you want to be somewhere where people DO NOT WANT YOU?
that is beyond reasoning.
people make excuses for you. they say "she has no social skills, she's tactless, she's blunt" that you have a "good heart"...i doubt that....

but Bob said it best, you're poison. and this is not something new. you have been and you are and you will be toxic to our community.

you are not healing but harmful. you are not kind but cruel. you feign innocence as you go forth and rip apart the happy fabric of our community over AND OVER and over again then claim to love the very place that you seek to destroy with your vitriolic verbiage.

it makes one wonder if in fact you don't love our city but hate it...and us. and by your poisoning words and cruel derision your goal is to scare off our new dear people and pushing away our long time beloved citizens like Mr. Django Yifu. i propose that that indeed is your INTENT and purpose. with a false claim of affection you go about to destroy. it matters not what you did, built, or terraformed in the past, for i believe you seek to tear down and apart everything right now for our future and to walk away with a bounce in your step slapping your hands clean with a smug self-satisfied smile of achievement. but we won't let you. nope. no matter how hard you try those who love and who are kind will stay if nothing more than to spite you.

Emilly Orr said...

Captain Llewellyn: I commend your passion, your commitment, and I completely understand your confusion. While I accept that Mayor Sprocket banned her for no direct violation of Babbage's ToS--and thus, felt he had to post an apology and allow her back in--I would have been fine with the ban standing.

I freely admit, I visited Babbage a great deal, for a variety of reasons, but when Commons stormed out of Caledon (where she had been nothing less than unpleasant, start to finish, in every interaction with her and various residents), and we heard she'd made her way into Babbage, for the most part I stopped visiting entirely.

Outside of purely business reasons to be there, I haven't set foot anywhere in any Babbage sim because of her.

That capture from her journal, by the way? If that's how she treats gentles interested in New Babbage, then it genuinely astounds me now that Mr. Sprocket didn't uphold the ban. He really, really should have. She is a small knot of cancerous cells in the Babbage body politic. Gods help you all if her attitude spreads.

Anonymous said...

While it's a shame that others have had to suffer "Rabbit Wrath", I will say that it's somewhat comforting knowing that it's not just us. I keep hoping that she'll get the hint that she really doesn't have nearly as many supporters as she thinks she does in Babbage and that she'll either pipe down or leave altogether. However, wishing for that kind of insight is ridiculously optimistic at best. Until then, I just hope that folks will be able to separate the truth from the lies and that they'll stop responding to her (I believe) intentionally inflammatory posts. Maybe if we all ignore her she'll go away and take her bitterness and vitriole with her...for good this time.

Emilly Orr said...

Having spoken with someone in the interim whose opinion and gentle spirit I value--who remains, inexplicably, friends with her--I am now running a small mental pro/con list. On the 'con' side is everything I've outlined in these two posts. On the 'pro' side is that this gentle lady values Miss Commons as a friend.

So my hopes now center around her actually realizing the harm she does, and working through what she might do to minimize, or end, these sorts of aggressive conflicts that keep arising, over and over again, between her and nearly everyone she interacts with.

I don't hold high hopes for this, mind. But if there's an outside is always better not to live in the space of bitterness and enraged recrimination.

Capt. Red Llewellyn said...

i tried disregarding the actions of it, turning my cheek. time after time i ignored it...when it sent unprovoked mean and bullying IM's in world, ning comments, and when it called me a "bitch" to my face in front of a certain evil Doctor. of note...but it kept on. month after month without ANY provocation, acknowledgment, or response. relentlessly spiteful, holding a grudge just for just being a friend to a certain mayor, without personal interaction, just because i existed in that other person's life. for four months i ignored until one particular breaking point. when it "accidently" intentionally stole prims from my property. that's when i had it. one can only turn one's cheek so much until you're facing away from any given problem.. not looking at it, or dealing with it, directly. and again, i'm a pirate!

Emilly Orr said...

Well, just to play devil's advocate, everyone makes mistakes. I cannot count the number of times people--knowledgeable builders and scripters, mind you, not the rest of us limping along figuring things out!--have announced in CalChat to beware of some object hovering where it shouldn't be.

Bicycles and horses have dumped their riders at sim crossings; airships and balloons have drifted off without pilots; once, quite memorably, a couch went wandering, and was not discovered for some few hours.

All that having been said, though, should such occurrence take place on a parcel; the name of the hapless unfortunate is found by object owner status; and, if contacted, they then refuse to come by and retrieve their lost item?

Well, that is quite staggeringly rude indeed. And they should know better.