Recently, someone on Ravelry wondered aloud if it was just her, or if the forums were getting a little terse these days. For the record, I don’t think it’s just her, but I do have to wonder a bit at the people who bemoan all the drama and yet seem to keep finding it and wanting tools to deal with it–like the ability to hide Ravatars that don’t agree with their personal views, or to ignore people who don’t agree with them. I’ve found the “ignore thread” option works wonders to avoid the drama (but I love the “hide avatar” option because now I’ve been filling all of the blank spaces of the Ravatar-less with the picture of Mary-Heather’s pretty yarn).
Those who have agreed have offered several possible explanations. The election, of course, is an easy target, but the time of year (fall, cooling weather, school starting, hurricane season, the Harvest Moon, etc.) has received its share of blame. And there are always the old dead horses that are regularly revived for yet another beating: copyright, acrylic, and swearing.
But I think there’s a simpler explanation…and I found it in one of my son’s favorite cartoons. We’re the Wonder Pets.
(I’m serious. Stay with me on this one.)
In every forum, you will find Turtle Tuck. Tuck’s a really nice guy, concerned as much for the emotional well-being of others as their physical well-being. He’s quite empathic…maybe too much so. Tuck’s just a bit oversensitive sometimes. His feelings can be easily hurt, and when they are, he just can’t let it go. He’s so sensitive that he often manufactures hurt feelings by proxy on behalf of others–even others who are unaware they’re allegedly being insulted, or whom have decided to let it go. Tuck won’t. To be blunt, Tuck can be a pouter.
Unfortunately, he’s afforded frequent opportunities to indulge in his self-pity, because you will also find Ming-Ming Duckling roaming the forums. To be honest, Ming-Ming’s my favorite. I love her dry sense of humor and ability to provide comic relief. Unfortunately, sometimes that dry humor devolves into snark, and sometimes that comedy is provided at the expense of others. Ming-Ming can be pretty cocky, and can specialize in…er, ruffling feathers.
And then there’s Ollie the Bunny. Ollie’s a bit of a jerk sometimes. He has a special talent for bumbling into a situation without bothering to learn anything of the norms or rules and attempting to impose his will upon it. Ming-Ming’s cocky, but Ollie’s downright arrogant. There’s no telling him he’s wrong and he’s pretty dismissive of opposing viewpoints…at least until his face is rubbed in it.
Given that cast of characters, it’s a wonder that internet forums don’t implode–and sadly, some do. There’s one reason Ravelry won’t: it has Linny. Several Linnys, actually.
Linny the Guinea Pig is the peacemaker. She’s smart, she’s level-headed, and she is the master of the diplomatic phrase. She encourages and sympathizes with Tuck; laughs with and gently reprimands Ming-Ming; and is patient but firm with Ollie. She’s the one ready to remind everyone that it takes all kinds of people to make a world, all kinds of knitters and crocheters to make a community, and all kinds of yarn to make a stash. Linny is the first–and last–to point out that if we work together, we can make Ravelry into a beautiful place.
All it takes is teamwork. And if you haven’t yet today, thank a Linny.