With Grace.. showing some class.
So far in this series, we’ve covered Respect – treating others with dignity, Kindness – willingness to get involved by engaging the community and helping, Balance – keeping your life in moderation so that you can get the most enjoyment out of your “play time”. Today we are going to expand on those and talk about grace. Simple elegance or refinement.. exhibiting class instead of crass.
We can complain all we want about issues in our community, but when it comes down to it, our community is what we choose to make of it. Taking responsibility for our own actions is the first step we can take in encouraging a more pleasant time for ourselves and others not only in game, but in our lives. The anonymity of the internet can be very enticing for some, making them feel far too comfortable in not being held accountable for their behavior. This is a frustration that I hear people talk about often. But where do we start with an issue like that?
Like with most things, any change we want to see ripple out into the community has to start with ourselves. A warning to the weary, because of the common sense directive of this post, there is a high probability that this volume may come off a little more “matter of fact” than what I usually write… and will very likely contain a few openly known cliches… the first being issued right now in the statement of “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
How do we be the change? Put simply we make ourselves more accountable over what we say, and what we do. We selectively choose what behavior in others we respond to, and what the appropriate response should actually be. If you come across an attention-hungry troll… it probably isn’t the best solution to feed it, or build it a stage. People who want attention will eventually give up and may even eventually find more positive means to express themselves if their antics aren’t giving them the attention they so desire.
Personally I actually find the community atmosphere in game to far better than what is exhibited in say the official forums, which is kind of sad seeing as to many who don’t play, those forums are all they ever know about our community. They base opinions off the forums instead of what is really the meat and potatoes of our community.
Don’t get me wrong.. forums can be quite the amazing tool when used properly, and there are some incredibly positive community focused individuals you can occasionally find there, diamonds in the rough it seems. For many though, a trip to the forums right now is not always much of a pleasure, and I hear lots of complaints. Sadly I know many reasonable community members that avoid it like the plague. It can be very easy to get caught up in the drama there. I know I myself have written extensive posts in response to some pretty ridiculous things…. only to delete all my words before ever even publishing them. In the end, “You can’t reason with the unreasonable” and there are some things that aren’t worth your breath and time to respond to… BUT.. when you find those instances where what you have to say may actually give some clarity… showing a bit of grace and class in how you respond, can go a real long way.
Showing grace / having class in the forums:
#1 Strive to be informed
One would hope that if you feel strongly about needing to actually comment on an issue or a forum post, that its because it’s something you’ve done at least some investigation on beforehand. Hopefully its something you’ve actually spent time dissecting those facts, weighing both pros and cons, and coming to what in your mind is a sound conclusion.
#2 Make your responses concise and purposeful.
When we’re honest, who really wants to read all 700 comments on a posted thread? The truthful answer? No one. No one actually does. Why not?… well a myriad of reasons can come into play, but mostly it comes down to three things.
- Its exhausting…. The sheer amount to read through can be quite overwhelming.
- Its mostly repeated material….. Many times comments continue to just reiterate the same points over and over again. Instead of “liking” comments and posts that represent similar thoughts we have on the matter, people tend to have to add their already mentioned points into the mix in a desire to have their voices heard. The problem is that it has the exact opposite effect, and causes many “voices” to be ignored or lost. How many great points are never read because they are on page 72, and the reader stopped reading on page 3? Does this mean we should not participate in the conversation? Not at all, that is not what is being said here. What is being said is that your point will have far more impact if it is relevant to the actual topic, and hasn’t already been covered in the last 26 comments before. If people took this approach, what points we voice, would be less likely to be lost in the shuffle and would matter more because there was less to sift through.
- Its unrelated material…. Too many useless comments like “oh this thread again” and “grabs some popcorn” and personal attacks on the comment maker 5 posts previous who had a different opinion from their own. All these things are simply clutter and worthless. They do not serve to make any real contribution, they do not express any real point nor do they actually leave any readers amazed by your wondrous sense of wit. When you leave comments like that its like a beacon saying “I have nothing pertinent to say, but am in need some attention so please like me”
#3 Understand that disagreements aren’t actually personal.
There is an age old cliche that goes something like: “Opinions are like noses…everyone’s got one.”
OK.. OK… so you caught me….. noses is not the word generally used there, but this is a PG-13 rated blog 😛 Basically the thought there is that everyone has an opinion, and so simply having an opinion isn’t something that actually makes one special nor undeniably “right”. People in general look at life from many varied perspectives, so are bound to have different thoughts on subjects.
This doesn’t mean they are “bad” or “wrong” even.. just different, so reasonable people don’t demonize others for having a different opinion. They are not evil, or out to get you because they don’t agree. This understanding is far easier to come to, if you feel secure in what thoughts lead you to your own opinion. Personal insecurity leads to a need to retaliate, or demean others… which is definitely not showing any sort of class, or grace.
There is far more honor in agreeing to disagree, than there ever is in personally attacking someone because their viewpoint differs. If you feel the need to present your case for why you believe the way you do, then do so without demeaning the other individual. You have far more chance to “win someone over” through showing thoughtful responses from real research, than you will with catty or sarcastic retorts… “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar”.. just saying… cliches are cliches for a reason.. it’s generally because they show truth.
Showing grace/ having class in game:
Suggestions for showing grace and exhibiting class in game… these are all things we all already know… “Treat others how you would like to be treated”… and anything more I can think of at this point would really be things we’ve already covered in past posts of this series regarding Respect, Kindness, and Balance..
Never underestimate the difference that you can make, by beginning with your own actions!