We’ve all seen animal documentaries where that sweet mother sandpiper fakes a broken wing to lure documentary film makers away from her chick. In the VC I call it “lame duck” posting, at least I do in my own head. I do it fairly often and I’m going to explain why.
It happened recently in a group I belong to. I happened in and saw that a young friend of mine was being put upon. I read the thread over, several times, to see if he’d brought it on himself. The issue seemed to be that the man belonged to unpopular faction in the community. He hadn’t really said or done anything wrong, that I could see, he was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, on the “wrong” side of the conversation. Since he hadn’t said or done anything that might have gotten him into the position of being harassed there was little chance of extricating him simply by pointing out the validity of his political stance in the community and nothing I could have said or done would have helped his position had I chose to simply support what he was saying. I did try. In the end I resorted to what I call “lame duck” posting. Instead of trying to back up my young friends position I strongly stated my own to draw attention away from my friend. Thats right folks, I started a fight on the internet.
I didn’t lie. I totally expressed my own opinions and I stated them strongly, drawing the attention to myself and giving my friend a break. I stood up for a cause that I champion anyway and made myself the target of the person who was insistently badgering my friend. It worked, of course. I ended up in an argument with someone I do not even dislike, and that I actually share space in several groups and leadership groups with. I stated my own opinions, strongly and took on the person over MY views. The whole tangent spread out over several posts and ended up with the person in question leaving the conversation with a probably less than stellar opinion of me and my high handed opinions. I am not sorry and I’d do it again, but NEVER think these things are without fallout and consequences.
I commented to my husband that I expected some fallout. The person in question is from a large and well respected House. Their Matriarch is a respected acquaintance and one I had no interest in crossing. I know well, several of their housemates and have had much contact with the House, over the years both cooperatively and otherwise. I knew chances were good that when word got out, if he made a complaint to his house, that I might hear about it, or they might send someone to say
“Hey CG.. ummm about that convo you had in that FB group last week…”
The conversation DID eventually come on an early morning a few days later, but not from where I thought it would… A VERY good friend PM’d me to say he’d taken this person on their staff and discuss me cutting them some slack, as it were. I was then forced to confess that though the person in question and I had indeed bumped heads on a number of occasions, I really had nothing against them and explained what had occurred from my point of view. I didn’t apologize. I had not done anything wrong, as far as I was concerned, and in the end we worked it out so there are, hopefully, no hard feelings.
This is how politics in the community often play out in my world. I tend to “Den Mother” a fairly large compliment of Vamplings, young writers, upcoming Leaders and fragile members of the community. Like most Matriarchs, this is part of my job description as a Support Forum owner. While defending this wild bunch, I can sometimes be a little fierce. I defend mine and then someone comes to me defending the person I took on and we work things out so we can all continue to do what we do in the community, even when our talking points conflict with one another.
Making Community work can be challenging. It takes a multitude of conflicting opinions to make up a community and the VC has those in spades. Many of us like each other and in spite of the constant arguing we find diplomatic ways of dealing with each other. Sometimes we look outside the box, sometimes we require mediation, sometimes we just ignore the problem till we’re “over it”.
Any of us can “lose it” and need to be brought back to being reasonable via negotiation, and time heals much.
THIS is what it means to BE a Community. Its give and take and a lot of creative management. I try to remember that I’ve been dancing around with some of these people for nearly two decades and I’m apt to have to dance with them for another two or three. I TRY to remember that none of this is, for the most part, personal. We all struggle to better our corners of the VC and not everyone agrees on the definition of “better”. Life and VC is a negotiation.
Have you ever used diversionary tactics in an online discussion?
How did it work out for you? Would you do it again? Do you have advice for others? How do you handle these situations?
The floor is open. Discuss.