Conduct in this forum

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I suppose a lot of the creepiness happens because the majority of posters aren't webcomic artists. To the average viewer, these characters are just that, characters, and so the things that are off limit to people who truly do care about Hannelore and Marten and the rest as actual people, or really close facsimiles, really just aren't occurring to the average person. Since it's not internalized, people have to become accustomed to giving the proper respect and consideration, and that takes time and integration into the community.

Probably those of us new folk who were lurkers, due to the activation e-mail business, aren't as confused about the idea, but actually posting means that even well-intentioned people can say the wrong things, unless and until they get used to the specific atmosphere. It probably wouldn't be nearly such an issue had the influx been more gradual, with the atmosphere of respect for Jeph and the cast at full strength, rather than diluted, and with each gradual increment of new users becoming the old guard, as it were, to reinforce it with people who came later.

I'll refrain from recommendations or advice, since I've never administrated/moderated any sort of forum.

Maybe the influx of new people, combined with a period of excitement in the comic, brought matters to a head - but the problems go back much further than that.

Yes, new people need to get the feel of a place (lurking is good for that), and anyone can make a misjudged comment; but the rules and the guidance around them are intended to define the ethos of this place, and being called to order promptly is helpful in learning and understanding them (and is what has been missing here).  There is no requirement for the forum to change to accept new patterns of behaviour just because new people want that; they can argue for change once they have shown they can fit in.  But there is no sense in which new people are unwelcome here - and if any old-timers are unwelcoming, which can happen in some other parts of the forum, they are pulled up on it.

There might be some people who will feel that the rules are being changed if their established behaviour is now criticised; this is not so - the rules have always been there, but they are just being brought back into play and hopefully enforced somewhat more than of late.

I am by no means the right person to have an opinion about how to run the forum, I'm actually one of the newbies who played a part in creeping people out and annoying Jeph. And I sure do agree we crossed the line there. But I daresay that I like being able to discuss the comic and it's characters, in a not too constrained way.

What I really want to add to this discussion is not an opinion, just a fact. For your information; I do care about the characters! Maybe not exactly as real people, but on the other hand I have creepy thoughts about real people too. And while it's certainly creepy at times, I don't think it's insane.

How I think about the characters might need to be seen in the light of how I have read the comic. As opposed to being new to the forums, I've been reading the comic for about a year. I know that I started with reading the first 1600 strips in just over two weeks. This might set me apart from those that has been with the comic for many years, but also those who haven't read all of it.

In short: I'm no creator, I'm a reader. I still feel strongly for the characters, but also I do have creepy fantasies.


--- Quote from: O8h7w on 09 Dec 2010, 03:25 ---I still feel strongly for the characters, but also I do have creepy fantasies.

--- End quote ---

And creepy fantasies are ok.  I daresay that pretty much everyone has creepy fantasies, on a rather wide variety of subjects.  This does not, however, necessarily mean you have to share.  It's the old "mind-reader" story; if everyone knew what everyone else really though about everything, society would have fallen apart long ago.  Some distance (and privacy!) is necessary to keep a harmonious association.  See Jim Carrey's "Liar Liar" for an example of what too much forthrightness and honesty can do in a society (contrived, yes, but still true).  We all have unconscious impulses not entirely under our control.  Part of conduct is keeping them in check and not allowing them to interfere in our relations with other people.  That way lies sociopathy (as I understand it).

I'd just like to say that it's never been my intention to offend Jeph, or anyone for that matter; this is my favorite webcomic and I really do have a lot of respect for him, and I guess I didn't realize what a dick I was being by playing rough with his characters. I'll watch myself on that when I'm in here from now on; I don't want to see these forums shut down (almost none of my real-life friends read QC so if the forums go away I'll have practically no one to talk about it with  :-()


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