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Responsibility of Authority
February 04, 2003 14:58
When you play the peon, people's expectations of you are lower. You are not considered to have an air of authority. People will generally take what you say with a grain of salt until you've proven yourself to be of reputable character. However, once you've been granted a position of authority, people will generally take your word for things, even if they have no reason to otherwise. They expect you'll be honest and straightforward with your answers. While sarcasm has its place at times, there are times when it is not appropriate. And those in authority have a duty to understand the difference.
That being said, when someone joins the irc channel and asks if the site is real, when someone being sarcastic says that it's fake, they accept it and leave. They have no reason not to believe you. And while I'm of the impression that anyone who thinks the site is fake probably still lives in the stoneage, I'm also willing to entertain someone's scepticism when all they require is a simple confirmation from some other living human being that things are what they appear to be.
When someone comes along acting rude and disrespectful, certainly, encourage them to leave. I don't have a problem with that. But when someone comes along asking honest, if simple and obvious questions, either answer politely or politely point them to a page that will answer their question more adaquately than a simple oneliner can. Or say nothing at all. But don't answer with sharp rude comment that puts the newcomer on the defensive. It's simple human nature at that point to react appropriately. How would it feel, you come along, impressed by the site with additional interest in it, and your first encounter with someone who seems to know what's going on responds by telling you to basically get lost.
So yesterday, when someone new joins the channel, asking everyone if they've heard of the site, all it would have taken would be ONE person to say that "yes, we all know about it". But no. Instead there are tons of "We never heard about it" "It must be fake!"... This from people I've trusted and respected. And after making this new person feel very low for asking, putting her on the defensive, she responds to the abuse and gets kick/banned as a reward. And not one person tried to stop it. Everyone's just laughing along like the random abuse of strangers who had nothing but nice things to say is perfectly acceptable.
And then I come along. And I attempt to put things in perspective. And I get the same load of sarcastic BS from the same people I respect when I'm trying to be serious about something. Of course, its my fault. My fault I ever trusted any of them to begin with.