The way we talk

So I’ve been meaning to make a post like this since Worldcon (so… August. Hah.), but I’ve been struggling for two reasons – one, who amĀ I to give advice to anyone? I wouldn’t say I’m a no one, but equally, I’m hardly the loudest voice out there. Two – the subject is so complicated, nuanced and subjective that it’s quite daunting and it’s easy to be unclear about your meaning.

Which is funny, since the subject I’m talking about is the way in which we communicate within fandom.

In the end, however much I’ve written and deleted, I think the ways I’ve found to be happy with my conduct in fandom can be boiled down to these 8 things:

1) If you’re in a frothing rage, wait 5 minutes before responding to something. You may regret your actions otherwise.

2) You don’t need to vent your spleen in someone else’s blog comments. Remove yourself to a different venue.

3) But if you do that – don’t make it into a rallying call so all your friends go after the original post/poster.

4) Stop telling marginalised people that their experience is wrong. You don’t get to decide that.

5) If you’re an asshole but (you think) morally correct, you are still, in fact, an asshole. You’re just not a prejudiced one.


6) Relentlessly negative places are not always good places to be, you should leave whenever you need to (and go back only if you want to).

7) Even if no one else is, be as compassionate and kind as you can. Keep your own behaviour to your standards, as high or low as they may be

8) Give people the space to learn and improve – you don’t have to educate people personally, but you shouldn’t impede them either.

So there you have it, how far do you agree or disagree? Do you have any of your own rules?

(And do you also find it easiest to avoid blathering by using Twitter? Lol.)