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Old 06-04-2014, 05:41 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Aussieland
Posts: 447
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The timing of this post is impeccable. A couple days ago I had a run-in with a bat-shit-crazy lady. But I'm sure she thought she was being perfectly reasonable.

I participate in a small community of authors. One new member, let's call her Jane, injected herself into a conversation. She participated in the conversation like everyone else, but she made a side comment that took everyone by surprise. Without going into details, she basically stated something that was the complete opposite to what everyone understood as true (industry related).

Understandably, a few of the other members kindly asked her to share more info. Where did she get that information from? Could she share some sources?
Jane absolutely lost her nut. She spat at the other members, saying that she wouldn't "waste her time" digging up her sources, and that everyone should just believe her. She wrote some 5 paragraphs explaining how she'd been a writer since the seventies, and that she was basically Better Than All Modern Writers. So no, people shouldn't be asking her to back up her statements, because she Doesn't Get Shit Like That Wrong. Good god, people. Don't you know WHO I AM?

Just a simple request for more information on the subject lead this woman to feel personally attacked, even though everyone knew diddly squat about her, and intended no ill will.

Everyone tried to explain themselves (very politely I might add), that they weren't attacking her. They simply wanted to read more information on the subject. After all, her statement didn't fit with everyone's experience. They wanted to learn more. Make peace, not war. Etc.

She flew back again, stating that she hadn't read anything the members had written in reply, but that she can't believe everyone is still attacking her. That all the members were a bunch of <insert various expletives>. She said its members like you that make online communities terrible places to be. She then deleted her account.

Given that this author used her real name (the name that is linked to enormous online presence), I don't believe she was simply trolling. But her reaction to a simple request was exceedingly far beyond what was necessary. She lost her cool over nothing, and now everyone who witnessed her meltdown is going to give her a wide berth.

But here's the thing, even if she was in the right, and everyone WAS attacking her, her response was unprofessional. It reflected poorly on her.

Who wants to work with or help someone who has an inflammatory personality? I know that I sure as heck won't be doing anything for her. I'll be recommending others steer clear, too. Apparently this isn't the first time she's done this. She's built a reputation of "dummy-spitter". How professional does THAT sound?

If you feel that people are treating you unfairly, giving you a hard time, or blatantly attacking you, the WORST thing you can do is feed that fire. Keep calm. Don't get aggressive, or even passive aggressive. If you need to correct a misunderstanding, do so calmly and with lots of smiley faces. Flying off the handle at people, swearing at them, and trying to trump yourself up while tearing others down will only make you look petty and unprofessional. And that has some very real consequences.

One thing I've found (and I've been a fairly permanent fixture online since internet communities became a thing) is that if you always be polite, be the first one to bring the peace, then you'll go a long way. The internet becomes a world of opportunities, instead of a world of angst and drama. People will be willing to share their knowledge with you, help you with whatever you're working on, or otherwise just send good karma your way. You don't know who's watching. What goes around will come around, one way or another.

If, in your effort to be more socially acceptable online, you actually BECOME a better person, that's not such a bad thing either!

My 2 cents. Thanks for the post!
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