Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On Love and Tolerance

I have become a brony. I started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I ended up on Ponychan (a forum for adult fans of the show). After a couple weeks there, I ended up posting this, and I liked it so much, I thought I'd share it on here:

So I've never really been a big fan of the word "tolerance." It seems to me that the word means, basically, that what someone is doing is wrong, but I'll keep my mouth shut about it. If what someone is doing is wrong, I don't tend to keep my mouth shut (I think that that in and of itself is wrong).

But I get what people are trying to say when they say "love and tolerance." Basically, be kind to everyone here, no matter their interests or circumstances. Which is fine.

To a point.

Now, this post was triggered by someone who used tolerance basically as an excuse to say that they could do what they wanted and, if it made us uncomfortable, we should deal with it. This annoyed me, but, if said person ever reads this post, know that it's not directed at you. I'm just trying to get my thoughts on this matter out there.

I've always been really big on letting people do what they want, so long as it doesn't do harm to others (this has gotten me labelled by some on another site as either a Pokeporn watcher or Pokeporn supporter, depending on who you ask... I guess some people feel that I couldn't be OK with people watching it if I wasn't watching it myself). It's one of the things I really like about Ponychan, is that it seems to me that it's built on this concept.

There is a limit, though.

So my mother is very fond of the saying, "Your freedom ends where my face begins." It's a very nice saying. She uses it to explain why striking someone in any way other than self-defense is wrong (basically, it doesn't matter what a person says, words are not a valid defense for violence).

But I think it could apply here. In simplest terms, if what you're doing makes someone very uncomfortable, you shouldn't be pushing it in their faces and claiming love and tolerance as your defense. Do what you want, but don't display it for all to see. If what you're doing is making people uncomfortable, that should be your cue to take it elsewhere.

Again, love and tolerance is about the fact that you can do whatever you want as long as you're not shoving it in other people's faces. Yes, there's a hide thread button, but that can only be used after the fact.

So what constitutes "shoving things in people's faces"? Well, it's a little more complex, but I'll try to explain: First of all, there's a time and a place for everything. Specifically, there's a place. Know where that place is. Ponychan, for example, is not a place to share rule 34 stuff. I am sure that there are places that cater to people looking for MLP rule 34, and if you're into that, I don't have a problem with it. But Ponychan isn't the place to share it, you see. It's whatever site it is that allows or encourages it. This is as an example, by the way. Rule 34 is not the only thing that doesn't belong in a particular place. For a much more tame example, I can discuss How I Met Your Mother all I want... just so long as it's not in, say, /pony/. This isn't an example of something that would make someone uncomfortable, but it is out of place. Just as people come to Ponychan expecting to not see MLP rule 34, people go into /pony/ expecting to not see threads discussing how great Victoria was and... well, I'll save that for the HIMYM thread, since that's not what this post or thread is about!

OK, the second thing you need to understand is a differentiation between telling, describing, and showing. You can tell me you like feet, but describing in detail about what you like to do to/with feet, or posting pictures of yourself doing such things is where it crosses the line.

So, to apply it to ponies: You think Fluttershy is hot. OK. Nothing wrong with that (whatever some people may say, I don't have a problem with it, and according to the concept of love and tolerance, neither should the people here). Describing what you'd like to do to her is going a bit too far, and, of course, posting fanart of her doing certain things (you know what I mean) is very much beyond the line. Even if you just like participating in conversations involving descriptions of what people might like Fluttershy to do (remember, I'm working off of examples, here), there's a place for that. Know what it is.

As an aside: Saying that you think Fluttershy is physically attractive will cause some people discomfort. In this case (most of the time), it's a matter of intolerance (or, a better word might be ignorance). In most of the cases where it causes discomfort or harm (again, there are some that aren't based on ignorance and intolerance, but I won't go into those right now), it's not actually the person saying it that's causing harm, it's the person feeling it (through their own intolerance and ignorance).

So the main thing to do is this: Ask yourself before you post if people are coming to that board or thread to see that sort of thing. Obviously, you can't please everyone, but please try to avoid doing harm to others and to this board, either intentionally or thoughtlessly. That is where love and tolerance is at the limit. There is no love and tolerance for doing harm to others, whether by intent or thoughtlessness.

Now, for those that say that descriptions are no worse than statements (because I know that someone is going to make this argument): I am a writer (who rather enjoys studying the mind). I know what descriptions do. If you write or read descriptive text, you should know what it does, too. For many (including non-visual thinkers such as myself), it's not much better than having a picture right in front of you.

Some final thoughts:

I've talked about harming this board. What I mean is that Ponychan has rules and a particular culture. Furthermore, each sub-forum on Ponychan has its own culture. Please respect the rules and the culture (for me, I'd say that it's culture first and rules second, though I'm fairly sure some, likely including all the mods, would disagree).

As for why I posted this in /chat/: It has nothing to do with what's going on in /chat/ now (though I think it could certainly apply in some cases). I was originally going to post this in /meta/, but I had the thought that /chat/ might possibly be the better choice. I asked in the Skype chat for bronies, and, after a bit of discussion, it seems that /chat/ is the best place for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment


blogger templates | Make Money Online