Monday, December 26, 2011

Sabotage with a smile...

Back from a short (?) break. Looking back over my past posts, there is so much I wanted to discuss, but have not had the opportunity. Hopefully, I'll touch on these topics in the new year.

It seems a bit odd that I'm forgoing those topics to touch on this one yet again, but it bears repeating, because it's a form of manipulation that you will see time and again in various BWE related circles.

What I'm talking about is the quiet gentle voice of blatant sabotage and attack. Sounding almost reasonable...but not quite. Seeming to have your best interest at heart...but not quite. Sounding like they are your friend...but not AT ALL.

A lot of you guys I see around various BWE-centric blogs or you have your own, and of course you are probably already aware of what's happening. But for those who aren't, pay close attention to persons who show up, seeming friendly and with a "spirit to participate with and help BW", and then quietly try to navigate you away from your aim. I say again, you have to watch these people CLOSELY because their actions will not be obvious to anyone who is naive or who is not paying attention.

Blatant attacks of BWE bloggers and participants has proven a big fat failure; many of these persons have shown up with overt nonsense and been shutdown rather easily. But some trolls are smarter. Or at least, they have an idea of what's likely to work better.

And that's the extended hand of friendship (with the knife behind their back).

These persons may show up as confused but sincere...while touting questionable reverse logic. They may not offer any alternative beliefs whatsoever, and may comment and reply in ways that make them seem on the same page. That is, until an ideal opportunity presents itself to make their move and to cause harm.

I've actually read about it at other blogs, and have witnessed it first hand: Deliberate sabotage.

This purposeful attempt at undermining these types of blogs and communities is going on right now. I'm not kidding. As I type this, people are perfectly serious in going about ways to "bring down BWE" and every black woman associated with it. To bleed resources back into the zombie community, and to continue to get over on people with their pathetic and flimsy nature.

I can practically see them twirling their mustaches and can only shake my head. I mean it's one part cartoonish and one part pathetic with a final third of "you are completely outside of your mind", thrown together for a truly creepy attempt to hold back motivated black women. It's nothing short of Satanic, no matter how these people try and spin it: They are full of the H-E-L-L they are miserably occupying and will drag others there with them if given half a chance.

Even worse, much of this attack isn't directed at those of us who are staunchly BWE; it's directed at lurkers who are new to what these sort of blogs are about, or fence sitters, unsure of what to believe.

In the end, the lesson remains clear: You can't take everything and everyone at face value; you can't assume that people who only appear nice have your best interest at heart. You simply cannot afford to be fooled.

So to the lurkers and fence-sitters who frequent these spaces: It's ultimately up to you. You can elect to take control of your own life and develop a sane and trustworthy system of support and survival. Or you can allow yourself to be duped into serving as a meal ticket for users and abusers who don't want you to do better for yourself, and will manipulate you anyway they can. It's really up to you.

Read and think critically for yourselves. It's not about being paranoid; it's about being aware. And the more aware you are of the people in your midst, the harder it will be to take advantage of, and manipulate you.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"I'm confused..." Oh, no you're not!

If you've been on the internet long enough, especially on comment boards, forums, and blogs, you have probably witnessed a scenario where a topic is brought up for discussion and much headway has been made. Perhaps there is an achievement that is desired or members are agreeing about a relatively uncomplicated concept. Suddenly, up will pop some anonymous person or perhaps the resident "concern troll" (more on this type of person in a later discussion) with a declaration about how confused they are about what's being discussed. Or maybe rather than say openly how confused they are, the person will say things like, "I don't understand" or "I don't get this", or "This is strange".

However they communicate, the person will make it clear that the concept or idea that is easy to understand to pretty much EVERYONE ELSE present is somehow the equivalent of the Rubik's Cube from Hell in their eyes. Often, they will at the same time put forth an opinion or solution that is quite contrary to what is being discussed. That somehow makes perfect sense.

And naturally, people try their best to explain the point of view being discussed, while patiently trying to explain why the alternative suggestion put forth doesn't make sense.

This effort usually goes one of two ways:

1.) The person will become insulted, and "feel" bullied, and maintain that the dominant viewpoint is confusing and unfair and that they just don't understand what's going on. All while maintaining that their viewpoint is the one that makes sense (even if it doesn't to any logical person present). The conversation is at this point derailed; It has been put on hold to explain to this person that the participants aren't trying to bully or upset them, but get him or her to understand what's being said. The person refuses to understand this and makes the discussion about themselves and their feelings. The other participants comply by continuing to dialogue with this person.

2.) The person continues to be confused. No matter how plainly the point of view is explained, no matter how many sensible examples are put forth, this person cannot wrap their heads around what is being said. They will continue to ask all sorts of questions and after awhile it feels like an interrogation. They may also continue to champion an alternative point of view, which is very easy for them to understand and appreciate, no matter how contrary it is to what is being discussed and agreed on. And if anyone questions their point of view, they may revert to outcome 1 or they'll become even more confused. They end up not understanding what's wrong with their offered solution in addition to being unable to comprehend the topic at hand. The topic is derailed as discussion is put on hold to explain and defend the point of view.

There are some commonalities between these two outcomes. First, the discussion at hand has been derailed. This is the most important part of what has happened because in reality, it's very likely what the person or persons who joined the discussion actually wanted in the first place. There are a multitude of tactics that saboteurs use when they don't want a particular discussion to go anywhere (Many thanks to Eugenia for the link!). Let's look at tactic number 9 via the posted link:

Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

So what has actually happened is that a discussion has been pulled off topic through purposeful sabotage by someone who understood perfectly well what was being discussed.

Even more incredible, I've witnessed these persons using this tactic in one discussion and entirely different tactic in another discussion AT THE SAME TIME! They are angry and disruptive in one thread and patiently confused in the other. Mixing very well for a maximum effect!

When a person does this, it should become absolutely clear to any sensible person observing the behavior that the troll is full of it. You may want to tell the troll that they are full of it. I generally recommend avoiding this, because what the troll will do is try to use this prime opportunity for further derailment. If you do not want to help them harm your discussion, just walk away. Make your feelings clear and end it, don't argue, just go back to the topic. Continue the discussion and ignore the troll's further efforts to question or state their confusion. Even if they try and guilt-trip you about moving forward while they still don't understand. *sad face*


The second thing that has occurred is that the major point of the entire discussion is eventually lost! Have you ever noticed that the further off topic things are taken with one of these "confused" persons, the less the point is discussed at all? Often, a troll of this sort is not happy until they themselves and their feelings are at the heart of what's being talked about. That or participants are discussion their suggestion more than the original point. In the end, the major point is dropped all together.

To sum up: If someone one is genuinely confused, they will ask relevant questions and understand perfectly what your explanation is.

Ever heard the saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?" Well when it comes to forced confusion, "If they sound too dumb to be believed, they're probably faking it." Yes, there are idiots in the world, but if this stupidity involves taking you off-topic and continually challenging of a point of view they clearly don't share, they're faking their confusion. And you are not obligated to play along. Drop them and their questions and stick to the discussion at hand. You'll feel much better, trust me.