Books and Covers (People and Social Media)

NaNoWriMo is looming closer. I’ve finished 1/2 of my outline, and will be working on more throughout the day today when I finish here and my lunch. I’ve been a bit busy recently, and the few days away from it gives me time to not get burned out too early, as well as help me to see an idea fresh and see if it still works or not before building further on it. During the time not working on the outline last week, I created a “book cover”  to post on the NaNoWriMo website for my novel (all free public domain images from verifiable sources, to assure the copyright minded people out there). And as I worked on the image, I was concerned with how people would perceive the subject matter of my novel. So, due to it taking place in a remote boarding school during autumn, I chose to use an image that looked similar to the setting, but adding a charred wood filter to make it a bit more sinister looking, as the plot is of a supernatural nature.

I was reminded of my book cover recently as a few days ago, I received the oddest of messages in my Facebook inbox. It was of course in my Filtered Messages folder since I was not on this person’s friend’s list to begin with.

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There’s quite a many things wrong with this. Firstly “Missy Aggie” is an alias. Secondly, while I do not profess to be besties with the admins of a the group she mentions, I am on good terms with them. They area wonderful group of people, and I have benefited much from their combined years of advice and wisdom on copyright problems, and writing in general. Thirdly, the Facebook group “Pagans Against Plagiarism” does not represent me. They do not represent anyone, actually. When someone brings copyright infringement to the attention of the group, it is because often the illegal copies or stolen works belong to a member of the group itself – the group is primarily composed of authors, artists, publishing company representatives, magazine writers, web designers – people who either create things or facilitate in the creation of things – but also those who represent an author or estate’s legal interests (for many this means a Llewellyn representative, as they are the most popular publisher to have works ripped off from, and some of their authors are deceased but the publisher holds the copyrights). And lastly, the admins of Pagans Against Plagiarism created the group in response to someone stealing their works and attempting to self publish them through places like Amazon under another title and under their own name. The group was started so that they had a common place to discuss what to do about the problem, and what legal recourse they could take provided some of the authors and artists who had been ripped off were not only in the United States, but some were in Canada, others in the UK. So trying to sort out all the international issues as well was very important in going forward with sorting it all out and moving forward. Now the purpose of the group is to help educate others on what their rights are as content creators, who’s responsibility it is to file legal actions when their works are stolen, to alert content creators and/or their representatives when a member stumbles across theft and plagiarism of someone’s work on the internet, and generally just to help people who don’t know what to do if or when their work is lifted by someone else. And of course, it’s mostly pagan oriented because the initial creation of the group was to help pagan authors.

Now, how does all of this remind me of when I had questioned whether or not people would understand what my book was about based on the cover I had created?

Again, I must state that before I received this message I had never encountered this person before. They were not on my friends list, and I was not on theirs. This is a case of someone looking through a membership list of a group, and messaging newer members since the last time they had pulled something of this nature, and judging them based on the sole fact they are a member.

Rather than speak to me one to one, rather than open a dialogue, this person just up and said “Nope.” For all this person knew, I had joined the group because someone stole my poetry or my paintings. For all this person new, I could have been a member of the group who agreed with them. But again, rather than start a dialogue…

Ah well. It’s clear that “Missy Aggie” has a vendetta against the group founders, likely because it’s an alias of the person who had been responsible for the situation resulting in the group’s creation in the first place.

It just makes me sad to know real people still judge people like they are judging what book to buy.

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“I hope senpai will notice me!” or: Stop trying to get my attention.

Lately in my social media excursions, forum conversations, and general Tumblring, I’ve noticed more than I usually do this constant need for attention from people. Some of it was a person clamoring for my attention (which actually got me a few more youtube views. I really should do a new video soon) and some of it was watching others clamor for another person’s attention.

I hope senpai will notice me is a meme, but basically it’s thrown around these days in it’s original meme context, but also in a derogatory way to simply say “you’re just doing it for attention”.

On social media, but mostly Tumblr, this has never been more true. As of late, I’ve witnessed quite a scene unfold in one of the smaller Tumblr communities. I will not bore you with the details of the community, but suffice to say it is a reactionary movement. It sprung up as a sort of opposition to the extremism found in modern social justice movements.

In this particular community, someone was singled out and mocked. During this week or so, people came to the person’s defense, and they too were mocked. Some learned how stupid and childish they had been, and realized the reactionary movement they had been drawn into actually does more harm than good, and they decided to leave the movement and be better people. These people found that removing themselves from the constant fighting over trivial bullshit (such as arguments about sexless, genderless, raceless shapeshifting space rocks as well as magical ponies) and just enjoying their time online by looking at things they actually enjoy and like, they were far less stressed, and overall happier people.

Well, some of the people who left this “movement” were rather popular bloggers on Tumblr. They were always the ones who were tag-teamed in to take over when a person could not continue an argument (usually because the person involved had no idea what they were even talking about to begin with). But now that they had removed themselves from the “discourse”, others began vying for the top of the billing to replace them. One person in particular went above and beyond, going into people’s inboxes and sending anonymous hate to start up trouble, while another person went around tagging a user who was already dealing with a horrible situation – just to stir up trouble and look like a “good guy”. All so they could get the attention of ONE person. Mind you, the ONE person who’s attention they were trying to get is a 23 year old adult who spends the better part of his day arguing with teenagers about My Little Pony and Steven Universe, and not just on Tumblr either. And the 2 who went around trying to cause trouble in order to look like the “good guy”, are 18 and 19 respectively. All adults. Who choose to spend their free time fighting over cartoons and issues they know little to nothing about and who berate and punish those who either don’t agree, or who are in the community but express a differing opinion – no matter how slight a difference it is.

In the course of trying to get this person’s attention, these 2 individuals in particular directly caused the doxxing of one girl who otherwise would have been left alone had she not been tagged into an argument, and the other dragging everyone under the bus with her because no one was going to take her seriously because she is a well known drama queen and hypocrite. Drawing out what would have lasted maybe a week into now I believe week 3 of drama and discourse.

But this kind of behavior is not limited to the social media blogging site Tumblr. And not just to people and situations that are observed from the outside. Last week on Facebook, an individual I crossed keyboards with last March, tried once again to catch my attention. Mentioning me and my videos directly in her nonsensical rant about how the pagan community is secretly being taken over and, if I believe I’ve read the context of the word salad correctly, there is already a Ministry of Magic that is taking people to Azkaban? Honestly, it was very hard to read her Facebook post. But this wasn’t the first attempt to get my attention. It was maybe the third? I know of one other at least, that a friend told me about. Some sort of picture proving she and another individual were, in fact, 2 different people. (This stems from the situation in March when not only myself, but MANY OTHERS, noticed that she and this other individual were NEVER around at the same time, and had the exact same reactions to every single thing. Same typos, same everything. So people began to suspect that the 2 people were really 1 person pretending to be 2. We now know, long after the picture was first posted.)

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Screen capture thanks to a friend in the event that the comment is ever deleted.

Regardless, against my better judgement, I did respond this time to the attempt to grab my attention. I was polite and civil. I thanked them for the publicity of my videos, I pointed out how i had done my best to avoid them, their friends, and anything they were directly associated with. I even went so far as to wish them, their friends, and their endeavors luck in the future. I mean, I’ll post a screen capture of my response here as well. I honestly do wish them the best, but also wish to be kept out of the drama that follows them around like a plague. I also have held true to my word that I have not been back to the woman’s Facebook page ever since. (Though that has not stopped anyone else from driving by to throw popcorn and watch the drama unfold.)

But this brings me to wonder, why do people crave attention from strangers so badly? What is it about anonymous praise that drives an individual to extreme lengths just to get one specific person’s attention? Once a person has proven themselves, why turn around and continue to prove yourself when there is nothing left that is needed to be proven? These people do these things almost like it is an addiction. When they go unnoticed, their behaviors get more and more bold, more and more extreme. With little regard to themselves or others that get caught in the middle along the way.

To give them this attention will only reinforce the behavior, but to not give them the attention will only push them to more dangerous extremes. And this isn’t even for important issues, or trying to draw attention to overlooked and under-reported causes. No, these kinds of people thrive off attention, even negative, and will argue about children’s cartoons or conflate legitimate spiritual beliefs with works of fiction – just to get a specific individual’s attention.

Why I’ve Been Not-Blogging Recently.

A good friend of mine on Facebook approached me back in mid May with a very troubling concern she had. It involved a woman wanting to open an abused women’s shelter. That in and of itself is a very noble cause. But my friend felt something just didn’t seem quite right with the situation. She gave me a copy of their bylaws, as they had intended to become a non-profit organization, and asked me to give them a look over. When I did, the entire document seemed…. odd. So I looked further into it. I checked out the people involved. It turns out the main person was a known scammer in the Facebook pagan community.

When the woman was presented with this information, the situation became very hostile and troubling. Red flags started popping up everywhere. So I’ve spent this time researching her, and everyone involved in the endeavor and what I found not only has me troubled, but frightened for anyone who gets taken in by this woman and her group.

The long and short of it is, she’s attempting to run an ad-hock abused women’s shelter out of her own home – again a very noble cause – but is doing so with a sex offender in residence, one who has a proven record of violence against women as well as being this woman’s own abuser. There’s no way this is going to work.

And… so… I got to work. Compiling evidence. See, I honestly don’t wish this woman any ill will. She saw a need, and sought to fill it. However, when it comes to abuse, and abused women and children, in my humble opinion their safety and health must come first. Not just physical, but emotional and psychological as well. I’ll be doing a youtube video sometime in the next few days about this. I will, of course, post it and any relevant information here as well.

But yeah, that’s why I’ve not posted anything for a good while. I’ve been dealing with something that I feel is far more important.

Observation: A “civil” pagan discussion on science, medicine, technology, and industry in relation to natural abilities.

Names other than my own have been blocked out to protect the privacy of people involved in the discussion.

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Now then. To me, it was a civil discussion. Yeah, I did call the person in red out on needing to be specific, because to me she made a blanket statement about medicines. I presented a counterpoint to her opinion, and tried to be civil about it while asking questions and trying to get discussion going. Apparently this was enough for Red to take offense and private message me about a post tangential to this discussion that I had made, thinking I had called them a troll and a psychic vampire. I will not post the conversation from Facebook Messenger for the sole fact that it was private correspondence. However, I will state that in the correspondence, I pointed out the fact that I did not in any way deliberately be offensive, apologized for my comments in a public forum on the internet, and then proceeded to remain civil (despite the accusations contrary and the implied threat of discourse should I offend Red again).

This entire thing got me thinking though. As pagans, many of us walk different paths. Some traditional, some more modern. Is the divide between “Old School” and “New School” so vast that simply having a differing opinion on a question or thought is enough to assume the worst in those who do not tow the party line? Where is the party line? I understand wanting to stand by your beliefs, and defend them to the end, and I will defend anyone’s right to do so as well (especially if I do not agree with them), but when did simply raising questions, rather valid ones at that, become a personal attack on one’s beliefs? Where does the line of friendly debate and discussion blur into an attack on your faith and path?

Thoughts, anyone? And don’t worry, I won’t ignore you or argue with you. I may have questions and wish to discuss, but it’s not like I’m sitting here waiting for a comment just so that I can take every little thing on the internet personally.