So yesterday I had a look at the communities in the LJ spotlight last night and spotted one that looked really interesting. I went over to the profile and read the first couple of pages of entries. These were definitely interesting, so I joined. Later on, I check my friends page and see that someone on this community had made a post worrying that the spotlight and the inevitable influx of new members would change the feel of the community. This seemed fair enough to me, but I then I started reading the comments.
Nearly all of them were agressive, instantly presuming that all the new members would be complete imbeciles, who were unable to post with readable grammar or spelling, angsty teenage girls writing bad poetry about guys they wanted to fuck, or people pretending to be mentally ill in some way to seem more exciting. A few new members, myself included, attempted to join the discussion, stating that we understood the worry but we were being made to feel unwelcome, and that we wanted to be given a chance. We were instantly attacked, told we were 'whining' (which, surely, all these bitching comments from old users was anyway) and told we were being too sensitive. I'm sorry, but being made to feel so hugely unwanted by a community is quite hurtful. Why should all members who find communities through the spotlight feature be tarred with the same brush?
After this, post after post appeared on this community, bewailing the loss of the private sanctuary, insulting new members and repeating the assumption that new must mean ignorant. After a whole page on flist was filled with this, I left the community. I'm so dissapointed; I really thought the idea behind the site was interesting and I was anticipating having some thought-provoking and amsuing late-night reading. Not so.
As I said, I can fully understand the concern that the vibe of a community will change with so many newcomers, but is such aggression and rejection of anything or anyone new really necessary? I've joined several spotlighted communities in the past and I've never seen such a reaction. It's always been pleasure at being spotlighted and welcoming to new members and a willingness to guide these newbies into the correct way of posting and interacting within the community.
I won't name and shame this community, but I'm sure anyone who attempted to join will know exactly which I mean. I'm ashamed to say I did react to some of the attacks on my first comment, and was not as polite as I would like to have been, but I didn't appreciate the automatic assumption that I was an ignorant pre-teen who had misunderstood the point of the community. I'm sure they do have problems with such people, and I saw some examples of these cringe-making posts myself, but I think that there must have been plenty of newcomers like myself, who read before joining and wanted to be a part of a thoughtful LJ place. I think this community has missed out on some potentially interesting people.
Somebody on this community made the point about the way people react to a band they like suddenly becoming popular, in other words, the 'sell-out'. This seemed pretty apt. People can get to be extremely possesive of and defensive over something they feel is 'theirs', be it a band or an internet site. I've seen this first-hand too. There's been a lot of backlash in the Muse fandom towards 'Twilighters'. The stereotypical twilighter is someone who heard Muse on the Twilight soundtrack, or listened after reading Stephanie Meyer's gushing praise of the band. They are young teenagers, post idiotic things all over the Muse forum and do not bother to listen to any Muse track not on the Twilight soundtrack or marketed to the mainstream music radio stations.
Sadly, these people do exist and are extremey irritating. I admit to wanting to scream when I see yet another thread on the forums about Matt Bellamy's hair, or facts about Robert Pattinson or some such thing, and I can't be doing with people who claim to be huge fans of the band, and then be unable to name anything pre-Black Holes and Revelations. However, there are some people who found Muse through Twilight, but did make the effort to go and listen to the back catalogue and the B-sides, waited until they'd got the feel of the community before mouthing off eveywhere and learnt to use the forum's search function. I love new fans; I like that something I love so much makes other people happy too and I especially love people who say "I've just found Muse through these songs, what should I hear next?" I like these people who ask the seasoned Musers for advice. We do try and be welcoming over at the forums and guide the Twilighters who send us batty, so I suppose I feel like other communities should make the same effort.
If something makes you happy, why not share it and let others be made happy by it too?
Apologies for the length of this post, I had some ranting to do!