One of the reasons why I traditionally have held such animosity and rancor towards the IF community as a whole is because so many individuals have either attacked me for volunteering to fix problems or have ignored my ideas. This has happened both publicly and privately, sometimes, for no other reason but the pleasure of rubbing my face in my own ignorance. It is a common mean-spiritedness, shared from the high and mighty to the low and unknown. It belies the concept of a “community” unless you mean a “community” of gangs, all ready to annihliate one another at a moment’s notice.
After reading Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks and White Liberals, I came to see just how much the violent, volitale life on the fringes of society is really like what RAIF and RGIF are every day of the week. People freak out over insults to their honor and overreact. People must have the last word. People regard everyone else but them (and possibly their clique) as subhumans either to be tormented for fun or ignored. Like rednecks of the past, the IF “community” cares nothing for individuals, not their achievements, not their toil, not their personhood, not their feelings.
A community should be sharing, giving, willing to listen, and basically governed by openness and friendly relations. How can people feel like they can give when destruction awaits them around the next corner? How can they positively contribute when getting no response is much better than the usual response, humiliation? Many people who are drawn to IF have nothing within them that seeks to build bridges. Instead, they build a heap of islands and wait for the worshippers to show up. Trawling the archives reveals (at least to me) a serious winnowing out of moderation and reason as the years went by, to leave us with this stark landscape of ruined altars and fevered acolytes.
It’s very much like Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights — what the main characters had was not love, but a sick, dark, diseased attraction that consumed them like the plague. The movers and shakers in IF have the same sort of “love” for their creations.
They have secured perhaps the ultimate phyrric victory. I look forward to a day where new forums will rise and blossom from the dust of the old, where people can help one another hone their art, polish their craft, and genuinely aid and support one another.