Yes, I Know: Lots of people on the Internets hate me today. You don’t have keep sending me concerned e-mails about it; my ego-surfing matrix keeps me informed, thanks.
For those of you going “huh?” to this, this current round of The Internets Hate Scalzi is very much like previous rounds of The Internets Hate Scalzi, in which some people who feel they are having A Very Important Discussion of a Very Important Topic are upset that I believe this particular discussion has been really awful overall (and worse, have said so publicly), and thus therefore I stand in moral opposition to all they believe in, which makes me A Bad Man, etc. The Very Important Topic changes from Hate to Hate; the dynamic of the response is pretty much the same. Mind you, this is not the only reason why The Internets Hate Scalzi; there are so many. But it’s a frequent one.
The irony in this particular case is that the folks currently flinging spittle in my direction and I are largely in accord: A Very Important Discussion of this particular Very Important Topic in fact needs to be had, and once that discussion is had, I would not be at all surprised to find myself and these spittle flingers almost entirely on the same side of the discussion (this does not always happen). However, to my mind this late discussion has not been that discussion — indeed emphatically not — which is a) why I stayed out of it until I was dragged into it by people pulling discussion-related shenanigans on my site and b) why at the moment I am in need of a virtual umbrella.
What am I going to do about this latest edition of The Internets Hate Scalzi? At the moment, not a damn thing. The sort of person who believes that if one doesn’t like their particular discussion of [x], one must therefore be an [x]ist, is the sort of person who is has just eaten a heaping plate of Dolley Madison Fail Cakes with Bad Logic Creme Filling™ and is looking to chomp down on a second platter. I’m not in the least obliged to participate in a discussion on those terms, and I’m even less obliged to care what a person holding such an opinion thinks. This may additionally annoy some folks and precipitate yet another round of why I am A Bad Man. Please circle back to the top of this paragraph as necessary.
In the long run, I think it’s useful for everyone to remember certain things about discussions of Very Important Topics, whatever that topic might be:
1. Not every discussion of a topic is going to be definitive or even useful, even if you are participating in it;
2. People can hold a wildly differing opinion on the value of the discussion at hand than you do, which does not a priori make them the enemy;
3. Someone’s opinion of the value of the discussion often has little bearing on their opinion of the value of the topic being discussed (and whether their views on the topic are congruent to yours);
4. Someone not participating in the discussion when you think they should does not make them guilty by their silence;
5. Making lists of enemies based on who you feel has not adequately jumped through the hoop of your discussion goals is no way to go through life.
I figure by this time blood is fountaining out of the necks of some of the more enraged folks, so I’ll go ahead and stop here.
None of this, incidentally, should be construed as an attempt to change the mind of anyone participating in the current round of The Internets Hate Scalzi, or any other that might/will arise in the future. They’re free to keep at it; it’s all the same to me. What matters isn’t what people think of me on the Internets, but whether I follow through on the things I believe in. Internet Scalzi Hates come and go, but I’m stuck with me for the rest of my life. I’m working on it.
Edited to Add: Follow-up here.