Photo credit: Rica Byasy

I realise this is controversial, but this is important to discuss. Throughout history, there has been a reliance on men to take a leadership role. With their tall, commanding presence, they are typically outfitted with the right qualities to lead armies, run countries, manage companies. Men have the strength to make sure the world ticks, progressing forward. The same goes for quidditch.

If you manage to get this far into the article, then congratulations! You’re already better informed than a vast chunk of the quidditch community, taking the time to click on a title, reading through its contents, and coming to your own judgement on what it’s worth. Hopefully you didn’t simply see the picture and title, and just look at the comments to see what other people think of it.

Because it’s becoming a greater and greater issue.

I feel that we are becoming the kind of community who leaps on people based around what other people are saying about a topic, without actually reading through what the cause of antagonism may be. Further, the act of lynching itself is a very unhealthy approach which hurts people who didn’t mean for it to be this way, not allowing them to reply with what they meant. There is no dialogue.

This is a very, very complicated topic, so I will lay down my thoughts and, hopefully, you can let me know what you think.

Origin: The QPL article

This all started when a particular Quidditch Post article was posted on UK Quidditch. The article contained dubious language on the role of a male chaser in a team; a line which could have had multiple interpretations, without necessarily implying that women cannot have a leadership position. When Jay gave his opinion – followed by Jackie and James – the community went on to berate the hard-working writers so much that the UK editor came out to apologise.

Firstly, this was not the right approach. The right approach would have been to raise the wording as a question, not an accusation. Allow the writer to actually let them know what they meant, instead of shouting at them. Secondly, did you really think they think only males can be strong leaders? Did you really think that’s what they meant? And even if you know that’s not what they meant, why not ask them to clarify instead of berate them?

Can ‘lynching’ be a good idea?

Some would argue that being so public is beneficial; it spurs discussion, makes sure that the ‘wrong’ kind of ideas come up. I would argue that it’s an unhealthy approach which leads to a poisonous community. Discussions are a healthy way of approaching an appropriate conclusion, one where everyone can come to an agreement. To read solely the comments of the article – and trusting what they say – is not the best way of working out what is right for yourself.

The difference between lynching and discussion is the mindspace when approaching a debate. One is an angry jab based on your beliefs; the other is recognising the view and asserting why they may be wrong. And don’t get me wrong, it can be a powerful way to show someone your thoughts; if someone is sexist, then slamming down like a tonne of bricks is important.

But I can guarantee you that there is not a single person in the community who means harm – not one. The difference is that they either misworded themselves, or they are uninformed. In those cases, quietly let them know what you think, rather than slapping them for something which, 99% of the time, they didn’t intend.

Social media

There is absolutely no doubt that clickbait titles work, and bring in thousands upon thousands of clicks for even small publications. Hence the dominance of Buzzfeed, and a slight shift in how national papers work as well. Have you seen the Independent recently? Their ‘net title would be this:

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The actual title of the article is a better representation of its content:

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The change is subtle, but important. These angry posts tend to be shared more and drive more engagement, and the title was drafted very well. The point being, you shouldn’t trust news articles on face value. The publishers will validate your opinions in the first line to be shared, even if it’s a lie.

Open minded?

I’m also going to argue that the community is simply not as open as they think. And before you shoot me, here is my reasoning.

What is an open mindset? For me, it’s not just the ability to receive opinions blindly – it’s the ability to listen. To consider, and play with the idea that the other person might have a point, and however much it is against your current opinions, you will decide if it is for you.

Now, let’s say you disagree with the person. That’s fine – but it is okay to disagree with the person without demonising them. To other them. To make them seem ‘separate’ and ‘unkind.’

Take a look at the American elections last year. Many, many people had demonised Trump supporters as racist, sexist, horrible people who are disgusting to vote for. No wonder the dialogue for the elections became so poisonous; there was none to begin with. One side became so angry and arrogant, to consider the other side to be so abhorrent and wrong, that they don’t consider that maybe, just maybe, they are people. Real people, with real thoughts and real feelings. To label them as racist and closing discussions does more to harm democracy and free thought than helps. The same goes for the UK’s recent election, though to an obviously lesser extent.

Let them have their say. Let them express their own opinions, and have a discussion. It is okay to disagree with someone without disliking the person.

Concluding remarks

I like the community. The people in it are kind, loving, and fun to be with. But our approach to discussions harms us, and harms others as well. Please do not fall for the current issues with social media and articles; please read what is being discussed before you reply.

TL;DR: Not one person in the community is, or intends to be, hurtful. So before you lynch them, talk to them.

 

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