Sunday, May 8, 2011

Can't... Reach... the... Mute... Button... ARRGH!

Written 8 May, 2011

Can't... Reach... the... Mute... Button... ARRGH!

Welcome areas tend to have no end of obnoxious and deliberately insulting people-- from newbies drunk with power who like to spam the chat by hitting return after every word and make rude gestures or brandish freenises, to year-old cynical twentysomethings who come to be cool and generally fall short of that mark.

In a Battle of Wits it is Not Wise to Arrive Lightly Armed
And there is of course the occasional griefer who fills the area with Mario heads or purple cubes.

When something is being particularly obnoxious people will mute them, and some will declare it.

"Muting Obnoxio23 Resident."

Sometimes it gets personal between a couple of residents. When that happens one party will often say they're muting the other-- but it's clear they don't, for they continue to react to the other person's taunts and insults.

If you open Chat History and check the box that reads "See Muted Text" you can see what muted people are saying, but it's pretty clear some people have trouble actually hitting the mute button. When they don't, they're just prolonging the drama.

I find mute wondrously effective-- but then I learned long ago that what people are saying about me is none of my business.

That was a tremendously hard concept for me to grasp, but once I did the world became less burdensome.

When I mute people, the drama is ended, instantly and forever-- unless I chose to remove them from my mute list. They become silent gray people-- sort of like accountants. But if I'm not strong enough, determined enough, to hit mute, they're still in my face, still insulting me, and I'm still unhappy.

I'm trained as a behaviorist, and I know and believe that behavior is maintained by its consequences. When taunts and insults are ineffective, the bully eventually stops. And when bullies are convinced they she can no longer be heard or seen, they realize there's no upside in continuing and go away to look for someone else to bother.

It's rather like getting a phone call from a breather. What you DON'T want to do is:

"Hello? Hello? Who is this? Why won't you say your name? I know you're there! I can hear you breathing! I'm going to call the cops! Why don't you stop? I'm going to hang up. I mean it. Why won't you leave me alone? Damn you, stop that! Stay something! Please? I'm going to hang up, I tell you. What's your problem? Leave me alone! My husband is here and he'll take care of you! Stop that! Stop that!"

Back in the days of land lines I got a couple of calls from breathers. Here was my response.


Ring! Ring!




End of problem.

I had a friend once who had a stalker. Now I can't imagine having a stalker. I own guns. But she had one. When she told me she felt sorry for him one winter night as he sat in his car staking our her house and took him hot chocolate I almost spit my cola in her face.

No damn wonder her stalker kept on stalking!

Mute and derender. Say it after me. If you really don't want the drama, mute and derender.


Deoridhe said...

I think sometimes "I'm muting you" is used in an argumentative manner - that is as a way of publicly shaming someone - instead of as a tool to stop an argument.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Good point, Deoridhe!