I'm sure some of you may remember a piece I did on this blog back in February titled: Just A Thought. If you don't here's a link- link. Back then it was in reaction to the suicide attempt of 11 year old Michael Morones, who tried to take his own life because he was bullied because he was a fan of My Little Pony. Well, it is with a heavy heart that I once again have to dust off the soapbox, because the world just doesn't get the message.
This morning, I was doing my rounds of checking all my usual internet haunts (deviantart, the forums etc.) and this is the second story down on the MLP community website (for those of you who don't know, I am a very avid Brony, and I really don't care if you like it or not)- http://www.equestriadaily.com/2014/12/brony-takes-his-own-life-due-to-online.html
The page has a link to the original article as reported in the British tabloid press and the story goes something like this. 19 year old Brony, Adam Smith, was bullied online by internet trolls because of his fandom of MLP, the fan fiction he wrote of the show and his learning disability. He was accused of plagiarism for his story (I do not know if these claimed had any foundation, I haven't read his story nor seen the comments thread of it on the website it was posted on). He later made a youtube video apologising to the people who accused him of plagiarism for any misunderstanding (again, I haven't seen the video). He was then attacked in the comments section of the video by people laughing at his speech problems. A few days later, Adam Smith walked in front of a moving train.
Now we come to the point of todays missive, much like my Just A Thought had a point to it. When it comes to criticism, some people take it better than others, but verbally attacking someone and mocking them because of something completely out of their control, such as a disability, is not even justifiable. It is one of the lowest things a person can do. So never laugh at a person less fortunate than yourself, just think how that would feel. And when it comes to dealing with people who think that the best form of entertainment is making someone else feel like dirt, ignore them. Trolls like this thrive on attention, so starve them of it. Most, if not all, internet sites allow you to block users, that feature is there for a reason. Of course, if this is happening in real life, then you don't have a block button, so tell someone, a teacher, a parent, a team manager if its happening at work. You have a right to feel comfortable with who you are and it is wrong for someone to try and make you feel uncomfortable with being yourself.
Criticism is welcome in this community, it's an artistic community, it's actively encouraged. But destructive criticism ("this sucks" and any variation there-in) is not welcome and will get you hit with sanctions as quickly as a moderator notices your comments. So if you are going to criticise, make sure its constructive. Tell the person how the can improve their work, what they could do differently, be encouraging, it feels so much better for all involved. Because trolling will get you shown the exit door, it's that way and it only opens from the inside. Once you're out, you're out.
And as a final thought; really, it doesn't matter what other people think in the end. Yeah bad comments and criticism can hurt at first, but they don't really matter. As long as you enjoy what you're doing, that is good enough. Be you, because you are awesome.