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Anonymouse

Do you feel like the forum is more/less toxic than it used to be?

Is the forum more/less toxic than it used to be?  

76 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you feel like the forum has become a more or less toxic place since you've joined?

    • A lot more toxic
      25
    • A little toxic
      15
    • It's the same/no opinion
      7
    • A little less toxic
      13
    • A lot less toxic
      9
    • Idk ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      7


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Anonymouse
Posted (edited)

I'm curious to see what the general consensus is (while also acknowledging the limitations of a survey that not everyone will look at/take).

Feel free to share your opinions below without getting into it with other members. If you do, please share how long you've been a member here as well.

ETA: Toxicity/toxic behaviors as defined by Q below:

Quote

In a social setting, something is toxic if it is an ongoing, unhealthy interaction between two or more people, which causes psychological and/or emotional harm to one or both parties.

 

Edited by Anonymouse

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gryffin

It’s hard to tell, in that I’ve always purposefully kept my forays into the Snake Pit to a minimum, especially in my early years here (I’ve been around since 2004 *gasp*). But my feeling is indeed that while some amount of toxicity has always existed on this forum, it has increased, or at least become more widespread, in the past few years. As I said, this is just my feeling and experience: I haven’t (re-)read through 14 years of Snake Pit to research a conclusion, and I’m not going to do that now, sorrynotsorry :D 

This being said, the extent of the toxicity is intrinsically limited by the fact that it can only be let out in the Snake Pit, and that this rule is by and large adhered to (thank you Mods for making sure that it is so). There have been (few) semi-problematic moments in the Chat in the past, but it doesn’t even exist any more, so never mind. So if you don’t want the toxicity or are just hypersensitive to hostility, aggression, etc. and so want to keep away from that, you have the very easy option of not going to the Snake Pit, and you’ll be ok.

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Anonymouse
6 minutes ago, gryffin said:

It’s hard to tell, in that I’ve always purposefully kept my forays into the Snake Pit to a minimum, especially in my early years here (I’ve been around since 2004 *gasp*). But my feeling is indeed that while some amount of toxicity has always existed on this forum, it has increased, or at least become more widespread, in the past few years. As I said, this is just my feeling and experience: I haven’t (re-)read through 14 years of Snake Pit to research a conclusion, and I’m not going to do that now, sorrynotsorry :D 

This being said, the extent of the toxicity is intrinsically limited by the fact that it can only be let out in the Snake Pit, and that this rule is by and large adhered to (thank you Mods for making sure that it is so). There have been (few) semi-problematic moments in the Chat in the past, but it doesn’t even exist any more, so never mind. So if you don’t want the toxicity or are just hypersensitive to hostility, aggression, etc. and so want to keep away from that, you have the very easy option of not going to the Snake Pit, and you’ll be ok.

This was valuable input... so is it safe to say you're of the opinion that the snake pit has become more toxic, but it doesn't spill over into the community at large?

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gryffin
2 minutes ago, Anonymouse said:

This was valuable input... so is it safe to say you're of the opinion that the snake pit has become more toxic, but it doesn't spill over into the community at large?

Yes and no. The open toxicity mostly does not spill over into the rest of the forum, since it’s (rightly) forbidden there. But if you look at the community - the people here and their interactions, rather than the forum as a space - I’m not so sure that it has no effect. But maybe it’s me having a very low level of tolerance to toxicity and so feeling affected by it even when I’m not seeing it in action in the open.

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Anonymouse
5 minutes ago, gryffin said:

Yes and no. The open toxicity mostly does not spill over into the rest of the forum, since it’s (rightly) forbidden there. But if you look at the community - the people here and their interactions, rather than the forum as a space - I’m not so sure that it has no effect. But maybe it’s me having a very low level of tolerance to toxicity and so feeling affected by it even when I’m not seeing it in action in the open.

I see. Thank you for clarifying!

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Sitruuna

I think the general attitudes and how people interact with each other or react to behaviour they see has changed over the past ten years in all areas of the internet that I've been a part of. I'd say that both the number of people who genuinely call out people for toxic behaviour has gone up, which makes said toxic behaviour more noticable but also potentially less frequent, and the number of people who yell at others for no reason (from both sides of the "argument") has gone up. The people who care about this sort of stuff are more aware of the sort of things people find hurtful or harmful and know to moderate themselves accordingly but I think we've also got more people (on this forum specifically) who either don't care or don't know how to control their own behaviour (act before thinking?) as well as people who... Kind of throw tantrums instead of accepting criticism on how they act and reconsidering how they speak? Overall I think the increased nunbers have brought so many people who fit the "don't care or know -- who throw tantrums--" category that the negative change is probably somewhat more noticable than the positive change.

If any of that makes any sense lol

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Anonymouse
7 minutes ago, Sitruuna said:

I think the general attitudes and how people interact with each other or react to behaviour they see has changed over the past ten years in all areas of the internet that I've been a part of. I'd say that both the number of people who genuinely call out people for toxic behaviour has gone up, which makes said toxic behaviour more noticable but also potentially less frequent, and the number of people who yell at others for no reason (from both sides of the "argument") has gone up. The people who care about this sort of stuff are more aware of the sort of things people find hurtful or harmful and know to moderate themselves accordingly but I think we've also got more people (on this forum specifically) who either don't care or don't know how to control their own behaviour (act before thinking?) as well as people who... Kind of throw tantrums instead of accepting criticism on how they act and reconsidering how they speak? Overall I think the increased nunbers have brought so many people who fit the "don't care or know -- who throw tantrums--" category that the negative change is probably somewhat more noticable than the positive change.

If any of that makes any sense lol

Makes sense to me! It sounds like you're seeing more of a detox process as people call out toxic behavior that was previously more subtle/insidious? 

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Sitruuna
Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Anonymouse said:

Makes sense to me! It sounds like you're seeing more of a detox process as people call out toxic behavior that was previously more subtle/insidious? 

Yes! Both that and I think there have also been more visibly toxic people around in the past few years. But mostly it's (probably) just that more attention has been drawn to toxic behaviour.

Edited by Sitruuna

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Garblin

I joined this community when I was about twelve or thirteen years old, and for over a decade kept my head down. There were plenty of disingenuous, gross old men (and a few women) who sharked on me, before this current forum even existed. It was mostly up to me to set the boundaries for what was and wasn't unacceptable behavior, which is frankly fucking ridiculous when I'm a teenager and the person attempting to interact is 40+. 

Even during the early days of the forum, there are a lot of gross memories. Old, grandfathered members posting observations about their underage nieces, people PM'ing me after I admitted that my father had died asking how he'd committed suicide, and which method could I recommend to them? Just really, profoundly socially inept bullshit.

Nowadays I mostly show up, post my fics, and GTFO. I really don't understand the current "toxic" culture that people are pearl-clutching about. Did you fuck up someone's pronouns? Fix it. Are you attracted to children? You need help. If you make an honest attempt to better your behavior with a genuine regard to other people's feelings, I can't see why or how you feel so attacked or outraged.

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spooky scary sQueletons 🎃
Posted (edited)

I think in order to answer this question I need to first define toxicity, bc as we've recently seen there has been some confusion over the language.

In a social setting, something is toxic if it is an ongoing, unhealthy interaction between two or more people, which causes psychological and/or emotional harm to one or both parties.

Now, I've been a member of this forum in some capacity since 2005, and in that time I have REALLY seen some shit.

We've had members openly threatening other members with great violence over minor insults, we've had members faking their own death and draining the emotional energy of other members, we've had members straight up posting that they were into young teens and kids but doing so in such a linguistically floral way as to just barely allow for doubt so as to remain in the community. We've had lots. And lots. Of sharks. Many of whom went after newbie members of a very, very young age, who were not experienced enough in life to recognize that they were being taken advantage of, or who were not yet confident enough to report an older, more seasoned member. We've had members downright stalking other members.

 

Do I think any of this behavior has increased this past year? 

 

To the contrary, I think we're actually just beginning to see an improvement. For a very long time, staff was experimenting with kind of a "hands off unless absolutely necessary" approach, which in my opinion left a lot of members open for the sort of toxic behavior I've listed above. Now, many of the above mentioned members were indeed banned, but not until after causing more damage than they probably ought to have been allowed to, and a couple of those people are still members here, though they don't come around anymore (hallelujah.)

 

Over the last year or so, the forum staff has really been undergoing a change. It's impossible to say how much of this change has been prompted by a handful of very vocal concerned forum members, and how much of that is simply that it was due time, though I do believe their voices have at least contributed to the decision.

Either way, the Staff is becoming a little bit more protective and pro-active about making the forum a bit safer, and additionally there are also now a number of forum members who will openly discuss harmful behavior in the community, and as a result we've actually seen a steep decline in toxic behavior around here.

 

I'll agree with sitruuna as well, in that I think that since nobody was really speaking about the toxic nature of some of the forum's former participants that it was really easy to miss if you aren't the kind of person who's generally aware of that kind of thing, and in that I think that dragging this kind of toxic activity into the light to be exorcised had brought a lot of less mature members out of the woodworks to be offended at the notion of anyone actually being held accountable for the impact they have on the community at large & especially on younger more vulnerable members.

 

And I think we do still have a bit of a ways to go before the forum is a community that I feel wholly comfortable and open in.

I do believe it is finally headed in the right direction, though, and I look forward to seeing it continue to improve.

For this reason, I have marked my answer down as "a little less toxic."

 

Good poll, Nony.

Edited by Quing Nerd
removed typos

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Jejune
Posted (edited)

Q and Sitruuna have both made excellent posts. 

The long and short of it to me is that there has always been toxic behavior on the forum, and only over the past few years has it been brought to light and objected to on a regular basis. I suspect the poll will come back saying the place is more toxic, but a lot of people perceive anyone challenging the status quo as stirring up bullshit or being toxic, rather than the behaviors that are being objected to. I don't agree that that's the case at all. People got fed up of what was being let slide and finally responded to it. 

 

Edited by Jejune

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DeadPulse

I mean its toxic in different ways it's hard to explain but I have seen hostility

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gryffin

Yes - at this point I need to point out that my initial responses assumed a very different understanding of what was meant by ‘toxicity’ from the definition later given by Quing Nerd and accepted into the edited first post. I understood the word as meaning what (I thought?) was meant elsewhere on the forum and indeed in the outside world when people talk of a ‘toxic climate’: not predatory or indeed borderline criminal behaviours such as sharking, stalking, initiating inappropriate interaction with underage members, etc. but (as I mentioned in my previous post) more like hostility, more or less openly aggressive discourse, and the like.

I have no experience that the forum has become more ‘toxic’ in the sense described by Quing Nerd, and I believe the several people who say that it has in fact become a safer place in that respect, with those behaviours becoming progressively rarer, thanks to better policing by staff and also to greater awareness of the danger on the part of its potential victims. I did have two bad experiences many years ago - which I never reported to the staff, in one case because the person bullying me was themselves a member of staff, and in the other because I was just too shocked to want to talk about it - but I can’t say the lack of more recent experiences of that kind must be a consequence of the forum changing: in part I’m more aware (and suspicious and therefore cautious), in part I’m just less active here than I used to be, in part it’s simply that being an adult male probably makes me a less likely target for predatory behaviour.

But I still stand by what I wrote: in places like the Snake Pit, the atmosphere is sometimes rather toxic. (I regard displays of hostility and aggression as toxic even under Quing Nerd’s definition, even though of course it is much broader.) I’m not complaining about it: that’s precisely what the Snake Pit is for, and if one doesn’t want to expose oneself to it, one has the very easy option of not going there. I’m just answering a question. 

One thing to keep in mind is that it’s very easy - for everyone! - to assume that “If you’re wrong and I’m right, you’re being toxic and I can’t possibly be toxic”. This is not only illogical (disagreeing with someone who’s wrong doesn’t automatically make you right or justify whatever you choose to do in response); it is also the kind of double standard that, whenever one is faced with a perceived wrong (and the qualifier is important here: coming across something does not necessarily mean understanding it correctly or being in a position to pass judgement on those involved), makes level-headed confrontation more difficult and can cause things to become more and more heated - more and more toxic - in a way that doesn’t really do good to anyone involved.

Again, it may just be that I’m hypersensitive to hostile, aggressive and/or intimidatory behaviours - I certainly am very sensitive to them - and so I’m making too big a deal of something which other people aren’t really bothered by. Anyway, that’s it from me now - sorry for going on.

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murphy dee
3 hours ago, Garblin said:

I really don't understand the current "toxic" culture that people are pearl-clutching about. Did you fuck up someone's pronouns? Fix it. Are you attracted to children? You need help. If you make an honest attempt to better your behavior with a genuine regard to other people's feelings, I can't see why or how you feel so attacked or outraged.

This is exactly how I feel. I'm honestly not understanding why people are making such a huge deal and getting so bent out of shape about bad behaviors being called out and no longer tolerated. If you're a good person and you make a mistake, just own up to it, learn from it, and move on. Problems start happening when someone says "Mr. X is being misogynistic and here is evidence of behavior I have seen" and Mr. X throws a tantrum on the forum about SJWs and how he can't possibly be misogynistic so we should all just shut up and leave him alone. It's like these folks would rather just have the appearance of being a good person without putting in the work and actually listening to people who have taken offense and learning about why someone is upset with them.

I, like some others, have been lurking and posting anonymously since about 2003/2004 (when I was in my late teens), and I've seen some truly awful and disgusting things said on this forum without any repercussions. Nowadays I really like that predatory comments and bigotry and the like are jumped on pretty much right away. Ultimately, I feel like the forum over the past decade or so has become a much safer place for the more vulnerable members of the forum, and I think that's much more important than any perceived "toxicity".

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Niceguy

The WORLD is. The INTERNET certainly is. But... This place... IDK. I've always felt that the mods do a gernerally good and fair job, with very little tolerance shown for toxicity, outsede of the Snake Pit. But then... Just because I've haven't experienced it personally doesn't mean it doesn't happen. 

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Anonymouse
2 minutes ago, Niceguy said:

The WORLD is. The INTERNET certainly is. But... This place... IDK. I've always felt that the mods do a gernerally good and fair job, with very little tolerance shown for toxicity, outsede of the Snake Pit. But then... Just because I've haven't experienced it personally doesn't mean it doesn't happen. 

I appreciate you acknowledging that in your last statement. I guess I'm curious to know who personally feels like they are/were aware of the toxicity and who isn't. And for the former to share their specific experiences.

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SpookyHowlmes

It's only toxic if you're engaging in/contributing bad, phobic, predatory, etc. behavior and actively not trying to apologize, seek help, or correct/better your behavior. If you're not posting like that then I personally think the forum is a fairly neutral (Save for the Snake Pit of course!) place.

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facet

I've been here since 2011, and I think it's less toxic

I love that the forum does its best to be LGBTQ-inclusive and especially trans-inclusive

I think the steps that the staff are taking to protect members of all ages, but especially minors, are also highly commendable

As for call-out culture, while it can be incendiary, it isn't necessarily toxic because what it's doing is pointing out bad behavior in the public square so to speak. Some people may find this unpleasant, but as it's kept to the Pit, I think it's easily enough avoided

I do find some members to be a little rough around the edges at times, and sometimes people post mean things in the Pit that are only made to be mean. That last one I find rather sad, but it's well within their rights to do so

Personally, I feel that toxicity comes down to whether a person is safe on the forums, and I think, by and large, the members and the staff have made great strides for safety and inclusivity over the past few years and especially with the most recent rule changes

So yeah, people may disagree, but I think the ones voting that it's more toxic are mostly basing their votes on call-out culture making them feel uncomfortable or because they think it's "not nice" -basically using respectability politics, which are all-out bunk in my book

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Masking

It's absolutely incendiary. That kind of nonsense is why I ended up with PTSD and tried to actually kill myself when I hadn't done anything wrong. It's also the reason I don't hang out here anymore. This forum has become horribly toxic, as much as I dislike that term with how it's thrown around on Tumblr and such. I know I sure as hell don't feel safe here anymore.

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Mononoke
35 minutes ago, Masking said:

It's absolutely incendiary. That kind of nonsense is why I ended up with PTSD and tried to actually kill myself when I hadn't done anything wrong. It's also the reason I don't hang out here anymore. This forum has become horribly toxic, as much as I dislike that term with how it's thrown around on Tumblr and such. I know I sure as hell don't feel safe here anymore.

I think that's what people are failing to see. The forum itself may not be but when people latch onto something they may not care the circumstances around it. They yell and scream accusations and don't bother to listen to anything that goes against it. I'm very sorry something like this happened to you, I know someone going through something similar. They didn't do anything wrong but sadly the accusers don't care.

To give my 2cents to stay on topic, the forum itself sans Pit isn't. But some people are. Take that however you wish. 

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Masking
Posted (edited)

Yeah, I'm not about to deny that some of the people that get called out here are serious creeps and/or pedophiles, but I hate seeing the ensuing imbroglios that ALWAYS seem to happen, caused by jerks overreacting to bystanders in the threads who say "hey, at this point you're just making a scene for the hell of it, stop." That is ENTIRELY different from tone policing, but the distinction gets willfully ignored.

Edited by Masking

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spirit
Posted (edited)

sure it's toxic! there's absolutely no tolerance for anyone who's opinions differ even slightly from radical liberalism. i personally wouldn't say that only the snakepit is toxic, because it's the same people in there that are also in the rest of the forum. and the opinions you form of people from the snakepit: it's not like they go away when you try to interact with them outside of the toxic zone (it's human nature). from where i stand, i don't have anything personal against anybody on this forum, but it doesn't take much digging to notice how much others seem to have slowly built up against each other. 

7 hours ago, Masking said:

Yeah, I'm not about to deny that some of the people that get called out here are serious creeps and/or pedophiles, but I hate seeing the ensuing imbroglios that ALWAYS seem to happen, caused by jerks overreacting to bystanders in the threads who say "hey, at this point you're just making a scene for the hell of it, stop." That is ENTIRELY different from tone policing, but the distinction gets willfully ignored.

thank you for saying this. i feel it is extremely important and should be considered by everyone who's ever engaged in a controversial thread in the snakepit. it's being misunderstood that people are complaining about toxicity because they believe sharks and creeps shouldn't be attacked, when in reality the toxicity is coming from the way people go out of their way to shut down any opinion or a matter of fact that is not in full agreement to them about these situations involving sharks and creeps. they go about handling it all wrong. and they just do it for the pride, for the audience they gain, for the sake of it. if that's not toxic, what is?

this forum arguably could be becoming safer than it was before, as more attention is being paid towards the banning of creeps and pedophiles. but it's important to note that the safety from removing creeps/pedophiles has no correlation with the toxicity that is rising from people being unnecessarily hostile and disrespecting others' opinions. toxicity is not in any way decreasing because we are now "safer". we are only safer, if at all, because of the way the moderators deal with situations involving creeps.

Edited by spirit

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Mononoke

@Masking exactly, there are creeps and pedos and those who continously exhibit that behavior do deserve to be called out and banned if necessary and being staff, I agree with the decisions made. But at the same time some people apparently think they are judge, jury and executioner for all things and call out people for the most trival stuff and then don't listen to the explanation because it goes against their already established belief. Or like stated above they shut down anyone who disagrees with them. It's amazing how those who preach tolerance are often those who quickly go against it when another opinion is brought up. 

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Masking

Totally. And what these people don't seem to realize is that the VAST MAJORITY of us are just as liberal as they are. They're raging against the wrong machine.

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Kicker

I can't exactly speak from experience because I haven't been here for very long, but I can tell there's a strong priority to protect underage members. As someone who had some negative experiences as a kid with adults online, this is very comforting to me. And from what I've read here, it seems like there has been some serious improvement from what used to be a forum too lax to be a positive environment. 

 

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