Commisseration

A briefer and somewhat whimsical entry for you today, my friends, inspired by a conversation I had with one of mine a little while ago.

Not long after I returned to my home town (I’m spending the Christmas with my parents. Yay for the holidays!), I was chatting on Skype with some buddies of mine. The topic of discussion turned to a troublemaker he’d been dealing with on one of the forums he moderated–all will remain anonymous, of course, at my friend’s request. Now, as most of you know, that’s the sort of thing I have a lot of experience with; I used to be a mod at a big Fire Emblem forum a few years back, and I’m currently a mod at the CV Dungeon right now. I was fairly impressed by the way my buddy handled the troll and told him as much, mentioning “that’s probably how I would’ve dealt with him, too.” So we got to talking a little bit about cracking down on trolls generally (we concluded that repeat offenders would be given much less leeway than users with good reputations) and the sorts of stuff we’d seen at the various forums we’d been a part of.

Most of all that is personal/confidential, so I won’t get into it. Instead, I’d just like to say that it felt oddly good to ham out those topics with someone who understood them. It wasn’t just because he was a friend of mine I’ve spent a lot of time around (we hang out for the greater part of each day in a Skype chat with some other buddies), but that he had the sufficient knowledge and experience to really empathize with my experiences. He was in the same position I was/am (at the CVD), so questions of restraint, mediating conflicts, and so on weren’t just academic to him, but as familiar as they were for me.

I suppose that sort of commiseration, that sort of ability–or, more precisely, the luck to find someone with that ability to share your experiences–isn’t exactly rare. Still, it does feel quite good; talking with my friend, even just over Skype, gave me a little bit of solace and, even better, perspective on my own life history and career as a moderator. Sure, we’re just moderators of internet forums–nothing particularly grand or important–but if such a small thing could grant me such peace (for a time), I’d imagine similar commiserations on weightier issues would be even more comforting for others.

And I suppose, from all this, I can conclude by drawing a–probably–banal conclusion, but one I still think deserves to be restated. Friendship is a beautiful thing, and those who have it, even if merely over a Skype chat, should count themselves fortunate. There are many, many aspects of friendship, of course, and commiserating over shared experiences is just one. But I was reminded of that particular aspect of friendship a couple of nights ago, and it’s what I wanted to write about today. I also realize friendship (much like love) isn’t necessarily permanent. Perhaps that buddy and I will part ways, or perhaps I’ll leave that Skype chat as a whole someday. That day hasn’t come yet, though, and there’s no guarantee it will, either. So for now, and for as long as it lasts, I’ll enjoy the luxury of being able to commiserate with friends who understand me, and the memory will be a happy one long after those commiserations ended, no matter where I go on the Internet or in life. And, I suppose, that’s enough for me. ❤

Well, that oughta do it for this Friday. After this…I think I may start posting more academic/historical entries. I gotta start studying for my Orals exams in April, so every Friday I may append my writing progress reports (speaking of those, haven’t gotten much work done on WS this week, but that’s cause I’ve been busy grading exams and then going back home for break) with little sketches of what I’ve been reading and what I’ve learned. 😮 See y’all next week!

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