Today in a discord server I participate in, someone mentioned they had to mute a channel due to the content within it. That content had recently been spilling out into other channels of that server. This particular topic is enjoyed by the majority of the people in the server, but can be traumatic to a minority, one of which, I am.
Upon that mention, another person said, “okay, we need to full stop here and find a resolution. We can’t have people feeling uncomfortable.” I found this respectable and considerate, not just for my own peace of mind, but for anyone else who felt pushed out of the space by the vocal majority. I have been able to manage myself fairly well.
One of the majority, however said, “This is a huge part of this server and I don’t think anything needs to be changed. I don’t think a huge amount of consideration needs to be given here because the server isn’t here to comfort you.”
For the record, it isn’t a *huge* part, and had only become that due to a large influx of new people who hadn’t been with the server for a length of time to know the atmosphere. Many of us have been waiting for things to “calm down” to see where to go with the idea of new channels and such. But the issue was raised by a person the server owner cares a great deal about, so it held a bit more weight, even though the owner has no issue with the topic itself.
However, this had already raised my hackles. To basically say that they didn’t owe anyone consideration for their comfort was just beyond shitty. It honestly has bootlicker attitude all over it and I’m just not going to tolerate it on any level. It takes on a whole other level of intolerance that I refuse to tolerate.
They went on to say that the people who dont like the topic are free to bring up a topic they do like when the chatter stops.
I replied that they are misconstruing comfort with community and if a topic starts to take over that causes trauma or distress, there is an obligation to stop, find out how to fix it for all, and remember community is a group of people, not just the loud majority. And as to waiting for the conversation to stop, why should the minority be forced to wait till the majority is done talking? If that happened, they’d never get the opportunity, as the floor will never open up. That is not fair, nor acceptable.
Seeing that they were becoming outnumbered, they said, “I’m just playing devil’s advocate.”
My immediate reply was, “Ick to Devil’s advocate. Being the devil’s advocate has never solved an issue and usually makes it worse.” I explained that there was nothing wrong with the course of conversation, however, it is a horrible optic to tell those finding it difficult to either deal with it or leave. I asked if it really that hard to be considerate to another person when they ask for accommodations?
The person stopped contributing shortly after that, and honestly, I was glad they did, but my opinion of them has significantly reduced. The stance of not wanting to make sure someone feeling distress doesn’t deserve respect and feelings of being safe due to a topic that can be corralled is unacceptable and I truly refuse to entertain people who feel treating others with so little care is perfectly acceptable because “we’re all adults”. Sorry, but fuck that.
Using the devil’s advocate claim is no better than saying, “I was just joking” when no one laughs and everyone gets upset. You aren’t advocating for anyone but yourself so that you dont have to face the consequences for the thoughts you express because you believe them. You are hoping that everyone just goes, “oh well…devil’s advocate…sure…hypothetically we could agree.” and I’m not going to give them even that validation. We aren’t living in a hypothetical world. We live in a world where there are consequences for actions and statements, and the reqirement to either change those things, or realize you have crossed an intolerable line that won’t be entertained. Anything less is unacceptable.
The devil never asked you to advocate. He probably hates you speaking for him, to be honest. When you use that phrase, all you are telling me is that you are defending a thing that you have already seen isn’t welcome. You have already made the impact.
Now who wants to feel comfortable in a distressing situation? Yeah….