05 September 2007

A revelation of the truth in chapters of our minds

DISCLAIMER: I never wanted to issue a disclaimer for anything I write, but I felt this topic warranted it. Tonight I want to talk about the community, specifically the forums, of the Walt Disney World community. This article is not going to endear me to every one. In fact, it may turn some of you against me. However, should you disagree with my points, as presented hereafter, I hope that you’ll email me to discuss your viewpoint, as I am not trying to isolate any of you. If you are afraid that this article will offend you, but would like to read more of the blog, I suggest that skip down past the first article or come back tomorrow when I have something more light-hearted I plan to discuss.

I’ve stated before that I wanted these discussions to be open to anyone who wants to share their opinions through comments or emails, and I meant that. I said that in reference to the fact that I believe that Walt Disney World was created for all of us, and that any discussion of Walt Disney World should be for all of us as well. I didn’t mean that only for the Main Street Gazette, I meant it for the Walt Disney World community as a whole. No matter what the topic, people are bound to disagree, sometimes violently over trivial things, but that is the nature of being human and having a free will. We should never, ever, have to agree. And, as much as it pains me to say this, Walt Disney World is, in all actuality, a trivial thing. Yes, it means a lot, everything, to some of us. Yes, it is the livelihood of people in this world. And yes, it is so vast that everyone has an idea, opinion, or firm belief on one of a million different topics within the boundaries, physical and imagined, of Walt Disney World. But no, this does not give us a blank check to lose our common sense, and courtesies, we should share with one another.

There are forums out there that block the names of other forums within any post on their sites because of incidents that happened years ago. These are incidents that only a handful of people can even remember what the original episode was in the first place. Believe me on this, try to find any information on why this is going on on a given site, and no one knows. And getting answers from administrators is another mess altogether. I know. I’ve tried all the angles in a number of places. Some of you may know, or be a part of, these sites, but I am not going to name names, that’s not what I want to accomplish. That is simply opening old wounds, and this article is about rebuilding and reconnecting, not tearing each other down.

To put this in a more realistic perspective, think about a close friend you had in high school, or junior high, that stole a girlfriend/boyfriend. Remember the fight, verbally or beating the snot out of each out, that incident caused? The rift became so large that eventually to the two of you were not speaking. Looking back now, you don’t know what happened to that person you wanted to date, and frankly, you don’t care. But what about that friend you lost? You have to admit to yourself there was something about them that you miss having in your life. This virus that is spreading throughout our community falls within the same principle. Sure, you may not see eye to eye with everything everyone has to say all the time, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk about our differences rather than shun one another? Besides that, a person who may be new to the community could be looking for a resource not available in a given forum. You know of another forum, one you don’t necessarily agree with, but that is perfect for what this new member is looking for, but you cannot even pass that information along since that forum is the Forum That Shall Not Be Named. And then, who are we really hurting?

Besides the fact that these occurrences are isolated, but are isolating fabulous sections of our community, the other nightmarish, almost big brother, aspect to all of this is that most of us who interact in the Walt Disney World community are adults. That’s right, highly educated people who don’t need to hide from confrontation in our daily lives are being censored. Choices should be allowed to be made, if you don’t like something, you don’t have to listen, read, watch it, and no one should be making those decisions for you. As adults I firmly believe we are able to govern ourselves and our community.

Does this mean that a troll who continually uses profane language should be allowed to say their peace, or attack anyone’s perspective, just because they can? Absolutely not, there are boundaries to everything. Should a site be blocked for giving a critical analysis of another site? Definitely not.

Blocking these sites may just be a knee-jerk impulse to shield one’s self, since they believe they have a perfectly fine product. But the truth is, none of us are perfect, and thus, no site will ever be perfect.

The loss of common courtesy is not limited only to our forums. It is in the news almost weekly. Guests are attacking other guests in queues, guests are spitting and cursing at other guests passing by, and even cast members are being unprofessional, or unmagical, with the guests. In this day in age when there are so many ways to disconnect with the world, shouldn’t we find more productive, and joyous, ways to connect to one another when given the chance?

This has been my manifesto on the topic. I hope I don’t have to bring it up again, but I reserve the right to reexamine the idea later. I don’t want us all to just get along, after all, the Happiest Place on Earth makes us all happy for a variety of reasons, I just want us to remember that everyone has their own thoughts, dreams, perspectives, and firm beliefs. And that is a wonderful thing that we should cherish, not spurn.

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