Back in October of 2013, I was in the Nano forums playing around while preparing for my first Nano. There was an interesting looking board there called Beyond 50k. I figured it was a kind of after November thing. Like what to do when Nano is over, but your novel isn’t finished yet. So, of course it confused me that there were already posts in it. So, being the curious person I am, I clicked on it to check it out. And I found my people.
I discovered that there was a whole community, a subset of Nanoers who planned to write more than 50k. And since I was kind of hoping to also write more than 50k, I started hanging out in that subforum and in the chat room they all hung out in. They all became my friends. More than friends. These people are my family. I’ve never met any of them in person, but that doesn’t matter in the slightest. They are an amazing group of people. And while we call ourselves OA’s, which is short for overachievers, there is no discrimination. You can completely fail Nano, not even do the “normal” 50k, and still be “One of us”.
So, what does this have to do with Twitter melodrama, you ask? Well, Camp Nano starts on Friday. And for camp you get to set your own goal. Somebody tweeted about how someone in her cabin had a goal of 800k and asked “who is this asshole?” So, of course, there was a whole lot of jumping on the “trash OA’s” bandwagon. I could have let it go. But… Remember what I said in the last paragraph about us being a family? Keep that thought in mind.
A girl I followed got onto this bandwagon, too. Mind you, she used to be an OA herself. I met her through my OA friends. But, whatever. But then she did the unthinkable. She posted a screenshot of one of my friends’ Nano profile – complete with hir username – showing hir word count. And called hir an asshole. Yes, my friend is an asshole for daring to write more than this girl could.
So, I informed the chat room of what was going on. And then it turned into a shitstorm. We descended on this thread in force. And why shouldn’t we? Here were a group of people talking bad about us, just because we wrote more words than they did. Of course we didn’t take this well. And when someone most of us had thought was a friend called out one of us by name and called hir an asshole? Fuck no, we weren’t going to take this lying down! We’re a family and we look out for our own.
By the time the dust settled, most of us were blocked, both by this girl and by her husband. And for quite a few of us by other random people in the thread. I got blocked by two people for asking someone why the OA’s are the reason he only ever posts in his regional forum, when most of us never post outside of Beyond 50k because of the shit we get everywhere else. A bit later, I got blocked by three people (including the girl that started this mess and her husband) for pointing out to someone that it’s not an “imagined” slight if they’re calling people out by name while calling them assholes.
Meanwhile, there was another, totally unrelated, issue going on. The girl in question is pregnant and having a VERY rough time. A friend, and fellow OA suggested that she might want to consider terminating because something seems to be very wrong here. (Okay, not the words she used, and her exact wording maybe came out wrong.) I’m going to come out and say that I don’t agree with what my friend said to her. This is her decision to make. And even if the pregnancy ends up killing her – taking that chance is still her choice to make. And I don’t think it’s up to anyone, with the possible exception of her doctors, to tell her any differently. So, I understand why she was hurt and angry over this.
But, she handled it very badly, herself. And somehow this issue got dragged into the whole OA issue and basically somehow became all one issue in this girl’s eyes. And so anyone disagreeing with her on either issue got blocked. Then again, considering she’s not the only one to block us, it’s really not just her and not just those two issues getting conflated. They ALL seem to think that it should be illegal to disagree with them.
And it gets better. She was complaining to a mutual friend (who eventually got blocked for calling her out on her shit) about how the pregnancy thing and the OA thing are two different things, but that some people seem to be conflating them. Well… I guess that she counts as “some people”, but think that maybe she shouldn’t complain about “some people” doing something – when SHE is the only one doing it.
She also told a bunch of people that the girl that suggested she consider terminating her pregnancy was possibly moving to the same state as her and this scared her. Because apparently she has decided that my friend is going to kidnap her and force her to get an abortion. She proceeded to tweet a bunch of screenshots showing her conversation with my friend. She posted screenshots because she couldn’t just link – my friend’s account is locked. This then led to some of them threatening my friend.
One of these people happens to have her full name, complete with professional title, and where she works up on her twitter profile. So, another friend wrote a very professional e-mail to this woman’s bosses about the issue. Since, by using her professional title and having her work as part of her handle, she is, whether she intends it that way or not, representing her company. This led to the first girl tweeting about how the girl she had reported for harassment on Twitter is now harassing one of her husband’s Twitter friends in real life. Because reporting harassment is also harassment. Didn’t you know that?
Which kind of begs the question of if reporting harassment is harassment, then weren’t they harassing my friend by reporting her to Twitter? Or is something only wrong when someone else does it? The idea that this self-centered CHILD is going to be responsible for a helpless baby by the end of the year is kind of frightening, really. Where is the baby going to fit in a universe that is still expected to revolve around its mother?
So, getting back to the two separate issues being conflated in this girl’s eyes… Another friend came in to the mess late and tried to have a civil conversation with her. She said that she understood why she was upset about the baby thing, but that what this girl said about OA’s hurt her. She got blocked. No dissenting opinions allowed, yo! Only people that will participate in the pity circlejerk are allowed to follow her. If you disagree – about anything – then fuck off. Her opinion is the only one that matters – no matter the subject. Unless you agree with her. Then you’re cool. Feel free to rant along with her.
So, that was my weekend. I got blocked by FIVE people (at least, who knows how many others on that thread have blocked me) for daring to suggest that people shouldn’t be jerks or call people assholes. A friend got blocked by probably at least two people for saying that she agreed with the girl on the big issue that was hurting her, but that she was hurt by the smaller issue that had upset us. I guess that everything they do is perfect. So, not only are you not allowed to disagree with them, you aren’t allowed to be hurt by anything they say. They are perfect, yo.
And the worst part? Until this weekend the girl and her husband were my friends. Now I’m one of “Those Assholes” because I dared to voice an opinion. About Nano. I lost two friends because I refused to pretend to be okay with her calling a friend of mine an asshole for WRITING TOO MANY FUCKING WORDS. I guess that under the circumstances it’s not really a loss. But… Seriously people. Grow the fuck up. You have a baby coming. At some point, one of you needs to become the fucking adult, here.