Saturday, April 21, 2007

A really nice thing happened on the way to the Forum

So, in my nearly a year in the =OF= Old Farts Clan, I have, naturally, applied myself to their forums. I even recently received an annual OFSCAR award for "Most Fun to read Forum Poster."
There is a loosely recognized contingent of us "forum spammers." We spam often, with nonsensical stuff. I tend to exhibit rants and poetry, I can only imagine your surprise. These forums are divided into several sections - we talk about game rules, rule breakers, new members are joining, we tell jokes, we talk about our operations, world events, etc. etc. . . . it's a community. In this year, I have only had occasion twice to make an issue (via private messaging, not public posting) of the use of the ever-popular "R" word. I just let the majority of it slide, because I've reached a point of decision - after 7+ years - that not all windmills are worth tilting toward. If someone has become an online friend, then it's a chance for us to get to know each other better, and, most often, not always, change an attitude.
Recently, for no real reason other than to stir things up, the forum admin has added the word SPAM to the list of words that are automatically filtered out, leaving symbols in their place. This, of course, has only fueled creativity in bypassing said filter. Farting around, as it were. A few days ago, I'm thinking to myself(which happens more often than it should) in my own passive-aggressive-sarcastic way, why not ask them to filter out the words 'retard' and 'retarded'? A little backhanded guilt-tripping, use the silliness of
banning a harmless word to get my little agenda done. No response from the admin.
I've achieved a certain level of credibility with a couple of the level fours (Marvin is lowly level two in clan machine), the group of 15 or so that really make the rules. It wouldn't be an organization without some, yes? I thought some more, and picked one. I told him about Emma, my activities on the forums regarding these words, and asked him if he thought it would be a good idea. His response absolutely floored me.
He has an aunt and a cousin with T21, he thought it was a fine idea, and he'd taken care of it.
I've been positively impressed from day one by the core people in this community in many ways, this just re-affirmed it. I could easily have been pooh-poohed by policy, condescention,
or apathy. I wasn't just accommodated, I was understood. In the world I live in, it is the difference between night and day.
Another moment, another tiny victory for a cause I signed up for inadvertently by not reading all the disclaimers on the back of the "So You Want to be A Parent?" brochure. A relationship strengthened by the sharing of common experience.
A good thing.