Otherkin High – Because someone has to say it.
I know, this is an article and as such it should, in theory, be in the "Articles" section, but I do not want to put this in the available-to-everyone forum section because I feel genuinely ashamed.
The online otherkin community as a whole (not any individual website) is a funny place filled with all kinds of people from all over the world who all share but one common thing, we all believe that we are for one reason or another, in one way or another, not entirely human, and we choose to identify with that part of ourselves to the degree that it becomes a part of who we are. We are all otherkin.
Most otherkin can agree that the online community is a dangerous place in that there is a lot of misinformation out there along with manipulative and even potentially abusive people ready to prey on anyone naive enough to take their word as absolute truth. There is a website that warns against specific individuals within the otakukin community who have been successful in bleeding several people dry of money, energy, time and self-esteem and all that just by suggesting that their victims were special and important to the predators, and all the victims were relatively intelligent people who just wanted to show gratitude to someone who was giving them space and attention and care. Many of us have heard of otherkin taken advantage of in a similar/same manner and there’s nothing that speaks against that the potential is still there. We’ve all seen the ancient and wise and powerful poster that comes in to a forum, speaks in riddles and suggest that only the worthy can see the truth in their words, and in a forum that has a lot of people who what to feel special, it’s easy to see how these people can easily gather around them a following of victims they can easily manipulate, even if those people are otherwise very intelligent.
There are those within the otherkin community that work against this simply by acting like a proverbial “voice of reason”, being quick to ask people to back up their claims of grandeur with something a little better than “because I say so”. These people can often get a bad reputation because they quite easily become so jaded and tired of being outnumbered, not to mention being constantly seen as the bad guy so they can end up not caring whether or not someone’s feelings in the matter get hurt. They tend not to set out to hurt people; they just discuss the topic, though sometimes they can slip up and be excessively blunt.
Like it or not, we all know that there are also those that are naive and/or foolish enough to believe anything and everything anyone says and sometimes have entirely irrational beliefs concerning themselves and others and would often accept things as absolute truth if the aforementioned askers-of-questions wouldn’t point out the flaws. (In other words, the fluffiest ones.)
Then there’s the meat of the community that consists of various kin, therians, multiples, vampires and other folk of varying insight, seriousness, experience, etc, who each bring what they so choose to the table.
Most of the online otherkin community as a whole consist of people who are there for the social aspect of the various forums and chats available to them. They’re there to chat and hang out and have a laugh, and maybe do a little soul searching while they’re at it. This in and of itself isn’t really a problem, as long as serious conversations still come up and are kept serious and don’t get so bogged down in “playfulness” that they become yet another tickle-war thread.
There is something that is significantly worse though than mere tickle wars and the drowning of intelligent debate in utter silliness and nonsense and this is something that is weighing the online community as a whole down at this day and age. This is a pattern of behavior that is reminiscent of TV high school dramas. A handful of otherkin base a friendship on shared interests in music or games or movies and then speak amongst themselves in private messages or anywhere away from the public debate in which they feel they can offer up their theories and identities in a safe, secluded environment, amongst friends who are not likely to challenge ones deductions out of a sometimes misplaced desire to avoid any confrontation and drama for the sake of sustaining a friendship. No one likes to argue with his/her/eir friends. This tends to result in a small clique like group of people who more often than not share kintypes and/or memories in a manner that which would at least seem slightly suspicious.
This wouldn’t be too horrible however if it didn’t come with the standard backtalk and drama associated with the high school television shows. That is to say, often these cliques revolve not just around what memories, kintypes, and theories the members share but also their common dislike, if not hatred, of specific individuals within the online otherkin community as a whole. The cliques engage in gossip, frequently heavy with insulting and derogatory remarks directed at specific individuals who more often than not haven’t done anything worse to any member of the clique than simply disagreeing with them. More often than not the members of the clique won’t actually speak up and disagree with the hated individual in the public forums where the horrible offence of debating the topic at hand without agreeing with the clique was perpetrated. There is no public debate, there is no semblance of open discussion or open confrontation, and everything transpires behind closed doors in private chats, on blogs, in emails and private messages through the websites and forums where both people are members.
Many of us have had a glimpse into the cliques, some of us belong to cliques, and some of us have found ourselves facing the spite and ridicule of cliques we’ve apparently crossed. When a clique has a member of the otherkin community as a whole in their crosshairs they are quick to track that person down and not confront it in the public forums but in personal messages or through simply reporting them for being “confrontational” or anything remotely resembling anything that they can the rules to effectively forbid or at least, frown upon in some way.
No one holds a grudge like a clique, sometimes the newest member can be taught to dislike, if even hate, another person on the word of older members, effectively carrying the torch of the grudge on from person to person to person. Anyone who’s drawn the ire of a small, tightly knit, group of people can expect to never be considered able to do anything good or correct by any member of aforementioned group ever again.
Now I do understand that we are not all friends with everyone on an otherkin forum and I fully understand the need to vent occasionally, everyone needs that, but there are certain differences between venting frustration about a person and slandering them to your friends. There are many otherkin who get on my nerves too and even I will have moments where I go to my partner and simply go “ugh, this person’s hurting my head!” but there’s a big difference between venting one’s personal discomfort with a certain individual and calling them names, even if it’s in private. There’s a certain line one crosses when one leaves the topic, the issue of debate and starts gunning for another human being on the personal level and doing this privately without the person’s knowledge is nowhere near a redeeming aspect.
If anything, the behind-closed-doors bickering and badmouthing of another person is something that we can not be proud of in any shape way or form and I would hope we’d have the integrity to try and keep our own groups from doing this.
Which brings to mind, if all of this transpires behind closed doors, how do I know about it enough to write a whole article about it? Answer is simple. I’ve watched this behavior within some of the groups I belong to as well as seen the same pattern amongst groups I’ve been outside of. I’ve seen personal messages through various, more private, means which I won’t name, from people I won’t identify, were just this sort of behavior has taken place, and I have had people send me private messages and yes, insults, instead of contributing to the thread/debate that spurned that private communication.
I for one am choosing to distance myself from this behavior. I am not going to quietly distance myself from my friends and their issues, I’m going to step up and say “this is unacceptable” and that is half the purpose of this article. I will not condone nor contribute, nor enable this pattern, I hope you won’t either.
"Those who can't approach discussion with a basic level of intelligence and maturity shouldn't expect to be taken seriously." ~ Qualia Soup