Lately I’ve been pissed off by certain attitudes within the community. No, I’m not talking about the noobs who consider the community as a big resource of werebuddies, and don’t soulsearch at all once they found it. No, I’m not going to rant about the posers invasion either.
What gets on my nerves is some “ancient” members of the community, and their bunch of followers. A few therians who generally have been around in the community for a long time, sometimes since the beginning, and who brandish their “seniority” like a power over other therians. I am not talking about all the ancient people in the community, nor all the oldest. There are many experienced therianthropes I respect a lot, no matter their age, and no matter if they are inside or outside the werecommunity.
The people I’m talking about wouldn’t officially claim they know everything about therianthropy and the community, but it doesn’t keep them from acting as if it was the case in a very pretentious manner. They would bash newbies or use their seniority as a proof to valid their own assumptions, often trying to spread them as the Truth with a T, and use the influence they got within the community for their own comfort. Don’t think they are very marginal; they can be the people who own the boards you visit. Some of them are people you really respect.
They know it. They use it.
At first I didn’t notice either. What I saw was people who seemed to be critical towards flawed claims, who were experienced, who seemed to be open-minded. They would help people to question their therianthropy, sometimes bluntly, but honestly. After some times I noticed some of them (not all) weren’t that honest. I realized they could be harsh, sometimes really offensive. I began noticing when newbies were bashed before they could justify themselves and explain their thoughts, and I started to raise an eyebrow. When I saw these people claiming you couldn’t be what you are, I understood: yes, they can be open-minded… as long as you agree with their views. [See Shen Tirag's essay The Therian is You for more about how to deal with people telling you the way you're supposed to be and think.]
Another example. I was reading a famous therian board when I came across an introduction topic in which someone claimed to be a greymuzzle. I commented on that post saying it’s not humble to call oneself a greymuzzle; I find that saying so in one’s intro really sounds like a strategy to win the admiration of the masses, and it does work to some extent. The author replied that he uses the term for himself because other people would call him that way in the past. Ok, but does that mean there is no consequences when one uses the term? I disagree, no matter if people in the past called him so or not. Beside, I spend a lot of time looking up what’s left of the community’s archives and communities, and I never heard about that person as an active or helpful member. That’s the moment you wonder what the “critical moderators” are doing and why they allow some behaviours. But it doesn’t matter! People who had been around some times in the past don’t need to justify themselves as long as they get along with the moderators. Seems unfair, isn’t it? Well, it wouldn’t be a problem if other people on the boards would speak their mind. Unfortunately they rarely do. They prefer avoiding the risk of becoming a troublemaker and outcast.
I am really disapointed by some people I respected. It doesn’t matter if they are ancient or simple members of the community: I just can’t stand the former for being so arbitrary and power thirsty, and the latter aren’t any better when they act like brainless followers. I can’t tolerate that some of my friends leave the community because of people preaching their bullshit on therianthropy and ass-kicking when someone disagree. I’m sick and tired of it, I don’t think I’m going to stay involved in any place like that… in a place that doesn’t enable real discussions anymore, because your opinion get bashed when it doesn’t fit with the moderator’s Bible of Therianthropy. Slowly but surely, the list of boards where people can be themselves decreases. Some communities took advantage of the “good resource” label they got with time, and allow themselves to spread bullshit and act unfairly, because anyway newbies need acceptance too much to leave them and nobody would dare doing something against the most ancient and respected members of this community, no matter if the way they act now isn’t right anymore.
Don’t help any so-called experienced therian being an asshole. Stop sticking your tongue up these people’s ass. Don’t let them stand on your toes, speak your mind, and please don’t bangwagon and act the same as they do; you earn no respect in that. You don’t need a community made of people like that. Actually, you don’t need the werecommunity at all. If you are searching for advices, you can find plenty of wiser people who will be helpful and open-minded elsewhere. It’s not because some therians and communities are the most known or the oldest that they give the best help.
That’s my piece of advices.