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Tag: rant

So Please Stop Explaining; Don’t Tell Me Cause It Hurts

Last night, an event occurred on a popular television show.  Because the television show is based on a popular book, many people knew the event was going to occur.  Many people, who had not read the popular books, were unaware of the impending event and were surprised.  Many people who had read the popular books wanted to talk about the event, now that it had finally happened.  Many people who watch the popular television but watch it time-shifted rather than live were startled when suddenly, without warning, the Internet lost its mind and Twitter violently exploded.

This morning, I made a post on a Facebook group where I am a moderator.  Anticipating that the above was going to be the topic of spirited conversation, I said the following:

Careful with the <popular television show> spoilers, guys.

If you’re behind on the series, read comments at your own risk. Try and keep spoilers out of main posts, so people can decide whether or not to read them.

General spoiler etiquette says you should give at least a week of courtesy after an episode airs, because many people watch the show on DVRs or other time-shifting methods.

I thought (and still think) that this was a perfectly reasonable set of guidelines.  The subject wasn’t declared off-topic, nor were people asked to avoid spoilers entirely.  I asked folks to try and put the spoilers in the comments rather than the main post, so people trying to avoid them would have an easier time1, and asked people who wanted to avoid them to be careful and stay out of the comments threads of posts about the show so they could avoid them more easily, and put a reasonable time limit for this particular courtesy to be in effect.

And yet…

Among the reactions I got to this request included:

  • “People who have not see it read Facebook at their own risk.”
  • “This episode is a little different because people who have seen it really want to talk about it.”
  • “People who don’t want spoilers should read the books.”
  • “I don’t think you should ever have spoilers ever, no matter how old the thing in question is”
  • “Once you see the episode, you will probable do what most people did and post about it immediately.”
  •  “A lot of TV shows and (especially) films come out at different times. Japan doesn’t get Star Trek until September, Man of Steel; August. Having them spoiled because people think that they’ve been ‘out long enough’ sucks.”
  • “[By] that logic, we can never talk about tv shows or movies.”
  • “Sorry but there WILL be spoilers on the Internet (shocking, I know) and some of us feel the [group] is the only place we can share these things.”
  • “[Some studies show that] people seem to enjoy stuff more if they know what’s gonna happen. Therefore, if you come across a spoiler? You’re welcome. LOL”
  • “I think people are all too damn sensitive.”
  • “I made a point of being discreet when Avengers, Iron Man 3,Star Trek, Harry Potter, The Hobbit came out [in the UK] first, is the consensus that when the next blockbuster is released I shouldn’t be constrained?”

Seriously, the tone of some commentators suggested they were only moments away from painting themselves blue and declaring “They can take away our spoiler posts, but they’ll never take away our FREEDOM!”2

I’m not personally put out by spoilers, and that goes doubly so in this case, where I’ve read the books the television programme is based on and have therefore been in the camp of folks waiting for the inevitable event to occur.  But how I feel about spoilers isn’t really the point.  Nor, if I’m honest, is how you feel about spoilers the point.

The point is that when we all are existing here in public, as a community, we have a moral obligation to be considerate of the thoughts and feelings of other people who are participating in that same community.  As Kurt Vonnegut so memorably says, ” There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

It’s a little bit inconvenient to make sure you put your comments behind cut-tags or outside of the main body of a post to ensure that other folks won’t trip over it.  And it’s a little bit inconvenient to have to carefully navigate through online discussion forums to make sure you don’t read something you didn’t want to, because you haven’t had a chance to see the latest thing everyone’s talking about.  And it’s inconvenient that at some point, we all decide it’s been out long enough for everyone to discuss it freely without worrying that someone hasn’t seen it yet, because there’s only so long you can keep on your guard.

These little inconveniences that we all put up with for the sake of a more gentle and kind society?  Gentle reader, they are called manners.

And I, for one, am in favour of them.


1 It’s worth noting that Facebook is singularly bad for this, because of the way it displays posts and comments.  But this was about best efforts, and there’s only so much you can do.

2 Those so inclined might wish to revisit just how well that worked out for Mr. Wallace.  (Spoiler:  Not well)

Update on Bizarro Library saga

Thanks to everyone who commented on this post.. My friend read them all and wishes me to thank you all. She’s very grateful for all your concern, support, and suggestions, and when she was feeling overwhelmed, she’d come back and reread your comments and take strength from them.

After the stress finally became enough to make her physically ill yesterday, she took a sick day to consider her options, and had a long talk with Boss. The end result of which is that she plans on tendering her two-week notice today, and begin looking for employment elsewhere.

It’s a big, scary thing to do, but I think that it will ultimately be the best for her. I’m glad she’s going to soon have this madness behind her.

Bizzaro Library (And you thought YOUR job was bad…)

I have a friend who works as a librarian for a small private Northeast college. And she’s utterly miserable, because her boss is insane.

I don’t mean to say that she’s insane in the way that everyone’s boss is insane. I mean to say that she’s clinically paranoid, irrational, inconsistent, and expects her charges to be both superhuman and mind-readers. Consider the following:

  • Boss expects to be told about every single thing that happens, preferably in real time. That means that if a student asks to use a stapler, make a photocopy, or have a tissue, she expects an email reporting this fact. Apparently, nothing is so trivial that she doesn’t want an alert about it.
  • She is convinced that students who come in to ask questions are actually being sent by higher ups to report back on the quality of service, and as a result wants to know what each of them asks, and what they were told, and carefully scrutinizes what information was sent out..
  • She doesn’t want work-study students to do *anything* other than sit and do their homework and “be a face” at the desk. They aren’t supposed to actually help anyone, re-shelve anything, or interact with patrons. They are occasionally trusted to count the number of patrons in the building once an hour. but one gets the feeling she begrudges them even this.
  • She forbids the librarians from referring students to resources outside the library. Any resource or information that comes from beyond the walls of the institution is suspect, and finding out you’ve done so will invite a severe reprimand. They *certainly* aren’t allowed to use the Internet as a tool for finding information.
  • The librarians are forbidden to participate in professional mailing lists, and have been told that if they find themselves in a place with other librarians, they aren’t to talk to them, because she doesn’t want other libraries finding out about their “secrets”. (Hey, lady, I have news for you. You don’t have trade secrets — you’re a *library*. And even if you did, you’d help people research what they are. You know why? Because you’re a freakin’ *library*.)
  • On being told by friend that she didn’t know how to perform a particular task, Boss replies, “You’re a reference librarian. You should know how to do that.” (I suggested that “Well, I know how it would be done in a real library, but how would you like it done here in Bizzaroland?” would probably be impolitic, satisfying though it might be.)
  • Boss frequently issues reprimands to friend in front of co-workers, which makes her feel even worse about things.
  • Boss doesn’t want the librarians to talk to each other any more than absolutely necessary. She was incensed when one of friend’s coworkers sent her a report that friend had requested, containing information that friend needed for the task she’d been assigned to do.
  • Now that friend has been ‘exiled to Siberia’ (read: the other campus), Boss is wanting *hourly* status emails about what’s going on.
  • My friend was promoted, shortly after being hired, when the person in the vacant position quit without warning. My friend protested that she didn’t really have the experience for the job, and was promised she’d be mentored at every step of the way and allowed to grow into it. Subsequent to being promoted, she had a huge amount of stuff dumped on her that she didn’t know how to handle (mostly related to instructional classes that needed to be planned, organized and taught.), was told to “just deal with it”, and then yelled at when the results didn’t match her expectations.
  • After valiantly trying to cope with this stress for weeks, friend finally went to her boss and said “i can’t do this. It’s too much.” Since then, she’s been treated like an incompetent toddler, despite the fact that she was never given the support and direction that was promised her.
  • Last week, friend was asked over to the main campus to attend an instruction tutorial session, with Boss and two co-workers. Upon arriving, Boss told her that *she* was teaching the class, a task she had not being given any opportunity to prepare for. Boss seemed quite irked that my friend wasn’t capable of teaching a class she’d never taught before on a moments notice without preparation.

This is by no means a complete list. I spend a great deal of time alternating between gobsmacked disbelief at this crazy woman and frustration that my friend, who is quite dear to me, is stressed nearly to the breaking point over this incredibly irrational work environment. When she took the job a few months ago, she was so excited about it. She’s good at what she does, and was looking forward to the position. Now, she’s trapped in a miserable job with a crazy boss, no openings in her area to try and apply to, and financially unable to just walk away. (Though the latter option is looking better and better to her, it’s also generally not a good idea to just up and quit a professional position. This isn’t retail.)

I’m sharing all this with you because….well, because it’s just amazing to me, and I had to share it with someone. Though I’m sure my friend will appreciate any sympathy or encouragement you have to offer.

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