I tweeted my first artwiculate entry in August/September 2011. I think I found out I could vote around Xmas time. I learnt to index in March. As you can see I’m not an artwiculate techno nerd. I often don’t vote, and when I do, I vote blind. During this comparatively short time I have made friends all over the world. Some I have met. Others I hope to. Artwiculate has given me the greatest pleasure, and it is with a deep sadness that I view from afar the ructions which threaten the very existence of the game itself.
Let me say at the outset, artwiculate is not perfect. Perhaps that is one reason why it has recently been so easily manipulated and hacked by people who have no moral or ethical compass. The voting system does need to be revisited. I have also long believed the faulty definitions are deliberate, giving us all some extra fuel to add to our entries. These bloopers have afforded me real amusement. Long may they reign.
I have no axe to grind but I think a little dispassionate observation can be made and hopefully some perspective can be gained. I do not like to rush to judgement.
Twitter is an amazing world, but it is a world where many have adopted anonymous personas and not just one but multiple personas. I regularly engage in conversations with cartoon characters, Marilyn Munroe, Mr Magoo, a chicken, a dog, cats, and a marsupial. Their real names are often not included on their twitter front page but I feel I have come to “know” them quite well.
The 140 character construct is fascinating. People’s lives, irrespective of the relative anonymity of the fictional persona many adopt, become a pot pourri of scattered fragments of information about a life that can gradually be put together as you would a jigsaw puzzle. The first and most obvious thing that emerges is the personality of the tweeter. That cannot be hidden.
If you are a bully in real life that personality trait becomes readily apparent in the twitter world, especially as there is this false sense of anonymity, of not being seen or recognized. I’m sure it is the same sort of thing when you see a driver in a car picking his nose. He is in his car therefore he cannot be seen.
Last night two leading lights of artwiculate were revealed to have accounts in alternate names. I would have been shocked if they had not had other personas. I have long believed I must be one of the few tweeters who has only one account and with my real name there for all to see. The inference is, of course, that they used this to further their position within the game. I remain unconvinced that this was so. I understand the sense of confusion, even betrayal, felt by some who did not know or had not guessed.
Well I had a look and when one persona was being used, the other didn’t RT the entry. To be honest I can’t see that there was/is anything materially to be gained with an additional persona. What I can see is that the alternative persona in one player’s instance allows that player to be naughtier and more provocative, something they may be uncomfortable doing in their own name. This I understand.
The bottom line for me is, and will always be, how have I been treated in my interactions with any of the personas concerned. More importantly it is how I have seen them interact with other people. At all times there has been a great generosity of spirit, encouragement, fun and comraderie which I have enjoyed immensely.
I wish I could say the same of mijeroh.
Since December/January with the introduction to the game of account holder mijeroh, there has been a systematic destabilization of the game, a strategy of divide and conquer, setting players against other players, upsetting longstanding friendships through voting manipulation, innuendos via artwiculate entries and generally snide, sometimes bullying and abusive tweets. A number of new accounts have arrived on the scene to further fuel what has become a campaign against the older, original artwiculate players as well as some of the more brilliant wordsmiths who regularly play the game. Stair71 no longer plays being drummed out by these nasty personas. I miss him. Alastair is a genius.
They have described a number of artwiculati as cheats, tweets that are clearly defamatory. The manipulation of voting that occurred in Jan/Feb by mijeroh, on his own admission, placed players such as permabloom and vivchook in dreadfully invidious positions, and was unforgivable. At no time has he apologized to the arwiculate community. Far from it. Totally unrepentent, his intention seems to have been to start a war. The motives to me remain unclear, but it would seem from his actions that his short-term aim is to rid the game of older, more experienced players as well as the genuinely brilliant wordsmiths, a category, I hasten to add, in which I do not include myself.
What is absolutely unacceptable to me, and should be to most of the delightful artwiculate community, is the level of abuse that has been directed at primarily two of the artwiculati as well as any others who have had the temerity to object. No one should have had to put up with the abuse that has come these past 4 months from mijeroh, artwic, aitfin siliasaki, fakeharp. Bullying and intimidation are not be tolerated in any environment whether it is in the work place, the schoolyard, the sporting field or the cyber community.
Let it be made quite clear, I did not let myself be bullied or victimized when I was a teenager, and it isn’t going to happen now I’m a señior citizen.
I will not be bullied. I will not be intimidated. I will not be victimized. I will not stand back and watch others be bullied. I will report any socially unacceptable behaviour to the appropriate authorities. I will continue to play the game. Some days I’ll vote, some days I won’t, just as I do now. I will not be chased away.
I hope permabloom, vivchook, SJHatzi and harrarp, and those I now call friends who may be thinking of leaving the game, will continue to play in whatever guise they like because they are clever and they move me; sometimes to laughter, sometimes to tears, sometimes to argh!
And that, after all, is what it is all about.