I didn't join the Buffy fandom online until after the show ended, so I missed those infamous fandom wars. Not at all sorry about that.
I only recently started reading Mark Watches (off and on as I could) and enjoyed it. It was fun re-experiencing the show for the "first" time vicariously through Mark and those commenting. I usually didn't have time to read many of the comments but it seemed like the site had a refreshing tolerance to politely expressed opposing views.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
I checked in after the fact to find Fandom Armageddon had taken place while I wasn't looking. While I didn't agree with everything in his review of "Smashed," I didn’t think he was really anti-Spike or even anti-Spuffy, except for that particular aspect of Spuffy. And even if he had been, he's within his rights to feel that way. But what went down in the comments was something else entirely.
I stayed up late reading through the "Smashed" comments and was absolutely appalled. I saw bullying, gross overreaction and total intolerance in response to very reasonable posts, with Mark unfortunately fanning the flames. All because some people were quite politely expressing an interpretation of events that he and other like-minded posters didn't agree with. I suspect he was coming from a very emotional place, but that's when you need to take a deep breath, count to ten and remind yourself to treat others as you would have them treat you.
I feel disappointed. Which is silly, I guess. I don't know them. And they don't owe me anything except, perhaps, a general attempt at common decency toward fellow human beings, but that concept seems to have left the building during this flare-up. I wonder if it was ever truly there to begin with, considering Mark states at the beginning of his "Wrecked" review that he doesn't feel the need to apologize.
Really? ::shakes head sadly::
Yes, I'm certain there are crazy Spike/Spuffy fans who are reacting just as badly, and maybe those posts were never posted or already deleted when I got there. But the comments I did see were not at all out of line. And yet those with a differing, yet well-reasoned interpretation of Spike or Spuffy were bullied (or, in the case of some who had the courage to share intensely personal stories of past pain and trauma that broke my heart, they were completely ignored). Judging by the posts that Mark responded to, I have to say I find his definition of "extreme" rather…odd…not to mention suspect and more than a tad hypocritical.
Lord knows we can all "lose it" from time to time (hopefully regretting and apologizing for it afterwards). But I'm sorry…being harassed and threatened by a crazy fringe element does not make it okay to then turn around and do the same thing to those who are not harassing or threatening anyone. And then to feel you're justified in not apologizing…?
He's perfectly within his rights to ban anyone he wants to ban from his site for whatever reasons he chooses. But don't pretend that you're creating a "safe" environment for superior-minded people by doing so. Just make it easy and be honest and upfront: Anyone with differing opinions from his are simply not welcome there.
I'm sad to say my opinion of Mark and his more intolerant loyalists has gone down the toilet and seems unlikely to crawl back up the pipes. There's zero enjoyment left and I'm really bummed out about the whole thing. :-/
Ah well. My computer time is so limited, at least now I'll be spending it on more important things.
ETA: In all fairness, there were a couple of posts supporting Spike/Spuffy that I thought were unreasonable. But not horrific or deserving of the extreme response they received. In that case, just take the high road, ignore and move along since neither side is likely to change their views. Life is waaay too short for this.