Jedi vs. Internet Culture (aka Trolling)

Okay. So it has been brought to my virtual door much more than once today (not to mention in the previous days) that “trolling” is (once again – I have been doing this awhile) becoming a problem in the Community. And people have asked me why, how, what to do. So I figured I’d type something up that up be used by whatever Jedi Community that cares to use it. So lets break this down into the two separate issues and then see how we can address it as Jedi.

First, lets take a moment to remind ourselves what being a Jedi is. Personally I like to use a very simple (albeit altered) form of the Jedi Circle. It is as follows:
The Five Practices – Meditation, Physical Fitness, Diplomacy, Awareness, and Self-Discipline.
The Five Tenets – Peace, Knowledge, Serenity, Harmony, and the Force.
The Five Traits – Patience, Objectivity, Reliability, Modesty, and Gratitude.
The Five Truths – Self-Honesty, Learning, Guidance, Sacrifice, Commitment.
The Five Goals – Train Diligently, Render Aid, Defend Those in Need, Provide Support, and Study the Force.

Okay pretty simple and easy stuff. I don’t think there is anything there which anyone would say is – unJedi-like. There might need to be some explanations or something to make people more comfortable with the word choices, but we’ll leave that alone for now. Point here is we can see a very easy and simple outline that we can all reasonably expect any and all Jedi to be following and living by in their daily lives. There is nothing that is really Opie or Jedi Living specific there. So nitpicking aside, we will assume we can use this as our frame of reference and most basic code of conduct.

Next, lets take a look at Internet Culture. It is a very fluid thing that works very well off of interaction of any kind. It seems to thrive in conflict. If you want examples of internet culture head over to 4chan and BuzzFeed for a bit. Enjoy the variety of YouTube comments. It fluctuates between itself on love and hate and really has made a business out of Click-Bait Headlines and ill-informed reporting. Opinion pieces based upon half the information is your basic internet culture and F-U! if you don’t like it. It is silly, entertaining in small doses, but generally just people shouting as loudly as possible and as wildly as possible to be noticed and given attention. And the real catch? That somehow everyone’s opinion is just as valid and just as right. Doesn’t matter if it is factually wrong – each opinion should be allowed its time in the limelight to be heard and mocked and praised.

The Issue? The Jedi Community was born online, has evolved online, and currently uses the online medium as its main source of communication and training. Some people have an issue with this. I do not. Of course I grew up with it. Meaning in 1995 when I first found the seeds of the online Jedi Community and in 1999 when I decided to stop being a spectator I had accepted this medium as capable of teaching the Jedi Way to others. And for the most part that has proven true. And the challenges to it has helped us grow in many ways. In fact I was forced to learn a lot more about English, Typing, and Grammar because of my online interactions with the Jedi Community. I mean, my writing and typing skills still suck, but you should have seen it back in 1999. But I digress.

The Point is the Jedi Community is front and center with Internet Culture. And the more mediums we chose to use (YouTube for example) the more we open ourselves up to internet culture. And this will create conflict because Jedi Culture and Internet Culture do not equal up. They are oil and water, not Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows. So when (not if) we are faced with the troll – what do we do as Jedi? What is a Jedi’s response to Trolling? Well there are two ways to go about this. First Solution – Be a Jedi. Hold other Jedi Accountable to that. Problem solved. Of course if everyone who carried the Jedi title acted as a Jedi we wouldn’t be here. So…. Lets break this down into three things.

1. What is it? – Purposeful and Conscious Offensive Language and Behavior; Meant to incite Extreme (usually negative) Reaction. Unapologetic in its use. It is will use ill-formed sources and false facts to make outrageous and offensive claims.
2. How do we recognize it? – “Sexism doesn’t exist because men can be in abusive relationships to.” That is a comment meant to grab attention and offend every logical sense in your brain. This is why Jedi are very easy targets. Jedi prize Knowledge and reliable information. They enjoy education and growing as a person and society. So attack that with non-sense claims and half-truths and Jedi will automatically want to correct the misinformation being said and spread. The real problem is that often is misinformation is being spread under the Jedi, as the trolls in our Community tend to wield Jedi Knight and Jedi Master titles. I apologize – Very Offensive Example Upcoming, please skip if underage or just don’t want/need it – So when you something like, “Fuck you faggot. You are wrong. Sexism is a socio-political scheme made up by sex-starved women who just want attention.” That is trolling to the fullest. And Jedi Example of Trolling – “If you don’t have a Black Belt you are not a Jedi.” Jedi-Troll. Because it is silly, ill-formed, and meant to cause squabbling.
3. How do we deal with it? And hopefully stop it? – Be a Jedi. Okay okay okay. So how do you deal with it. Remember that Jedi are not an all-tolerant doormat of bigotry. Jedi are to be held accountable for their words. Jedi Knight even more so. Jedi Master even more so. – Opie But Jedi are human- They are, but being a Jedi is a lifestyle. It is part of how we approach topics, discussions, and each other. So hold it to the Jedi Circle. Is this showing patience, awareness, diplomacy? Is this objective and knowledgeable? Know what forget all that. Self-Discipline. If a person, if a Jedi (especially a Knight or Higher) does not have the Self-Discipline to restrain themselves in online communication – where one can easily walk away. Where one has to sit down, type out, and formulate their thoughts. If a Jedi cannot show even self-discipline to respond online in a manner befitting a Jedi (and I don’t mean all rainbows and balloons – a Jedi can be blunt and use Tough Love) then how could you ever believe or expect them to have that self-discipline offline? How can you assume they have self-control in real-time in-person situations when they can’t even pretend to be a Jedi online? Use it to my era’s problem, fake Jedi. Anyhow. How to Stop it? Create a Code of Conduct in line with your Jedi Ideals. Make every single Member aware of it. Hold every single Member Accountable to it (regardless of title or rank). Be Fair, Be Objective, Don’t Play Favorites, Make People Accountable and Responsible for their Words and Actions. Those unwilling – remove them. Problem Solved.

This has been an Opie Rant Brought to by the Letter D.  As in I’m Done.