Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Handling Internet Hate on Projects

Fickle attitudes on the net
The internet is for hate. I remember an old comedic song that once claimed that the "internet is for porn" and if only that were still true. More and more, all the time, behavior of people who post is far more hate filled and usually about issues that just aren't worth it. It's bad enough with hate for politics, religions, sexual orientations,  and ethnic orientations, but it's gone to an all time high.

The new Ghost Buster's film, starring Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones has had so much vitriol and hatred fired at it, that there's been no room for anything positive. For that matter, like with many things, anything posted seems to draw the haters in droves before a single positive comment can be uttered.

Normally, the advice or general rule is not to respond to haters. Unfortunately, that no longer works. The behavior goes far beyond a simple "I don't like it". Leslie Jones was hounded off of Twitter with slurs on race and general appearance. Melissa McCarthy was fat shamed. Comments wishing death and dismemberment are the norm. It's so horrible and filled with stalking and bullying behavior that something has to be said. It's human nature to want to defend yourself and everyone has limits to how much sheer bullshit they are willing to (or are able to) shrug off. So I really don't blame any of the actors or producers for finally firing back. Especially over the victimization of the actors. But why do haters get the upper hand on the internet now?

There is a cartoon I saw once that depicted two friends talking about artists they liked:

Friend 1: I like that guy's work a lot!
Friend 2: So tell him.
Friend 1: That's not necessary. Oh, but look at that guy's work. I don't like it. HEY YOU! YOU SUCK AND I HATE YOU!

Why do we remain silent on work we like and further let it get overrun by negativity? It's hard to say but there is a lesson here that I shall further illustrate as follows:

Click on the image to see the actual comments. I took them from a page I frequent on board games. You can see the picture that's the subject of hatred, but I should give you a link to the game itself. So HERE.  

It's exactly the same as with movies. Any artistic representation is bound to met with hate before praise (with some bizarre and highly fickle exceptions). While it's not fun to have a line of 70 comments burning your hard work to the ground (and those who have followed me know I've personally dealt with exactly that); you can take solace in the fact that it's not just you. A couple of facts that I have learned.

1: You can't please or impress them. So don't bother trying. That's not to say 'don't do your best work' rather 'don't hinge it on their acceptance'. 

2: When it comes to art people are going to either love it or hate it. There is no apparent middle ground. 

3: It's still worth it to listen to constructive criticism, even though it seems to have become a mythical beast.

4: Don't give up because of them. It gives them far too much credit.

5: 99% of them have no idea or experience in what it takes to do your project or work with your budget.

I still post on one or two pages where my work was set upon like angry fire ants. Why? Because I've decided I don't give a damn what those specific people have to say anymore. That is exactly what you must be prepared to do. It doesn't matter what your artistic project consists of. You could be a writer, illustrator, or make Youtube videos. And if they decide that not being able to run you off makes them hate you personally (or if you tried to do what human nature dictates and defend yourself from being outnumbered and they hold that against you personally)... that is their problem, not yours. 

You see, haters are spoiled. They expect the highest possible quality in every single thing they see merely because the technology exists to make it that way. They don't care what your budget was or that different artists actually have different styles. So they undercut their own possible experiences. Then, they'll turn around to a totally different project that is arguably worse in production than their prior complaint and praise it to the mountain tops. You simple cannot depend on the criticism of the internet to be accurate and considerate. So you must filter it. 

In short, cast it aside, post your work where allowed and don't worry about haters. Let them hate. Do your best and keep doing that. 

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