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Quackcast 621 - Live Laugh Love

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Feb. 7, 2023

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Toxic positivity can take all sorts of forms, but I think it's most easily recognised by someone telling you to be happy about something when you just don't feel it. It's a really odd, nasty, weird feeling when a person tells you you're basically not allowed to be grumpy or even neutral, you MUST be happy. How many times have we all been told to “smile” by someone?

I think it's interesting when it involves pop-culture:
When you're not allowed to criticise things or dislike them. People do this with nationalism, politics, brands, products, cars, celebrities etc, but it's really telling with pop-culture. The whole “Shhh, just let people enjoy things” meme: It has a good side but also quite a big dark side as well. Being relentlessly negative and stomping all over other's enjoyment of things is a real dick move, so yes, let them enjoy the thing. The dark side of that is when people use it to shut down ALL criticism.
I've been in groups where they ban people for saying anything at all bad about certain shows or the characters in them, even as a joke. That's quite a toxic environment. For example, not only must you like every Star Wars movie and not make fun of any of them or any character, you must also like all the TV shows whether it's Lego Star Wars, Clone Wars, or even the games. Disliking any can “ruin someone else's enjoyment” so you get a ban.

Then there are the people who stomp into the middle or of a group happily dedicated to the enjoyment of criticism and use the “…let people enjoy things” line on them, not realising that they're refusing to let those people enjoy what they were into. Yes, people shouldn't be dicks about things, but people shouldn't be super “positive thinking” thought-police either, which is worse because it induces stress and pushes people out of fan communities.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Succubus - A quiet, contemplative, slightly mournful tune, delicate in piano, is suddenly swamped by a red wave of horror and chaos as the music is ripped asunder and this new sound gouges deep into your ears.

Topics and shownotes

Tantz's Toxic positivity -

Featured comic:
She Used To Be Fractal -

Featured music:
Succubus - - by Coydog and TheDeeMan, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Banes -
Tantz Aerine -

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Ozoneocean at 8:43PM, Feb. 7, 2023

Back when Volte started the place the main rule here was "don't be a dick". We've always been pretty open. Sometimes people have taken advantage of the freeness and sometimes people have looked at that freeness as active endorsement of certain ideas, which it never was.

InkyMoondrop at 3:42PM, Feb. 7, 2023

Oh, sure, please use it. I think what factors make this place not only function and survive for so long but in a way maybe even flourish is a good theme to explore. :)

Tantz_Aerine at 3:37PM, Feb. 7, 2023

This is an awesome discussion guys and it's really thanks to Oz that DD remains free of agendas and 'narratives' in the forums and elsewhere. @InkyMoondrop: you bring up a pretty interesting perspective, do you mind if I steal this (with credit of course) for my next newspost after the toxic acceptance thing? Because I think it stands to be pointed out that you don't need to police community members' beliefs and still keep a more or less respectful and tolerant environment. The key, I believe is in not allowing specific *behaviors* rather than beliefs. So for example shaming of any kind should be forbidden. No kinkshaming. Because it's shaming. But you can have a chat about kinks/disagree about kinks as long as you're respectful. Creating echo chambers is always a risky thing, even if it's made with the best of intentions.

InkyMoondrop at 11:03AM, Feb. 7, 2023

It's everywhere really, to varying degrees. I'm not active in fb groups for the same reason. To a degree I understand: if your goal is to build a community where certain types of people feel safe to be themselves and are comfortable, you cater to their emotional needs and such. Some choose to ban the people they disagree with, some parade it around for others to "keep an eye out" and shun the person as well, some just ignore it when others bully this person until they leave. I personally think kinkshaming is bad, why would I want to surround myself with people who actively engage in it for shits and giggles with utter disregard of how they make others feel? So I'd probably make rules against it in my own group, because "if you can't handle it, just don't interact with people" is not a great way to challenge norms and such. But still, communities where it is not explicitly forbidden and people still manage to be civil and respectful are places one wants to be in and be attentive in.

DylanTale Comics at 11:00AM, Feb. 7, 2023

And like InkyMoondrop said, I love this site because of the stark difference between here and, for example, Instagram. I love being able to comfortably express any opinion I want and any stance I believe in without the fear of "uh-oh, does this go against the guidelines that they update every few months?" as long as it isn't blatant harassment. Out of the hundreds, if not thousands of Quackers on this site, I've only dealt with one person who was borderline harassing me last year for my stance on a certain topic. Compare that to the millions of people on regular social media who attack people every day for whatever they believe in. The fact that DD has been around as long as it has been and yet hasn't given into the pressures of cancel culture and/or social media in general is immaculate. While I did think this way when I first joined DD, I do like that I don't have to pretend to be happy 24/7 whenever I'm on this site. I can truly be myself without unnecessary backlash. Well done!

DylanTale Comics at 10:48AM, Feb. 7, 2023

I think I know what sites you might be talking about, and I do remember a lot of that happening especially in 2020. I recall certain sites shutting you up for what opinions you had when it came to movies or even, hell, politics. People tried getting their opinions out there, especially if they had facts to back it up, yet those sites didn't care and deleted their posts simply because "it's not part of the narrative we [the people who run said site] are trying to push". That narrative can be toxic positivity. Certain sites make stuff into a positive thing and then they push it out there and try to make everyone else believe in that thing as being good when really, it isn't at all. Banes (and Tantz), I love how you two really have been exposing this kind of toxicity, especially since a lot of sites will ban you for saying such things. I can speak for a lot of us here with confidence when I say: Keep bringing these "taboo" subjects up because damn, more people need to hear/read this.

Tantz_Aerine at 8:12AM, Feb. 7, 2023

@Ironscarf oh my I think I remember that one!

Ironscarf at 5:51AM, Feb. 7, 2023

@Tantz_Aerine & @InkyMoondrop, debate was very popular here when I joined. There was a thread in general discussion, always busy and usually good natured with a wide range of topics and at least one thread on comics/animation etc. That one did get a bit heated at times if I remember. I avoided it myself, but some of the folks who posted there were real master debaters.

marcorossi at 5:39AM, Feb. 7, 2023

I realised recently that I'm a bit of a negative person: my humour tends to be sarcasm, both towards myself and others, and if I have to seak about a movie, for example, I tend to point out first the things that I don't like and later the ones that I like, even for movies that overall I like. It seems to me that negative comments are a normal part of discussions, and that often positive implies negative (e.g. if I say that LOTR is a great fantasy novel, I'm impling that other fantasy novels are generally worse than LOTR). I do not want to hurt people on purpose, but at times I have the impression that there is a sort of emotional blackmail where people are forcing me to say what they want me to say, nad in other times it seems to me that this "positivity" stuff is just very superficial because the negative judgements are still there, just implicit and hidden. The problem is that it is not possible to avoid all judgements of value (which is what overall permanent positivity amounts to).

Tantz_Aerine at 4:25AM, Feb. 7, 2023

Inky, we do agree about a lot of things! It would be interesting if we ever had debates with other members, provided things can stay on a decent level (i.e. no personal attacks, etc). We'll both be learning from each other. Would that be something the community would be interested in? I'm asking in general, not sure if it's feasible or anything, but good to know either way.

InkyMoondrop at 3:00AM, Feb. 7, 2023

I don't see myself as a "toxically positive" person btw, I play Kind Words, but I'd argue people go there for solicited kindness, not to "correct science" in front of an audience. I just think criticism if unsolicited is more often about me wanting to complain than about helping anyone else and sometimes people gain a lot more from inspiration, motivation through personal growth examples than direct confrontation about their "flaws". But I think that's not too controversial.

InkyMoondrop at 3:00AM, Feb. 7, 2023

I think you three generally agree about most things, at least nothing comes to mind where you engaged in actual debates. And many from the community might disagree with several of your stances. But I don't think I'd be on the Duck if you'd police disagreements the way many other places do. Sure I'd like to think you wouldn't let blatant harassment go rampant, but you might not even have the best opinion on individual members, such as me, and yet you can put that aside and be professional, because the way I perceive it, at the end of the day, you all envision personal growth not by getting reaffirmed in your stances and limiting others' interpretations of art and the world, not by "dealing in absolutes", but by exploring and seeking value in the richness of artistic expression. And you don't look for ways to limit people's understanding even if you already "made up your mind" about something. That's not a bad way to approach running a community and just human relations in general. :)

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