So I posted about this on the rant thread as well, but I've been feeling especially ranty about it for the last few days and don't have to keep it as short and sweet here...
On Friday night, an acquaintance posted a picture of her new betta on Facebook. I liked it, naturally, because it's a photo of a betta and naawwww, cute! She tagged me in a comment asking questions about why he might not be active, why he was hiding so much, so I helped her to the best of my knowledge and asked if she had a heater, which she did not, but said she was planning on buying one when finances allowed. Fine. Not ideal, but at least she's going to get one, right? We then just chatted for a bit about all the cute decor available, how it's dangerous to be on eBay because of all the cute stuff available., and it was nice..
Until a friend of mine posted. This guy is at best abrasive when he disagrees with someone about a topic. Apparently he has some sort of disorder that prevents him from empathising with people, but that doesn't excuse outright rudeness and derisive comments, right? So he starts talking about how I'm full of it, I don't know anything about betta care, and they don't need heaters and that it's stupid that people keep saying they do.
Okay, so he has an opinion. Rudely stated, but whatever. I'll just ignore the rudeness and carry on my nice conversation with this girl. I politely point out that we're in a different climate to where they don't need heaters, and it is a bit cold here in Melbourne to not be using heaters, and just link to here with the comment: "Look, rather than arguing, I'll simply leave a link to where I learned almost everything I know about these awesome fish and leave it at that."
I thought that'd be the end of the argument, because there was no way to agree on the topic, and I'd politely closed that particular conversation and listed my references before stopping that line of talk. But no. This guy then went on a tirade at me about how I neglect my pets by heating their tanks, that I shouldn't be spouting this nonsense at people because I'll be leading people to also be neglectful and that this had been a long time coming because he's sick of me recommending that people heat their tanks, because that's ultimately shortening their lifespan due to sped up metabolism.
So. I kept civil, attempted to close the argument, but he insisted on raging at me hardcore. After this "neglectful" comment, I did get a bit sarcastic and said "Wow, sorry for taking an interest in something I care about. The rudeness definitely wasn't necessary though." And that earned me more ranting about how I'm an awful fishkeeper.
My partner really took offense to this online abuse after reading the thread, because all the way through it I'd been non-confrontational, and obviously agreeing to disagree on a topic, though I knew his opinion was wrong a flame war wasn't the way to go, but he took it there. The result was me being pretty darn passive, with rage flying at me no matter what I said. So my partner decided to text this guy, because y'know, that's the smart thing to do rather than plaster it all over a public forum for all their friends to see.
Then came the text war. After my partner said to this guy, "You had no right to be ridiculing my girlfriend on a public forum, your rudeness was unacceptable, you do this on a regular basis whenever you disagree with her and enough is enough." but with more colourful language unfortunately, the guy replied with surprising indignation. "How dare you speak to me like this? Blah blah blah. Why are you acting like a guard dog? This has nothing to do with you!" When in fact it had everything to do with him, just like if someone were attacking my partner, I'd rush to his defense, though I know he's perfectly capable of handling it himself, you just don't mess with the people I love. Same with dear friends. But the difference is that I tend to shrink when attacked, especially on a public forum. It's so humiliating being attacked on a place like Facebook. Also, I was not going to stoop to his level, ranting and raving like a lunatic, and participating in a conversation that was going nowhere. My partner messaged this guy of his own accord, not because I told him to, so these arguments were invalid really.
It got to the point where both this guy and his girlfriend (who we'd previously thought an intelligent, headstrong young woman) had basically told us we're horrible people, that they want nothing to do with us anymore, and that I had to sort it all out. Wait... what? I just exited the conversation when it was clear nothing was going to happen except me being raged at, and my partner took offense to how I was being treated and had a go at the offending party. How is it my mess to sort out?
In the end, I got my partner to apologise for his unsavoury language, because taking the high road out of a futile situation is always better than stooping to their level, but I'm still refusing to speak to them, because all that's going to happen is me being told I'm in the wrong, when it is not the case.
The worst part of it was being repeatedly called a neglectful pet owner. I often treat me fish better than myself, because sometimes ALL of my available funds go to them if it's a not-so-great pay week. Sure, eventually I won't need to spend so much money on them once all the plants have grown in, and once Falkor's tank is all decked out nicely, but I'll still be putting in just as much work, and making their lives the best I possibly can. I REALLY take offense to being called neglectful.
I suppose it's lucky that we were already in the process of shifting from the younger crowd to the older crowd. We had been looking for a group of people to befriend who had good values, a strong code of ethics, and not so much politics, and moving from the under 30s to the older people was definitely the right move, even if we're the babies of the group at least we know that people live by their word, and hold themselves accountable for their actions.
Last edited by Sparrowhawk; 02-17-2013 at 04:33 PM.