The difficulty is in dealing with people. Specifically people on the internet. More specifically a large group of people on the internet. A group of people who have something in common, post regularly about their shared interest, and are not short on passion. That's as specific as I dare get, so forgive my vagueness and know that I have changed the names of the characters you are about to meet.
One user, Marge, hates me. I'm not really sure why, but if I had to guess it's because I'm "The Man" in this particular niche. Since starting this position last fall, I've received at least one email a day from Marge telling me how poorly a job I'm doing, how unfairly I treat her, how unfairly other users treat her, and how she wishes things could go back to the way they were before I started.
Another user, Tom, enjoys harassing other users. I banned him from the site for seven days, and when the week w as up he sent me an email titled "The Immaculate Conception!". The body read, "Hey, bearer of the immaculate conception, delete my posts and name from your server and file.........thank youiuuuuuuuuuu!!!!,,,,,,,". I'm not sure why he compared me to Mary, but I am sure it was meant to be offensive.
There are thousands of other users with varying degrees of sanity. Some I've gotten to know well, some I don't know at all, some I like, others not so much. For the most part we stay out of each other's way. But sometimes things get messy.
A perfect storm started when the site crashed. Once it was up and running again, I saw a post from Marge that claimed I had sabotaged the site in order to enjoy a relaxing day off. The next day she accused me of more sabotage, and after months worth of warnings, I decided to give her a one week ban. In the last five days she has sent me eight emails. They all read something like this:
Sure I posted alot of mean stuff but ALOT of it was to fight back against the wolf pack, & when I saw the topic you locked from stating that pm's were sent encourging others to join in on the bashing thats when I decided NOTHING will change & I will NOT be a target or scrapegoat for the the stuff you condone. Its pretty sad & wrong for a person who's banned to watch people to continue to bash me knowing I can't respond & you continue to stay silent & condone it. So as far as I'm concerned come monday after 12 & the ban lifts I won't be saying goodbye or kiss my butt...While I said some hurtful things to you in hopes you would do your job & SEE how things operates you just let it slide & would TELL me to back off. As to my "attacks" I've stated my reasons lots of times & you turned a deaf ear to me. So good luck on moderating the site.
If you're confused, you're not alone. If you're wondering what a scrapegoat is, you're not alone. Because I'm a masochist and because I was really curious, I looked this woman up on Facebook. Every status update she's made in the last five months is about me and how I'm ruining her life, how terrible I am at my job, and how she wishes she could go back to the way things used to be.It gets worse.
A few days ago there was a post written by a user's family member announcing that the user had died during a military operation in Afghanistan. Other users mourned all day, posting their memories, crying real tears, offering condolences to family and friends. But a simple google search revealed no recent deaths in Afghanistan. This user didn't die. This user wasn't a soldier. This user has never even traveled outside the US.
It gets even worse.
Tom, the harasser; rejoined the board using a different user name and proceeded to suggest that I, the bearer of the immaculate conception, should lead everyone in prayer for the not-dead not-soldier. He then said if I had any brain at all I would have caught on to the soldier scam, and that I'm nothing but an idiot. I'm sugar-coating and editing his words to avoid an R-rated post.
I'm okay with people not liking me. But I'm not sure how I feel about complete strangers, who have never met me, never spoken with me, and know absolutely nothing about me, hating me to such an alarming extent. But maybe it's good for me. Maybe I need to realize that there are some things that just can't be fixed,that someone will always find some reason to not like you, that the internet can be a dark and terrible place, and that sometimes, at 5:00, I just need to turn off the computer and walk away. Maybe.