A few days ago, I had what amounted to an episode during my interactions with this site. For weeks I had been butting heads with a particular author, and both parties had managed to keep it pretty civil. I even found myself defending the individual against attacks that were long on ridicule and short on content, and the discussion continued over several different threads.
Then the author in question published a piece that was so ridiculing and dismissive and emotionally manipulative of the readership that I became intensely offended, and unleashed a series of posts on that column essentially denouncing the writer as a charlatan and a shell-gamer who really stood for nothing at all except ridicule of others based on no specific premise.
There is a larger point here, and I am not out just to discredit one author, who enjoys wide readership and receives a good deal of attention. That point is that, as a father and family man, as well as a professional builder in a supervisory position where I am called on daily to solve conflicts, soothe egos, admit errors, knock heads together occasionally, and most of all continually seek common ground between multiple and often conflicting interests, my activities on Newsvine had become an unhealthy influence on my daily life. I work an odd schedule as it is, late into the evenings with non-professionals working off equity in a program that puts them in their first home with me as their example and their teacher as well as overall field manager of the projects. If I cannot maintain decorum and balance in my daily conduct, I cannot do my job, not to mention how this affects my six-year-old who thinks I hung the moon until I screw up, then she just looks at me in a way that I don't like to see.
Basically, being on Newsvine had become an addiction, a dysfunction and a distraction. This does not reflect on the many, many users who have been supportive and complimentary, and some of the more positive dialogue has been extremely uplifting for me. But (and I was warned about this as a newcomer to the internet generally) I was finding it more and more compulsive to try and top the logic of certain authors and commenters who have nothing to contribute except ridicule, judgment and divisiveness.
At first I believed I was keeping with my original commitment to go looking for common ground and civility, and I think I did well for a while. But the ongoing irritant of being met in this effort with certain authors who could only seek to undermine and discredit my thinking and jump to unqualified conclusions about my beliefs, and interpret my sincere questions as sarcastic comments they were not meant to be, all apparently in an effort to draw readers to their own propaganda by trying to weaken my credibility, just became too much for me.
In short, I have better things I need to be doing. I have enjoyed my time here, and have learned much. But when people have the luxury of remaining entrenched in an artificial environment where consensus and conflict resolution can be merely dismissed and mocked, it affects my ability to pursue those good, human things in a real, breathing world where I cannot turn away from the need to work things out when a transaction begins to break down.
It saddens me greatly to see how entertaining it is for many to maintain such a partisan and judgmental posture. But it also encourages me even more to see the bravery and persistence of Vine contributors who are trying to do otherwise. I wanted to be one of them, and tried, but I cannot afford any more sleepless nights arguing with strangers who don't want things to get worked out and commit their efforts to preventing this.
Thanks to all, and be well. Whatever anyone believes, it is fairly certifiable we only have one world to share and one lifetime in which to share it. Please, all of you, use this tool for good in my absence if you can. Farewell.