In any community, here our example is focused on ENDLESS WAR, submitting new thoughts, expanding lore, influencing culture, or having swayed the influence of thought are all subtly interesting considerations. When we act in ways that inspire others, isn’t it a wonderful thing? I created some fanart for a hipster character that was well-received, but I wanted to add some further bits for clarification. Whether it sticks or not, now, isn’t a concern of mine.
We shouldn’t try to force changes in any community we’re in.
My focus here is ENDLESS WAR merely because through my health problems, this has been the widest social group that I’ve been involved with, although this can also apply for in-person friends groups or any sort of small or large community. When we submit ideas to the culture, and the culture accepts those ideas, it’s not necessarily that they are or are not accepting us, but there are certain welcoming aspects to this. I wouldn’t say power, because to want power within any group of people is a perverted thing. If it’s social clout, that could be considered power, but it’s less of an overt thing.
My ideas for this hipster took off in an exciting way.
My fanart inspired another artist take a spin at the design. This art had some of my design elements, the thin, bespectacled, bearded man with a shirt with the ENDLESS WAR flag, while other elements like the tattoos were not present. This is fine. I’m happy enough that the idea caught on, as it was, but I figured it would be worthwhile to do a second fanart of my own to throw in two new angles: first, the original drawing was too small, and second, I thought of a silly idea that I wanted to throw out to see if it sticks in future drawings. My idea was that the hipster’s skin would change color based on who owned the bodega. It’s kind of a weird idea, and a little sketchy, but I think some edgy humor like that can – especially if well-intending – go a long ways toward having a uniquely-built character.
It’s too early to say whether that has had any impact or not, but here’s that other fanart:
Let’s meander away from strictly the ENDLESS WAR thoughts, though.
In larger communities, I think we seek clout and prestige as a way to fit in with the larger community. If our reputation precedes us, then our introductions don’t need to have as much debate or effort, right? The thought might be that if we have a solid reputation, we might be able to enter a room and have people recognize us, rather than having to advocate for others to respect us. That could be minor. People could want to hang out with us in larger groups. It could be major. If we are in need, we could have more people or resources provided to us.
In that sense, we might gain prestige and rank through our social contributions.
I much prefer the idea of creating art or writing for its own sake. I don’t write strictly to influence my readers to consider thinking in my own ways. I would rather they read my writings and consider thoughts on their own. When we influence others – if, let’s say, that fanart were a direct copy of my own, and others were to copy mine – then that wouldn’t allow others the freedom to do what they want in life. They would be forced to think or create within certain boundaries. I don’t like that. I think we should help others when we can, and for me, I can help others through drawing silly things and writing things that might help inspire them to think in new ways, or approach their lives in different directions. If I write about how tough it’s been for me dealing with my healthcare system, that could inspire changes.
I think back to other communities I’ve been in, and my general influences.
When I’ve been in negative communities, I wouldn’t say I directly had no influence, but it was much harder for me to break in and feel comfortable. That, I would say, was the fundamental difference between my compulsory education upbringing, where my “friends” would often use me and abuse me, versus other communities, whether at work or these sorts of social groups: adding without subtracting. Not every idea we have is going to be good, but the way I would say it is that if your ideas are always rejected, then that’s a bit of a toxic environment. If some of your ideas are considered, and some of them are even jammed on, then isn’t that a good community? The communities where I’ve felt uncomfortable in are the ones where I’ve felt as though I’ve needed to look over my shoulder, or double-check everything before I do anything, unless I accidentally offend someone.
That, too, might be a point of a good community: general intentionality.
If the community knows that you’re generally a good person, then it’s easier for you to navigate around within, since even if you make a mistake, it’s easier for them to forgive you. You might reply to a potential transgression with an earnest statement of apology and that apology would carry more weight in a well-intending community than one that lashes out at any mistake. I’m not a huge fan of communities where I have to keep my guard up, but others may enjoy such communities, since there might be benefits. There must be, because otherwise that sort of thought would be weeded out of some of the communities I’ve been around.
I’ll conclude with some questions about any communities you want to join.
Does this community, whether one you’re currently in or planning to join, accept you as you are – with maybe with some self-editing for politeness? If so, then you’re probably fine.
If you have to hide your feelings, it may not be the right community.
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: I’d been thinking a lot about the ENDLESS WAR community. There are some toxic elements, bad-faith players, and general elements to the culture that I don’t like. Its full name is an example where I don’t quite support it. But there are many elements within the community that I appreciate, so I’d rather focus on those 80% positives, rather than the 20% negatives.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Picture: Full picture. The screenshot was from another entry to the contests where I submitted my fanart of the Bodega Hipster.|
|Written On: 2020 August 11 [11:37am to 12:08pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 11 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|