I've been putting smaller versions of in comments on other blogs and pages over the past few days, but I am now just feeling the need to write a blog dedicated to expressing it. I am sure that there are a good number of people who will agree with parts of what I write here, who have been feeling similar frustrations, and then also a number who will read it (or ignore it) either because it calls out things they do or because things like this have been said so many times before. I'm a firm believer of if something gets ignored the first eight times, keep trying, because maybe eventually by some slim chance, a change will happen.
I've been reading pages and articles on this wiki for a few years now, and enjoying VOCALOID music for years longer than that. I joined the wiki a number of months ago because I decided I wanted to be able to comment on things and have my username put to it, instead of just the IP address, and also because I saw someone getting repeatedly harrassed by someone else on a number of different pages and felt so strongly for the person being harrassed that I felt the need to step in and defend them. The harrassing stopped, but it has been quite some while now since I saw the person being harrassed have any activity here. Where I am going with this is that there is a humongous problem with the way people write to one another here, and a blatant lack of respect in general. A few points with that I would like to address are:
1. Manner of writing
2. Respect for community members in writing
3. Opinions and opinions vs fact
1. Based off of what I've read in users' profile pages and in comments on off-topic discussion boards, there are a good number of very active posters here, myself included, who are at an age where we should be able to have civilized discussions as adults. I am not implying that we should be one-hundred percent formal and serious all the time, because that would be boring and defeat the purpose of many discussions and blog pages. However, there is a difference between writing in a fun way as an adult and writing as an immature internet brat, which too many seem to enjoy doing. There is an overall air of defensiveness in a lot of comments and replies here, which unfortunately makes sense, because so many people seem to just automatically go in already in attack mode, or as though they are trying to instigate something. People are getting angry at each other, discussions develop a violent feel, and topics have to be avoided because people are unable to be kind and discuss them, simply for the sake of discussion. They automatically have to become a violent debate and then argument over who's right and who knows better, which is ridiculous. No, not everyone on the wiki is an adult, yes there is a wide age range of users (which is awesome,) but better examples should be set by everyone, for everyone.
2. Respect. Respect, respect, respect. There is no where near as much of this around as there needs to be. People take on attitudes of they've been here longer therefore they know best or they have never given any misinformation therefore they should be listened to and everyone else should be ignored. This is ridiculous. I've not been a member of the wiki for very long, but I've been enjoying VOCALOID music for quite some time and had been researching outside of the wiki before I understood really what the wiki was. I didn't consider myself to be part of the fandom, but more just an individual with an interest and growing base of knowledge on the topic. Does that make me not as informed or "not knowing better", because I haven't been part of the wiki or VO forever? I frequently see other posters writing towards those still learning or who do not express possession of a vast amount of knowledge with such a condescending air, and it almost looks like they are calling them stupid...but they've been just careful enough with their wording, or included something like "I'm not saying you're wrong/stupid/don't know better" to make it ok, which in my opinion, doesn't make it ok, it just makes them a condescending jerk. You can't tell someone they're wrong and say that you're not saying they are wrong and have that be true. Either you are calling them wrong because you find what they say to be an untruth, or you can say that you are not saying they are wrong, but then accept what they say to be possible truth. Also, just because you say something that might not be the nicest thing to say (and it is very clear when someone knows what they are saying is not nice,) putting a smiley at the end of it does not make it ok. You're still being not nice. I would agree that sometimes it is more necessary than not to say something that may not be all sunshine and kittens, but stand by that not nice thing you are saying, and back it up, instead of trying to cover it up and make it all fine and dandy. There is the tendency to repeat oneself on different pages to try to prove a point which others may disagree with or have ignored. (I'm doing it now, with this blog post.) If people are disagreeing with something, saying it multiple times will not make them suddenly agree, it only gives the appearance of someone with nothing real to say, but with the need to always be loved and bowed down to by all.
3. Opinions are a huge problem here. People do not express them in a respectful manner, and people do not respect other's opinions. I think it should not be necessary to say "in my opinon" every time an opinion should be expressed. However, a lot of tension could probably be avoided if it was made a bit more clear when an opinion is being stated as an opinion, and not as something to be taken as fact. I will frequently say "I think" or "to me it seems" or "I believe" or "it looks like to me", so that it is not taken as fact, but as an opinion. There are a lot of other ways to make it clear something is an opinion and not fact, but that works well for me personally. It is also important to respect other's opinions and realize that YOU CANNOT CORRECT SOMEONE ELSE'S OPINION. There is nothing WRONG with opinions, the only thing wrong with them is how people read and take them as incorrect fact. A specific example is when discussing voice types and the way voices sound to people. There seems to be a generally accepted description for how each voice sounds, and then there are those who think it sounds in a way which does not align with that description. That is okay. It probably doesn't sound the same to them as that description. This also does not make them wrong. If they are genuinely hearing it sound a different way, then they are correct, it sounds that way, to them. This is an opinion of theirs, a voice sounding a certain way to them. If they say a voice sounds more or less nasally or weak or natural or robotic, that is how it sounds to them, and they are correct. There is nothing to be corrected here, because they do not hear what the generally accepted description describes, they hear what their own human (or technologically aided) ears are hearing. It would be wrong to say that "X VOCALOID does not sound like that because in comparison they sound like this." That was a sloppily worded sentence, but a big problem with it is that it is worded as though it is fact, when it would really be the opinion of the speaker. Voice sounds are not the only topic which lead to problems with opinion expression and respect, obviously, but it is a very clear example which can be seen all over the wiki. Whether it has been made clear that it is an opinion or not, it needs to be respected. If it clearly does not align with known fact, then perhaps the kindest thing to do is take it as opinion instead of untruth. It is not always necessary to correct people, either. There are millions of misinformed people out there, it is not our jobs to educate all of them. If they want to know correct fact, they will seek it and learn it. It would be nice to be able to put a stop to the spread of incorrect information, but it is not our jobs to do so, and it is impossible to do so without means larger than the internet.
There is a lot more that I would like to say but have chosen to leave out because it gets off-topic in a ways, is inappropriate, or could be taken as an attack. I make a point of making sure whatever I write on here is written in such a way that I would feel comfortable having one of my college professors read it; while I do not think it is necessary for everyone to be writing in a formal and serious tone one hundred percent of the time, I find that for myself this style of writing ensures that I am being as clear as possible with what I am saying and leaves the least amount of space for anything to be misconstrued. There are other ways to make what is being written clear, without being formal, and I think that if everyone took the time to make sure that what they are writing is clear, respectful, non-aggressive, and kind, there would be a substantially smaller amount of tension and anger present on the wiki. Reading some of what people write to other people and in response to things I write makes me feel so frustrated sometimes, and even sometimes feels like a personal attack. It makes me feel like I can't belong here, which is ridiculous- why shouldn't I be allowed to belong here? It is a website which is open to anyone, and it is on the internet, not a reality clique. I am speaking here on behalf of myself and the many others who I am sure have felt the same way. I come here for fun, and to learn, which I think is what the wiki should be about, fun and learning about this wonderful and amazing technology YAMAHA and other companies have graced us with. I shouldn't have to feel like I need to step away from it for a while so that I can calm down and hope that when I return things have calmed down on here, too. A lot of other posters do that, announced and unannounced, and it makes me so sad that they feel like they have to do that. I firmly believe that with a little kindness, selflessness, and a lot more respect and clarity in writing, this could be a much happier and better functioning place, like it was in the time before I joined it. Before I joined, there was tension, too, yes, but there was also a long period of time where I would pop in once in a while to read about a certain VOCALOID or look at comments on something, and it was not ridiculous and aggressive.
I hope this reaches at least one other person, because I know that I am not the only person feeling frustrated, and I hope that those also feeling frustrated do not feel alone in that.