Thursday 5 May 2022

Thought Picnic: Take slight or plight

Without an enforceable right

I found myself thinking of the need to be aware of where you are and who brokers power in that setting. If you find yourself somewhere either at the behest of another or where the right of access is reserved as a matter of courtesy, in the most friendly of situations you will be welcome, but if things turn sour, you might find yourself unceremoniously ejected.

It reminds me of a social event I attended way back when I was in school, there was a series of Scrabble games that I played in competition until there was an underhand activity that I disputed. The situation became rancorous as I remonstrated, one of the organisers, instead of reviewing the situation objectively thought I was disruptive and politely asked that I leave.

I was enjoying the competition and could have won a prize, but the situation was totally out of my control and there was no recourse whether the decision was right or wrong to seek any redress. One friend opined that regardless of the circumstances, I had allowed the situation to deteriorate to the extent that I earned myself an exclusion from an open forum in which if I had allowed myself to be cool-tempered, I might have had a better night.

Beware of hidden might

I observed the use and/or abuse of power earlier where, in an open chatroom, one of the visitors might have taken umbrage at the activities of another member in the chatroom. There was no need for the situation to escalate and the use of language could have been moderated, I could have intervened, but I did not. The visitor, new to the chatroom was challenging someone who was also a chatroom administrator with the means to both remove and ban from the chatroom.

Much as I conferred that administrative right to the person, they have complete autonomy to act in the best interests of the chatroom, sometimes, that interest is conflated with self-interest and a power trip, but I need other members to help in administering the chatroom, which he does quite well most of the time.

That visitor eventually earned themselves an ejection from the chatroom probably unaware that he should have looked around a bit more to ensure whoever he was tussling with does not abuse their power. Some of us are probably more restrained, on balance, there was no need to call out anyone, the visitor was unnecessarily disruptive in the chatroom.

Take slight or plight

This is not to suggest that I am all for power tripping and the abuse of power, there are times it is simply best to extricate yourself from a situation before it escalates into an untenable situation. Probably, it is necessary to prevent a situation where you are politely asked to leave or you have to be bundled out unceremoniously, there is no accounting for the circumstances.

However, if you find that you like to be where you are and you are there with no particular rights apart from out of courtesy or tolerance, do not court notoriety and avoid avoidable altercations, because there is nowhere you can go to enforce a right or regaining access once you have been kicked out. Cool your temper, hold your tongue, maintain your dignity, or just leave without being noticed; it is not the end of the world.

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