[To MissyA in resonse to her 'rant page' at the front of the fansite] I have to say, I don't really agree with your attitude towards the forums at the moment.
As you had probably guessed would happen, a couple of people have PM'd me about your rant page on the fansite. [by Mata]
I'm glad to hear it. At least the rant was read. [by MissyA]
This I think is the crux of what Iím about to say; you are not approaching the people on this forum with the belief that they can do anything more than just make silly posts. Your rant page is based on the belief that they are not capable of approaching any subject with intelligence.
One of the founding concepts of matazone.co.uk, before it ever became a site for animations, was that given the chance people will surprise you with what they are capable of understanding.
It's taken me a long time to get to this view. When I was in my teenage years I had trouble at times believing that there was hope for anyone since the whole world appeared to revolve around constantly replicating acts of stupidity. In the end I decided that I could either react in two ways, I could accept the idea that these people would never lift themselves out of the trough or I could give people something that they had never been given in their lives before, something that might give them the chance to prove themselves to be capable of breaking the cycles of self-defeating life that the majority of the population gets into. I decided to give out unequivocal respect to the possibility that every person I could meet or interact with would have something interesting to say.
I found out that given the opportunity most people do indeed have something of interest. Sure, a lot of the time it is the same thing that you have heard before, people with 'hard life' stories, but the more that I gave people the chance to talk the more I found that it didn't matter what had happened so much the fact that everyone has their own issues that are just as important to them as to anyone else.
You can take three examples, one of a person who is being beaten by their parents, another who is bullied at school another who feels incredibly lonely. All are nasty but most people will agree that being beaten by your parents is the worst because when you have fear at home it feels like there is no way to escape for the rest of your life (again, it is worth respecting this belief, even though it is not true. If all you do is contradict the person then you will never gain any further understanding of their situation). You could say that the person who feels lonely is having an easy ride and why don't they get a life...
Each of these people have their own difficulties that they face and are equally important. Their struggle for understanding in the world is just as hard to each of them as if they were to have their problems swapped.
So how does this have anything to do with the website and the forums? I believe that no matter the person they do have something inside them they want to talk about, but it is only when they are given the chance and respect to speak about these things that it will be said.
These forums are about assuming that no-one who comes here is stupid, worth less than anyone else or has nothing to say. When you come into the belief that any of these things are true then you are really missing out on the point of 'Matazone'.
When I made the webart sections it was in the belief that people, if they wanted to, should be able to find something deeper than '10 reasons a beer is better than a woman/man' on the web. When I make my animations it is with a belief that the people watching have the capability to engage with humour that has levels that are psychological and plot based rather than 'haha the kitten has been decapitated' (as seen in Happy Tree Friends) and so when I started these forums it was still with the belief that given a chance people would choose subjects that matter to them in a way they normally wouldn't in other forums on the web. I think that the issues forums do prove that this works.
Of course, not everyone wants to be serious all the time, I know I don't and I'd hate to think that everyone on here thinks that they have to be too.
You can turn your head from what's happened here if you want, because at the end of the day, it's YOUR forum, but don't expect me to quietly watch this place drown itself in stupidity. [by MissyA]
If you approach people with the idea that they are stupid they will act stupid. People tend to do what is expected of them and given an easy option they will take it (which is actually a rather smart approach to life that is bred into humanity). As soon as you start saying that they are stupid, people will prove you right. Give them the chance to live up to something more and that is a challenge that some will rise to. Some won't, but that is their loss and I will give them the chance to try again because that is what respect is about. If you damn them before they even begin then you have missed the point of Matazone.co.uk entirely.
You're right though, this is my site and I say what goes here. I want you to bear in mind what I have said and try and show this respect for people. If you do want to give this a try then here's a few ideas:
For a start, I'm going to post some of this PM on the daily life forum and I would appreciate it if you would join in with the discussion there. I think that there are some points being discussed here that I would like to be out in the open.
If a person does just post something like 'haha that was funny' don't get mad, just ask that person what they think about the subject of the joke, or just steer the thread back with an on-topic post, even if your own post starts 'haha that was funny, but it makes me think about...' that's good too. There's a lot of care to be taken in posting well. To show that you have enjoyed someone else's post is a great thing to do, but our role is to show that it's even better to do this and add something more to the topic. Which leads me to...
Lead by example. Don't slam people because they're not up to standards you've set in your head, it may be that these people are currently afraid of talking openly about things that matter to them, or it may be that they just are happy at the moment and don't have anything serious they want to say. It's okay to be happy! A lot of culture tells us all, and especially teenaged people (ie. a lot of the people on these forums) that if you don't have a personal trauma going on then you're obviously not thinking about life hard enough. That's rubbish, I think very hard about many issues but I would say that I am generally a happy person. Sometimes things annoy me, if I decide to post about them on the board then I hope that I do it in a way that other people can relate to.
I can delete a stupid post, but there's nothing that I can say or do to stop someone from posting it again. [from MissyA]
Then don't delete it, no-one learns anything from that. Don't just put 'EDIT' over something that breaks the rules or remove it all together. People will only wonder what was deleted. Instead put in
[come on, mind your language please - Mata]
[I've removed this line because I wasn't happy with the implications of the poster's attitude towards women. I think that the poster was attempting to say that he feels the progression of feminism has invalidated men's ideas of their own identity, just using rather bad phrasing. Please be more careful next time - Mata]
Explain yourself. Rather than making mods a distant force that comes down from on high and destroys all that it sees as unworthy, make mods people who demonstrate that it is possible to say things without offending people and in doing so you will show that communication is about clearly expressing yourself in honest and open terms, not argumentative language. As I said before, lead by example.
I'll let you know a bit of history here. This site isnít called Matazone as a way of saying Ďthis is the zone of Mataí but it is called that because that is the full version of Mata. About nine or ten yeas ago, I read an Italian play with a character called Matazone in it. It was set at the time of the crucifixion and he was a professional fool. His name is derived from the Latin for fool, but he shows that he is much more than that. In the play he likes Christ and meets Death on her way to see Christ at the last supper. Because he knows what will happen if Death gets there, Matazone entertains plays with her, and in doing so saves the person he likes.
Socarates once said 'The only good is knowledge, the only evil is wisdom', and I think it was also Socrates who also said 'The more that I know, the more I know that I know nothing.' I like both of these phrases a lot and I am fond of putting the latter into my own terms; 'the only true knowledge comes from knowing that you are a fool.'
Originally I took on Matazone as a stage name for circus performance and then I used it on the net. The more I used it the more I realised that it is me. It is a true name that reflects not just a token by which people can identify me but something of my own nature.
In knowing that we can only ever understand a fraction of the reality around us (including the people that we meet and communicate with) we accept that we are fools, but equally we understand that there is so much in the world that is incredible and that every moment is an opportunity to learn or experience something that we will never have again. By saying that something is stupid we do not only do harm to it, we also harm ourselves because we are shutting out the chance that we could learn from that person.
To be a fool is to respect all around you equally, it is to know that none of us, no matter what we may believe, really knows any more truth than anyone else so we have to learn from each other if we are to gain any understanding of the world. The more of the world we begin to understand, the more we see that there is to learn.
As an aside, I learnt something else after I had taken on the name Matazone. The tarot pack has many pictures and all have numbers to indicate where they are in the sequence, except for one. The card of The Fool has no number because it can go at the beginning or the end of the sequence, if it is at the beginning it represents innocence and naivety but at the end it becomes something more... It becomes the wisdom that is opening oneself to the world and judging it on its own merits. By taking things to be what they say they are (the lack of questioning which may appear to be foolish) you can also gain great understanding. If a person says 'this is the most important thing in my life' you can either say 'no it isn't' or you can accept that for that person it is the truth.
So that's the nature of Matazone. That's what I want this place to be, and if it isn't like that then I will still be here, trying to lead by example and keeping an open mind to those who wish to say something, anything. The role of a mod is to take this respect for people and encourage others to pursue it. This approach I believe is what makes this forum different from others and the mod-team is here not only to keep the peace but to encourage open communication, understanding and respect.