I want to make something clear, before I even begin writing:
Nothing I am writing here is intended to target any person or people, nor is it going to be because of or 100% about a specific situation. I don't have a stake in any sort of disagreement either now or previously and therefore don't have an opinion on anything that may have happened with anyone, so please just take this at face value and don't try to find any hidden meaning because that's not what this is for.
My reason for writing this is a little strange, considering my past here and how out of nowhere it is. I don't find myself very involved in Ret matters these days, but I do sometimes check in and see what's happening. However, I will never turn down an opportunity to post a preach-y essay here.
Something I learned rather recently was how important communication was. Communication is a very broad subject and spans across all human relations, so to say "you need to be better at communicating" or "you suck at communicating" or "this needs better communication" can sometimes be very unhelpful and vague, especially if someone DOES need improvement. Communication, in my eyes, comes down to two things: speaking and listening. Speaking includes communicating how you feel - about a person, a subject, an idea, or more - in some way to the person it may affect. This can include addressing a long-term conflict directly with them or with a third party who can help, addressing a recent issue that bothers you, clearing up a miscommunication from either end, or just being honest about how you feel about a change or idea. These are all much easier said than done, especially when one party may fear negative backlash from another. Alternatively, if they are like me, they may avoid communicating in this way because they are really bad at taking criticism and can only interpret it as a personal attack even without wanting to. Regardless, there are ways to open avenues of this type of communication, and the benefits go both way. Person A may feel angry about something Person B is doing, and can clearly see what they are doing is wrong, but instead of saying anything or doing something to try to resolve this issue, they do the opposite of what they feel: reaffirming Person B's actions and letting them know they should continue, either directly or indirectly. This negatively affects everybody: Person A, because they will live with that cognitive dissonance (essentially, mental conflict that won't be resolved); Person B, because they now believe they're not doing anything wrong and shouldn't evaluate their actions; and in the sense of Retribution, the community suffers from Person B's actions.
It may be hard to be open about your opinions and how you feel, but it is important to overcome that hesitation and fear. I will take a moment to be specific about a situation involving me.
When I was in Retribution, I was a lot younger and had a lot of opinions about myself and about people that weren't always fair or correct. While I don't remember much of what happened that led up to my ban, I know I never admitted to being wrong. I also allowed myself to get into a hole of constant validation from people who did not have Retribution's best interests, or mine, at heart. It was a difficult time for everyone, and MANY people feared standing up to me because they knew they would be shot back at by people who aligned themselves with me. Instead, some people took to validating my actions by saying I have done a lot for Retribution and am a valued member of the community. While it's understandable why these things all transpired the way they did, and I won't sit here and blame others for not being able to put up with that mess (honestly probably would not have done much), it's important to understand that communication early on may have at least helped to deter this all from happening. What's done is done, but I hope that those who saw this all happen will know how to stop it if someone else, or even myself, start to pull that shit again.
The other type of communication is one that I would like to stress the importance of quite a bit, and that is listening. In tandem with speaking, it is almost more important to be able to hear that person trying to communicate with you. Person A may open up healthy, constructive communication with Person B and Person B will simply shut them out and not hear a word they say. This does not resolve anything for Person B or for their community, and may even result in an overall negative consequence when they are later attacked for their attempt (in an extreme case, of course). This, above all things, is the result that people fear when it comes to trying to communicate honestly with those they believe are acting poorly. There is very little Person A can do in this situation except hope that a higher up, in the case of Retribution, is able to resolve it for them. However, that is why I am posting this today.
When it comes to listening to someone who disagrees with you, or whom you disagree with, it's a lot easier to simply shut them down for reasons that seem very obvious to you. If you feel very strongly about an idea or change, and someone says "actually this kind of sucks", the first thing your brain might do is say "well that person isn't valid to say this, they're wrong and it's pretty clear so don't even bother hearing them out". Obviously, this is not the case with everybody, but speaking from experience, this does happen a bit more commonly than you'd think. It's pretty easy to just not realize that that is happening, and it's oftentimes not even done maliciously. All of that being said, I am brought to my main point for this post: it is important to listen to every side of a conversation occurring. There are times where something happens, either in Ret or in life, and you feel so strongly about this change being good and necessary that you will not entertain anyone who disagrees. Again, this is often not done maliciously, but solely because that's just how we operate as humans sometimes. Our conviction can be so strong that it overrides everything else, and that's okay. But when it comes to these things in a community, it is important to at least let the other side of an argument say what they think, because they, too, are a human with strong convictions about that same ordeal. Additionally, it's important to hear the other side so that you can know just how strong your arguments for an ordeal are. The best way to iron out all the details of your conviction and your belief in something is to hear someone who sees those holes in your argument already, or at least, may believe they do. Either you will find a way to strengthen your argument, or you will realize that the original idea may not be as necessary or good as you first thought. Overall, it is good to be in the habit of letting all people feel free to voice their opinions without backlash or ad hominems, otherwise another me might crop up and god knows nobody needs that.
While I know this will be interpreted as being directed at specific people or about a specific event (I will be honest, this was inspired by a specific event anyway), I do not mean it to be a "callout" by ANY means, and I will not tolerate people using this post to shit on others for anything. My purpose for this is to hopefully let people know that while they may not be intentionally doing these detrimental things, it's important to be able to catch yourself doing it and try to steer away from that behavior. I don't think anybody in the community is actively working against Retribution or working in their own self-interest, so again, I am not trying to attack ANYONE. I promise. I know there will be memes and that's fine, I just hope y'all read this and it resonates at least with someone.
Also if u disagree anywhere with my points pls quote and respond, because I had a hard time phrasing this properly and I'm sure there are points I'm incorrect about. Either way, opening a conversation is healthy and important
tldr be honest with how you feel, and listen to people when they disagree, even if they end up being wrong.