A Message to the OTSparkler Post
(Originally posted on the 3.7 OT)
Listen, I need to talk about the lingering stench of catfish.
As much as I wish this could be like a detective show on TV where the evidence is collected, the suspect is charged and that's it, life isn't really like that. There is always an aftermath. It seems the aftermath of this incident is that some people are mistrustful and others are alienated.
A lot of people would say, "I knew this Sparkler wasn't for real. No one's life is really that bad." But the truth of the matter is that some people really do live lives that bad. I don't know exactly who they are, because even before the incident people have been reluctant to share something so personal on the OT. By continuing to insist that only a liar could really be the victim of so much misfortune, we are pushing away people who rely on the OT for emotional support through their own crises. We're sending the message that their issues are invalid and not worth our time.
If you happen to be one of these people, I'm sorry. Even though most of the catfish references now are jokes, they are incredibly insensitive and hopefully will cease immediately. I want you to know that if you ever need to vent but feel judged on the OT, my inbox is open. I'm praying for all of you.
This is the real issue with having found a catfish - while no one was personally involved to my knowledge, the resulting doubt sent shock waves through the OT, and now it seems as though all the skepticism has turned to those who may have identified with the catfish, even though no accusations are being thrown. This is not okay. Established Sparklers are feeling shut out and paranoid because of it.
And to clarify, the catfish was not found out because her story was too bad to be true, she was found out because she copied pictures off the internet and told inconsistent and unverifiable stories (and yes, I checked). Perhaps this began with intuition, but once there was enough suspicion we looked for solid proof. The Sparkitors were told about the pictures, the fact-checking, and the number of people who agreed with my suspicions. They weren't told that this person had to be faking her story because it was so unrealistic, because that isn't a case at all. Just because something is unrealistic or could be blown out of proportion doesn't mean it's an outright lie. I mean, the OT comprises so many people who don't fit in anywhere else; minorities elsewhere are majorities here. Why is it so hard to believe that people with undue amounts of difficulty because of family issues, medical conditions, or other circumstances out of their control would turn to the OT as well? Or was this even questioned before this incident?
Trust your intuition when it says something is wrong, but don't oversimplify the way it works to something like "if their life sounds too tragic, they must be faking it." Don't let paranoia control your mind, and be wary of mental overcompensation. Be skeptical, but not so much that you start seeing patterns in places there are none. And I realize that I'm guilty of having played scientist-and-lab-rat with this entire situation, and that was callous on my part despite the patterns it may have revealed. I was wrong for that.
As a community, we need to support each other rather than casting suspicion indiscriminately, and that means catfish comments and jokes, as well as further discussion of the subject on the OT, must cease. I hope this will restore the OT's open atmosphere and subdue the lingering paranoia.
If I appear a hypocrite through these words, I apologize. They were meant as much for myself as for anyone else.
If any newcomers are confused about what I speak of, PM me. I would like to keep further discussion private.
I hope this will be the final word on the matter.