Sunday, April 21, 2019

The avalanche

It's been a mere two weeks since a single tweet went out from 221B Con.

A single tweet. A single unhappy tweet.

And, two weeks later,  four hundred and fifty people join a new social media group in a single day. A deluge of happy welcome messages accompany that, turning an otherwise joyous holiday into, well, and even more joyous holiday for a lot of Sherlockians.

How did we get here? How does on tweet cause an avalanche like that?

Well, I'm not going to drag us through the detailed muck after such a pleasant Sherlockian day, but there were definitely layers to the avalanche coming down. First came the insulting tweet, which led to discussions of behaviors beyond the tweet, which led to discussions of how to corral said behaviors, which let to attempts to corral those discussions, which led to . . . .

I don't think we quite reached the point where the words "Sherlockian Civil War" applied, but there were moments when one started to see the potential for one to come. A lot of long-held dissatisfaction with a lot of Sherlockian people, places, and things out there that started rising to the surface. People had things to say, about a whole lot of things.

There was a particular discussion I got into at 221B Con, one morning before all of this went down,  about how a lot of folks were afraid to speak openly about some Sherlockian things due to a certain longstanding gatekeeper system in our hobby. Afraid to speak openly -- that's not a phrase one ever sees in a happy context. A calm, rational conversation about a topic should not be something one is afraid to get blacklisted for. And if one can't have a calm, rational conversation, then what finally comes out might be neither, which isn't good for anyone.

People need to be heard. Maybe not troll-people, who are just in it for the reactions, but those with actual stories, and actual concerns, need to be heard. And hopefully, they're getting a better shot at that as things move along like they did today.

The avalanche has come down, and we now have a pretty, white bed of fresh snow to make tracks on, in a brand new social media group "221 Be Here."  The snow is still falling, though, and future avalanches may be coming. There are still a lot of conversations to be had, and issues that will have to be dealt with, one way or another.

But today, we got to see a positive thing come out of a negative beginning, and if that's not something to celebrate on a holiday weekend, I don't know what is.

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