Thursday, January 5, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany's

One of the great joys of the net, and Fet in particular, is the endless source of entertainment it provides when one small slave is sick and in pain. It is like having access to an unrelenting supply of movies... and one does so love old movies. Often the entertainment is not intentional, but the end result is the same. Now it should be pointed out that entertainment doesn't necessarily need to be the laughter kind. It can be the more serious, what is this bug under the microscope kind.

See group dynamics are fascinating... and so are social experiments. And Fet has an abundance of both. This is in part because of the way it is set up... it is like a boulevard of jewelry stores and you can freely gaze in the window without having to go in. And just as anyone is free to browse they are free to start a group and it can be pretty much of their own design. You don't have to jump through any hoops other than clicking a few buttons. This may account for some of the more bizarre groups that form, but that is a story for another time...

This is about a particularly interesting social experiment and how people are responding to it. One of the newest contenders to the Fet line up is a group that one finds... disturbing. And it takes a lot to disturb one small slave.  You can feel the fun starting already can't you J

Now over the years people have likened our group to a clique... and one would be the first to say yes we are. We have evolved over time... way too long a period of it in one or two cases... and we do like to tuck the odd person under our wings as we travel along. We hang out online because great distances separate us and it is the only way we can stay in touch... and we kinda like each other, which is why we are still together after all these years. The downside is we are so cliquey that we often repel people... we make them feel not "one of us" at all... in fact we make them feel like the alley cat in the movie. It often causes problems for both our members and those that want to join alike... but this isn't about that.

This is about what happens when you go the other way. When you go out of your way to make people feel like "one of us". What happens when you embrace the lost, the lonely, the dispossessed and the disenfranchised, rather like Holly Go Lightly scooping up that cat, and give them shelter? Well one suspects that you have either started a church or are on the way to forming a cult.

The definitions of a cult are many and varied, but generally a cult follows certain paths. They usually have certain key features too...
  • A charismatic leader that has been on the outside because of their beliefs
  • Active recruiting
  • Exclusivism 
  • Love bombing
  • Fear and intimidation
  • A reporting structure
  • Information control
  • Time control

So let's look at the processes of this new group shall we...

A person wandered the halls of Fet for some time. By all accounts this person was quite charming and yet they couldn't find their niche. They were too high protocol for most groups, didn't actually own anyone because by their own admission no one had ever come up to their exacting standards, and well frankly... they disturbed a lot of people with their rather extreme beliefs and apparent need to be worshiped.

Finally, after a failed coup in another group, they started a group for friends and set certain stipulations... everyone had to be friends and they had to be willing to contribute by joining in and starting threads. Then they encouraged them to make a lot of noise, which showed up on peoples' feeds, so that their friends would join the group. Next they added a reward system for good members by making them mods. Later on they contemplated incentives for those who manage to start threads that go past the 100 mark... no small feat in a tiny group.

They made the group exclusive... not by invite which would be sensible, but by making members prove their worth. To stay in the group they have to be an active member who follows all the rules. That is when they added some rather vague and contradictory rules... and ignored any pleas for clarity. Next they took advantage of this opportunity to add to the feelings of being part of the group by heaping praise on those special enough to get it... however vague and contradictory it might be. And then they kept tightening the friendship requirements... not just friends of friends, but friends of the mods, and then two of them, and then from before joining the group...

Then they encouraged participation by allowing people to bring in beefs and topics from other places under the guise of discussion, so long as their take was exclusively for the group... to not allow others a chance to enjoy it without being a group member. It helps with the bonding process to find commonality... even if it is a simple as oh yes saw that too. It is particularly successful if you insist people support each other. Telling people how special they are by memo and in threads helps this along... as does praising those who are doing well lavishly and holding them up for others to see. It makes the chosen people feel like they belong and are special, while making others feel like they want to be them.
Oh and of course they took time to castigate those who weren't doing it right as well J

The next thing they did was set up is a place for public executions and then conducted counselling sessions in private by memo. This is when the leader uses personal and private information that has been gleaned from previous correspondence with the people in question, to help show them the error of their ways.  And they didn't miss any opportunity to change the rules on a regular basis to suit their design, and keep people guessing and a little uncomfortable.

Next they encouraged those who felt abused to come forward and report their abuser. It is important that you are seen to be dealing with those more aggressive members. And they dealt with them publicly so justice could be seen being done. Of course next they practised a little revisionist history by removing any trace of it... you don't want such nastiness in public... it's not seemly. Besides all you need is the memory of it...

After that they removed the public executions and tried to find a way of doing it privately. The small quiver of protest over this led them to start doing it quietly. People just log on to find X has left the group. The leader of the group also went noticeably quiet when people started to question that process and of course the worst offenders just disappeared. Sometime silence is not only golden, but a very effective control technique. The one thing you can't have is people questioning your authority... even if there are mods, they are but an instrument of your will... not as a protection for the members as claimed.

Oddly enough for many the time control aspect takes care of its self. In the effort to make the grade there is little time for other things and very little time to actually consider what is going on. Discussions may lack depth, but they are generated so fast that no one has time to notice. And the pumping pace extols people to try harder and think less.

Now all of this is going on and what are the members doing... oh sucking up in a way that is quite disturbing. Even those who are feeling in their heart of hearts that things are not quite right are doing nothing more than withdrawing into themselves, as they contemplate what is going wrong.
And those that are dissenting? Oh they are disappearing in the night...

So why is one small slave spending time on this bit of drama you may be wondering... apart from pain making her spectacularly grumpy? Well there are some questions that one can't figure out the answer to...
Is all this similarity to that list an accident or is it instinctive the way it seems to be with someone who goes on to batter their partner? Or worse is this a deliberate, calculated act on their part?
Why does no one in that group seem to be aware of that happy creepy vibe that is starting to emanate from it?
Why aren't the aware ones listening to that voice inside of them... 'cos we all know that while that thing is like a small, yappy dog... it has a nasty habit of being right.
Why does the need to belong so often seem to triumph over the need to ask some smart questions... like how long before I disappear?

You see questions without answers make that little dog inside of one small slave start to whimper and howl... far easier to let it out L

6 comments:

The Velveteen Hoodrat said...

Dingdingding.

Folks, we have a winner.

kaya said...

I wish you'd post these on your fet account too. If nothing else, it might spark a thought in the bran dead.

I cannot comprehend the worshipping the unworthy. I don't get it. Either I'm missing something or they're hypnotized.

Master's piece said...

He said no :(

kaya said...

Well he just would. Hmmph!

Vixen B-Ab said...

Which is yet another reason I stay out of that crap lolol

Owl said...

I'm glad I saw this. I've been keeping out of the blogosphere for a while (and mostly the fet-osphere as well) and I have really mixed feelings about the group. I liked it a lot when it first started, even though I thought the name was silly and implied a sense of elitism, if you will, that I don't like. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with elitism in general, but there's something about the name and the cap at 100 that kind of turned me off. I'd have no problem with starting a group called "Pipkin and Other Elite Bitches," but there's something about this group implying you're one of the "chosen ones" that rubs me the wrong way.

But I'm still a member, with very mixed feelings. I'm there because I find a lot of the discussion topics interesting and I like most of the people in that group. But when the drama came, I started getting uncomfortable. I've just decided not to comment on any of that shit and just type out responses to topics I like. Somehow I've been able to avoid getting involved in the drama. If any sort of ultimatum were thrown my way, though, I'd be out. Honestly, I'm shocked I'm still a mod, because I have never come to the defense of the group when it's been criticized. I even agree with most of the criticism.

To be honest, I kind of feel guilty for being a member, because I actually dislike being part of something that's become kind of... childish and psychotic? but I like the discussions...