Facebook Community Groups
I’ve been conducting an unofficial little survey on my personal profile about Facebook Community Groups. Your local area noticeboard style group on Facebook- is it a civilised, helpful group to trade recommendations and discuss what’s on in your area or is it a cesspit of bigotry and never-ending arguments? There’s always a bunch of “regular” people in them, the kind that avoid conflict or serious discussion and just want to find out what time the fireworks start at the Christmas Carols. They probably make up the majority of these groups but you’d hardly know they’re there. They aren’t the ones making all the noise!
The Local Bigots
Some probably think they’re pretty subtle. Things like “Anyone know a good dentist that isn’t Indian? I’m not racist, I just can’t understand the accent LOL!” or “Looking for a nail place where they all speak good English!”
We all know what you’re getting at, Karen.
Others are far more comfortable in their bigot-pants. They hate (insert minority group) and will take every opportunity to mention it. Doesn’t matter if the group has members from said group. Gotta let them know, in no uncertain terms, that they aren’t welcome. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are often optional in such rants. They’ll also take any opportunity to let them know that everyone feels this way. Don’t want them speaking on your behalf? Want to call them on their shitty opinion? Yep, me too. And once in a blue moon, I do. So, consider yourself warned: You might inadvertently trigger…
The Anti-PC Police
Don’t call out anyone using sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic language or the alarm at the Anti-PC station will go off. The troops will rally in short order and every one of them will tell you about how the world is too soft, it’s just a word, no offense was even intended, my Aboriginal mate says it’s fine and just harden up, buttercup! There’s a prevailing belief, in my experience, that talking about social issues in a community group is an outrageous proposition. I’m surprised at how many groups survived the same-sex marriage debate, to be honest. To many of the people lurking in community Facebook groups, political correctness (that thing where you try not to be a dick to other people) is ruining the world.
The Vague & Dire Warnings Person
We’ve all seen this one, surely. They’ve used a local service, like a pest control company or gardening service. They just wanna warn you guys that they did a terrible job. Or they went to a certain hairdresser who RUINED their foils and BURNED their scalp! Just letting you guys know to be CAREFUL! But they won’t name and shame! OMG! They’re not out to ruin anyone’s livelihood here! Which begs the question; why post about it in the first place?
The Neighbourhood Crime Watch
“Police helicopter over the oval, anyone know whats going on?”
“Saw 4 cop cars going up the main road with sirens on, anyone know whats happening?”
Panic ensues and theories get wilder and wilder. Proverbial hands are wrung and pearls are clutched. Someone always knows someone who’s a police officer and they are treated as an authority until someone finds a breaking news article. Then lament-mode kicks in.
“What is happening to our good suburb??” Or no one ever finds out and they keep guessing until someone innocently shares a Go Fund Me link, and out comes…
The Go Fund Me Squad
A local family faces hardship or someone has passed away. Some helpful soul starts a campaign to help them through this terrible time and the doubters pour in.
“Do they know you’re collecting on their behalf? Who authorised this?”
“Do you even know them?”
“I know them- my cousin lives next door to their aunty and she said she didn’t know anything about this so I am calling SCAM!!”
Things continue in this vein util a sufficiently connected person puts a stop to the madness by advising all is legit. 5 people donate $5 each because they feel bad about doubting the original poster. The rest move on to the next post and pretend it never happened.
The Rogue Sob Story
Someone posts asking for help. A terrible thing has happened and they need furniture, appliances, clothes, shoes, food, accommodation, a dog and a blanket handmade by your Nan. Or something. The kindhearted community offers a bunch of stuff. Sometimes, an eagle-eyed member will realise that this person asked the same thing in another community group two weeks ago. What’s the go? A scam! Because people suck. Sigh.
All groups have them. The boss of the group who sets the rules and starts out as a dedicated moderator. Unless the membership swells to beyond control. Then they’ll recruit a team. Hats off to them, it’s an unpaid position and a lot of work, after all. Some take it very seriously, shutting down conversations that get too heated and carefully monitoring for any mention of banned topics. Some are bonafide members of the Anti-PC Police, though, so those conversations (and I use the term loosely) are allowed to run riot. Almost all will announce themselves as ADMIN at some point, generally to angrily refer the rule-breaker to the pinned post or to identify themselves before swinging the ban-hammer around.
What happens when people get banned?
This is where it gets kinda funny. Banned members band together and form their own splinter group. ImagineTown Community Group 2.0, ImagineTown UNFILTERED or ImagineTown NO RULES! Thinking of my little, informal survey, these groups tend to fall into option 2- cesspit of bigotry. And they grow, the same characters emerge and the cycle repeats. Aren’t The Humans of Facebook Community Groups grand?