For the most part, the pagans that I've met have all been kind, decent people. But every once and a while, you meet a jerk.
Take the following conversation that I had on CovenSpace.
I posted a simple enough thread in the Indiana forum looking for pagans close by:
Merry meet! I'm new to Covenspace, and was wondering who was in the Richmond / Wayne County area. I'm a solitary, eclectic witch (male), but I wouldn't mind celebrating Sabbats with an open circle. Knowing a few witchy friends to have coffee with would also be nice. I've never been in a coven, so I admit I have few bad habits that I picked up on my own that I can't quite shake, hehe. (i.e. I say "sam-hane" instead of "sow-in")
I hope you all have a Blessed Samhain!
Unbeknownst to me, the picture I uploaded for my profile there, the same one that I use here, was displayed at full resolution in their forums. It was an honest mistake.
But the response from (name removed) three days later (who is from Kansas, not Indiana), on Samhain none the less, was rather rude.
Honestly the picture size is a bit annoying is there a way you can show everyone some respect and shriking it down?
At the time, I didn't even know there was a problem. Thinking someone locally had replied, I visited the site from my phone. After reading it, I was a bit put off. "How wude!" Jar Jar would say.
So, I sat down and crafted an appropriate response.
Honestly replying offtopic to someone else's thread is a bit annoying is there a way you can show some respect and keeping such comments in private?
A simple "hello" to start a conversation also sounds far less rude if a "merry meet" is too much typing for you, especially when trolling forums that are three states away from you. The image is auto shrunk on every other site I am on and on my profile here. Seeing as I set up my profile and posted from my BlackBerry where the text is huge and the pictures are tiny there was no way for me to know this was the one and only forum that didn't shrink images down, which is pretty standard nowadays.
Maybe you should ask the admin to set the CSS file to auto set forum images to a set image size rather than playing image police in the future... but try to speak a bit more kind when you ask them.
Honestly, is simple courtesy dead?
Of course, in some religions, the religion itself is judged by people. Hurt feelings can cause one to even question their theology. That was certainly the case for me in Christianity.
But in Paganism, there is the benefit in being a Solitary Wiccan. If another Wiccan or Pagan offends me, it certainly doesn't affect my theology. The chances that their theology even closely resembles mine is even a slim chance.
Paganism still has a public face, and I think most Pagans are courteous people and non-Pagans will think about Pagans by how they act.
It is political survival rather than moral necessity as it is in other religions. If Wiccans went around knocking door to door, acting rude, and screaming outside of abortion clinics and gay pride parades that they were going to hell, I don't believe the public would dismiss us as easily as they dismiss the radical Christians whom they've come to tolerate.
And while there is no moral reason to be either kind or rude, there is certainly some decency to it. It doesn't take an act of the karma or the Threefold Rule to know that acting like a jerk will return to you, and not just three times. Often, being a jerk will return to you both immediately and consistently and much more strongly than any magickal backfire.
UPDATE: He would just simply not drop the subject, nor would he take it private. I had changed my picture to a much smaller icon before my first reply, but rather than refresh the page to see if it was updated, he just continued to complain.
Rather than greet local people in my area filled with such rambling on, and because I have better things to do than try to explain to this person how they are just compounding the rudeness by filling up the area thread (which only hurts me, not him), I just deleted the thread.