Blog Post

28
Pseudolonewolf
4 years ago

Numbers

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Personal
I'm sorry, this is more of the same, but it's also something that I want to write because even if you're not interested in getting involved in all the emotional drama or anything, it might at least give you an idea of what it's like to be in the position of a developer or someone with a tiny bit of internet 'fame' or something.

I got an email from someone called 'Ross Brunton' (who I assume is a Fig Hunter or ex-Fig Hunter, though I don't know who). This is its entire content:

Quote:
You have, and are currently, hurting a lot of people. Do you realise this, I wonder?


Firstly, I don't see what this is meant to achieve other than hurting me. It certainly doesn't provide detail that I could use to change what I'm doing or anything. Perhaps then it's merely some sadistic troll, sniggering as he strikes at my nerves.

However, I do think that a lot of people probably do feel this way? That I am unfairly hurting people and such. I've tried already to explain this in great depth many times, but I want to approach it from a different angle this time. I want to talk about numbers.

How many people do you have in your life? How many demand your attention? Ask you questions? Have emotional needs that only you can fulfil? Do you know them all personally? Did you invite them into your life, or end up with a mutual bond through shared interests or ideas? Are you friends? Colleagues? Acquaintances?

How many people talk to you without being any of those things? People who know you, at least somewhat, but who you don't know at all? How many people ask you for things, despite the fact that you've never made contact with them or explicitly invited them into your life? How many messages do you receive from strangers each day?

This site has over 3500 members at the moment, but in its previous incarnation, the number of accounts just slightly exceeded 10,000. If we assume that as many as 75% of those accounts are spam, trolls, duplicates, inactive, or whatever else, that still leaves about 2500 people. If only 10% of those actually actively post or send me messages, that's 250 people... which I think is far too low a number based on my experiences, but let's use that.

That means that 250 people, who I've never met, have come into my 'home' and essentially made demands of me. These demands vary a lot, from a simple 'hello' (wanting one in return), to 'let's be friends' (even though I know nothing about them), to 'teach me all your skills', to criticism about my life or ideas, or any number of other things. These people came to me because I'd made games that they liked. Through those games, they knew me slightly, and had a reason to want to know me further. I, however, knew nothing about them and had no particular reason to find them interesting. That sounds cold, I know, but it's true; if StarWarsFan2325 were to visit George Lucas, it's not exactly going to be a relationship based on two-way interest, at least not from the start. Mr Lucas has already impressed this stranger indirectly, and the stranger must make efforts to impress him... But he deals with so many Star Wars fans (presumably) that it must be hard for any single one to shine, if any do at all. Maybe they've all blurred into one for him. Maybe he's sick of Star Wars fans. Is this hurtful to them? Probably, but what's the alternative? Being best buddies with them all? Staying smiling, even though a significant chunk of them only want to tell him how much episodes 1, 2 and 3 'sucked'?

I'm hardly at that level of fame, of course, but it seems that when you release a creative work into the world and people like it, people do develop this sort of relationship with you through it, which they are then excited to continue with you directly. But how many friends do you have? How many do you think that you could ever have? People who you talk to directly and enjoy talking to, I mean. If 200 people approached you wanting to be friends, would you accept them all? How would you have the time? How would you pick and choose? Would it be fair to accept one but to shun another? Would you feel bad about hurting people through rejection? How would you feel if many of the people who approached you were mean and critical? Would your optimism and excitement ever wane?

There's a concept called ∞ Dunbar's Number ∞, which says that our minds can only handle about 150 or so relationships with other humans before it simply can't handle anymore. Even that 250 I came up with earlier - which I feel is much lower than the real number of people who've approached me - exceeds that by quite a bit.

When Fig Hunter was new and the number of members was relatively small, I was really active in the community, and I was praised for this by many people. Most developers were distant figures, they said, while I took the time to talk to my fans. I posted in forum threads all the time, and carefully read every single post that anyone wrote, often replying. I felt that since they'd taken the time to approach me, and genuinely had interest in me, then it would be rude and wrong to do otherwise. I mean, I'd been the quiet, backgroundy sort in school, known by few and admired by less, and now I was 'popular', in some sense of the word, as a result of my creative achievements. It felt nice, and I felt good about mingling and answering questions and generally being 'social' with these people, which wasn't easy in general because there were a lot of them and I am an introvert.

It's only through the years that my attitude gradually and slowly changed. The critical people who'd shoot me down, who I mentioned in the last post, are the main reason, but there are others too, like losing my girlfriend and living with life-ruining social anxiety for many years without any real life relationships with people to keep me grounded and happy and sane. I came to find certain attitudes I saw in my community hurtful, after being struck by them many times, and I tried to explain how I felt and to implement systems that might do away with these kinds of attitudes. I know now that it doesn't work like that - that people will be who they are and there's no controlling that, and that some critical, argumentative sort won't stop being that way simply because his posts can be rated down or because he's told that his attitude isn't appreciated - but I was still learning how to cope with running a large community back then, and I had to learn through the process of trial and error. I certainly wasn't a socially skilled person, so I made many mistakes.

Eventually, dealing with these hundreds of complete strangers injecting themselves into my life - with new ones coming along all the time - who felt I owed them even though I didn't know them, got too much to bear, and, especially considering I'd just lost the one person I truly loved, I shut down and ran away. I doubt I need to repeat the stuff I've said about that many times before.

The whole point I want to make clear here though is that it pains me if I hurt people, BUT the only reason I do 'hurt' people is because I myself have absorbed so much pain and malice over the years that I literally cannot cope anymore. Too many people approach me, and I barely have the energy to deal with one. People come to me with emotional needs, loads and loads of them, each begging for a piece of me (in a sense), and I've already been torn to shreds so I just don't have anything that I can offer. They come wanting meat, and feel offended when all they find is a skeleton. Or something like that.

I vent indirectly, speaking about my feelings of the community as a whole, in order to explain why I can't possibly give everyone what they want. Each post like this is another attempt to basically say "I don't want to hurt you, but nor do I have the energy to embrace you, I'm sorry, I just can't" or "please stop hurting me"... But then there are those who speak as if I go around personally spitting in poor innocent people's faces for absolutely no reason, sadistically hurting them for a laugh or to assert my superiority or whatever. I can only wonder whether these kinds of people are projecting; imagining the kinds of things they might do, or the reasons they might have for behaving in a certain way.

The only people I speak of with real venom are the ones who've made this place literally hell for me, and if I hurt them, then that's too bad, because I never wanted them here in the first place and all they've given me in return for what I've given them (my games, this site) is pain and misery. They have no right to complain about being 'hurt'. They brought their pain upon themselves.

I'm bracing myself for the snarky sorts who'll take this chance to tell me I brought my own pain upon myself, but the fact that there always are people like that is what has made this place so difficult over the years.

Do you know anyone in person who you really can't stand? Who rubs you the wrong way? Who you wish you could be away from? CAN you be away from that person, whenever you please? How would you feel if that person followed you around to your house, with a dozen identical buddies, and rooted around in your underwear drawer, hacked into your computer, and pissed on your bed? How would you feel if this kept happening, over and over and over again, with nowhere to run because they just followed you there? When would you stop smiling?

Maybe that's an exaggeration, but I'm just trying to make a point. I'm one man - and not a good one - and I'm approached by crowds of strangers with emotional needs that I literally don't have the energy to fulfil. I would like people to remember that if I can't give them my time, or I can't give them a smile and a hug, it's not because I personally have anything against them, but because I most likely know nothing about them and they're just one in a long line of other strangers demanding the same thing. It often seems that people don't think about the numbers like this, and see my relationship with them as one-to-one, or like a guy they might meet in person, when that isn't the case at all.

Anyway, sorry about continuing all this ~drama~ and everything, but hopefully there are those out there who at least find this an interesting way to see what it's like to be a content producer who's achieved a smidgen of admiration from people all over the world. I know I'd find posts like this interesting, anyway!
34 Comments

on 17 Roots

34 Comments

SunChilde
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I haven't posted anything in a while.

And while I realize that, as you've mentioned previously (I still read most of the main posts on the website even if I don't comment), the good comments get severely outweighed by negative ones (not in volume, but in emotional impact), I think it's still nice to get some positive ones!

I've been through the toxic situation you are discussing, but in the physical world (thus: fewer people). The group of trolls walking around your house yelling at you and pissing on your stuff? Had that in my actual home for quite a few months. This is not to 'one up' anyone, quite different experiences realistically, but rather to empathize.

I'm also a 26 year old male who has been very socially isolated for points of my life, though not nearly as consistently, and also had to deal with fairly large populations making demands on me. So hopefully at least some of the attempted empathy at least comes from something resembling fair contrast.

Anyway, realistically I just would like to say that quite often we have to find a way to come personally to terms with the people who are being malevolent (yes, malevolent) in our lives. From what I've seen these people tend to not view themselves as malevolent, but as a force of righteousness. It sounds like yours are of this group. And I am sincerely sorry you have to deal with this type of person, it is incredibly difficult, incredibly draining, and incredibly taxing on any reserves you have.

Unsolicited advice is rarely appreciated, so I'll try not to leave any. But I will leave my best wishes for dealing with the situation. Good luck Pseudo, may the force be with you, may the æther compel you ever onwards towards happiness.
Dr D
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Dr D 20 Canada SanguineMelancholic ENTJ 388 71C
I feel like some may only read the first few lines of what you say then skip the explaining and detailed facts. and they often retort in a similar style to what they're willing to read, in short sentences, while not providing any details to explain themselves. I'd suggest ignoring them, I see you as a very sensible person.
spopo
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It almost sounded like you were talking directly to me :S

I too, have messaged you. My reasons were a bit less selfish though.

I was watching you getting torn apart, and figured you needed ears to talk to and heal your wounds, it seemed like the least I could do.

I don't usually approach people unless I feel they *need* me (Not that I'm that important or anything...)

Though yes, it was a long shot to expect it to work, and I was prepared for that, I was not "expecting" a reply.

But if it made you feel you needed to reply and induced guilt, then I guess I did cause more harm than good. My apologies.
BuddyBlueBomber
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A few years back I'd like to say I was one of those people that had messaged you, hoping for some kind of personal interaction. When I didn't get a reply I was upset at both you and myself. Later I had forgotten about it, but I hadn't thought about the obvious, that you are approached by so many people in a similar way so often.

I guess I just wanted to apologize for contributing the problem and remind you that you've been doing good all these years. Best of luck with your personal affairs.
LSCohen
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LSCohen 24 Israel MelancholicSanguine ISFJ 291 210C
I don't want to be rude. but just to let you know. Ross Brunton is actually SavageWolf. It's just for a quick detailing.

As for the demanding. I am not the type of demanding. I am more of asking. and I kinda agree with Doom, do what you think is right for you! I really love the site and I can't exactly find another place to be in... if you'll shut the site. atleast let us stay in. I do realise the pain you're suffering and and the constant demanding.
. . . Uff... I feel useless... I want to help. but I cant.
timtoborne
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timtoborne 19 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ENTP 512 186C
i figured it was, as I feel as though I remember Savage having Ross Brunton up on is profile... But I feel as though I am one of the ones who don't demand much, if at all from Pseudo. I mostly only attempt to make him feel a bit better, and perhaps some marketing advice here and there... although I'm sure some of you may disagree with that if you've had previous encounters with me ;)
LSCohen
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LSCohen 24 Israel MelancholicSanguine ISFJ 291 210C
I am pretty much the same as yours. I don't demand nor criticise. I tend to REQUEST rather than take it blatantly.

as for marketing. he is not BUILT for it. he learns to trust people. but he needs delicate society around him that'd trust him.
GamerMage
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Welcome to my world,dear. I want to help Pseudo through his bout of depression and anxiety as well, but since he doesn't want advice, (Please forgive me for saying so, but when someone needs help, shouldn't they ASK; as opposed to obviously show they're in pain, but badmouth anyone that DARES try and help him? ) I won;t. But it still hurts to watch such a talented individual get eaten up inside. Especially since He can't learn to take criticism or differentiate Constructive criticism and being rude.
LSCohen
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LSCohen 24 Israel MelancholicSanguine ISFJ 291 210C
I don't think it's your world. It's OUR world. Rather.
GamerMage
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I know that, I just said that because I'm agreeing with you. It's a saying.
Shadowgokustar
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I kinda want to refrain from posting in consideration of your trouble with dealing with even the simplest 'hello,' but I wanted to say that I feel a little glad that I've left you mostly alone throughout the years, without obsessing, pestering, or otherwise breaking into your life like so many other people have.

I'll be leaving my home and state here in the U.S.A. to join the military in a few days, and I know that you can't care about that, but I just want to let you know that I would have fought beside you if I could have. If I had been in control of my internet life during my teen years, I would have done my damnedest to try to help bring you peace of mind.

I'm sorry for the torment you've been having to go through, and I know that no matter what I do or say now, I can't really be a big help, and I'm sorry that this so much of this site has turned so rotten.

Whenever I get the free time, I swear to play your future games, because it's what you're great at, and you deserve the audience.
Observato
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∞ LINK ∞

This is not intended for Pseudo, but everyone who is looking from the outside in. I've recently watched another person I keep track of on a semi-regular basis, Total Biscuit, suffer through a very similar problem. Now, it's not quite the same, as TB gives exactly the deeply scathing criticism that Pseudo doesn't like, but their interactions with their respective fanbases have the same pattern of starting with lots of interaction, then a slow turning away as the community gets more toxic for them to interact with. There seems to be something about having so many voices shouting at a person at once, many of them quite negatively, that seems to affect people quite deeply. Pseudo's social anxiety doesn't help, to be fair, but most people aren't prepared for that spotlight, let alone to have it continuously grow for years.


On a more personal note, I temporarily tried doing a Let's Play, starting with text and slowing moving on to video before regressing back to text. Text generally received positive comments. Video? I've gotten one, something along the lines of "Your voice sounds really high. Are you 13 or something?", and the implication that I'm an annoying brat speaking into the mic. Despite the fact that my text did the best I could to make it sound anything but that, I can't tell you how MUCH that demotivated me from making further videos; I've made a few more videos, but eventually stopped due to not getting any response other than that comment.

Words can hurt, and quite a lot. People would do well to remember that, but since this is the Internet, I'm not convinced they ever will.
Geminienemies
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I actually saw that a few days ago and saw the parallels, but for some reason never thought of posting about it here!

It's just so sad to see stuff like this. And TotalBiscuit is a pretty "normal" guy, so for someone with social anxiety I can see how it could be even worse.
Vekel
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Vekel 21 United States CholericMelancholic INFP 8w7 41C
As with all things, food is at the core of this. I don't mean to condescend, but maybe eat more organic fruits and veggies. Your system improves exponentially once you get all the pesticides and crap out of your body. Food is medicine, and medicine is food.

Never heard about Dunbar's number, though it makes sense. Your mind's like a computer; It always needs more RAM for more network connections. But you can't just shove a flash drive into your head...well, not yet anyway.

Also, happy belated birthday.
PixelTzar
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PixelTzar 27 United States INTP 564 37C
Lol I have heard some strange ideas on adding something like a flash drive to someone. One of the people I know in real life was trying to come up with a glove to increase your brains functionality in taste,touch,ect. I told him he was nuts but he still thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread T_T.
Vekel
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Vekel 21 United States CholericMelancholic INFP 8w7 41C
All this stuff is going to have to wait until we can develop a neural interface. Think of the brain as a computer-we need to develop the internet before we get fancy networks and flash drives and whatnot.

Then virtual reality. Like Oculus Rift but with all the senses! Such a market possibility!

You could even connect two or more people together. Teachers could upload information direct to the students...wait, sounds like the Matrix. Oh crap. It's inevitable.
donutsizzle
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With the quick availability of information via the internet, this is already true to some extent. What is valuable about humans has increasingly strayed from knowledge and physical ability (due to the development of machines and information technology) and toward creativity, innovation and social and empathetic capabilities. As a teacher, these are the things that I try to give my students, rather than simple information, since the storage of information is decaying in its usefulness. We are much further from being able to download creativity, innovation, and social and empathetic capabilities into minds than simple information.

Thank you for talking about something I'm actually interested in.

...I realize that last part might be construed as a jab at A β Pseudolonewolf -- not at all intended that way. I found the topic of A β Pseudolonewolf 's blog post at least cursorily interesting. This one is just more up my alley.
Vekel
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Vekel 21 United States CholericMelancholic INFP 8w7 41C
A teacher? I'm a student myself, and I'm noticing that a lack of physical exertion is directly affecting the mind. [i] Mens Sana in Corpore Sano [/i], "A healthy mind in a healthy body" is quite true. Yes, you can go to one extreme and have a muscle-bound, bull-headed jock, but physical work teaches such important qualities as perseverance and the value of stress. The...how shall I put this, "Convenience" of life invariably leads to a spoiled rotten brat, which leads to a spoiled rotten adult.

You talk about creativity, social and empathetic capabilities. Ha. Creativity is just a form of power, and power must be controlled, used responsibly, or else it consumes you. True empathetic capability is not emotional intelligence, it's ancient chivalry, uncommon common sense, as well as sympathy. I am not as rich as most of my friends, and I am proud of this, for while they text away and play angry birds, I take the time to develop my own body as well as doing something very rare today-[i]Talking[/i] to people. My girlfriend is much the same.

Also, screw society! We value independence so much, yet we can't stand being alone. I once went a whole summer without talking to another human being, except my mother. It was great! I learned so much about [i]myself[/i], stuff I usually ignore around other people. You may be a teacher, and that's a wonderful profession, but there's one thing you can't teach: Wisdom.

You're welcome! Talk to me again, on my profile this time, if you want to discuss something. It's always a pleasure to talk to another person-a pleasure, but not a necessity!

On a side note, anyone know how to do italics? Just in case of above.
donutsizzle
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  Spoiler for long comment:
PixelTzar
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PixelTzar 27 United States INTP 564 37C
Well we all know due to influential books like 1984 and Animal farm, the list can go on for a very long time, though, they teach us how to tell when things have gone too far. That our world has many opportunities to be corrupt. The internet is just one way to make it easier to control civilian's private life.
PixelTzar
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PixelTzar 27 United States INTP 564 37C
Lets make this simple shall we? Some people live to hurt just as some people live to help.(sweet dreams eurythmics - Look it up) You seem to be a decent game creator though you haven't done anything to the original quality level I originally compared you to. (Aveyond, Laxius power @.@ love them!!!) . For this I am sad, but those are games made by many people over a long time.
As for the drama recently here it is just like entertainment news or politics. You can argue and talk about it until you are blue in the face but that does not really change your opinion nor the opinion of the people around you especially when one or all parties involved are missing information.
I do not care to keep informed on the recent exploits of one party over another in politics so why should I keep informed on what is happening here?
[to Pseudolonewolf ]I enjoy your games, I enjoy being apart (how every minuscule) of this community at times.
But, if you community or you the creator of this site or that random noob who looks through web pages and somehow ends here is looking for what is currently going on AKA DRAMA(capital D and all) well there is seriously something wrong with you.

seriously (note: I may edit this if I ever get around to it and delete this whole thing due to the fact I have only skimmed through this+ the last post by Pseudolonewolf. If not eh.....:P? )
Tama Yoshi
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Tama Yoshi 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric INTJ 513 472C
If you want support, then let me tell you I support you. The situation on this site is rather poor... I think it's mostly a result of miscommunication (I think the situation between you and Frances reflects this quite well; it was a two-sided issue, and circumstances only helped to polarize the general opinion).

You have a very strong moral code, and that is a great thing, in that you can give very detailed analysis of an issue, and why some things are right, and some things less right. It should make more people side with you as you explain your point of view to them, but things don't seem to go that way.

I have some theories on this... something about harboring a politician's behavior.

I was thinking, perhaps, that you are not enough of a god. Really. I recall being on other forums and fearing the mods to a point, while not disrespecting them. I didn't really know anything about these mods and admins, but I felt they were righteous and just, and I also didn't want to challenge them. They also had thick skins, but I'll get to that later. In essence, they were *unaffected by trolling* and *they sounded like everything they did was justified*.
The latter could be an issue in your case, since you have done some things that have made your behavior opaque (your recent disclosure helped, to be sure).
I remember hearing people of the terrible five, asking why they were banned. And I had no idea why, so I was really confused. Trolls were born from misinformed satires of your behavior, and they were not seen as trolls since the blame had been shifted. If the mods had made it transparent why the users were banned, there would have been a lot less confusion.
Since the events are affecting you, it's perhaps not the best idea to vent *here* while you are unsettled by what is happening; you can become cynical, and in a bad perspective, it can antagonize a lot of people.

The thing with a god, also, is that a god is never a victim. There are three doors for depression, I heard: the "victims", the "oppressors", and the "saviors" (saviors help others *expecting gratitude*). Everyone has a favorite in the triad, including entirely sane people.
There's an interesting parallel to be made here. I think it's no secret that most people on this site... are not the most mentally stable people.
You make yourself the victim in general, which stimulates oppressors as well as saviors.
I can see a lot of oppressors, in the argumentative *get a thicker skin* callousness (a generalization, here, but y'know).

Then, there are the *saviors*.
You say yourself that a lot of people give you advice you don't want. This rubs those guys the wrong way. Especially when those guys have high self-esteem, it seems.

I'm not saying everyone on this site is insane or depressed, but perhaps if you stopped acting like a victim (regardless of whether you are), then it would make things less intense. How gratifying is it, in theory, to make yourself superior to a man that has designed great games? How gratifying is it to give useful advice to such a man? You get the idea. If that man doesn't seem to *need anything* in the first place, then most of that drama won't happen. If you humble your fans, they won't pester you with their ideas and advices.

You might see this post as kind of savior-y too; I feel something is less than perfect, and so I try to make it better. I feel you're a very intelligent man, though, and actually CAN act like everything is perfectly fine. It's all a question of filtering what you say...

...which brings me to the SECOND theory, the "Show, don't tell" one. Or uh... well, more like "Point out, don't vent" or "Speak intelligently", or something. In short, I mean that you should think about what you say if you want to preserve your image as an admin.

Authority is only efficient as long as people respect it; it's only logical that the Politician makes sure that a misplaced expression does not taint his crowd's opinion of him.

This does not mean you can't vent. You seem to have crafted yourself plenty of tools for venting. I'll admit that situations like France's are more difficult to deal with in this case, since the place where you vent and the other places get intertwined. And since there's some drama going on on fighunter right now, not trying to set things right appears to be a non-possibility (but I'm sure anyone would be happy to see a game, or information about a game, to the point where it would shove the drama under a carpet or something... this to say that there are other ways to deal with drama other than facing it).

As for the thicker skin thing... You often stated that you could not "just" grow a thicker skin. This is a perfectly legitimate statement. But it feels to me like you are still able to label people as plainly immoral, putting them in boxes of people who shall not be sympathized with. This is a different kind of thicker skin. Of course, you are affected by their actions, but you have no sympathy for them (which in turn makes you able to act more bluntly than you usually would, which is not a bad thing in certain circumstances). If you use this moral mask, perhaps you could cope with trolls better. You'd only have to translate your actions intelligently to the crowd, so as to make sure people still see you as the icon of justice, or something.

Theories~

EDIT: I was interested in the depression triad since I've just learned about it today. I found this link at least ∞ LINK ∞ ... I'm actually not that *far off* in my initial analysis.