Into the Heart of Neopia
What do we expect to find at home? Many would say love, comfort, and safety are high on their list. Home is where the heart is – it is a place where we can show our true selves, and be accepted no matter what.
Neopia is a home to many of us. It is one of the few places where we can all live in harmony - the young and the old, the rich and the poor, we all can get along and treat each other with respect.
However, love, comfort, and safety seem to be in short supply in Neopia these days. Many Neopians have experienced the bitter side of Neopia, and I feel the problem has gotten out of hand these days.
No matter where you go, you will always find people who you don't get along with, and people who are just plain rude. But what happened to "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? It's one of those life lessons that needs to be brought with you everywhere, and many people around Neopia seem to have forgotten it lately.
It seems that asking a simple Neopets-related question on the boards has become a crime as of late. Upon asking a question, many people in Neopia are met with snarky responses and unhelpful comments. This is not the simple matter of not agreeing with what someone says is helpful – this is the serious problem of people in Neopia intentionally being rude to their neighbors.
As one person in Neopia, who wished to remain anonymous, has said, "I am scared to even go on the boards now - I know that I will not receive help and I am afraid of being reported for no reason."
But it’s not just the boards that are being affected. This disease of rudeness is spreading to petpages, shops, and trades. I fear it won’t be long until all of Neopia is infected with this deadly illness, and it needs to be stopped as quickly as possible.
While rude and hurtful comments are not welcomed by anyone, the main concern with rudeness on the site is the risk of it being directed towards a young child. Many people in Neopia do not share their ages – you could be talking to someone who is eighty, but you could also be talking to someone who is eight. You simply don’t know, which is one of the reasons it is best to keep a civil tongue – besides the fact that it’s the right thing to do. Comments that an older person may shake off and not think much of could easily hurt a younger child.
In order to figure out what fuels these hurtful events on the site, I have conducted some interviews with repeat offenders. While I will not release any usernames or exact responses, I can tell you that in general, the comments are meant “for fun.” These offenders say that it is a harmless way of expressing their frustration at certain things. But while the offenders may be having fun, the victims of their comments are not having any fun at all, and in fact it may be discouraging people from being active members of the Neopian community.
Another common response from offenders is that they are showing new players what the real world is like. This is not Earth – this is Neopia! The real world Neopia is different than the real world Earth, which is one of the main reasons that people come here. The offenders see the questions coming from new users to be things of common knowledge, which is why they react in such a way. However, new users cannot be expected to know everything yet.
Have you ever seen a hurtful comment directed at a specific person somewhere on the site? Have you ever personally been offended by content put up by other users? If so, you have experienced the not-so-nice side of Neopia, which everyone needs to try to minimize as much as possible.
How do you help Neopia? First of all, save your reports for the people that really need them. While certain things may be hurtful, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are against the rules. The more reports you send in for people that are not really breaking the rules, the slower TNT is able to process the reports against people that really need to be reported. Also, sort your reports in order of importance. What’s more important – reporting someone for spreading rumors about fictional places like Jelly World, or reporting someone for saying something highly inappropriate for the younger Neopians?
However, as important as not reporting every little thing is, the most important thing to keep in mind is to not become part of the problem. You may think that you’re helping when you reprimand someone who has been rude, but you’re not. Two wrongs do not make a right, and this “solution” can sometimes even lead to full blown arguments that involve many people.
If you see a question that you find to be simple or annoying, respond kindly if you decide to respond at all. If you see someone making a mistake, try and let them know that what they are doing is against the rules before reporting them. Many people on Neopia are people just like you and I, who would never dream of breaking the rules. A simple alert could help to prevent many future errors in Neopia!
There are many other things you could do to help, though. One act of kindness often promotes another. Are you getting rid of a pet that someone else has dreamed of having for a long time? Let them know that it’s going up for adoption so that they don’t miss out on a chance to get it! Is someone having a bad day? Maybe tell them a joke or story to cheer them up! There are many random acts of kindness you could bestow upon the people of Neopia, and the more you set a good example of what Neopia should be, the more people will follow it.
This issue is so important that even the Meepits have agreed to help start keeping the peace around Neopia. You know it’s bad when the the Meepits have to get involved. They are posted around every corner, keeping their eye out for repeat offenders in the department of rudeness. If you offend a fellow Neopian, you will offend a Meepit – and Meepits do not like being offended.
Now that you have seen into the heart of Neopia, please help keep Neopia a planet free of pollution! Help to keep the air clean of arguments and rude comments. And when the mission of keeping Neopia clean has been accomplished, know that you will safely be able to keep Neopia in your mind, and most importantly, in your heart.