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Mwatso

Toxic Environment

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Hi everyone. 

I am writing this because currently, the world sucks and it is a time we should all be pumping each other up. Some people, due to losing their jobs or needing a change, have decided to apply this year. Other people may be just browsing in anticipation of one day applying. Others, like me, have been browsing this forum for YEARS waiting for hopefully the day I will be able to post that I have been accepted. The point is, I really love the idea of this forum as an educational and social tool to explore and learn about a law degree in Canada. However, I have noticed that over the years this group has become EXTREMELY TOXIC. Some individuals just rip through discussions, tearing people down for absolutely no reason. No, I am not talking about those who are harsh about one's chances (although there definitely could be a little more encouragement). I swear some people spend hours on here waiting for someone new to confront with their keyboard.

 

Just freaking be nice. A lot of people are going through A LOT of crap right now and the last thing they need is to be treating in any way other than positive on this forum. 

 

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36 minutes ago, Mwatso said:

-Snip-

That butthurt about people telling you to ask for chances after getting a real LSAT score, eh?

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Too many forums become hugboxes where realistic comments cannot be made without backlash. I was glad to find this wasn't one of them. I've never seen any comments made with malice or derision that were not lambasted by other users. 

Frankly I think "toxic" has become a buzzword and has lost what little meaning it may have possessed. 

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3 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

That butthurt about people telling you to ask for chances after getting a real LSAT score, eh?

Nope! I totally should have waited to post, I completely understand that. 

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Just now, LawBlaw2019 said:

The irony that this attitude is likely behaviour of the variety that @Mwatso is referring to. Sometimes it's not the message that's at issue, it's the way it's delivered. There's a line between being honest and being an a**hole. 

Amen. I am more than happy for someone to be extremely blunt and realistic to me. And to be honest, it was really stupid of me to post without a real LSAT score and I see that 100%. There is just this really weird undercurrent of aggressiveness in a few people that if you browse a lot, you start recognizing names. 

I also recognize there are lots of really amazing people on here too :) they just get overshadowed sometimes 

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Not every action needs a reaction.

Though I have nothing against this forum, which I believe can be very helpful and guide you to the right path, it's not fair to set your expectations high.

We're all a bunch of strangers and the kind of comfort and encouraging words you might be looking for are better received from family/friends. :) 

Cheers! 

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12 hours ago, Mwatso said:

Amen. I am more than happy for someone to be extremely blunt and realistic to me. And to be honest, it was really stupid of me to post without a real LSAT score and I see that 100%. There is just this really weird undercurrent of aggressiveness in a few people that if you browse a lot, you start recognizing names. 

I also recognize there are lots of really amazing people on here too :) they just get overshadowed sometimes 

Look. You're not completely wrong. Without discussing a specific example (and leaving tone aside, I don't think CleanHands was wrong to assume you might be posting about your own recent hypothetical-LSAT-that's-much-higher-than-my-only-actual-LSAT experiences) it's hard to know what you're really trying to focus on. Can individual people sometimes go unnecessarily far here, or can it happen in individual cases? Yes. Is it a common or constant pattern? No, I would strongly argue not. Is it something that is, of itself "EXTREMELY TOXIC" (to adopt both your words and all caps) such that it justifies your level of alarm and condemnation? Frankly, no.

As with many things, something can seem more extreme to you if you can't understand where it comes from or why it exists. This forum exists as an extension of a legal community that often deals with realities that most students and law school applicants are, quite sincerely, completely sheltered from and ignorant of. And I don't mean the realities of how hard it may be to get into law school. I mean the realities associated with the information and advice we dispense to clients daily, touching on harsh truths they don't want to hear. You're not likely to be accepted to Canada as a refugee because Canada doesn't accept that the country you come from is sufficiently hostile to your homosexuality. You're not getting out of jail, despite contracting Covid in jail, because that of itself isn't a sufficient reason to release you. You're not getting your kids back and we can't convince a court that your former partner is actually abusing them. Those kinds of harsh truths.

Set against this backdrop, this forum is a place where many people come with deeply unrealistic hopes and expectations. They need to hear some things they aren't going to like hearing. And the tone in which those communications sometimes becomes terse, unsympathetic, even sometimes (generally when invited, either explicitly or implicitly) outright mocking. Yes, that happens. Is it unnecessary? Yes, surely, likely many things in life. Is it truly inappropriate and unreasonable? I don't think so. Sometimes, quite frankly, people who ask ridiculous things deserve the reactions they get.

The only remaining element I'd add is this. You're coming at this as someone who has participated in this forum for around six months, posted a total of nine times, and that's exclusively about your own chances of getting into law school and then to register this complaint. You have your ideas of what you'd like this forum to be, I guess, which is a place to get direct information and advice without unwelcome commentary, and then to share your excitement about getting into law school when that hopefully happens. But aside from that, is that something you really think can or should exist on its own? Do you imagine we all check in here waiting to see if one new student needs bland commentary and/or personal validation?

I'm writing at length, but it's something I think about often and have said many times in the past. You want validation, somewhere to share your excitement and enthusiasm with people who support you and think you're automatically awesome? That's what friends and family are for. This forum is, implicitly, something else. Here, you get direct exposure to and information from people who function in the legal world and who don't actually care about you as a person. And that's a wonderful resource. But it's not naturally sympathetic. Why should it be?

Anyway, that's quite a lot more than I needed to write. But just some context.

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I've been here for many years now, and considering that it is still an INTERNET forum, it is governed and policed very well by the moderators and longtime members. Calling this forum a toxic environment really makes me wonder what other internet forums you have been exposed to. 

Posts cannot be deleted here barring exceptional circumstances and you cannot create multiple accounts. So if someone did want to continue to engage in toxic behaviour, chances are they could be discovered out in the real world if they provided enough personal information and continued to post under that username. The legal community is a lot smaller than you may think.

Anyways, I do hope you stick around to see how non-toxic this forum really is because I can tell you that there is a wealth of information and mentorship here. I've learned more from this forum than I did outside, and a lot of advice I now give to students and young lawyers in real life are things I've gathered over the years from this forum. The fact that information here is not sugar-coated and freely given is a blessing in disguise because you will not find this in law school or the legal profession.

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10 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

I've been here for many years now, and considering that it is still an INTERNET forum, it is governed and policed very well by the moderators and longtime members. Calling this forum a toxic environment really makes me wonder what other internet forums you have been exposed to.

Yeah, that's all I really needed to write.

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21 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

Anyways, I do hope you stick around to see how non-toxic this forum really is because I can tell you that there is a wealth of information and mentorship here. I've learned more from this forum than I did outside, and a lot of advice I now give to students and young lawyers in real life are things I've gathered over the years from this forum. The fact that information here is not sugar-coated and freely given is a blessing in disguise because you will not find this in law school or the legal profession

Also, if you (you being aggrieved posters, not deadpool) are unhappy with the forum’s quality or tone, then make the positive contributions you feel are lacking. Or at least, come back and make them once you have experience as a law student or lawyer. It’s easy to critique people who come here and provide free advice to students and junior lawyers. If you really care about improving what we do, come back and do it! Be the change you want to see, and all that. 

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This forum is super useful. Many of its posts recent and old have been very helpful to read, especially for those (like me) who have zero lawyers/professionals in their family/network to hear advice/thoughts/musings from. Moreover, its nice to come somewhere where Canadian issues legal and otherwise are discussed (given so much American content out there). It is moderated very well too and kept to a high standard of quality. Not toxic at all.

I agree some posters, frequent or otherwise, can be IMO unkind (not necessarily wrong, but IMO unkind).

I appreciate those posters who are direct and kind. I think this type of poster describes the majority here. Thank you to those who advise directly and honestly and take care to not come across as mean - it is very much appreciated.

But then again life has a full range of personality types that one has to learn to navigate with a thick skin, so I guess also thanks to the direct and IMO unkind ones who are implicitly teaching that life skill lol! 

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I agree. Part of the problem I think is people being rude and obnoxious. If you can't say something on a forum nicely then don't be saying it. The anonymity of a forum is probably a big reason for this but people need to chill out lol.

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2 hours ago, HarveySpecter1997 said:

I agree. Part of the problem I think is people being rude and obnoxious. If you can't say something on a forum nicely then don't be saying it. The anonymity of a forum is probably a big reason for this but people need to chill out lol.

Absolutely correct about the anonymity. I just think that we could all be nice haha. You can be serious, realistic AND nice. 

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Hey everyone!

Just wanted to say I agree with pretty much every aspect of every response. I completely understand the intention of this group, I just genuinely believe that we can all be nice no matter what information we are delivering. 

Just to reiterate, I understand that people will be blunt and realistic on this forum. I understand that this forum is extremely useful. Yes, I have had this account for only 9 months, and have only made a handful of posts, but part of that reason is because of the fact that I have been a lurker for YEARS and have been hesitant to post as I never know if I am unintentionally breaking a rule or acting "stupid" and have to deal with the backlash. 

Happy New Year everyone! 

P.s totally regret using the word toxic. Aggressive undertone would have been better. 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Mwatso said:

P.s totally regret using the word toxic. Aggressive undertone would have been better. 

I get what you're driving at and I agree with responses from more seasoned posters above. When I see something like "Obviously you must be an idiot if X" or whatever, I just think these comments are unnecessary and uncalled for. But then again, this forum isn't a single entity, it's made up of individuals and there is already a pretty good moderating system to keep things in check.

Edited by Psychometronic

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I have only been a member a short while, but have read a number of posts/threads. I don’t recall reading any that were toxic or even overly aggressive...but I think it is a matter of perspective and how each of us digests what we are reading.

Written communication doesn’t come with the non-verbal cues we are used to. It is easy to take things personally, assume or infer intent, and if we are already in a negative headspace - read things in a negative tone.

We can always be mindful of what we write and how it may be perceived, but on the flip side we can also be more mindful of how how we are receiving the information. Try to read things less personally and more positively...it sometimes makes a difference. :)

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