A+ challenge from Monte Cook

Monte Cook is issuing a simple challenge.

Throughout the month of August, I pledge to only say positive things on line. I’m calling this A+, as in, “A positive force,” or just “August positive.

I’m going to give this a try in August because I think it’s a good way to check my own defaults.

I’ve been struggling with the prevalence of negativity online almost since I first got online (yes, youngsters, I’m older than the web, and had to walk uphill both ways to get to Usenet). I’ve written about it many, many times. Basically, everything I’ve said on the subject to date can likely be summed up in just a few points:

It’s easier to be negative than positive. If I say something sucks, it’s much easier to defend that position than if I say something is good. This is of course, an extension of that ages-old sentiment that it is easier to destroy than to create.

There’s an undercurrent of superiority in negativity. If Person A liked something but Person B saw its flaws, Person B must be smarter than Person A. This is so true that now when people post positive comments about something, it’s often in a defensive way, using phrasing like “guilty pleasure” or “I know it’s not great but…” or such things.

Now I do want to draw a distinction between “being negative” and “calling people on their shit.” Pointing out behavior that absolutely needs to change is a net gain for humanity.

Let me point you to Genevieve Valentine, who was harrassed at a recent convention. To me, this is in the positive post column because she’s making the world a better place by calling this sort of behavior out.

What I’m focusing on are the times when I’m negative for no reason. Critical discussion is an important part of growing a culture, but it’s all too easy to slide into snark when it isn’t productive. Taking a month to focus on being positive will force me to notice how often I’m sarcastic just to get a quick laugh.

Notice on Monte’s G+ post about the challenge, how many people respond with a sarcastic variation on “terrible idea” as a joke. Now check your own first impulse. Is it to poke holes in the idea? Crack a joke?

See why this idea will actually be a challenge?

Read the full challenge at A+ | Monte Cook.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

One Response

  1. Eric James Stone

    Huh. This morning I was thinking that maybe I should make it a policy to only comment on people’s political posts when I agree with them. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

%d bloggers like this: