I've been on LttD for several years now and I've noticed an unfortunate trend. The following is my opinion based on observation. It's intended as a report of these observation and a gentle word of caution to newbies. And while it largely has to do with these forums, you'll find that all of these points are applicable in the real world as well.
One thing I've noticed in my time on LttD is the tendency for a select few people (newbies, almost 100% of the time) to jump from acting in a subdued and quiet manner to acting in a rude and aggressive manner, usually shortly after their arrival. Not always, by any stretch. But sometimes.
I can speak to this personally. When I first joined LttD I practiced the same methods – at first I hung back and watched. As time progressed I grew emboldened, participated more actively, and my responses became rude and dismissive. This only lasted for a short time, however. In the midst of one of my less-than-considerate tirades, a Priestess came along and performed some “corrective actions” with the proverbial bottom of her boot. It was a painful lesson.
I survived these corrective actions and in the years since, I've grown quite fond of my role in LttD's operation. I find it enjoyable and fulfilling.
Still, I see it every now and then: new members come along and, for no apparent reason, start treating other new members like dirt. My question is, why?
If you closely study the way Satanists – the higher-ranking members in particular – conduct themselves, you'll notice that they tend to speak undefiled wisdom. In many cases their words are rarely sugar-coated, if ever. The Priestess who corrected me, for example, did so in an aggressive and straightforward manner. She didn't pull me aside and say “hey buddy, you're a cool guy, but maybe you could be a little nicer. Pwease?”
She didn't ingratiate herself or try to be my friend. No, her words were short, sweet, and very to-the-point. One important point to note is that she wasn't rude about it; rather, she was precise and effective. She outright challenged my conduct and inflicted a great deal of damage to my pride. In response I abruptly adjusted my manner of conduct – and found that acting in a polite manner is VASTLY more fulfilling than acting like a jerk.
Many Satanists are like this. They aren't going to ingratiate themselves and hope that you change the way you present yourself. No, they're going to watch, wait, and when the time is right, convey their thoughts in a manner that is both accurate and ruthlessly effective. You're going to know exactly what you're doing wrong.
What does this have to do with new members adopting rude and unpleasant mannerisms when exposed to Satanism?
My theory is that the absence of sugar coating strikes them as contrary to the norm (because it is). The weak and cowardly masses tend to undersell themselves because they think everyone should be friends and get along. They see the world through rose-colored glasses and if they were to express themselves honestly, they might have to deal with the catastrophic consequence of someone disliking them.
Satanists have no need to earn the admiration of everyone they meet. Their self-worth is not dictated by the opinions of those around them because Satanists recognize that trying to apply worth to the self is impossible! They judge their actions as good or bad, rather than trying to place a price tag on their selves.
Newbies see Satanists delivering undefiled wisdom, and mistake it for rudeness. This incorrect impression gives them the idea that rudeness is laudable.
This is a fundamental error. Speaking undefiled wisdom does not equate to rudeness. Undefiled wisdom is simply the delivery of cold, hard facts without the bells and whistles meant to coddle the weak. Undefiled wisdom tends to be aggressive and blunt, but then again, Satanism is (among many other things) an aggressive and blunt philosophy.
So it is my theory that due to an error in perception, new members to the board mistake undefiled wisdom for outright rudeness.
Why is rudeness problematic for the organization?
You might say “We're Satanists. Satanism doesn't need no stinkin' validation!”.
Which may be true. That being said, most of world views Satanism as dangerous and obnoxious, and being rude to people only reinforces this incorrect perception.
Satanism also stands in opposition to the masses. While the rest of the world is rude, obnoxious, impolite, and downright stupid, Satanism is an intelligent, refined, elegant, and civil organization. Rudeness, in short, is categorically un-Satanic.
Another problem is that Satanism is a stratified organization, though newbies to the organization may not realize this. This ignorance is understandable. Having come from the general populace or – ugh – other 'satanic' (lowercase 's') organizations, they're probably used to an egalitarian structure in which he who shouts the loudest is in charge. Satanism is the inverse. Those in the hierarchy have decidedly more say than those lower in the hierarchy. Those who shout the loudest are usually shown the door.
So when someone berates a newbie for their introductory post, that newbie may get the wrong idea about the organization.
And THIS is a problem because if someone DOES have truly Satanic qualities, are they going to stick around? If a Satanist posts an introduction on a message board and is immediately attacked, are they going to keep posting there? NO! They're going to find somewhere better, where newbies are treated with respect! Thus through the carelessness and poor social skills of one individual, Satanism has lost someone who could otherwise prove to be an valuable asset to the organization.
Finally, many people rarely show their true colors when first approaching an unfamiliar person or organization. This is especially true of Satanists and Satanism, due to its intimidating and elitist nature. I've noticed that many times, newbies will put on their best face (and sometimes overcompensate) because they're trying to impress. This is a good thing. Satanism is a difficult organization to impress. But, because they're new to the organization, they don't necessarily know what to say so they might formulate an introduction that may come across as – for lack of a better word – unusual.
The important thing to remember, both online and in the real world, is that it is impossible to know someone based on first impressions. The old adage 'don't judge a book by its cover' has relevance here. In most cases, the only way to truly get to know someone is by studying them over time (though there are exceptions. Some people reveal themselves to be shit-disturbers from the get-go, and it doesn't take long to realize that they're too thick-headed to improve). For the most part, new members to the forum and people you meet in real life are rarely likely to express themselves freely at first. Even if they do, there's a good chance that they won't exactly be paragons of Satanism if this is their first contact with you or the organization.
In short, it is my opinion that it is better to treat newbies with respect and understanding and let them adjust to the way Satanism operates. Oftentimes there is at least a minor learning curve. Or (as was the case with me) there is a major one. Berating them during their infancy on the forums or attacking people you first meet in your day-to-day runs the risk of driving them off and costing the organization (and yourself) valuable resources.