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Words That Heathens Should Not Use as Insults

By Erin Lale

I felt the need to write this rant because heathen internet forums can be incredibly empowering places, where information is shared and people can feel they’ve come home to their right path, or forums can also discourage people from trying to participate in the community at all. It’s not just newbies who are abandoning online community because of all the arguing and insults, either. I mentioned the problem with people labeling and insulting each other instead of trying to understand, support, and educate each other, to an old friend who is heathen but not Asatru, and he told me that it seemed to him that “There is nothing Asatruars hate more than other Asatruars.” This statement struck me as tragic and at least partially true. We had this conversation while I was writing the essay on trollery, which was published in the previous issue of this magazine. Trolls are usually only a small percentage of the members of any particular forum, except for forums specifically set up to encourage trollery (any forum where the primary purpose of most posts in mocking others’ beliefs is a troll haven, and will inevitably attract trolls.) A lot of the people using labels to divide each other and insult each other are not actually trolls, though, they are just people with strongly held beliefs who seem to think that insulting people with jargon is the proper way to relate online because that’s what everyone else is doing. I’m writing this rant in the hope that at least some people will realize that online discussions are better when we all try to get along, and will stop using these terms as insults.

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