I did not enjoy my initial ventures into the Kin Community. I ran into a few characters that I found to be too aggressive. I did not see much support in the groups, even though I had the impression that that was what people were looking for when they joined up. Luckily, I found a few wonderful Kin friends–but for the most part, I had better experiences in the Pagan and Vampire Communities. I found kindred in the other two groups, so I felt that I had better options.
I spend most of my time in other groups. As I just said, I did make some wonderful Therian and Otherkin friends; but I tend to avoid most Kin groups, in general because of the aggressive behavior that comes out. What sparked my thoughts on this subject was an exchange that we had in Lady Briessa’s group: AVOW–Alliance of Vampires, Otherkin and Witches. Someone new to the Facebook Kin Community had come into the group and introduced himself. What came after seemed to me like standard Kin Community behavior. The newcomer was greeted and asked questions about his introduction post. What followed after also seemed like standard community behavior. It seemed that the Newbie was not familiar with standard practices and procedure among Kin, and became defensive. I have held back from the Kin Community for the most part, because of similar interactions. I believe that I have watched enough of both sides (newcomers and standing members) and am comfortable with my observations. One of the comments made on this particular thread was the inference that it was better to let the Newbie know what they had in store for them outside of that particular group–that there was to be much more or harsher criticism outside of the group that we were conversing in.I had the interpretation that the initial questioning on the part of the veteran Kin was that they wanted clarification on some points of the newcomer’s introduction. But, someone who is not familiar with standard practice could easily take the line of questioning as implying a disbelief and an accusation of being false or incorrect. On the side of the standing members of the Kin Community, I completely understand that there is a caution and a need to protect whatever space/s that they have established as individuals, so far.Trolls come in regularly to every community–these people are conscious that they are only role playing and might know enough factual information to pass as Kin, if only for a short amount of time. Actual Therians and Otherkin want to exchange information relevant to their lives, along with sharing the hardships and triumphs that are specific to Kin. There are also those who are not genuine Kin, but have incorrectly self-identified as such, possibly because of the need to belong to a community/group, feel special, feel empowered….or some other reason.There are actual Therian and Otherkin that come into the communities at a young age. They might be actual Spiritual Otherkin (having a soul that is non-human, but living in a human body) or Psychological Otherkin (understand that they have a human body, but be psychologically imprinted with a non-human self-identification). Because they are either young or new to the community, they could have a lack of the common language–terminology and concepts. While they might genuinely fit into the categorization of Otherkin, the lack of understanding how to articulate their experience in the common language opens them up to criticism from some standing members of the community.And then there are those that mistakenly believe that they are Kin. They are not Trolls, with the intention to cause mischief and falsely mislead others. There are those people who mistakenly identify as being other-souled, when they might not be. They come into the Kin Community. They have been in the Kin Community. The reason that they need to be addressed is because there will continue to be non-Kin members that will come in. Addressing alternatives directly might help weed out (unintentional) role playing, so that accurate exchange can occur more often between actual Kin members.
Instead of calling members out on how much they know or don’t know about their self-identity and the claims that go along with it, a more gentle approach might be more efficient. Not everyone reacts/responds well to an aggressive line of questioning….even though it has been standard for many members in the Community, for quite some time. Personally, it just made me perceive the Community as being full of very mean, very uncooperative people.
It is not necessarily the best way to approach someone new with aggression. If the intention is to unravel whether they are genuine, sincere or accurate….making them defensive is only a good way to get them to shut down and possibly counterattack.From the outside, I had the impression that the Community was meant to be a place of support and education. To educate anyone, the recipient of the information needs to be receptive. Making them comfortable, makes them open to receive whatever it is that the speaker wishes to share. Figuring out whether someone is genuine or accurate will come easier if they are not defensive.