How to memorialize people

Considering Opalcat’s longstanding fight against message board censorship and her copious - sometimes impressively mindblowing -documentation and illustration of more TMI than anyone in the universe, I am annoyed by the SD moderators’ attempts to choreograph the internet-based responses to her death. I don’t think she would have approved of this, either.

I am being honest when I say that my first thought upon hearing of her sudden death was one of sadness that she was apparently not able to electronically record, discuss and illustrate this final important part of her life. I think she would have wanted to more than anything.

And then to be scolded by a moderator who, in the same post, managed to get in that she was “occasionally hated”… Wow. I didn’t - and wouldn’t have - said that.


JillGat, I started a threadabout that.

In short, I agree with you that you should have been able to grieve in your own way in that thread, but the mods probably think a separate thread would be good to have, for some of the memories that may offend some of the more sensitive mourners in the other thread.

It’s really not asking a lot for people to keep the snark to themselves in a memorial thread for a poster. Opal’s mother has posted to that thread. People should have some sense of decorum.

Frankly, it’s sad that the mods had to intervene, but I support them for doing it.

People who knew Katherine can be sensitive and tip toe around all they want in “real life”. However I am talking about OpalCat, who is the character the vast majority of members of this internet forum knew best; in all her glory, creativity, and agony. She may have simultaneously expressed the best and the very worst of what our species is capable of. Feel free to choose to be offended by that, GypsyPuppy, KnwItAll, StrTrekMeister and WTFKittyCat.

Her mother knew “OpalCat” too, or she wouldn’t have known to sign on and post here. I appreciate that Opal’s Mom shared that her daughter lived with bipolar disorder and she, at least, didn’t try to sugar coat or sweep this under the rug in a stigmatizing way. I am offended that people were offended by my post. I doubt VERY MUCH that OpalCat would have been.

They may overlap, but real life people and internet personas are different, or at least different parts of people (hence made-up names like “OpalCat”) and this here is the internet part, people.

And, if I should suddenly blow up or crash and burn, I hearby give permission for anybody here to memorialize or remember me in any goddamn way they want. No holds barred.

Jill Gatwood

JillGat, I agree with you. On your philosophy of internet vs. real life. I have the same philosophy…that is why I find this whole topic so interesting.

But lately I’ve been questioning myself and asking myself if the fact that I am never offended means that I shouldn’t show a softer side in some situations to people who ARE easily offended.

I guess for myself, I have decided that yeah, in a case like an R.I.P thread, I will walk extra softly. I understand your mileage varies.

It’s especially sad to me that people read “snarkiness” into my original post in that thread. Shame on you. Speak for yourself.

FWIW, (and I know its not much), I’m with Oak. I appreciate the efforts that twickster and TubaDiva made to guide the discussion into a more respectful direction. And separating Opal’s real-life persona from her onscreen one ignores the fact that not everyone knew her personally, just interacted with her online. As to your claim about what Opal would have wanted, I take that with a great deal of :dubious:. As well as you say you knew her, I doubt anyone can truly say with 100% certainty what anybody else would have wanted, particularly someone who is no longer around to make her wishes known.

this is hilarious on too many levels.
no offense intended, of course.

Thanks, I’ll be here all week. I did say it wasn’t worth much.

Then why are you pretending to do exactly that?

Exactly. Tripping over each other to prove who knew her best or more authentically. And telling you how to express it.

Whoops, I thought I signed onto the Straight Dope, but I accidentally signed onto Miss Manners.

…OpalCat is really really dead Jill: she isn’t and wasn’t a “character.” She wasn’t an “actor.” She wasn’t “playing a part.” Very few of us act the way you think we act. She received enough snark from jerks and internet bullies on this messageboard while she was alive, the least we can ask is to refrain from it in a thread where real people (not “characters”) are grieving.

You might not be able to separate “fact and fiction”: but that is your deficiency, not ours. Do you really have the guts to “honour” OpalCat in the manner you wish? Then start a pit thread and lets see how popular your views really are.

Because the internet is an anonymous medium, and the the decorum that in real life tempers people in their wryly sharing “warts and all” impressions of the dead is largely absent. The convention is that people stick to positive reminiscences - or at least maintain a decent silence - so that memorial threads don’t turn into piranha pools of snark: it may be a little hagiographical sometimes, sure, but it’s probably better than chumming the waters.

“Because the deceased would have wanted it that way” is not a good reason to abandon current policies. The deceased’s wishes do not have a privileged place in determining right or wrong or the policies of a forum, even though one may feel that way in the distress of grief.

The consequence of allowing the deceased’s wishes to determine ethical behavior could be demonstrated by an admittedly unlikely and extreme scenario of knowing that a deceased person would have wanted the survivors to go on a killing spree. One would obviously get that you don’t do that just because it was the deceased’s wishes.

Bad behavior is bad. It is not justified by a claim that it memorializes the dead. It’s still bad.

OpalCat was not her real name. She was an internet persona that Katherine expressed; a part of herself. Let me point out that, while Katherine is dead, OpalCat will live on in her mightly internet homestead kingdom. She was the one most of us knew and interacted with. She wasn’t a fictional character, but she was someone we mostly knew by what she wrote and posted online as OpalCat and not as Katherine. And when the SDMB started censoring stuff too much, she created a website of her own where people could speak more freely and openly, without fear of touchy moderators. And post she did, about every damn thing.

Once again, I did not post anything snarky in that thread. I did OpalCat no dishonor. I spoke to the essence of what she was - or at least the part we were exposed to online. I have no reason to start a pit thread about Opal. Leave that to the people who were offended by my thread, said I should be more sensitive and respectful and then went on to point out that she was hated by some people, or that she was a tragic nutjob.

Or the ones who simply posted “shit, shit, shit” and that seemed to acceptable as appropriate to the mods. I sure hope nobody “sensitively” memorializes me that way.

I think the recent posts on this topic are ill-becoming of several posters. Dying has very few perks; let the memorializing be one. If it makes your skin itch, you can always go read something particularly condemnatory of Opalcat. It’s all in the archives here and in other places;give yourself free rein. Leaving one stupid thread alone for people to simply mourn a life is hardly oppression.

in this case, “ill becoming” is in the eye of the beholder. Who even uses that word anymore?

Thanks for all the lessons on how to be a grown up.

And the decorum and convention and hagiographicality. Thanks for those, too. I suppose the best way to memorialize somebody like OpalCat would be to quote a few Hallmark cards. Maybe we can get Elton John to sing a Candle in the Wind. For God’s sake, don’t mention anything about her specific presence and spirit.

Yeah, whatever. You don’t have to like everyone on this board, and hell if everyone on this board will like you, but what – what, precisely, I am dying to know – prevents you from being a human being? Let’s just assume you’re older than 24 and there are people in the world who have passed away that you don’t like. Fine, nobody asked you to send the family of bouquet of flowers, but do you stand in the company of those who care and remark, “But seriously though, she was kind of a bitch… right?”

I am no stranger to shit talk (engage in quite a bit of it, myself), am not offended by shit talk, am not surprised by or disappointed by shit talk, but still can’t help but to shake my head at those who claim to be members of the human race who can’t show even the littlest bit of decorum even once.

The purpose of a memorial/RIP thread for a member who’s died is to provide comfort to the survivors. Posting negative stuff is at best threadshitting, and at worst trolling, and definitely falls foul of the “don’t be a jerk” rule.

There are threads on other boards to talk about OpalCat, in all her splendour and banality, and no doubt there will be ones on here in due course. There’s no need to deliberately hurt the already grieving.