Balancing Service, Reputation and Free Speech ~ An Opinion Article
The situation that resulted in this post:
A comment was posted in a cryptocurrency group on Telegram that included a blessing to Allah and Ramadan. I very politely asked that the comment be removed and that the conversation should focus on the reason for the group. One member of the group was not happy about the comment. I had to choose between potentially offending either the person who posted the comment and those who hold the same values, and people of opposing values. Here is my personal turmoil that ensued and the way I informed the Community Manager of the situation.
I'm not sure if you know, I am almost 42, I've had my fair share of life experience, and I've seen religion tear not only my family apart (and back together again) but also the devastating effects it has had and is having on the world. My family is Roman Catholic, I grew up as an altar boy. I converted to Buddhism in my 30's but I still like to believe in a God. Two of my cousins are married to Muslim men and converted to Islam. I spent time volunteering with a Pentecostal orphanage. You could say that I am open to religion, but I also believe that no one has the right to force it on to another.
In Australia everyone has the right to practice their own religion, our discrimination act says you cannot discriminate based on age, disability, race, sex, intersex status, gender identity and sexual orientation. I myself am gay, I've had my fair share of discrimination, but I also don't publicly display or preach about it. I am mindful, too mindful, I am always trying to make things as best they can be for everyone. I am very inclusive, because as a kid I was excluded from a lot. I hate people feeling left out or bullied or any of those nasty things. I try and protect people, I really hate prejudice, and pigeonholing.
I think the point I am trying to make is that I am a very sensitive and caring person. Which at times can be a weakness. In this situation about the post, it was difficult for me to have to write and ask for her the post to be removed. As much as I wanted it to stay there, so I didn't have to make her feel bad for writing it, I more so felt that it could make more people uncomfortable. Religion, race and politics, it has caused all the world wars, all the civil wars, it's caused way too many deaths. It is a hugely sensitive topic, and today, we must be more careful and vigilant.
I've seen too many groups and channels on Telegram and Discord that have turned into a mosh pit of comments degrading women and posting inappropriate images, calling people crude names, bullying, and all sorts of nonsense. I won't tolerate that, and any admin that does immediately forces me to leave the group as I refuse to support any such behaviour. I am super sensitive to portraying the correct image, and as an admin I take the role seriously, maybe too seriously at times, but it's also the reason I've been successful and won many awards in business and sales. It's not always easy though, it's ridiculously draining, and Customer Service/Contact/Stockholm Syndrome is a real thing. I tried to find research on it back when I was an over-performing travel agency manager and at the time there were not as many articles or research papers when compared to today [some articles listed below]. I was burning out fast, and yes, I did burn out, and it is the reason why I am now unemployed. On that note, not sure cryptocurrency investing was a wise choice, it gives my heart a real workout.
How do I balance customer service, business reputation and free speech? I am learning while doing. I search deep within myself and I try to determine ultimately (1) what is most important; (2) what the objective is, and (3) what will get us to the end goal with the least number of wrinkles. I use common-sense and life experience. It shouldn’t be difficult. But not everyone thinks the way I do. Not everyone has had the life experiences that I have had, or the emotional intelligence or sensitivity that I do.
I would love to hear your opinion and about your experiences on similar topics. Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Works cited and references are provided at the end of this post.
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- Collins, Galen, and Melissa Collins. Overcoming the Customer Service Syndrome: A Practical Guide to Managing Customer Service, jan.ucc.nau.edu/~grc3/service/customers.html.
- Department, Attorney-General’s. “Australia's Anti-Discrimination Law.” Attorney-General's Department, Attorney-General's Department, 15 Sept. 2015, www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/Pages/Australias-Anti-Discrimination-Law.aspx.
- Englert, Jonathan. “Overcoming Customer Stockholm Syndrome.” KABLAMO, KABLAMO, 7 June 2019, www.kablamo.com.au/blog/2019/6/7/overcoming-customer-stockholm-syndrome.