The Elder Scrolls

Does the contrarianism on this sub bother anyone else?

Hopefully the mods don't delete this. This post isn't meant to call anyone out specifically or start any drama, it's more to address a wider phenomenon.

Recently, I saw a user point out that there seems to be a distinct behavioral pattern on this sub where people feel the need to correct and/or shut down other users on this sub as much as possible, without actually offering anything of value to most discussions. And it also seems like there is this weird sentiment that this kind of behavior is not only not outright mentally grating, but is in fact vital to the health and future of the Elder Scrolls lore community in general.

I feel this behavior has sprung out of the days in which certain "high-ranking" users on this sub touted certain fan theories enough to the point where most newcomers couldn't distinguish these fan theories from established, canonical facts. And it probably didn't help when C0DA came along, which seemed to promote the message that all fan interpretations are as equally valid as each other. An idea which, if that is indeed what C0DA is saying, I do not necessarily agree with. In more recent years, after some of these theories were debunked by newer info (mostly from ESO), a lot of people have grown frustrated with fan theories, interpretations, headcanons, etc.

A perfect example of this is one of my favorite threads of all time, /u/NientedeNada's Why You Should Always Check Sources: The Curious Case of 8 Years of Misinformation on the Towers and the Thalmor, in which they masterfully expose some of the ways in which the Elder Scrolls Wiki has misrepresented certain sources in order to perpetuate one of the most ubiquitous fan theories of all time: that the Thalmor's ultimate goal is to unravel the universe by destroying the Towers on Nirn. After this post was made, people have used it to shut down virtually EVERY discussion alluding to any connection between the Thalmor and the Towers, oftentimes citing it as "proof" that the Tower theory has been completely, utterly debunked. What most people don't realize is that NientedeNada has also made a follow-up thread explaining exactly why this is not a good thing and how this wasn't the intent of their original post – it was to document a mishandling of sources by the TES wiki, not to debunk the Tower theory in general.

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So yeah, this is what I see going on in this subreddit more than anything else lately, and though I am a relative newcomer to all of this, I think it's really shifted the soul of the lore community a lot since the older days. Nowadays things like fan theories/interpretations almost seem to be some sort of taboo thing. And it's not just theories that get the contrarian onslaught – even asking questions or saying "I like x and y or x/y would be interesting" risks getting shut down.

Just to give an idea of some of the things I've been seeing (both involving myself, and people not myself):

  • Saying "my dragonborn told Tsun he was the arch mage" is met with "that's just a fan theory, LDB canonically doesn't do anything other than the main quest and those are hard facts, unlike your speculation and divining. Your archmage LDB is completely fanfiction"

  • A user comparing Trinimac to Mithras is met with "that's horseshit, that's the same kind of logic conspiracy theorists use in real life to find connections where there are none!" even though one of the lore writers has gone on record to say that Trinimac is related to Mithras.

  • A post comparing dragon breaks and quantum superposition is ridiculed by people complaining about C0DA, even though OP never mentioned C0DA and the lore writers have directly admitted to using ideas from quantum physics in their lore

  • A question on whether or not there is any in-universe connection between Kynareth and Dagon due to their slight overlap with weather (which really only warrants either a "yes" or "not that I know of" answer) is met with a slightly condenscending tirade about how nobody in real life would use that kind of logic to compare two deities (even though scholarly theoligicians actually do that all the time)

  • A post comparing Miraak to Darth Vader, in which one response lists a bunch of bullet points of ways in which Miraak isn't exactly like Darth Vader, even though none of those differences are really relevant

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Obviously I am paraphrasing and recounting these from my point of view, but the point remains.

At the end of the day, if you try really hard enough, you can "refute" just about any fan theory, idea, opinion, statement, or even a friggin question by going full on Ben Shapiro mode. It reminds me of that one guy you always get stuck talking to at a party. You can say something as innocent as "I like the Beatles" and they'll go "Let me inform you of why you don't actually like the Beatles, even though you think you do" before they lay out their 10-page written thesis on why you're not really a Beatles fan. And that's the inherent problem with all of this – ideas are no longer shut down based on their merit, but whether or not people feel like taking the time to "debunk" it.

That's the end of my rant. Mods, I ask you to consider the overall message of my post and not see it as an attack on anyone in particular before you decide to delete it.


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