How to disagree without personally attacking other babblers

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Weltschmerz

CMOT Dibbler wrote:

The  problem with  banning  regulars is that  they are, well,  regulars.  They  keep  the  site  going.  If  we banned  every  regular  who made  an  ass out of  himself/herself,  the board would be empty and  it would  be impossible  to attract  new participants.

Actually it wouldn't be empty; what would be left is all the occasional posters and lurkers who might finally get up the courage to post.

CMOT Dibbler

 

You're actually  right  but it would  certainly take  a while to  pick  up again. 

Unionist

Is this discussion over, then? "How to disagree without personally attacking other babblers?" Are we talking about banning a bunch of people and hoping the next crop will be better?

 

Weltschmerz

CMOT Dibbler wrote:

You're actually  right  but it would  certainly take  a while to  pick  up again. 

If there was some mass banning of all regulars, yes.  But you were here for the Great Schism.  We lost a lot of people then, and the board survived.  And we continue to this day to either lose or drive away regulars, and things carry on.  I just don't like the assumption that some people are too important to the life of the board to ever be banned.

CMOT Dibbler

 

I supppose  the question  is,  do we want  a board  that's  active,  while at the same time being  savage  insular and boring, or do we want  one  with  slightly  slower  pace where leftists with new  opinions aren't  forced  out of  discussions? 

Pogo

Unionist wrote:

Is this discussion over, then? "How to disagree without personally attacking other babblers?" Are we talking about banning a bunch of people and hoping the next crop will be better?

 

  I hadn't heard it put so blunt, but that sure is an idea.

CMOT Dibbler

 I just don't like the assumption that some people are too important to the life of the board to ever be banned.

I'm sorry, that was elitist of me. I should really keep my inner trudeau under control.Embarassed

Infosaturated

Unionist wrote:

Is this discussion over, then? "How to disagree without personally attacking other babblers?" Are we talking about banning a bunch of people and hoping the next crop will be better?

Everyone seems to be assuming that the regulars are all incapable of self-control so hould end up banned and there would be hardly anyone left.

If that's true then it needs to happen as quickly as possible.  A board that is dependent on a hostile clique is a lost cause and needs to be cleared and rebuilt with regular posters that will stay even if they aren't allowed to flame others indiscriminately.

Stargazer

Great, now people are calling for the banning of regular posters. Guess what? All you lurkers and occassional posters will eventually become regulars too, and you will have some fighting moments with others, it's human nature. Then you're all banned for a new crop. Repeat the same all over again?

I came to this board when it was chock full of regulars debating and yes, getting peeved at each other, because that is how life works sometimes. If we all want some squeaky clean board where we all agree, and there are never, ever any words that may rile someone up, I think we're living in fairy tale land.

What we can do is attempty to control our behaviour. Period. I don't think calls for mass bannings of regulars is really the way to go, and it is quite a nasty thing to do.

 

 

Unionist

My point was simply that that discussion doesn't belong in this thread. [url=Remember?[/url]">http://rabble.ca/babble/rabble-reactions/dealing-poor-behaviour-babble][...

I was just trying to remind the last few posters that this thread was about how to express disagreement without personal attacks.

 

Life, the unive...

Stargazer wrote:

Great, now people are calling for the banning of regular posters. Guess what? All you lurkers and occassional posters will eventually become regulars too, and you will have some fighting moments with others, it's human nature. Then you're all banned for a new crop. Repeat the same all over again?

I came to this board when it was chock full of regulars debating and yes, getting peeved at each other, because that is how life works sometimes. If we all want some squeaky clean board where we all agree, and there are never, ever any words that may rile someone up, I think we're living in fairy tale land.

What we can do is attempty to control our behaviour. Period. I don't think calls for mass bannings of regulars is really the way to go, and it is quite a nasty thing to do.

 

 

This sounds for all the world to me like something Don Cherry would say in a different context.  Real hockey is about fighting and all those damn wishy-washy liberals want to ruin the game.  All anyone is suggesting is that the use of a the penalty box from time to time should be done and the refs should stop putting away the whistle for select babblers that seem to get a different set of rules.  It isn't about disagreeing- or even being tough in the corners it is about all the cheap shots and butt ends to the gut.

Weltschmerz

Stargazer wrote:

I came to this board when it was chock full of regulars debating and yes, getting peeved at each other, because that is how life works sometimes. If we all want some squeaky clean board where we all agree, and there are never, ever any words that may rile someone up, I think we're living in fairy tale land.

What we can do is attempty to control our behaviour. Period. I don't think calls for mass bannings of regulars is really the way to go, and it is quite a nasty thing to do.

IMO, it's not about the emotion, it's about how we deal with it.  I know I don't want a board where everyone must agree on everything and not say anything to upset anyone.  There are a lot of issues discussed here about which some people are very passionate.  Being passionate, getting angry, getting hurt, is not the issue; I'm hoping to help create a space where we can express those emotions creatively and constructively and feel that we are being heard and supported, even if we're not being agreed with.

Oh, and just to clarify; I don't support mass bannings of regulars either.  You guys are too much fun.

Stargazer

Actually info, people were suggesting banning long time regulars, and I don't appreciate being likened to Don Cherry and the right. I take that as a personal attack, of which this thread is not supposed to be about.

 

I agree with you Weltschnerz, it is about emotion and trying to control it. Most people try very hard to do just that, but being that there are so many of us whose pasts are riddled with bad things, it is sometimes hard not to get emotional. But yes, totally agreee with you. Now putting that to practice may be a bit hard.

Stargazer

Ha, remind, I was going to say this was a great post. Then you apologized. You know I still *heart* you.

Pogo

Thanks.

Unionist

Wow, remind, thank you so much. For everything you said.

 

remind remind's picture

Thank you stargazer, had a bit of an epiphany, and backatcha, as always.Kiss

 

Thanks Pogo.

Thank you Unionist.

Pogo

I think that this speaks to why regulars have a little more leash.  Because we can figure out a way to finish a fight with a group hug.

Stargazer

And nothing feels better than that!!

remind remind's picture

Really Infosaturated?

ETA this in response to the quote below and again for clarity of meaning.

Seems to me this sort of thing, "needs to be cleared and rebuilt with regular posters that will stay even if they aren't allowed to flame others indiscriminately",  was advocated to happen  at 50plus, and it did happen. No new posters though, just the small group that had been agitating at getting the alleged agitators out, and the site took a decided and singular right wing flavour, to which it remains to this day.

In fact, there is a lot of similarities going on here recently, that occured there,  which lead up to some advocating for mass bannings of long time members.

There were the same huge, and never ending threads about how bad the behaviour was, even though in large part, it was because buttons were being pushed, deliberately, and of course people got edgy and out of sorts, and eventually a brouhaha would ensue.

The threads themselves, bashing the alleged wrong doers, became very grating, and debilitating,  as they were a means of manufacturing consent, and/or wearing people down, in order to cause infighting,  for the eventual desired outcome of shutting down left voices. Indeed progressive voices there were labelled non-progressive reactionaries, that were enemies to the good-will and "progress" of the board.

Amazing the similarities actually. Not saying that this is what is happening here, only that it is very similar.

And do not get me wrong, things really do need to improve, but I believe it is up to the individual posters, and yes, including myself, to action what we believe we are individually doing to allow, buttons to be pushed, and a general breakdown happening.

Along with the moderators help, of course, by way of what Michelle has outlined, most helpfully, about what we should be doing, to help ourselves get out of this rut.

Also, I want to take this time to apologize to Stargazer, Timebandit, unionist, catchfire, and pogo, for coming across, as if I was being part of the "tough on crime crowd" towards you. As upon reflection back, I am sure it did come across that way, and I had no right to impose that feeling upon you,  and I am very sorry that I did so.

remind remind's picture

Ohhh...a teletubbies moment. ;)

janfromthebruce

ok, I have been lurking and thinking about the things written. Sometimes it helps me when I think I'm in a "heated debate" with another poster(s), and perhaps there was a miscommunication, is to "correct" my initial communication. Sometimes, I say something and it does not come across right.

In other instances, when I perceive someone is baiting, I will ignore the "bait". Remember, as others have suggested, it takes two to be in a "power struggle" and when one disengages the struggle ends.

If I don't feel like I want to get into something, for whatever reason, it might be time, lost interest, I just will say that I am not interested. I get to decide what I post and no, one does not have to respond.

Also, I have personally emailed posters here when I feel that our online relationship has gone off the rail.

Finally, I recognize that for the most part, most babblers have alot more in common than is different even if politically, socially we might have our differences.

Oh, and I walk away from the computer. There is life happening out there but I also like my online friends.

oldgoat

Ya know in terms of the perception that babblers get more leeway, what that to me means is that if a new person comes across right away behaving badly, I'm assuming that that's who they are and respond accordingly.  If someone who's been around for awhile acts badly I have a larger context by which to assess the whole situation.  It is not in my own mind favouritism, but the fact I have a sense of what's in their heart.  There have been longstanding regulars who have been banned from here.  I've felt bad about it but it's happened.

 

In talking about mass banning of regulars which I believe was alluded to somewhere above, really, that's getting a bit ahead of things.  In a word, no.  The whole idea here is to use less suspensions and bannings, but it will require a buy in by all posters here.  This is something Michelle and I are suggesting, it's not really something we can do on our own.

 

Bannings and suspensions are still going to happen because we'll still get the usual trolls registering here, commercial spammers etc. 

 

Here's my concern though.  Politeness can be really passive aggressive.  In the hands of a clever person it can be intentionally galling and infuriating.  There is still room for abuse here.  Also, any set of rules structure or expectations can be gamed by skilled people who have an agenda, be it personal or part of an organized lobby.  Not pointing fingers, just sayin'.  Something we'll have to watch for and respond to as a community.

 

Also, something I've tried to be aware of, and not always successfully, is that some people are what I might describe as competitive and robust debaters.  Maybe I've sort of let them go at eachother a bit more as long as there was no collateral damage.  Maybe I shouldn't do that, as it's a bit exclusionary, but I don't know.  A good parliamentary jab and thrust can be fun, 'til someone puts an eye out.  Like I say though, this will require a buy in by the community, so we'll give it our best try and see how it goes.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I don't think babblers are even in agreement as to what a "personal attack" really means.

There are some babblers who characterize any disagreement with them as a personal attack; they then feel free to respond by making actual personal attacks, and the situation escalates.

I have even seen moderators scold people for personal attacks that are not in fact attacks on the character, intelligence, general knowledge, or motives of another babbler, but merely strongly negative characterizations of their arguments or their methods of argument.

These are personal attacks:
You have reading comprehension problems.
His comments are aimed at protecting oppressive behaviour.
I see the habitual defenders of white male privilege are hard at work in this thread.
Your only purpose in this thread is to smear the NDP.
Your comments demonstrate once again that there are as many assholes on the left of the political spectrum as there are on the right.
There are many aspects of the anti-racism and oppression realm to which you are totally tone deaf.
You are a liar.

These are not personal attacks:
It should be obvious to anyone who can read English that....
I find it bizarre that someone who claims to be a feminist would profess such a viewpoint.
Your comment is completely illogical.
That comment is unworthy of you.
I refuse to take your bait.
Instead of rhetorical grandstanding, why don't you address the topic of this thread?
Your position is rank hypocrisy.
Your position only gives aid and comfort to the imperialists.
That comment is bullshit.
Do you ever listen to yourself when you make comments like that?
Why do you keep telling lies?
Stop trolling.

That's my opinion, anyway. But I'm sure there's hardly anyone who agrees with it completely.

Which actually proves my point.

Infosaturated

I did not advocate mass bannings.  I actually gave "regulars" the courtesy of assuming they would be capable of following the rules.

Unionist

Oldgoat, I agreed with most of your post, but it's in the wrong thread. Why not let's follow what Michelle asked, and leave the issue of bannings, discipline, sanctions, etc. to the other thread. This one is supposed to be about... well, exactly what the title says. The discussion gets very diffuse otherwise.

 

martin dufresne

Thanks for the list MSpector: I was thinking of assembling something like this to help differrentiate personal attacks from claims thereof but didn't have the time today.

 Where would "You are killing us" fit though?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'm pretty much in agreement, M. Spector.

Unionist

M. Spector wrote:

That's my opinion, anyway. But I'm sure there's hardly anyone who agrees with it completely.

Which actually proves my point.

I agree with it (almost) completely.

Which actually (almost) disproves your point.

 

oldgoat

Unionist wrote:

Oldgoat, I agreed with most of your post, but it's in the wrong thread. Why not let's follow what Michelle asked, and leave the issue of bannings, discipline, sanctions, etc. to the other thread. This one is supposed to be about... well, exactly what the title says. The discussion gets very diffuse otherwise.

 

 

Oh poop!  I was back and forth between the two and thought I was putting it there.

Mea culpa, though not mea maxima culpa

remind remind's picture

#Well if we are registering a yea or nay to the lists, I say nay.

remind remind's picture

test test test

Tommy_Paine

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html#hominem

 

At the bottom of this page, there's a list of fallacious arguments, including ad hominem.  I used to review it from time to time.  There hasn't ever been a time where I have not recognized myself using one of these.  At least one.

I haven't reviewed it in some time, and a quick read tells me I should have been.

Another guide I should be reviewing from time to time is Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit".

http://users.tpg.com.au/users/tps-seti/baloney.html

Not that these are tools designed for avoiding nasty arguments, but, the more I keep them in mind, the more I find myself to the idea, and not the person.

 

Unionist

remind wrote:

#Well if we are registering a yea or nay to the lists, I say nay.

Well, I would have to agree that:

Quote:
Why do you keep telling lies?

... sounds more like a personal attack (possibly very well founded) than a simple request for information. The same would apply to a couple of the others on that list B.

 

oldgoat

remind wrote:

#Well if we are registering a yea or nay to the lists, I say nay.

 

Me too

janfromthebruce

M. Spector, when I saw the list provided this is some of my random thoughts that they evoked in my head.

These are not personal attacks:
It should be obvious to anyone who can read English that.... (arrogant)
I find it bizarre that someone who claims to be a feminist would profess such a viewpoint. (arrogant & righteous)
Your comment is completely illogical. (righteous & all knowing)
That comment is unworthy of you. (opinionated & paternizing)
I refuse to take your bait. (ok)
Instead of rhetorical grandstanding, why don't you address the topic of this thread? (confrontational)
Your position is rank hypocrisy. (opinionated & shutting down)
Your position only gives aid and comfort to the imperialists. (opinionated as evoking the collective "we")
That comment is bullshit. (opinion)
Do you ever listen to yourself when you make comments like that? (do you?)
Why do you keep telling lies? (confrontation and again, opinionated)
Stop trolling. (ok)

To me, it is often statements like some of the above that get posters going - get someone else's heckles up - I believe it's ok to disagree with another position, and is what one thinks. As a heads up, as soon as one evokes "you" rather than "I" one is making a value judgment. Thus it works to make the "other" feel defensive or go to the defensive which may or may not be what the "challenger" is after.

Michelle

Me three.  I see many of the remarks in the second list as implicit insults and derogatory assumptions about other babblers and their motives, and I would feel attacked if those remarks were aimed at me.

I also think that the spirit of this thread (a helpful resource for people to discuss ways of improving tone) isn't really being maintained right now.  The reason I asked at the beginning that people not post examples of other people's transgressions is because I didn't want this to be a thread about putting people on the defensive, or a continuation of fights from other threads. 

And yet, it seems that people are finding it really difficult to talk about constructive ways of communicating without using it as an opportunity to highlight other people's faults.  Isn't that interesting?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

So, when faced with a truly illogical post, how do you recommend one respond? 

Unionist

"That's a truly illogical post", combined with an explanation.

 

oldgoat

" Your delightfully eccentric relationship with conventional reality is refreshing, but a more practical though admittedly pedestrian approach might be......."

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

LOL.

But still.  There are times when it's difficult to directly express something or point out a flaw in an argument in a way that isn't going to cause fussing in the other party.  And I'd argue the less grounded in "conventional reality" the more fuss is going to ensue when called on it.  (To be clear:  I'm not talking about calling out posters in a personal sense!)  So what do we do?  Just say okay and go away?  Not going to foster much discussion that way.

remind remind's picture

So... then is a course in logic going to be recomended, before joining and participating? ;)

And what is logical to some, is not logical  to others.

 

Michelle

Timebandit wrote:

So, when faced with a truly illogical post, how do you recommend one respond? 

Well, how about back to "I" statements?  Instead of saying something like, "Your comment is completely illogical," how about, "I don't see the logic in that remark...x contradicts y," or "I don't understand your reasoning...the way I see it, if x, then y can't be so..."

And it leaves the door open to the possibility that a) maybe you might be wrong, b) maybe they expressed their point poorly or skipped a word by accident or something, or c) maybe you're right, but you don't need to completely demolish and write off the other person for having made an error - you can leave them a bit of face-saving room to back down from the comment.

Bookish Agrarian

In the spirit of the thread.  My early employment background was working with often violent individuals that often had trouble misconstruing the normal signals we all unconsciously pick up to tell us what someone means. 

In that work environment I found it very necessary to try and see things from others point of view.  I think little of that happens on babble, and when it does it is usually done to score some cheap debating point, not to try to actually understand the point the other person is trying to understand. 

I don't absolve myself of anything, but I think a little more humility from all of us would be a good thing.

And oldgoat, I love a good heckle, and am prone to them myself, but I think that parlimentary jab is both a way too male thing, and goes a long way to explaining a great part of the problem of babble and how it chases away some and just turns others away before they really get a feel for the place.

Michelle

Let's take "That comment is bullshit" - is this really a constructive way to disagree with something someone has posted?  We can't think of a way of saying this that does not come across so much as an attack?

How about, "I disagree with your comment."  Or even, "I really disagree with your comment."  Or, "That comment really upsets me because x".  Or even, "I felt furious when I read that comment because x." 

janfromthebruce

I'm kind of chuckling Michelle - as I remember trying to teach my pre-teen and young teen girls to fight fairly. Yes, I am falling off the thread a bit - humour me, please.

Anyway, I suggested all the I feel statements - and at the end - they mostly looked at me and rolled their eyes, and matter of factly stated, if they did that - the kids would laugh at them. Anyway, you were just evoking that not-too-long-ago era where I was trying to get them to fight with their words rather than....

now back to the scheduled thread of close listening and reflective dialogue.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

M. Spector wrote:

These are not personal attacks:
It should be obvious to anyone who can read English that....
I find it bizarre that someone who claims to be a feminist would profess such a viewpoint.
Your comment is completely illogical.
That comment is unworthy of you.
I refuse to take your bait.
Instead of rhetorical grandstanding, why don't you address the topic of this thread?
Your position is rank hypocrisy.
Your position only gives aid and comfort to the imperialists.
That comment is bullshit.

Do you ever listen to yourself when you make comments like that?

Why do you keep telling lies?

Stop trolling.

IMHO, these are exactly the types of comments that shutdown any sort of civil conversation and turn threads into flame wars.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

If you make me hold hands and sing "Kum Bay Yah", I swear to gawd I'll hit somebody.  (Please note:  This is a joke.  I don't actually mean it.  And I can't hit through the internets, anyway.)

On a more serious note, I'm not sure how workable the "I" statements are.  I understand what you're getting at, I do.  But the comments you're suggesting don't actually mean the same thing as "That comment is bullshit" or "that comment is nonsense".  And let's face it, at some point, that's what you're going to want to express.

Bookish Agrarian

Michelle -how about- didn't I read something similar in a press relase from the Conservatives the other day.  Or CS for short?

Michelle

Hey, sometimes I want to express that so-and-so is a great big fucking asshole, too.  But that doesn't make it constructive.  Perhaps there are some places where it's just not appropriate to let loose with all barrels.  Perhaps babble should be one of those places.

I mean, how workable is "Your comment is bullshit"?  Does anything good come of posting that, beyond the temporary gratification you might feel at having vented your anger at someone?  (I say this because I've done it so many times so I know that feeling. :D )

But is it really constructive discussion?  Perhaps it's not exactly a personal attack (in that you're attacking the comment and not the person), but it's still an attack as opposed to a reasonable, civil remark.  And when people are on the receiving end of such an attack, it shuts down any reasonable discussion from that point forward. 

I mean, what is someone supposed to say to that?  "Why, yes, you're right, my remarks ARE bullshit, thanks for pointing that out."

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