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How to make post without pissing each other off (or, a "code of conduct" meta-thread)

DrezDrez Registered User regular
edited August 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
I'm going to keep this short because I don't want to wall-of-text everyone.

So a debate arose in the gay rights thread over whether a certain individual was "concern trolling" or not.

I think the forum-goers in general (not just on Penny-Arcade) have gotten a little too obsessed with two things:

a) Rhetoric, at the expense of real discourse.
b) Dismissal, at the expense of any discourse.

When I say rhetoric, I'm talking about all those fallacies, verbal gambits, misdirection, and whatnot that people employ for their amusement.

Sometimes, people really just aren't reasonable, but it seems like lately a lot of people just pick a role in a conversation and try to fill that role as much as possible using any rhetorical gambits they can effectively employ. Strawmanning seems to be a big one here lately, and it's equally divided I think between people actually strawmanning and people just accusing people. Sometimes people just misunderstand each other. Why jump to accusations right away? Even if you're right, accusing someone of strawmanning you doesn't really elevate the discourse. It usually just turns the conversation into a lesson on what strawmanning is. It turns half the thread into pedants while the rest attack or defend each other over whether or not what was said was a strawman argument. I've seen "strawman, I wasn't saying that" "oh yes you were" "oh no I wasn't" and so on for pages. Same goes for a number of other criticisms hurled at people for their rhetoric.

When I say dismissal, I am talking about ad hominem, character assassination, feigned indignation, godwinning (moer like godlosing amirite?), meme spamming, and the like.

Sometimes, one's dismissal of another poster as a troll or whatever may be valid. Some people very obviously troll. Some people just share a widely different mindset, though. Even if someone is a troll, even if someone is lying, when it started to become a fad to automatically leap to dismissal, general conversation really started to take a nosedive.

It's also become common nature to bring up something someone said years ago to criticize what they are saying now. I have no problem doing that with politicians who are being voted into office, but your average forum poster can and probably will evolve over the course of his life. There's no reason to take someone to task for a bit of excessive ignorance they had three years ago. People learn. I think expecting that someone is forever the same is a pretty giant fallacy in itself.

Anyway, don't get me wrong. "You're just a troll, gofuk" has been a thing on the 'net for a very long time. I just think it's about 10x more prevalent now. Maybe 100x, I don't know.

I guess my general point here is that I think we've all gotten into this habit of dismissing each other for the slightest perceived verbal injustice, including the remotest possibility of introducing a tiny logical fallacy. Sometimes people are just illogical. Not everyone is so intelligent and malicious that they are constantly trying to manipulate the conversation with rhetoric.

I think it does more to harm to discourse than not. If we just keep dismissing everyone who says anything slightly stupid, it makes conversation a grueling, combative activity. Maybe it's fun on some vindictive level, but it doesn't actually promote conversation, even if your criticisms and dismissals are wholly valid.

Can't we all just get along? (rhetorical question: of course we can't)

Anyway, I am not pointing a finger at anyone in particular here, and god knows I'm probably one of the biggest offenders of all the above. I hope people take this topic rather lightheartedly. I just wanted to see what people thought of present general discussion culture, and not necessarily just on D&D or PA, but on other forums as well.

Drez on
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Posts

  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I think Wikipedia's principle of assuming good faith should be enforced by virtual lazor gunpoint.
    Assuming good faith is a fundamental principle on Wikipedia. It is the assumption that editors' edits and comments are made in good faith. Most people try to help the project, not hurt it. If this were false, a project like Wikipedia would be doomed from the beginning.

    When disagreement occurs, try to the best of your ability to explain and resolve the problem, not cause more conflict, and give others the opportunity to do the same. Consider whether a dispute stems from different perspectives, and look for ways to reach consensus.

    When doubt is cast on good faith, continue to assume good faith yourself where you can. Be civil and follow dispute resolution processes, rather than attacking editors or edit warring with them. If you wish to express doubts about the conduct of fellow Wikipedians, please substantiate those doubts with specific diffs and other relevant evidence, so that people can understand the basis for your concerns. Although bad conduct may seem to be due to bad faith, it is usually best to address the conduct without mentioning motives (which mention would tend to exacerbate resentments all around).

    Be careful about citing this principle too aggressively. Just as one can incorrectly judge that another is acting in bad faith, so too can one mistakenly conclude that bad faith is being assumed, and exhortations to "Assume Good Faith" can themselves reflect negative assumptions about others if a perceived assumption of bad faith was not clear-cut.

    Edit: the point of Wikipedia is obviously very different from the point of PA. Wikipedia's discussions exist to forge consensus to create a public database of knowledge; PA's discussions exist for their own sake, I reckon. But still, I think it's a good principle.

    Qingu on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Would making up some kind of tag or smiley to associate with attacks help posters police other posts? We lime things here - why not have a special smiley follow an ad-hom attack? Highlight text in a peach color when a poster is confusing cause and correlation. Those kinds of tools would be more specific than "STFU GOOSETROLL" ... maybe?

    emnmnme on
  • LoklarLoklar Registered User
    edited July 2010
    I notice this in the libertarian thread.

    I'm not sure there is anything that can/should be done. The moderation on the Internet is way different than the moderation at an actual debate. If the minority position makes a really good point, there is no moderator here that can insist that the other side addresses it.

    I think individuals strategy should be to focus on the arguments of people they respect. And if you're in the minority, don't seek to "win the debate", instead just put up the best argument you can. Also liming people who make a good point, and giving credit to good arguments you disagree with.

    But I don't think an internet forum can ever be a rock-solid debating arena. Some people leave threads, others join, it's too much of a mish-mash. Just be respectful, and don't respond to those who aren't IMO.

    Loklar on
  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I like the general discussion culture here and the moderation(or in some cases lack of) is spot on.
    Almost every single poster has a really strong personal opinion on at least one particular issue, be it because of his/hers current situation, be it because of a level of expertise above the general in said field(and above that of most other participants) or be it because unfortunately, the structure of online forums and the rules of online discussion somehow limit the debate in ways that would be trivial to expose in a verbal discussion, which leads to added frustration on sensitive topics.
    I've been guilty of b) on a couple of topics at least and I've tried to deal with it by simply not participating in the discussion. Most often than not, there is somebody with more patience who doesn't lack the desire to make the argument I would have liked to build.
    Also
    But I don't think an internet forum can ever be a rock-solid debating arena

    zeeny on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I agree with what Qingu posted. I'm actually really interested in getting a variety of viewpoints represented, and I think assuming bad faith on the part of people who are in political disagreement undermines this. I don't think it helps change individuals' minds to be rude and confrontational, and when a lone dissenting voice is shouted down, he shouts back, then the cacophony starts and the dissenter gets scared away, his views unchanged and others' views go unchallenged.

    I think that every format of communication has certain limitations. A person-to-person live conversation means we can't conveniently look stuff up, a message board means there's probably going to be 1-3 people holding one or two odd views and a lot of people sharing a local mainstream view. It also means there's going to be a few people throwing bombs.

    It's the bomb-throwers who are the problem, I think. They are worse than stupid people, they serve to create a traffic jam of dialog.

    Loren Michael on
    2ezikn6.jpg
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The infraction system of this board also works against lone dissenters. One person who says something that a lot of people vehemently disagree with is going to get a lot of people provoking him. That is, if he gets into a protracted pissing match, it's a lot of spread out infractions on everyone else, and a lot of concentrated infractions on the individual.

    Loren Michael on
    2ezikn6.jpg
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Dismissal is really bad around here, in my unscientific opinion. At least in terms of the few message boards I have been on.

    I remember that "Ke$ha is a racist thread" where my argument kept on getting dismissed as "boring" instead of responded to.

    Sexism threads tend to have that kind of thing too. It seems that whenever you try to argue against something being racist or sexist or whateverist you are automatically shot down on the position of your argument rather than the content, regardless of whether you have a valid point or not.

    JebusUD on
    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The infraction system of this board also works against lone dissenters. One person who says something that a lot of people vehemently disagree with is going to get a lot of people provoking him. That is, if he gets into a protracted pissing match, it's a lot of spread out infractions on everyone else, and a lot of concentrated infractions on the individual.

    I have noticed this as well. The very "conservative"(TM, american style conservative) people tend to get way more infractions.

    JebusUD on
    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    zeeny wrote: »
    But I don't think an internet forum can ever be a rock-solid debating arena

    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    JebusUD wrote: »
    The infraction system of this board also works against lone dissenters. One person who says something that a lot of people vehemently disagree with is going to get a lot of people provoking him. That is, if he gets into a protracted pissing match, it's a lot of spread out infractions on everyone else, and a lot of concentrated infractions on the individual.

    I have noticed this as well. The very "conservative"(TM, american style conservative) people tend to get way more infractions.

    I think that's just due to the lone dissenter phenomenon that Loren mentioned. I don't think even Than would hand out infractions to Republican Police Prison Guard Westboro homophobes just 'cause.

    templewulf on
    Twitch.tv/FiercePunchStudios | PSN | Steam | Discord | SFV CFN: templewulf
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    But I don't think an internet forum can ever be a rock-solid debating arena

    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.

    But then only the most knowledgeable people are conversing with each other on a given topic. If that's the kind of culture you think we should have, okay, but at least understand that's what it is.

    Even then, though, the discourse may still devolve into "talking at" instead of "conversing with" each other. Debate may primarily consist of attack and defend, I guess, but discourse doesn't have to.

    I don't see anything wrong with being inclusive, even to the people with kindergarten-level understanding of a given topic. Why not take the time to articulate your position to these people in a comprehensive manner and in language that they can comprehend? I don't see engaging these people in a little enlightenment as "bringing down the discourse." But I guess that's because I don't view a conversation with only a bunch of knowledgeable smarties talking at each other as containing inherently better discourse than one where everything is hashed out for all levels of competency.

    Drez on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    But I don't think an internet forum can ever be a rock-solid debating arena

    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.

    Well, I think that's a factor as well. It's been a while since I've checked, but ACSIS pretty much has (or had, maybe) his own thread in the skepticism thread, right? That's largely because people can't resist feeding the guy. At the same time though, if there was organized disagreement (an utter fantasy in a message board), you could have one or two people talking to him, and the rest of the people either shutting up about him or addressing the people he's talking to.

    As it is, when someone says something stupid (or something that we mistakenly perceive to be stupid) you get a lone "stupid" person and something like 5-20 people addressing him. At that point, he can pretty much pick and choose what comments he feels like responding to, ignoring the most relevant and targeting the stuff that's easy to engage with.

    It's been a damn long time since I've seen it, but this is exactly what happens if evolution gets brought up. I know it's what happens if someone takes the denialist position on global warming.

    Loren Michael on
    2ezikn6.jpg
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    But I don't think an internet forum can ever be a rock-solid debating arena

    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.

    Well, I think that's a factor as well. It's been a while since I've checked, but ACSIS pretty much has (or had, maybe) his own thread in the skepticism thread, right? That's largely because people can't resist feeding the guy. At the same time though, if there was organized disagreement (an utter fantasy in a message board), you could have one or two people talking to him, and the rest of the people either shutting up about him or addressing the people he's talking to.

    As it is, when someone says something stupid (or something that we mistakenly perceive to be stupid) you get a lone "stupid" person and something like 5-20 people addressing him. At that point, he can pretty much pick and choose what comments he feels like responding to, ignoring the most relevant and targeting the stuff that's easy to engage with.

    It's been a damn long time since I've seen it, but this is exactly what happens if evolution gets brought up. I know it's what happens if someone takes the denialist position on global warming.

    Yeah, people need to resist the temptation to dogpile. It's not really a good thing. I don't think it's a disaster, but it doesn't help any discussion.

    Drez: I'm not totally sure that I agree. If somebody less knowledgeable recognizes that, and asks questions or voices speculation rather than tries to forcefully argue, then a positive conversation can develop.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    But I don't think an internet forum can ever be a rock-solid debating arena

    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.

    Well, I think that's a factor as well. It's been a while since I've checked, but ACSIS pretty much has (or had, maybe) his own thread in the skepticism thread, right? That's largely because people can't resist feeding the guy. At the same time though, if there was organized disagreement (an utter fantasy in a message board), you could have one or two people talking to him, and the rest of the people either shutting up about him or addressing the people he's talking to.

    As it is, when someone says something stupid (or something that we mistakenly perceive to be stupid) you get a lone "stupid" person and something like 5-20 people addressing him. At that point, he can pretty much pick and choose what comments he feels like responding to, ignoring the most relevant and targeting the stuff that's easy to engage with.

    It's been a damn long time since I've seen it, but this is exactly what happens if evolution gets brought up. I know it's what happens if someone takes the denialist position on global warming.

    Yeah, people need to resist the temptation to dogpile. It's not really a good thing. I don't think it's a disaster, but it doesn't help any discussion.

    Drez: I'm not totally sure that I agree. If somebody less knowledgeable recognizes that, and asks questions or voices speculation rather than tries to forcefully argue, then a positive conversation can develop.

    Okay so let's say you have some guy. Let's call him Pepper17. Pepper17 comes into a thread asserting something about copyright law. You know he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. But the guy is adamant.

    You have two choices. You could rationally and comprehensively impart your knowledge to Pepper17 and then choose to include or exclude him from the conversation based on his reaction (assuming you weren't a smarmosaur about it), or you could dismiss him right off the bat?

    I maintain that your "adamant layman" as I'll call him, while often arrogant, still isn't worth dismissing off the bat.

    And I'm not suggesting that we entertain people infinitely. If someone just doesn't get it and goes on and on and on and on and on, then of course that person is bringing down the level of discourse.

    I'm primarily talking about this off-the-bat dismissal of people that immediately display their ignorance. The thing is, there's nothing inherently wrong with ignorance on a forum. What's wrong is when people couple insistent arrogance with their ignorance. Nobody has to tolerate that. But I think a little tolerance before automatic dismissal almost always promotes a positive discussion culture rather than a negative one.

    Drez on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Drez wrote: »
    Okay so let's say you have some guy. Let's call him Pepper17. Pepper17 comes into a thread asserting something about copyright law. You know he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. But the guy is adamant.

    You have two choices. You could rationally and comprehensively impart your knowledge to Pepper17 and then choose to include or exclude him from the conversation based on his reaction (assuming you weren't a smarmosaur about it), or you could dismiss him right off the bat?

    I maintain that your "adamant layman" as I'll call him, while often arrogant, still isn't worth dismissing off the bat.

    And I'm not suggesting that we entertain people infinitely. If someone just doesn't get it and goes on and on and on and on and on, then of course that person is bringing down the level of discourse.

    I'm primarily talking about this off-the-bat dismissal of people that immediately display their ignorance. The thing is, there's nothing inherently wrong with ignorance on a forum. What's wrong is when people couple insistent arrogance with their ignorance. Nobody has to tolerate that. But I think a little tolerance before automatic dismissal almost always promotes a positive discussion culture rather than a negative one.

    Okay, everything you've said here makes total sense to me.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • DagrabbitDagrabbit Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    As someone who's made a few attempts over the years to participate in this forum, then gave up, I might be able to help comment on some of the OP's comments.

    The dismissal thing is a symptom of a larger problem. If someone, especially a new poster, takes a minority, unpopular position, several unpleasant things happen:

    1. There's a dogpile of responses.

    2. The responses are typically dismissive, either in the outright way the OP suggests, or snarky, "There's no way you actually believe that," or "Hey, is that an alt for <insert derided former forum poster>"

    3. The responses demand a far higher level of sophistication from the minority position than the majority adheres to.

    4. Perhaps most dammingly, the majority does not argue with the poster, but their sterotype of what the poster's position means. They argue against the strawman of the argument, not the argument itself, because they've already classified the minority position and have a come to a conclusion based on that larger classification.

    All of this gives the minority the impression that the majority is not interested in having a meaningful discussion. The discussion will not be interesting, productive, or fun. It makes the forum appear close-minded because certain issues are, essentially, settled law, and arguing against the established set of valid positions is treated derisively. So why bother participating?

    Dagrabbit on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    One problem is that people get defensive when attacked, and lots of people will attack if they perceive that someone has said something that seems ignorant. That is, the high-strung "kill the bad ideas!" folks tend to poison the well for fruitful discussion. Once someone has been attacked, it's tough to get them to admit when they are wrong, or that a contrary point has some merit.

    Loren Michael on
    2ezikn6.jpg
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I think that, in addition to what has been stated, a lot of problems are caused by people assuming that the only ways somebody could have an opinion opposite their own is a.)stupidity or b.)ignorance of information. This is sheer arrogance and just about everybody does it at some point.

    The example that comes to mind is in the gun thread we had a while ago where I was basically holding the "never kill in self defense" position and was being told that I only hold this position because I don't know the facts, I've never had to fight for my life, etc etc. It really didn't help anything in that debate and only dragged everyone down.

    That's not to say that I haven't done it myself, because I'm sure I have. It just seems like a really common and unfortunate tactic I see in debates both here and in person.

    I very much agree that people tend to misinterpret what others say and then argue against that position rather than giving the original poster a chance to clarify their position - if somebody says something that seems completely ridiculous, maybe they just articulated their position poorly. Give them a chance to clarify! I know there have been a number of occasions where I and others have tried to clarify somebody else's position not because we agree with it but because others are deliberately misinterpreting what they said to make them look stupid.

    I think that in general, though, the discourse in discussions here is pretty good. People have a tendency to get very heated about things and let the conversation break down, but up until that point they're always extremely informative and articulate. I've learned a lot about a huge variety of things just by engaging in discussion with people here, something I can't say for a lot of other forums. There are a large number of people here who really are experts in their fields and it can be quite educational to talk to them.

    Nostregar on
    Nostregar wrote: »
    I think that an entire religious debate done in haiku would be genuinely enjoyable.
    You say there is God
    I see only the fleshmeat
    Prove your space daddy
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    If I argue a position poorly, but if the majority agrees with me, I'm not going to subject to as much criticism as if I argue an unpopular position poorly. This does mean that a minority poster needs to uphold a higher standard of argument than a majority poster, but I don't think that this is unique to D&D or even really preventable.

    That said, not dogpiling would help that a lot.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Accusations of trolling/ad hom/strawmanning probably shouldn't occur within the first page of a thread. However, I'm not totally against being somewhat dismissive of people starting threads on subjects that have been thoroughly discussed around here, at least as long as said threads aren't really covering any new ground or offering any new insight.

    As for dogpiling...well, if that hasn't happened to you at least once on these forums, I don't think you've been participating much. And the tendency towards dogpiling is closely related to how you're presenting your opinion. I'm sorry, but if you're conservative, you're in the minority around here. If you don't relish the thought of having 10 replies for every conservative opinion you post, you should construct your posts well enough to at least head off some of the arguments against you, with clear and unambiguous reasoning and evidence. Otherwise you're just poking a hornets' nest.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    If I argue a position poorly, but if the majority agrees with me, I'm not going to subject to as much criticism as if I argue an unpopular position poorly. This does mean that a minority poster needs to uphold a higher standard of argument than a majority poster, but I don't think that this is unique to D&D or even really preventable.

    That said, not dogpiling would help that a lot.

    I think a simple PSA type message coming from posters within the thread might help. A kind of meta-post about the nature of discussion to remind people of the situation they're operating in, directed at both the minority poster and the would-be dog pilers. Directing peoples' attention to their situation is a decent way of letting people overcome their situation, in my experience.

    Loren Michael on
    2ezikn6.jpg
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.
    I disagree. The best thing to do would be to teach you, and to do so in a way that you wouldn't reflexively dismiss what I have to say but be willing to learn about the subject.

    Edit: what Drez said.

    Qingu on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.
    I disagree. The best thing to do would be to teach you, and to do so in a way that you wouldn't reflexively dismiss what I have to say but be willing to learn about the subject.

    Edit: what Drez said.

    I agree with Drez too given his most recent post. Initially assuming the poster is in good faith, and then responding in good faith in kind once or twice, is something I can get behind. When I wrote the quoted text, I was more thinking of people who continue, after some preliminary debate, to hold a point that has been thoroughly debunked or otherwise demonstrates a profound ignorance of the topic.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Another point which has come to my attention:

    People really need to be aware of the fact that people from different language communities use words differently and may not mean what you think they mean by something. Again, if somebody says something that seems ridiculous, you should clarify before attacking.

    Or so it seems to me.

    Nostregar on
    Nostregar wrote: »
    I think that an entire religious debate done in haiku would be genuinely enjoyable.
    You say there is God
    I see only the fleshmeat
    Prove your space daddy
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    You can never have a rock-solid debating arena unless people can be ignored or dismissed. If you're making an argument founded on an expert knowledge of a topic, and I'm making an argument based on kindergarten-level misunderstandings, the best thing to do would be to ignore or dismiss me, because I'm just going to drag the level of discourse down.

    Sorry, but not every opinion is worth serious consideration.
    I disagree. The best thing to do would be to teach you, and to do so in a way that you wouldn't reflexively dismiss what I have to say but be willing to learn about the subject.

    Edit: what Drez said.

    I agree with Drez too given his most recent post. Initially assuming the poster is in good faith, and then responding in good faith in kind once or twice, is something I can get behind. When I wrote the quoted text, I was more thinking of people who continue, after some preliminary debate, to hold a point that has been thoroughly debunked or otherwise demonstrates a profound ignorance of the topic.
    Yes. Or people who write one-sentence posts that are basically copied and pasted talking points. Even if you're getting dogpiled, you should still make an effort to engage the discussion.

    Qingu on
  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Drez wrote: »

    But then only the most knowledgeable people are conversing with each other on a given topic.

    Except it's not a conversation between those two people from which others are excluded. Anyone can jump in and participate, and display varying degrees of a) knowledge and b) willingness to learn. There is a difference between the guy who says "I think X" and is wrong, and the guy who pretends he's an expert on X, scolds everyone who disagrees with him on X, and throws a tantrum when he runs into an actual expert on X.

    Part of the problem, I think, is that those of us who have been around the Internet for a scrillion years have seen trolls and silly geese do the same dance over and over. So when A leads to B leads to C leads to concern trolling, there's a tendency to step in at A and say "Thanks, concern troll, take a hike", which may baffle people who are asking "Gee, the guy just said A, why are you biting his head off?" And, of course, people who aren't actually trolling but are maybe just being a little clueless.

    The assume-good-faith approach is sound, but problematic when it contradicts past experience ("Xyzzy does this in every thread he's in") or enables a troll to waste everybody's time and energy. Part of this is solveable with more liberal use of Ignore.

    And of course any sufficiently wound wingnut is indistinguishable from a troll.

    mythago on
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  • DagrabbitDagrabbit Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    wwtMask wrote: »
    Accusations of trolling/ad hom/strawmanning probably shouldn't occur within the first page of a thread. However, I'm not totally against being somewhat dismissive of people starting threads on subjects that have been thoroughly discussed around here, at least as long as said threads aren't really covering any new ground or offering any new insight.

    As for dogpiling...well, if that hasn't happened to you at least once on these forums, I don't think you've been participating much. And the tendency towards dogpiling is closely related to how you're presenting your opinion. I'm sorry, but if you're conservative, you're in the minority around here. If you don't relish the thought of having 10 replies for every conservative opinion you post, you should construct your posts well enough to at least head off some of the arguments against you, with clear and unambiguous reasoning and evidence. Otherwise you're just poking a hornets' nest.

    It doesn't have to be a hornet's nest though. If you honestly feel like someone, or their position, is not worth engaging, just don't reply and that thread (or subset of a thread) will die.

    Dagrabbit on
  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Dagrabbit wrote: »
    It doesn't have to be a hornet's nest though. If you honestly feel like someone, or their position, is not worth engaging, just don't reply and that thread (or subset of a thread) will die.

    The thread won't die because one person fails to respond.

    Consider as well that people write their responses not just to discuss with the other posters, but with readers in mind. If poster foobar posts an idiot opinion with made-up facts, I may not care that foobar is a silly goose; but I may care that other people will believe foobar is telling the truth.

    mythago on
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  • DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The dog pile thing becomes increasingly worse because those doing the piling really have no desire really allow the other party to respond. It becomes about the pile rather then any debate. The times it has happened to me I find myself forced to repeat myself 10-20 times because people dont even respond the points I am making or the questions I am asking. Instead everyone jumping on wants to argue against what they have already decided "i meant."

    The main issue is, most people aren't hear to really listen. Most debates here have pretty entrenched sides without any intention of either side swaying. The discourse threads are much more entertaining to me because they involve a lot more give and take. Threads designed for debate really just spin in circles until the minority opinion tires.

    Disrupter on
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  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Disrupter wrote: »
    The dog pile thing becomes increasingly worse because those doing the piling really have no desire really allow the other party to respond. It becomes about the pile rather then any debate. The times it has happened to me I find myself forced to repeat myself 10-20 times because people dont even respond the points I am making or the questions I am asking. Instead everyone jumping on wants to argue against what they have already decided "i meant."

    The main issue is, most people aren't hear to really listen. Most debates here have pretty entrenched sides without any intention of either side swaying. The discourse threads are much more entertaining to me because they involve a lot more give and take. Threads designed for debate really just spin in circles until the minority opinion tires.

    Isn't part of the problem we're discussing the assumption that others are acting out of malice or other base motives? Assuming that others are acting in a group to shut you up, ignore you or deliberately misstate your position does not sound like an assumption of "good faith".

    mythago on
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  • DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perhaps the assumptions of motives was wrong. However, most times in this forum when one person is arguing against a much larger group they are forced to constantly restate their position and clearify it against false assumptions of that position. Why they have to do that, I do not know. And it isnt just a majority opinion thing, the minority opinion very seldomly relents either. There is usually very little progress made in the debate other then the minority opinion being exhausted.

    Disrupter on
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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    mythago wrote: »
    Disrupter wrote: »
    The dog pile thing becomes increasingly worse because those doing the piling really have no desire really allow the other party to respond. It becomes about the pile rather then any debate. The times it has happened to me I find myself forced to repeat myself 10-20 times because people dont even respond the points I am making or the questions I am asking. Instead everyone jumping on wants to argue against what they have already decided "i meant."

    The main issue is, most people aren't hear to really listen. Most debates here have pretty entrenched sides without any intention of either side swaying. The discourse threads are much more entertaining to me because they involve a lot more give and take. Threads designed for debate really just spin in circles until the minority opinion tires.

    Isn't part of the problem we're discussing the assumption that others are acting out of malice or other base motives? Assuming that others are acting in a group to shut you up, ignore you or deliberately misstate your position does not sound like an assumption of "good faith".

    When someone is declared a "troll", that's a claim that can be made in good faith. One can honestly believe that a participant is not acting in good faith while acting in good faith oneself. This is something that I believe needs to be discouraged.

    There's also the matter of individual desires amounting to a collectively bad outcome. Everyone wants a piece of the new guy with the weird opinion, which effectively, eventually, simply shuts the new guy down.

    Loren Michael on
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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    When someone is declared a "troll", that's a claim that can be made in good faith. One can honestly believe that a participant is not acting in good faith while acting in good faith oneself. This is something that I believe needs to be discouraged.

    Broadly speaking, accusing somebody of being a troll (or an alt) is an infractable offense. It doesn't get punished that often, but the mods aren't everywhere all the time. If you see it, and you find it objectionable, report it.

    Feral on
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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    When someone is declared a "troll", that's a claim that can be made in good faith. One can honestly believe that a participant is not acting in good faith while acting in good faith oneself. This is something that I believe needs to be discouraged.

    Broadly speaking, accusing somebody of being a troll (or an alt) is an infractable offense. It doesn't get punished that often, but the mods aren't everywhere all the time. If you see it, and you find it objectionable, report it.

    Definitely falls under "no metamodding." The problem is, telling someone to stop metamodding is, itself, metamodding.

    I've actually PMed people (in a friendly tone) to tell them that they should probably remove or change something they posted. Like someone new will pop up in H/A and use the n-word. You'll have like 10 posts after that saying "ooh, you're going to be infracted for that!" but I try to just message the guy/gal and tell them why they might get in trouble for the post.

    I guess that could be metamodding too, but I usually do so in the spirit of someone saving someone ignorant to the forum rules from getting infracted for their ignorance. Plus, they learn the rule that way.

    Drez on
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Honestly, the dogpile maybe overstated as well. Consider, for example, a new poster coming in and starting an evolution thread. We've flogged that horse repeatedly, and as such most of us have responses to standard phrases and talking points already formulated. That person will be inundated quickly because we collectively cannot allow a person to be wrong on the internet.

    If you're an old poster around here and get dogpiled, though, it's probably because you're doing it wrong (ie posting misleading/inflammatory statements without evidence). You really ought to know better than to spout talking points without anything to back them up.

    wwtMask on
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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    wwtMask wrote: »
    If you're an old poster around here and get dogpiled, though, it's probably because you're doing it wrong (ie posting misleading/inflammatory statements without evidence). You really ought to know better than to spout talking points without anything to back them up.

    Nah, it could pretty easily be that you just cut against the grain of what people believe. Immigration is an issue that gets a lot of peoples' goats for whatever reason.

    Loren Michael on
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    wwtMask wrote: »
    If you're an old poster around here and get dogpiled, though, it's probably because you're doing it wrong (ie posting misleading/inflammatory statements without evidence). You really ought to know better than to spout talking points without anything to back them up.

    Nah, it could pretty easily be that you just cut against the grain of what people believe. Immigration is an issue that gets a lot of peoples' goats for whatever reason.
    There's certainly an element of personal investment when it comes to the "dogpiling" phenomenon.

    But at the same time, if you've been around here for any length of time you've got to realize that empty rhetoric is going to spawn a shitstorm of replies unless it is based in something specific. In those cases, it's still somewhat on the people who pile on, but the poster who throws up boilerplate has to share some of the blame.

    OptimusZed on
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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    wwtMask wrote: »
    If you're an old poster around here and get dogpiled, though, it's probably because you're doing it wrong (ie posting misleading/inflammatory statements without evidence). You really ought to know better than to spout talking points without anything to back them up.

    Nah, it could pretty easily be that you just cut against the grain of what people believe. Immigration is an issue that gets a lot of peoples' goats for whatever reason.
    There's certainly an element of personal investment when it comes to the "dogpiling" phenomenon.

    But at the same time, if you've been around here for any length of time you've got to realize that empty rhetoric is going to spawn a shitstorm of replies unless it is based in something specific. In those cases, it's still somewhat on the people who pile on, but the poster who throws up boilerplate has to share some of the blame.

    Then there's a fact that arguing a specific point tends to lead to both sides debating an entire issue. Take, for example, the way some militarists on this forum decided I hated the troops because I said one of the arguments they were using to oppose a policy change was stupid (specifically, the argument that soldiers smoking must be good because it's part of the culture).

    Scalfin on
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  • SithDrummerSithDrummer Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I think this thread has had a place waiting for it, a need to be posted since I first stumbled into D&D. Not that I'm particularly aged in this forum, but still - good work, Drez.

    SithDrummer on
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  • DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    wwtMask wrote: »
    If you're an old poster around here and get dogpiled, though, it's probably because you're doing it wrong (ie posting misleading/inflammatory statements without evidence). You really ought to know better than to spout talking points without anything to back them up.

    Not really. To preface this, I am one of the most liberal people I know in real life, but on this forum, I am probably on the relatively conservative end. And if you have a remotely conservative viewpoint, you will likely be piled on no matter how well you present your arguments.

    I mean, it really doesn't matter how well a conservative view is presented here, it is likely going to be piled upon. I am refraining from using the phrase attack, because that isnt always fair, although sometimes the minority opinion is attacked. Especially in more emotional topics such as sexuality.

    I think part of it is because some people feel like they are being attacked just because someone HAS the opposite opinion. Which is fair in some cases. If your a gay man and someone has the opinion that gay men shouldn't be married, its hard to not feel attacked no matter how classy or well formed said opinion is presented. So on the more explosive topics, some of the more liberal sides feel attacked simply by the conservative view existing, since in a lot of cases those views inherently degrade a group of people. Thus, they attack back.

    Disrupter on
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