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Old 12-08-2019, 02:42 PM
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A humble suggestion/idea...


I’m wondering if maybe, in the name of civil discourse, and to perhaps balance the ‘BBQ Pit’ effect, we might consider adding a new forum specifically for civil discourse.

It could be broadly defined as ‘no frothy rhetoric, no inflammatory language, as determined, by mod, on an entirely individual discussion basis.’

It sounds like it might be onerous for the mods, I know, but might need little more than a lot of, ‘Dial that back a titch.’, and, ‘Kindly rephrase the following...’

Clearly, it will take some ‘feeling our way along’, to start, for both mods and posters. In early days mods might give a poster say three, ‘do overs’, per thread. Wherein they are simply directed to rephrase, specific words or phrases. After three, they’re out of the thread. Maybe to start, it could include topics from any other forum, but MUST be a civil discussion.

(Or maybe, let posters set any thread as ‘Civil discussion only’, and have the mods can enforce that instead?)

I think it might be a way to lead people to better habits of discussion. To up their language and lower their dander, as it were.

(Also, if posters are being difficult elsewhere, instead of suspending or banning them, they could be sentenced to ONLY posting in the civil discussion thread for a period of time.)

I realize, quite possibly more than any other forum, it would be subject to the mods ‘feelings’, about the exchanges. But I don’t think a banned word list is the way to go.

(I would suggest initially NOT allowing duplicate or parallel threads in other forums. I think it could be easily undermined the idea. So, as long as topic A is an open Civil Discourse thread, that’s where you must talk about the topic until it’s run it’s course, THEN you can Restart the topic in another forum and rehash it in saltier language if you must.)

It’s just an idea. But I thought it had potential.

What are your thoughts?
  #2  
Old 12-08-2019, 02:53 PM
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(I would suggest initially NOT allowing duplicate or parallel threads in other forums. I think it could be easily undermined the idea. So, as long as topic A is an open Civil Discourse thread, that’s where you must talk about the topic until it’s run it’s course, THEN you can Restart the topic in another forum and rehash it in saltier language if you must.)
I don't like that point at all. We've had threads where whoever posted first got to set rules on the discussion, and it kept people from freely discussing the topic.
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Old 12-08-2019, 03:33 PM
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Don't we already have a policy that you don't attack people outside the pit? Ideas, yes, attack those all you want, but don't make it personal. That is the policy, right?
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:02 PM
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Don't we already have, like, ten of those forums?
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:20 PM
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So if something heinous/extraordinarily controversial is done, someone who supports it could quickly start a thread in this new forum and force everyone to be artificially civil about an uncivil situation?
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:10 PM
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Don't we already have, like, ten of those forums?
I can see the sense in the proposal. The other forums don’t allow insults, but they do allow the kind of ‘skirting the line’ sarcasm, snark, and malicious insinuation which often derails what would otherwise be interesting threads. Personally, I’d like to see GD ruthlessly moderated according to Rapoport’s Rules but if that’s a no-go then I’d welcome the addition of a separate forum where everyone just voluntarily agreed to adhere to them.
  #7  
Old 12-08-2019, 06:52 PM
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I don't like that point at all. We've had threads where whoever posted first got to set rules on the discussion, and it kept people from freely discussing the topic.
But I think those threads have completely legit purpose. Sometimes "freely discussing" means "hijacking from what the OP intended/wanted." An OP should be allowed to steer and control the discussion, within certain parameters. If someone is discussing female genital mutilation (an oft-debated human rights issue,) it is perfectly fair for them to say "I don't want any discussion of male circumcision; that's totally different and off-topic."
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:00 PM
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I think the main headache for mods/admins with this sort of forum is that it could be very tricky to determine what is civil or not. Even right now, trying to decide when a poster has crossed the line can be maddeningly blurry. Now imagine that someone in the Civil Forum alerts the mods, "Someone's being uncivil!" Chances are it will be some post that seems......well, OK in any other forum, but awfully hard to decide about on this one.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:02 PM
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Isn't this the same as Great Debates?
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:13 PM
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Frothy Rhetoric! I love this description it so describes my writing cadence, do you think?

Last edited by chela; 12-08-2019 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:33 PM
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You do understand, you don’t have to participate in such discussions if it doesn’t suit you, right?

But for people who would like to try that, there’d be a place where it was available.

And I don’t see inflammatory language modded unless truly egregious, and certainly not against the rules in most other forums, to my mind anyway!

Just an idea is all.

Last edited by elbows; 12-08-2019 at 07:35 PM.
  #12  
Old 12-08-2019, 08:03 PM
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If it's do-able, I'm behind it. People who are worried about free expression, etc., don't have to participate. That's what those same folks have been telling those of us who believe some discussion topics are beyond the pale.

Elbows, as you probably recognized, you're going to get blow-back. I'm pretty sure there are folks who are going to suggest snide names for the thread like Pearl-Clutching or Sensitive Snowflakes. Ignore them. If they want to spout un-civil crap, there are plenty of other boards here. Some of them will probably also do their very, very best to test the limits and be a-holes in every thread. Out they go, I say--not from the SDMB but from the Civil Debate (or whatever it's called) board.

Best of luck with this.
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:47 PM
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Forum of Extraordinary Gentlepersons

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  #14  
Old 12-08-2019, 10:00 PM
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You do understand, you don’t have to participate in such discussions if it doesn’t suit you, right?
You'd think that such a simple concept wouldn't need stating or debating. But, alas, it's just not the case. It even makes people mad to read they aren't obligated to read or participate.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:29 PM
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You'd think that such a simple concept wouldn't need stating or debating. But, alas, it's just not the case. It even makes people mad to read they aren't obligated to read or participate.
I believe you're oversimplifying.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:36 PM
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You'd think that such a simple concept wouldn't need stating or debating. But, alas, it's just not the case. It even makes people mad to read they aren't obligated to read or participate.
And trolling like this shouldn't be allowed in the new forum, even though it is allowed in every other forum.
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Old 12-09-2019, 12:20 AM
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I believe you're oversimplifying.
How so? If a particular thread or forum or website is unappealing to participate in there is absolutely zero obligation to do so. Think of all the media in the world once can participate in. Letters to the editor, comments on various websites, calls to radio talk shows or tv stations, etc can all be made to express agreement or disagreement with various editorials or other content. There is no obligation to do so just because others are communicating.

Every person has a finite life span and a finite interest and the content being generated, while not infinite, is far larger than any person could ever be aware of much less meaningfully participate in. What's wrong with different spaces having different rules of engagement and different levels of appeal?

It's like this, the presence of a Taco Bell generally has 0 impact on my ability to enjoy Burger King.
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Old 12-09-2019, 12:47 AM
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And trolling like this shouldn't be allowed in the new forum, even though it is allowed in every other forum.
You've been around more than long enough to know that accusations of trolling are not allowed outside of the Pit.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 12-09-2019 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:28 AM
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What are your thoughts?
I couldn't agree more.

If I were in charge, I would set up this section with a special debate policy at least on a trial basis and appoint you and/or other dedicated people moderator(s).

It would be refreshing to see people posting their opinions without anyone being allowed to 'contribute' questions like "Where did you get this stupid idea?"
  #20  
Old 12-09-2019, 01:54 AM
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Moderator Note



You've been around more than long enough to know that accusations of trolling are not allowed outside of the Pit.
And you have been around more than long enough to see this trolling. Yet you let it continue and drive more people away from this board...

..and so this board continues to die, thanks to the mods.

Enjoy your board of rules lawerying, and scientific racism, and mysigony, and letting the old white man dictating why everyone who isn't an old white male should bow down to the old white man that rules this place, enjoy ruling this place and shouting everyone else down.

This is a place of decay.

Fuck all of you racist right wing assholes who wish nothing but to sow discord and who love to troll.

You have destroyed this place. As you wished. And the mods let you. The mods let you be trolling assholes in "The Name of Science And Speech".

I hope this place dies.

Sorry Tuba, I once loved this space of thought as much as you did but the letting people get away with so much racism and sexism as this place has allowed.

Well, this me, getting out, fuck all you asssholes, "octopus" you trolling sock, fuck you, "hurricane ditka" you trolling sock, fuck you, "D' Aconia, you trolling sock"

And fuck you SHodan who openly mock members of our military service members. Did you ever serve? No, you cowardly piece of shit. Fuck you troll. You are a special member of the troll family, the "fuck this piece of shit should have all that he has taken away and be given the "mental state of fear that he mocks" just so he might understand how shitty that feels. But no. He is a piece of shit.

That wishes harm both physically and mentally onto people he does not like.

And The Straight Dope fully endorses this position by not sanctioning him.
And yes the trolls come out to defend him and say that, "Well, he did apologize like 3 days later".

So, yeah, you are all a bunch of assholes for allowing this kind of racist sexist bullshit on you website.

I am done with you all.

Fuck you all,

this is me,

fuck you!
  #21  
Old 12-09-2019, 01:59 AM
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And to all the trolls who will say, well, don't let the door hit you on the way out, I will come back in to say "Fuck you troll!"
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:03 AM
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Or to all the trolls, like "Octoupus", very convenient timing on your part, troll, when you did join,

I am honestely surpised the mods diddn't figure out your timining, of you banning and then trollingm I gues the mods are kind of dumb.

But the mods like to play dumb in the face of fairness?

Which is what you exploite.
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:05 AM
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Or to all the trolls, like "Octoupus", very convenient timing on your part, troll, when you did join,

I am honestely surpised the mods diddn't figure out your timining, of you banning and then trollingm I gues the mods are kind of dumb.

But the mods like to play dumb in the face of fairness?

Which is what you exploite.
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:06 AM
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(snip)
Fuck you all,

this is me,

fuck you!
This is an official warning for inappropriate behavior.

I am also giving you a three day suspension since you obviously need some time to cool down.
  #25  
Old 12-09-2019, 05:01 AM
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Well, that was probably the most entertaining and comprehensive suicide-by-mod I've ever seen.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:31 AM
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:42 AM
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Let's not talk about people who are currently suspended and are therefore unable to speak for themselves. Return to the original topic of this thread, please.
  #28  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:21 AM
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But I think those threads have completely legit purpose. Sometimes "freely discussing" means "hijacking from what the OP intended/wanted." An OP should be allowed to steer and control the discussion, within certain parameters. If someone is discussing female genital mutilation (an oft-debated human rights issue,) it is perfectly fair for them to say "I don't want any discussion of male circumcision; that's totally different and off-topic."
Even with a topic like female genital mutilation, i think there *does* exist a small but relevant window for male circumcision to be brought *carefully* and with surgical precision into the conversation. Maybe this possibility has forever been killed here at the Dope because of a few fuckheads who have axes to grind. If so thats a shame. But in an ideal, cerebral discussion of the matter, careful, timely and respectful introduction of some of the more salient points of male circumcision could help color the issue of FGM in a way that only helps further understanding. IMHO at least. Nothing even remotely similar to the shitshows we've seen here.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 12-09-2019 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:44 AM
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Btw, the idea in the OP wont work. Lets say Trump is caught on video sacrificing mexican babies to a effigy of Ivanka. And lets further speculate that the first person here who gets wind of it posts in the "Civil Discussions only" forum. This would make any other forums unable to host any threads on the subject. That wouldnt sit well.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:09 AM
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Even with a topic like female genital mutilation, i think there *does* exist a small but relevant window for male circumcision to be brought *carefully* and with surgical precision into the conversation. ...
Cute. And yes, what has to be be stopped is the divergence of the conversation into one that is only tangentially related and the subject of the thread. And the op's take on that while not of sole importance should be taken into serious consideration. They should not be considered as Jr Modding when they request that it stay on the subject and the mods should respect the request and enforce it unless it is unreasonable.

There clearly are some subjects that if they are to be discussed at all, and I hope many of them can be, need a high level of mod involvement and facilitation to keep discourse civil, to block out JAQing and trolling, and to keep actual discussion possible and tempers down. A whole forum to that level of moderation facilitation and patrol though? No.
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Old 12-09-2019, 12:15 PM
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Cute.
Holy shit. I guess the best puns are the (no puns intended) type haha. I did not even realize what i had written! My conscious mind would like to take credit for that but it would be dishonest to do so. That was all mr. Subconscious's work. The bastard.
  #32  
Old 12-09-2019, 12:18 PM
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Btw, the idea in the OP wont work. Lets say Trump is caught on video sacrificing mexican babies to a effigy of Ivanka. And lets further speculate that the first person here who gets wind of it posts in the "Civil Discussions only" forum. This would make any other forums unable to host any threads on the subject. That wouldnt sit well.
Sort of what I stated in post #5.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:12 PM
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On the contrary. It might actually be interesting to allow two different threads (one civil and the other one uncivil) on the same topic to unfold and see which of the two can bring more value to the board. It may finally start fighting ignorance effectively.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:17 PM
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On the contrary. It might actually be interesting to allow two different threads (one civil and the other one uncivil) on the same topic to unfold and see which of the two can bring more value to the board. It may finally start fighting ignorance effectively.
But thats not whats being proposed, is it? I think *this* idea has some merit but i was under the impression that whatever issue the "civil" forum got a hold of first was only allowed to be discussed in that forum.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:23 PM
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Well, that was probably the most entertaining and comprehensive suicide-by-mod I've ever seen.
It was only a suspension.

Also I apparently need to learn what trolling is.
  #36  
Old 12-09-2019, 04:37 PM
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The problem with "no emotionally charged language" is that if boases the discussion toward the person holding the scalpel, not the person being cut. If we are talking about sexual assault and someone brings up their own experiences, it's going to be emotionally charged. If we are talking about food stamps, medical care, education . . .people who have had important experiences are going to be emotionally charged.

The "Marquis of Queensbury" rules work when the topic under discussion is purely an intellectual exercise. But as a wise man said, Boys pop frogs in fun, but the frogs, they die in earnest.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:54 PM
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The problem with "no emotionally charged language" is that if boases the discussion toward the person holding the scalpel, not the person being cut. If we are talking about sexual assault and someone brings up their own experiences, it's going to be emotionally charged. If we are talking about food stamps, medical care, education . . .people who have had important experiences are going to be emotionally charged.

The "Marquis of Queensbury" rules work when the topic under discussion is purely an intellectual exercise. But as a wise man said, Boys pop frogs in fun, but the frogs, they die in earnest.
People shouldn’t bring up their own experiences in a debate unless they can demonstrate that their experience is shared by a statistically significant number of people. If they can do that, they might as well just cite the statistics.
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:34 PM
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It cannot be overstated that this is a terrible idea.

The trolls will always be cool, calm and collected since they don’t have any actual skin in the game; people with actual experience, with interesting or valuable contributions will be much more emotional. Their righteous anger will draw all the mod’s fire.

It would be “sealion”heaven.

Hell, the board is like that already.
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:44 PM
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People shouldn’t bring up their own experiences in a debate unless they can demonstrate that their experience is shared by a statistically significant number of people. If they can do that, they might as well just cite the statistics.

No. If your personal experience is relevant to the conversation, it should be part of the conversation. Leaving that out of the conversation is nothing less than mental masturbation. A good conversation... and that's what we're talking about here, not a formal debate... should include everything relevant to the conversation, and this includes personal experience.

As for debate vs conversation and discussion, is formal debate even possible in a forum like this? Every online "debate" I've seen is just a discussion.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:10 PM
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People shouldn’t bring up their own experiences in a debate unless they can demonstrate that their experience is shared by a statistically significant number of people. If they can do that, they might as well just cite the statistics.

No. If your personal experience is relevant to the conversation, it should be part of the conversation. Leaving that out of the conversation is nothing less than mental masturbation. A good conversation... and that's what we're talking about here, not a formal debate... should include everything relevant to the conversation, and this includes personal experience.

As for debate vs conversation and discussion, is formal debate even possible in a forum like this? Every online "debate" I've seen is just a discussion.
In my opinion, it depends on the forum. Personal experiences aren't factual answers, so don't really belong in GQ. I'd prefer if they weren't in GD either.

IMHO, MPSIMS, Café Society, the Pit, have at it with the "personal experiences".
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:17 PM
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Nope, still disagree. Sometimes the answer is in the personal experience. As in, from my personal experience, I've learned... It would be silly and pointless to leave that out, whatever board you're on.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:37 PM
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Nope, still disagree. Sometimes the answer is in the personal experience. As in, from my personal experience, I've learned... It would be silly and pointless to leave that out, whatever board you're on.
On an anonymous message board, there's no good way to evaluate whether the poster is mistaken, misremembering, or making stuff up. I stand by my post.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:12 PM
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On an anonymous message board, there's no good way to evaluate whether the poster is mistaken, misremembering, or making stuff up. I stand by my post.
If you are having a discussion about access to medical care, and someone says "In the US, no is dying because they don't have healthcare", you're saying it's not valid to respond "That isn't true. Here's how a family member did"? I mean, honestly, you're putting a lot of trust into our institutions if you feel like we should ignore perople's lived experience when it contradicts the party line.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:27 PM
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Exactly. If we don't wander into absolute conspiracy land, personal experience, anonymous or not, can add to the conversation. Also, you have the internet to verify what people are saying is true.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:07 PM
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I’m wondering if maybe, in the name of civil discourse, and to perhaps balance the ‘BBQ Pit’ effect, we might consider adding a new forum specifically for civil discourse.

It could be broadly defined as ‘no frothy rhetoric, no inflammatory language, as determined, by mod, on an entirely individual discussion basis.’
Completely unworkable, given the text-only nature of the medium. Picture someone writes out what they believe is a detailed, well-reasoned, well-articulated summary of their thoughts on a subject and someone responds, in total:

"Thank you for your opinion, I found it very interesting and useful."

Now, is that a sincere expression of appreciation, or is it dripping in multilayered sarcasm and implied eyerolls? I'm confident we've all seen or even been on the receiving end of the wrath of someone wildly projecting motivations onto short snippets of text, accusing the writer of using a hostile "tone" and, yes, sometimes those projections are pretty accurate. All your proposal does is shift the burden to the moderators to police for "tone" and try to determine if civility has been breached. They have enough to do already, looking for obvious phrases like racial slurs and "you are a troll". Your proposal would have them trying to determine if sarcasm is present and it meets some arbitrary standard of "inflammatory", going only on how burnt someone feels, or more accurately, how burnt they claim to feel, and meantime the person who sincerely expressed appreciation is wondering where the fuck all this chaos is coming from.

Frankly, anyone who finds the current standards of this place are already too rough-and-tumble should bail now before the 2020 election cycle ramps up in full.

And I anticipate at least one respondent will think it hilarious to quote this entire post and add only "Thank you for your opinion, I found it very interesting and useful." Yes, well-played, ha-to-the-power-of-ha. I sincerely appreciate the dry wit.


Now, am I sincere when I say "I sincerely appreciate the dry wit" ? Because I actually do appreciate that kind of flippant irony and I'm fond of using it myself on many occasions. At what point, though, should a moderator be called in to judge if someone is being uncivil? I suggest it be "never", since we're all supposed to be adults, here.
  #46  
Old 12-09-2019, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
On an anonymous message board, there's no good way to evaluate whether the poster is mistaken, misremembering, or making stuff up. I stand by my post.
Posters have histories here. Yes sometimes people sign up and lie, pretending they someone and something they are not. And some are widely felt to have a tendency to at least tell tall tales. Yes anecdotes should be taken with a skeptical read. As should uncited claims of any sort.

But if the subject is what bodybuilders do, or how people in wheelchairs perceive how they are treated, I will take Ambivalid's posts on personal experience as meaningful inputs, for example. And QtM's personal experiences on healthcare in prisons. And many others on the experiences they share. The personal stories of course work best if they are backed up with data that shows the larger context. But the numbers, citing statistics, tend to not sway unless accompanied by the up close view of a real person or people impacted. Why do you think politicians have so many stories about the person they talked to on the trail?
  #47  
Old 12-10-2019, 03:56 AM
Unreconstructed Man is online now
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Originally Posted by atimnie
No. If your personal experience is relevant to the conversation, it should be part of the conversation. Leaving that out of the conversation is nothing less than mental masturbation. A good conversation... and that's what we're talking about here, not a formal debate... should include everything relevant to the conversation, and this includes personal experience.
I think it does more harm than good. The pool of posters here is pretty large. For every anecdote you can share to support your point of view, there’s another poster or ten who can rattle off an anecdote supporting the opposite side. And then where do you go? If my personal experience cancels out yours, what’s the next step? As far as I can see, the only way to break the stalemate is to consult the statistics to see whose experience is more common. And if you can do that, you might as well go straight to the numbers in the first place rather than dredge up painful personal experiences.

Personal experience is a conversation stopper. More often than not, people expect others to just accept it without question. That alone is stupid, because personal testimony just isn’t reliable. People often exaggerate their experiences and remember things as being worse than they really were, or they conveniently forget that, actually, they were at least partly to blame for what happened. There are loads of reasons why an honest person might doubt another’s experience.

Then, if their experience is questioned, people get all offended. At that point, the conversation is effectively over, because most people would rather cut their own throats than listen to someone who’s offended them.

Far better to just stick to numbers, IMO.
  #48  
Old 12-10-2019, 12:40 PM
Manda JO is online now
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Originally Posted by Unreconstructed Man View Post
I think it does more harm than good. The pool of posters here is pretty large. For every anecdote you can share to support your point of view, there’s another poster or ten who can rattle off an anecdote supporting the opposite side. And then where do you go? If my personal experience cancels out yours, what’s the next step? As far as I can see, the only way to break the stalemate is to consult the statistics to see whose experience is more common. And if you can do that, you might as well go straight to the numbers in the first place rather than dredge up painful personal experiences.
"Break the stalemate" is a revealing statement here. I don't perceive myself as playing chess in a debate--I am not trying to win. I may be trying to convince or explain, and I am often trying to learn. I don't have to absolutely decide who is wrong or right, or even if someone is telling the truth. I read a debate, I participate in a debate, to squirrel away knowledge and insights and examples that I will process slowly over time, integrating new knowledge and insights as I come across them. So I welcome personal anecdotes that contradict the official data, or that aren't represented in the current data, because I am watching this matter, this topic, evolve.

For example, body cams have made it clear to me that the anecdotal stories of minorities being unjustly harassed and disproportionately assaulted by police and other authority figures have made it clear to me that there were a lot of anecdotes I should have been taking much more seriously. That experience alone has lead me to want to collect more personal stories and, at the very least, remain agnostic about their truth value.
  #49  
Old 12-12-2019, 10:25 AM
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I agree with Chronos. I've never really felt the non-Pit forums were froth-filled. I accept that trolling goes on, but not to the point where I've ever said to myself "We need a kindler-gentler forum."
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