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  #151  
Old 11-28-2019, 10:15 AM
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Well, I'd gladly give up my precious scientific racism to get rid of the line by line posts. So I guess we have a deal. I'll have Tuba type it up all formal like.

Last edited by CarnalK; 11-28-2019 at 10:18 AM.
  #152  
Old 11-28-2019, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Thanks, MrDibble. Nice to have a clear example of how horrible the snip snip line by line line reply makes a thread to read.
I found MrDibble's line by line post quite easy to read.

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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
I think line by line parsing is the lesser of evils here. The others options are to address all of the points made in the post in one quote, which is even harder to read than breaking the quote up, or only addressing points B and C out of A through D in the response, which around half the time will result in a response "but you didn't address points A and D, your argument is invalid" even if there is a genuine rebuttal to them that you didn't post out of clarity and brevity.
This. I think breaking down separate points and answering them separately is far clearer and easier to follow than any other technique; and I don't see why people should be allowed to address multiple points but others should only be able to answer one or two of them. I suppose instead of addressing separate points within the same post we could use several separate posts to do so, but I think that would only annoy both the people who find line by line difficult to read, and the people who find it easier to read and more clear than other techniques.

I think this may be a difference in how people's minds work, rather than there being something wrong with the posting style. My head breaks down arguments in this fashion, and I find it easier to read an argument that's already phrased that way. Others may find it easier to read things all lumped in together.
  #153  
Old 11-28-2019, 10:46 AM
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Of course it's legible. It's a series of single sentences. Some of them a simple "no" or "yes". But it's like someone dumped a play dialogue into the middle of a discussion. IMHO.

Last edited by CarnalK; 11-28-2019 at 10:46 AM.
  #154  
Old 11-28-2019, 11:59 AM
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I didn't just mean it was legible. I meant that it was easy to follow; which the other techniques for answering a multi-point post often aren't.

On the other hand spreadsheets drive me crazy, while lots of people seem to find them useful tools for organizing things. Minds vary. I'll bear in mind that separate line quoting doesn't work well for everybody, and will try to keep it to cases where I really find it the most useful way of answering; but I'm still going to use it in those cases. If you won't read such posts, so it goes. There are people who won't read a long answer that's not broken up in that fashion, also. And some things really are complicated; so trying to always give simple short answers means, in effect, often giving wrong or at best misleading answers.
  #155  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:27 PM
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If a post is seven sentences and you can't answer it without splitting out each one, that's not good writing. I am not telling you to be annoyed by it, just understand that me and LHoD aren't the only ones who scroll past that crap frequently.
  #156  
Old 11-28-2019, 01:18 PM
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^^^Agreed.
  #157  
Old 11-28-2019, 06:57 PM
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Namecalling does not fight ignorance. Education does.
I, too was taught this in school. By the same people that taught me glass is a really thick liquid and that America's history is of strong, unambiguous moral leadership. I am beginning to suspect all three.

Saying "the bigots and racists will get it if we just educate them enough" is the macro-version of "the bully will stop if you just ignore him". People don't work that way. Bigots don't want to be wrong. They like the world they live in. Rehashing scientific racism, rape myths, climate change denial and a few other things just gives them more ammunition.

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I didn't just mean it was legible. I meant that it was easy to follow; which the other techniques for answering a multi-point post often aren't.

On the other hand spreadsheets drive me crazy, while lots of people seem to find them useful tools for organizing things. Minds vary. I'll bear in mind that separate line quoting doesn't work well for everybody, and will try to keep it to cases where I really find it the most useful way of answering; but I'm still going to use it in those cases. If you won't read such posts, so it goes. There are people who won't read a long answer that's not broken up in that fashion, also. And some things really are complicated; so trying to always give simple short answers means, in effect, often giving wrong or at best misleading answers.
I think the problem with the snip style is not that it is hard to follow, but that it encourages a score-keeping mentality. People tone-police, and sub-sub divide to get in a zinger. People clip half a sentence to ask a coy, disingenuous question--which then has to be answered, and an arch counter-question asked. It becomes about laying rhetorical traps, skimming lists of snips for anything that can be spun as internally inconsistent.

Someone said it is the only way to respond to a Gish gallop. That's the exact wrong way to look at it: it's feeding the Gish Gallop. It's chopping the head off the hydra. And it never results in resolution, because eventually someone is going to look at the 27 response-snips to their 18 snips and say fuck it. Or, as I often do, intend to come back but never have the chance to block out the solid 45 minutes it's going to take me to fight the hydra.

Snipping doesn't lead to productive debate. I would really, really encourage all of you to try to let it go--or at least, limit yourselves to sniping paragraphs, not sentences and lines--and see if it doesn't improve your experience.
  #158  
Old 11-28-2019, 07:27 PM
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I, too was taught this in school. By the same people that taught me glass is a really thick liquid and that America's history is of strong, unambiguous moral leadership. I am beginning to suspect all three.
They also taught you basic math skills and how to read. Do you suspect those?

Ok, fine, when you get someone YOU think is a unrepentant racist here, report him, and then block him so you dont have to read his posts.

I will fight the good fight. You hide.

Oh, and you know they also taught you that ostriches hide their heads in the sand. Do you have sand in your ears?
  #159  
Old 11-28-2019, 07:31 PM
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If "fighting the good fight" just results in more racists and bigots, it's not heroic, it's self-indulgent.
  #160  
Old 11-28-2019, 07:32 PM
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Someone said it is the only way to respond to a Gish gallop. That's the exact wrong way to look at it: it's feeding the Gish Gallop. It's chopping the head off the hydra. And it never results in resolution, because eventually someone is going to look at the 27 response-snips to their 18 snips and say fuck it. Or, as I often do, intend to come back but never have the chance to block out the solid 45 minutes it's going to take me to fight the hydra.
Oh man, exactly. But the problem is that there's two definitions at work. "Only way to respond" is true in some people's brains because they've got a bad case of "someone's wrong on the internet". They can't let a single tiny piece of wrongness to go unaddressed.

But as you say, that feeds it. You just agreed to engage in five to ten superfluous debates. If you can't go for the heart, rethink the submit button.
  #161  
Old 11-28-2019, 07:37 PM
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nm

Last edited by CarnalK; 11-28-2019 at 07:38 PM.
  #162  
Old 11-28-2019, 07:49 PM
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If "fighting the good fight" just results in more racists and bigots, it's not heroic, it's self-indulgent.
I think it results in less. We have far less now than when I started posting.
  #163  
Old 11-28-2019, 08:11 PM
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We have far less everything since you started posting.
  #164  
Old 11-28-2019, 08:35 PM
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Post #118
There was no claim there that the board "should" lean towards anyone's view in particular, just that the LHOD would lean towards his.

See, I can pick nits too, you know?
  #165  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:39 PM
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What bothers me is not so much line-by-line parsing, but isolating a line from the context in which it was given. I think that, if you break things up idea by idea, that's fine. I'm even okay with quoting the most relevant part but responding to the full context. But not if you treat each line as a separate post.

That is what often happens in these "line by line" rebuttals. You don't get a meaningful rebuttal of the underlying argument, just snippy responses to various lines that may not fit with the rest of the post.

But that isn't the only time it happens. It also can happen when just a single line is quoted and refuted without paying attention to the context in which that line was offered--whether the context of the post, or the thread. This has the same problem--you reply to something the other person didn't actually say. Both tactics create fights when people don't even necessarily disagree all that much.

I believe this is what mean by wanting to stop "needless nitpicking." It's not that you can't respond point-by-point; it's that you shouldn't break the points apart and ignore the context. That's when it becomes sniping at each other instead of actual argument.

Last edited by BigT; 11-28-2019 at 09:40 PM.
  #166  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:50 PM
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I think it results in less. We have far less now than when I started posting.
How is the board better on bigotry?

Before trans people could post here. Now they don't want to, because they will be devalued as humans. The misogyny got so bad that women had to jump in and get new rules put in place to deal with it. Nazi ideology previously was not even argued, because we all agreed it was wrong, and everyone knew a Nazi would wind up banned pretty quickly. Now it comes up all the time.

GD and the Pit are currently broken, with a mod having to leave because things got so bad. People are out there using people's trauma to attack them--that's bigotry against the mentally ill. We're getting into debates over when bigotry crosses over to hate speech--an argument we didn't need to have before because no one even got close.

I see no sign that bigotry has gotten better here from arguing about it. In fact, the board's problem with bigotry seems to be what is keeping people away.

You can't allow bigotry and demand civility at the same time, as bigotry is inherently uncivil. We want a less hostile board? Bigotry has to be dealt with in a way that doesn't let it spread and become worse.

Last edited by BigT; 11-28-2019 at 09:54 PM.
  #167  
Old 11-28-2019, 10:09 PM
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That last bit is kind of the core issue. Is the management of the board going to decide that racism, misogyny, and transphobia is inherently uncivil. I am under the strong impression that important parts of the staff think only delivery matters.

Last edited by CarnalK; 11-28-2019 at 10:11 PM.
  #168  
Old 11-28-2019, 10:41 PM
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How is the board better on bigotry?

Before trans people could post here. Now they don't want to, because they will be devalued as humans. The misogyny got so bad that women had to jump in and get new rules put in place to deal with it. ...

I see no sign that bigotry has gotten better here from arguing about it. In fact, the board's problem with bigotry seems to be what is keeping people away.

You can't allow bigotry and demand civility at the same time, as bigotry is inherently uncivil. We want a less hostile board? Bigotry has to be dealt with in a way that doesn't let it spread and become worse.
Well, either your memory is faulty or short or you are just setting the bar higher.

Bigotry was common, and there wasnt a month without a bigot based thread in GD. I remember a common thread was discussion of that one PhD's "proof" that "negroes were less intelligent than whites" or that "blacks were racially better at a certain sport".

misogyny? in many other threads, any mention of a bra or anything vaguely related to a womans breasts would bring many "pics or it didnt happen" or "How you doin?"(which I admit I used once and got thanked for it, but I thought the setting was appropriate- and I'd never use that now, except in jest).



Now there are ten times more complaints about misogyny than before and there's a lot less. That doesnt mean there's not room to improve, but this board is not the Good Old Boys Club it used to be.

And overall- people are just not posting on MB's anymore. There's FB, Twitter and a dozen other things. I doubt if anything in particular (other than the ads) is "driving people away", it's just not the "thing" to do anymore.
  #169  
Old 11-28-2019, 10:48 PM
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There was no claim there that the board "should" lean towards anyone's view in particular, just that the LHOD would lean towards his.
Again, why should his preference prevail? That's what he's asking for.
  #170  
Old 11-29-2019, 01:51 AM
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Oh, and you know they also taught you that ostriches hide their heads in the sand. Do you have sand in your ears?
While there is nothing wrong with being of the opinion that certain things should be reported, actually accusing someone of being an ostrich with their head in the sand crosses the line into being an insult and a personal attack. Make your point without attacking other users.

This is an official warning for personal attacks outside of the Pit.
  #171  
Old 11-29-2019, 03:18 AM
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Again, why should his preference prevail? That's what he's asking for.
Do you want his business plan or what? He thinks the board would be better the way he describes. What more does he need to justify it?
  #172  
Old 11-29-2019, 06:43 AM
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And the following is a good example of why being able to split up posts is a good thing. It would be difficult to reply to DrDeth's argument here without breaking it down into smaller, manageable chunks.

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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Well, either your memory is faulty or short or you are just setting the bar higher.

Bigotry was common, and there wasnt a month without a bigot based thread in GD. I remember a common thread was discussion of that one PhD's "proof" that "negroes were less intelligent than whites" or that "blacks were racially better at a certain sport".
Yes, one type of thread no longer recurs. But your stated argument was that this was because we were arguing against bigotry. However, what actually happened was that the posters who kept posting the those threads don't come around anymore.

The bigotry hasn't gone away--it's shifted. Now we get the transphobia threads. We know with 100% certainty that trans people have been driven off the board because of these threads. I got a PM from a trans poster informing me, saying that they and a dozen others had left because the mods were refusing to listen when they would report this stuff.

Quote:
misogyny? in many other threads, any mention of a bra or anything vaguely related to a womans breasts would bring many "pics or it didnt happen" or "How you doin?"(which I admit I used once and got thanked for it, but I thought the setting was appropriate- and I'd never use that now, except in jest).



Now there are ten times more complaints about misogyny than before and there's a lot less. That doesnt mean there's not room to improve, but this board is not the Good Old Boys Club it used to be.
Yes, there is an improvement there. But, remember, your argument was that it was the arguing with the bigots that caused this.

But that's not what happened. It got so bad that the mods had to create new rules to deal with it. That's what resulted in less misogyny. Not people arguing with it.

Quote:
And overall- people are just not posting on MB's anymore. There's FB, Twitter and a dozen other things. I doubt if anything in particular (other than the ads) is "driving people away", it's just not the "thing" to do anymore.
This doesn't have anything to do with my post. I never argued that our numbers were down due to bigotry. I mentioned posters who don't want to post here anymore because of bigotry. These are posters who announced why they were leaving, so I know why they aren't here anymore.

Finally, you didn't even address the multiple NEW problems I mentioned. These are the main things that refute your idea that the board has less of a problem with bigotry than before.

-------

Ultimately, you are pushing an old idea, one that progressives used to believe. If we could just present good arguments to the bigots out there, we could beat them. And that did work, up to a point. But it ignored that arguing with bigots gives them a platform and helps spread their ideas. It ignores that having these arguments in public make minorities feel unwelcome, because they see all these loud bigots saying crap.

It's like the old "colorblind" ideology. We (well, mostly white people) used to think that, if we could just get everyone to ignore race, we'd have a non-racist society. But that doesn't work. It winds up making you blind to your own unintentional prejudices. It means that discrimination isn't noticed--you can't notice that black people are treated differently if you don't first notice they are black. The actual solution is more difficult and complex: you have to notice how everyone is different while at the same time treating them equally. You have to notice who has a bum rap and help them more than the people who can handle it on their own.

I invite you to take a step back. What did you do in your post? You accused a woman of just running and hiding from bigotry because she wants the mods to ban it. Rather than listen to her experience on the issue, you decided you knew best, and that she was just making things worse.

The one thing that actually worked to reduce bigotry on this board was rules against it. And that is something that came about because the women of this board stood up against it and got changes made. A problem that had been here for over a decade finally started getting better. The people more experienced on the topic had a better idea of how to deal with it.

Don't you think you should listen to them now, as well, rather than just dismiss them?

Last edited by BigT; 11-29-2019 at 06:44 AM.
  #173  
Old 11-29-2019, 08:03 AM
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To piggy-back on BigT's post, I don't remember ever using reasoned, determined, heroic argument to enlighten bigots, or even to make them leave. What I do remember is a lot of waiting/baiting those users to fuck up on a technicality so that we could ban them for that, like Al Capone on tax evasion. We make special rules or topic bans and wait until they cross a line we put there for them to cross. Then, when they get banned, their supporters have more evidence that we are biased and arbitrary. The system is literally the worst of every world: it leaves the targets of bigotry feeling unsupported and creates the impression that there is a "secret agenda" to squash certain views--and leaves the impression that that includes "all conservative views". This makes conservative posters feel like it's only a matter of time before the mods come for them. It drives away minority voices AND reasoned conservative voices, because both feel unheard and excluded.
  #174  
Old 11-29-2019, 12:06 PM
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While there is nothing wrong with being of the opinion that certain things should be reported, actually accusing someone of being an ostrich with their head in the sand crosses the line into being an insult and a personal attack. Make your point without attacking other users.

This is an official warning for personal attacks outside of the Pit.
The emoticon indicates that was said in jest, I was trying to inject some lightness into the thread. Nor did I say that, I asked if they did.

You are a racist! vs Are you a racist?
  #175  
Old 11-29-2019, 12:34 PM
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You are a racist! vs Are you a racist?
Would you expect anyone to say "Yes!" At least on this board?

Honestlyóand maybe itís be cause Iím new hereóI kind of scratch my head at the idea itís (apparently) allowed to say "Thatís a racist thing to say," but then "Youíre a racist!" is right out (honestly, I think both should be equally acceptable or equally unacceptable. I donít see why I should have to tiptoe around calling someone who states they are proud of their race, believes the races should be kept separate to preserve uniqueness on the grounds that every race has its positives, and they fear what effect unchecked immigration might have on the uniqueness of various races, but particularly their own, a "racist." Someone who posts that has just made a racist post: I can pretty damn guarantee that person him or herself is a racist. Why canít I call a spade a spade? Why do I have to keep on just pointing to the hole theyíve made?).

Anyway, to your point and back on topic, the idea of "just asking a question" as a dispute technique kind of reminds me of Cartman's technique in the episode Dances with Smurfs. A long string of accusations phrased initially as an assertion leveled at Wendy, but then followed up by "or does she? Iím just asking questions!"

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 11-29-2019 at 12:34 PM.
  #176  
Old 11-29-2019, 12:37 PM
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The emoticon indicates that was said in jest, I was trying to inject some lightness into the thread. Nor did I say that, I asked if they did.

You are a racist! vs Are you a racist?
I have no opinion on the warning. I did not report the comment. But it didn't feel like you were speaking in jest. I read it as an accusation of extreme moral cowardice. It seemed pretty hyperbolic.
  #177  
Old 11-29-2019, 12:39 PM
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The emoticon indicates that was said in jest, I was trying to inject some lightness into the thread. Nor did I say that, I asked if they did.
An insulting joke is still an insult.
  #178  
Old 11-29-2019, 02:46 PM
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Nor did I say that, I asked if they did.

You are a racist! vs Are you a racist?
Ha! Ha! Has that worked since 3rd grade?
  #179  
Old 11-29-2019, 03:37 PM
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Would you expect anyone to say "Yes!" At least on this board?

Honestlyóand maybe itís be cause Iím new hereóI kind of scratch my head at the idea itís (apparently) allowed to say "Thatís a racist thing to say," but then "Youíre a racist!" is right out (honestly, I think both should be equally acceptable or equally unacceptable. ...

Anyway, to your point and back on topic, the idea of "just asking a question" as a dispute technique kind of reminds me of Cartman's technique in the episode Dances with Smurfs...
Who knows?

I understand, but we really don't know each other as People. So isnt it better to address the post, not the person?

Well, yes, but I dont do that sorta thing. We do have a couple people that JAQoff, true, it's not very common tho.
  #180  
Old 11-29-2019, 04:01 PM
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I understand, but we really don't know each other as People. So isnt it better to address the post, not the person?
My... puzzlement over "You’re a racist!" vs "That's a racist thing to say," and similar criticisms nominally aimed at "the post" isn’t so much the degree to which the distinction in target is meaningful as it is the extent to which such a comment is meaningful at all. Simply saying "That's a racist thing to say," really adds nothing of substance to the discussion and still throws "the other r-word" into the mix. So either it’s really unambiguous racism that ought to be intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers, in which case I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to call the poster what they are, a racist, or it's more nuanced/veiled, in which case it’d probably be of benefit to explain what about the post is racist, not just label it as such.

ETA: It strikes me as rules lawyering.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 11-29-2019 at 04:03 PM.
  #181  
Old 11-29-2019, 04:26 PM
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LHOD, please add to your list: responding to questions asked in good faith. I've seen way too many instances that go like this:

Poster A: inflammatory statement
Poster B: asks question of A
Poster C: asks question of A
Poster D: asks question of A

Ten or 20 posts later, Poster A pops up again and doesn't answer a single one of the questions. It doesn't make for good debate, and if A then posts another controversial statement, it looks a lot like, well, bad faith arguing, to put it charitably.
The problem here is Posters B--C asking questions instead of making arguments. Poster A ignoring JAQs is good practice.
  #182  
Old 11-29-2019, 04:33 PM
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Ha! Ha! Has that worked since 3rd grade?
On this board there is a vast difference between:

Your post has racist views

vs

You are a racist.
  #183  
Old 11-29-2019, 04:37 PM
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On this board there is a vast difference between:

Your post has racist views

vs

You are a racist.
That might be part of the problem.
  #184  
Old 11-29-2019, 05:14 PM
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The problem here is Posters B--C asking questions instead of making arguments. Poster A ignoring JAQs is good practice.
Some questions are JAQs, some are trying to understand someone else's position or argument, and some are arguments of a Socratic Method sort.

Ignoring JAQs is good practice as it is a means of trolling. Ignoring the other two sorts of questions of that list is not. It is OTOH quite annoying. And FWIW insults posed in the form of a question are also best ignored.


Carnal K I could not disagree more. The standard of attack the post not the poster is a very positive standard and not part of the problem. Cartoon categorizing of posters (as opposed to arguing about individual ideas and what makes them so problematic) OTOH would make this an uglier place very quickly.


MandJO, do you believe that name-calling reduces ignorance? If so, then in your mind is that the most effective way to reduce ignorance? Does isolating those with ignorant beliefs into groups of self-affirmation reduce ignorance?

Look I'm not signing up to spend large portions of my time with trolls and jerks either, be they those who are hateful on the Far Right or sanctimonious and arrogant on the Left (both make this board a less fun place for me). But reality is that contact with other ideas is a slow and inefficient means of changing hearts and minds, and still the only means that does any good at all. Censor what we will for the sake of this being a more enjoyable place to spend some time, but making it less here by fiat does not make it in reality any less, and likely only ever so marginally facilitates its real world increase. Don't pretend that because you are seeing it and directly combating it less you have won some battle against it.
  #185  
Old 11-29-2019, 05:30 PM
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Ultimately, you are pushing an old idea, one that progressives used to believe. If we could just present good arguments to the bigots out there, we could beat them. And that did work, up to a point. But it ignored that arguing with bigots gives them a platform and helps spread their ideas. It ignores that having these arguments in public make minorities feel unwelcome, because they see all these loud bigots saying crap.
It did work and it's still working. We're a good decade behind on trans issues than we were on, say, gay marriage. When I joined these boards, the majority of Americans didn't think same sex couples should be able to legally marry. Pew wasn't polling about "whether itís possible for someone to be a gender different from the sex they were assigned at birth" (their current language). We weren't talking about the topic back then, with only a few threads in the early days of the board. I wasn't even thinking about it.

And I don't have a 2019 poll, but per Pew in 2017, the majority of Americans were answering "no" to the above. If random new posters are representative of the general population, then it's a coin flip whether the feel one way or another. Ignorance doesn't fight itself. You might not convince the bigot, but there are people reading even if they aren't posting, and you can convince them. The people who don't know anyone who is trans. The people who haven't thought about it much. The people who have only heard about the topic from biggots.
  #186  
Old 11-29-2019, 05:32 PM
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and some are arguments of a Socratic Method sort
I.e. asking someone else to make the argument for you instead of making it yourself, aka laziness.
  #187  
Old 11-29-2019, 05:38 PM
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After careful consideration of this topic, and thinking about all the changes this Board has gone through in all the years I've been here, I have three recommendations.

1) Close down the Pit. We have many other places on the Internet where we can howl at the moon for most topics, and allowing us a designated sniping area to use against each other is just inviting trouble.

2) When mods start getting multiple complaints about a particular poster's style, even if an individual post doesn't quite rise to the level of warnable, don't hesitate to hand out notes.

2) Make warnings more severe. That doesn't mean the mods should hand out more, but the consequences should be more direct. First warning - okay, now you've been officially warned. Second warning - suspension for a week. Three times and you're out. To balance that, let warnings expire after a year or two.
  #188  
Old 11-29-2019, 06:30 PM
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I.e. asking someone else to make the argument for you instead of making it yourself, aka laziness.
You have a very incorrect understanding. In point of fact intelligent questioning is quite a lot of work. Asking questions that create the space that reveals the weakness of a position is not lazy.

At his peak Ted Koppel was a master of this. He did not argue against any guest but he asked the questions that gave them the rope to hang themselves with.
  #189  
Old 11-29-2019, 06:35 PM
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This may or may not be a digression from the topic at hand, but in the spirit of the board moving forward in a productive direction I want to cite my slight surprise at the banning of Budget Player Cadet, more as a case study than as an individual issue.

BPC has always been given to extreme and emotional forms of argumentation, true. And among the recent warnings there are two that needed to be slapped down and maybe even removed: wishing harm on elected officials and wishing harm on certain conservative journalists. Those are inexcusable and potential legal liabilities to the board. But beyond those two he’s simply struck me as a passionate poster who sometimes brushes past the rules to make his impassioned points.

What to do about a poster like that I’m not sure. Maybe longer suspensions? But here’s my concern.

My concern is that we end up with a board increasingly populated with ill-informed but awfully civil JAQers, sea-lioners, and faultlessly polite conspiracy theorists (and by golly, we actually endorse witnessing/CT in GD as long, of course, as it’s very polite!). We already have a handful of posters (I’m not trying to finger just one) who are a waste of time and a detriment to the board because their content, quite frankly, is shit. I don’t mean that I disagree with it. I mean it’s vapid and utterly useless.

The mods have always been adamant that it’s not their job to rule on the quality of content, but only on adherence to the rules. I would like to suggest that for the long-term future of the board, this is wrong. Consider a magazine whose editors rule only on flouting the magazine’s rules of style and conduct and otherwise accept any drivel that is submitted. How long would such a magazine attract quality readers and contributors? How long would it last?

I’m not suggesting that moderators review every post submitted – far from it! All I’m suggesting is a more liberal attitude to reports of ridiculous posts, where (for instance) an immediate defense of some nonsense in GD is defended as “witnessing, and therefore allowable” should be immediately nuked instead, as most such threads go nowhere anyway. Same with suspected trolling/JAQing posts in GD and Elections. Yes, I’m asking mods to step up and make their jobs even harder, but I don’t see an alternative. I keep hearing that participation in the board is declining, and from some of the comments from old-timers, I suspect that the quality is, too. I don’t necessarily want more liberals on the board, I want more intelligent people from both sides of the aisle, fewer idiots, fewer deliberate disruptors, and better and more informed discourse.

To his everlasting credit, I think that by establishing some general principles specifically directed at a couple of posters habitually guilty of thread disruptions, Bone was taking a step in the right direction.

Last edited by wolfpup; 11-29-2019 at 06:38 PM.
  #190  
Old 11-29-2019, 06:47 PM
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You have a very incorrect understanding. In point of fact intelligent questioning is quite a lot of work. Asking questions that create the space that reveals the weakness of a position is not lazy.

At his peak Ted Koppel was a master of this. He did not argue against any guest but he asked the questions that gave them the rope to hang themselves with.
If you can counter an argument, you can counter it. If you can't, or can't be bothered, you can still play games with fools for entertainment purposes.
  #191  
Old 11-29-2019, 07:00 PM
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MandJO, do you believe that name-calling reduces ignorance? If so, then in your mind is that the most effective way to reduce ignorance? Does isolating those with ignorant beliefs into groups of self-affirmation reduce ignorance?

Look I'm not signing up to spend large portions of my time with trolls and jerks either, be they those who are hateful on the Far Right or sanctimonious and arrogant on the Left (both make this board a less fun place for me). But reality is that contact with other ideas is a slow and inefficient means of changing hearts and minds, and still the only means that does any good at all. Censor what we will for the sake of this being a more enjoyable place to spend some time, but making it less here by fiat does not make it in reality any less, and likely only ever so marginally facilitates its real world increase. Don't pretend that because you are seeing it and directly combating it less you have won some battle against it.
[/quote]

I'm not taking a pro-name calling stance. What I want to be able to do is have moderation shut off certain hijacks by fiat. Transgender people are mentally ill. Gay kids need conversion therapy. Most girls who say they were raped are lying. Genes for intelligence are much more commonly found in white and Asian populations. Racism is basically over and most stories you hear these days are made up for attention. When a thread goes into these directions, I want the mods to be able to say "This is considered a settled question on the SDMB. If you want to argue it's not true, you need to find a different forum."

You know what I think really helps move the needle on bigotry? It's the targets of bigots feeling free to come out into the light, to be normal people who, through their normalcy help dissipate the "othering" that permits the bigotry in the first place. When we treat transphobia, homophobia, racism, sexism as propositions in a formal debate club, we bend over backwards to make sure that those poor misguided souls have a safe space to develop their ideas. But what we aren't doing is making this a safe space for the targets of those "misguided souls".

Imagine a college class is having a discussion on the nature of crimes and violence, and a student says "I think most people of African descent just don't have the same capacity for abstract thought as white people. A few freaky ones are as smart as normal white people, but it's less likely". The class gets antsy---two or three kids out of 40 are of African heritage, and they feel personally attacked. Students bring up counter-arguments, but the original kid just refuses to really address those, and just sticks to his claim, citing horrible sources. The only role the professor plays is to tell the class "I will kick out anyone who raises their voice". After a bit the conversation shifts--but the next day, the student makes the same claim. Again, people get upset. Several go to the professor after class. They ask him to shut it down. He says "It's not my place to decide if he's right or not. As long as he doesn't raise his voice, he can say whatever he wants in my classroom. I hope you guys can change his mind". This goes on for weeks. Some of the not-bigoted kids lose their temper and get kicked out. Which to do you think is more likely? The bigoted kid will see the light, or the minority kids will drop the class? I think the latter. And I think it's entirely possible that the bigoted kid will convert a couple other kids to his point of view--and the professor is as fault here, by not shutting that shit down and by legitimizing that view point as worthy of debate.

You are worried we are driving away bigots. I am worried we are driving away women, gay people, and transgendered people. And yes, I think sequestering people with extremely bigoted views is preferable to the alternative, which is sequestering their targets. I think a child who grows up with gay friends is less likely to be a homophobe than a child who is raised hearing pro-homophobia arguments treated with reasoned respect--and gay people afraid to come out and insert themselves into that conversation. You say "I'm not signing up to spend large portions of my time fighting these jerks", but if you're the only black person or gay person or transperson or woman in the thread, the thread is about you, you can't just opt out. You can't compartmentalize. And you can't ignore the fact that the official administrative position is that they may well be right and if you think they are wrong, it's on you to prove it. Every Damn Time, no matter how often the same arguments are brought up.

You are putting the bigots in the center of this story--their rights, and what is best for them. What about their targets?
  #192  
Old 11-29-2019, 07:20 PM
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And I think it's entirely possible that the bigoted kid will convert a couple other kids to his point of view-
Nope. We weren't creating college "safe spaces" in the early 200Xs, and the trend was the exact opposite wrt same sex marriage. Bigotry is bad science and will ultimately not stand up to scrutiny.
  #193  
Old 11-29-2019, 07:32 PM
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Nope. We weren't creating college "safe spaces" in the early 200Xs, and the trend was the exact opposite wrt same sex marriage. Bigotry is bad science and will ultimately not stand up to scrutiny.
There was not more homophobia on college campuses in the 2000s than in the generation before. There were more gay people that were publically identified as such, and society did have more protections for them by then--GSAs and other organizations that would advocate for a student if he was being harassed or bullied or attacked. Public bigotry toward homophobia was much, much less acceptable in 2005 than in 1995. The change was not that we started letting the homophobes speak. They had always been allowed to speak. What changed is that we started letting gay people speak.

#metoo wasn't "let's let men who assault women open up about their reasoning, so that we can dismantle it"; it was about women deciding to share and normalize their stories. BLM wasn't "let's let cops give their rational, logical reasons for racial disparities in police department outcomes", it was letting minorities share their lived experiences--this time with video footage.

"We just need to have civil conversations" is the cry of the white moderate. Civil, reasonable conversations led to entrenched Jim Crow, not progress. Progress came with sit-ins, marches, and boycotts.
  #194  
Old 11-29-2019, 07:58 PM
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MandaJO, before I agree with your several good points I will strongly disagree with one: no I am not putting bigots at the center. Frankly I am putting your and my enjoyment of this site at the center. I concur with cutting some lines off right off in service of that. I want diverse thought inclusive of posters who teach me about minority and disempowered perspectives that I am ignorant about. And I don’t want an echo chamber of correct thought because it would be boring. I am being self centered and am honest about it.

I do recognize your point that erring on the side of keeping disempowered voices participating is more important than tolerating ugliness but I do still argue that a board in which voices like mine are always the farthest to the right would a very distorted conversation not very reflective of our world. That would not appeal to me at all at least. Both boring and uncomfortable. Bleh.

OTOH I do see some of the same among intelligent conservative voices and those who are disempowered: a lack of willingness to be in the same rooms as each other and a tendency to view other thoughts as not with me then against me and to hyperpolarize what could be useful discussion.

If this place cannot provide the rooms and moderation that facilitates actual discussion then I don’t know where can.

Maybe it simply can’t exist right now.
  #195  
Old 11-29-2019, 08:27 PM
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"We just need to have civil conversations" is the cry of the white moderate. Civil, reasonable conversations led to entrenched Jim Crow, not progress. Progress came with sit-ins, marches, and boycotts.
But there were also people even more radical in their tactics and rhetoric than the leadership of the civil rights era who were unsuccessful. So it could be that the freedom to say "this is a racist position" is more likely to lead to successful engagement than either letting people have free reign as long as they are polite or labeling them as racist would be. (To an extent, of course: the entrenched have already been shown not to change their minds.)
  #196  
Old 11-29-2019, 08:36 PM
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I'm not taking a pro-name calling stance. What I want to be able to do is have moderation shut off certain hijacks by fiat. Transgender people are mentally ill. Gay kids need conversion therapy. Most girls who say they were raped are lying. Genes for intelligence are much more commonly found in white and Asian populations. Racism is basically over and most stories you hear these days are made up for attention. When a thread goes into these directions, I want the mods to be able to say "This is considered a settled question on the SDMB. If you want to argue it's not true, you need to find a different forum."
...
Gay kids need conversion therapy. When was the last time this was seriously brought up?

Most girls who say they were raped are lying. I dont remember ever seeing this, I have seen "Some girls who say they were raped are lying. " which isnt very good either. It's quite rare- in fact for every liar then are ten who dont report.

Genes for intelligence are much more commonly found in white and Asian populations. Used to be we'd see this in GD every so often, sure. When was the last time this was posted?

Racism is basically over and most stories you hear these days are made up for attention. Hmm, I think that racism has been on the downturn for ever year of my life- and I am a Boomer. But it's not gone, possibly never will be. I have seen people here argue that racism is no longer a serious problem "since we elected Obama'. Ok, not as serious of a problem, maybe.

I would be Ok for the first three, but not the last. It's good to be hopeful. Honestly, I haven't met a racist human- in person - for like over a decade, but they are still out there. At Trump rallies, and certainly on the Internet.
  #197  
Old 11-29-2019, 08:45 PM
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I feel like we lost the moderate conservative voices long ago. We used to have more, but they've either disappeared or, in some cases, radicalized. Some of that I think is based on the current political situation: it can't be fun to be a reasonable conservative right now. But I would also propose that our "content neutral" moderation might has exacerbated things, as well. It's allowed conversations to go to really nasty depths that make the whole board less civil. It's lead to a not-entirely unjustified belief among conservative posters that they are targeted and unwelcome. I feel like having a short list of the "self-evident truths" would not hurt this board. I am not enjoying watching montro and Mr. Dibble get called stupid and genetically inferior--but that's okay, because it's done politely. I do not enjoy threads where transgendered people are called mentally ill. When I was 20, maybe I enjoyed endless debates with the stupidest, most bigoted people on the internet, but I've aged and I've mellowed and I'd really like to talk about subjects upon which reasonable people can disagree--of which there are millions. Couldn't we, at the very least, let the mods off the leash? Couldn't we give them the power to end threads that were getting gross and going nowhere, albeit in a civil fashion?
  #198  
Old 11-29-2019, 08:49 PM
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... I am not enjoying watching montro and Mr. Dibble get called stupid and genetically inferior--but that's okay, because it's done politely. I...Couldn't we, at the very least, let the mods off the leash? Couldn't we give them the power to end threads that were getting gross and going nowhere, albeit in a civil fashion?
I dont go into the Pit very often, but outside of that, doing so would get a warning, and I am not sure if "genetically inferior" would fly in the Pit even.

They do have that power and have done so.
  #199  
Old 11-29-2019, 09:34 PM
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I dont go into the Pit very often, but outside of that, doing so would get a warning, and I am not sure if "genetically inferior" would fly in the Pit even.

They do have that power and have done so.
They don't, not explicitly. This is less than 6 months old:

Quote:
These statements, with which I expect you agree, are not applicable to groups like East Asians who descend from a small band of ultimately wildly successful pilgrims who left Africa millennia ago. They are the ones who have developed certain intellectual strengths that no doubt played a role in their being so successful in exponentially expanding the number of descendants they produced far beyond what any similar sized band who stayed in Africa can boast.
And it's from a poster who has been starting threads supporting that point of view for years without reprimand. Being content neutral is not a virtue.

This is a couple years old, about transgendered people:

Quote:
Most of them are severely mentally ill and indulging that illness does them as much good as telling a paranoid schizophrenic that aliens have actually put implants into them that the CIA monitors on the constant.

But it is their right to pursue their delusions and they should be protected against discrimination no different than anyone else. They are human beings and they deserve to retain, and pursue, their dignity and personal sovereignty by whatever means they consider requisite.

People that indulge their 6 year-old kids in this delusion, on the other hand, ought to be jailed and their kids ought to be placed in care no different than other child abusers.
Can you imagine reading that if you were trans? Would yo. u feel welcome to participate, to engage that poster? They've already declared you are mentally ill--any argument you make, however "Reasoned" will be dismissed as the rantings of a crazy person. You have to hope "normal" people--people with credibility--will speak on your behalf. Why would you stay at a place where that was the attitude? Where the official party line was "we take no position on the validity of this statement"?

And the same thing goes for the racist shit. How do you defend yourself against someone who has said you are genetically inferior? Why can't we have an official stance that this is horseshit?
  #200  
Old 11-29-2019, 09:48 PM
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There was not more homophobia on college campuses in the 2000s than in the generation before. There were more gay people that were publically identified as such, and society did have more protections for them by then--GSAs and other organizations that would advocate for a student if he was being harassed or bullied or attacked. Public bigotry toward homophobia was much, much less acceptable in 2005 than in 1995. The change was not that we started letting the homophobes speak. They had always been allowed to speak. What changed is that we started letting gay people speak.
And we're now hearing from trans people. We were hardly even talking about trans people in 2003. I searched for threads and came up pretty dry. The first time I even heard (not here) someone suggest that sex and gender weren't synonyms in 2001 I guffawed. They were asking me to back them up in a conversation they were having with someone else and I blew then off. This person is now male, then identifying as female. Not my proudest moment, even if I know better now. It just wasn't a topic that had ever come up before. The haters had no reason to start nasty threads; permanent binary was the status quo. Arguments on this board helped me learn. If the bigots speak up now, it's not because the board was previously trans-safe and now isn't, it's because it was indifferent and now we're winning. Same as we've done before.

If we want to win people over, and by all accounts we have lots of work to do if we want to move faster than just letting older people eventually die off, then we need to have the conversations where people who don't know better can see reason. Again, it's not necessarily the vocal ones we're winning over, but all those who read along.
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