Wow. I spend a weekend shift on night patrol, and when I check in here, all I see is vitriol and arguments, nobody’s going to concede to anything, by God. “I was right, you were wrong, that’s it, and if you can’t see that, then you’re an idiot.”

This is too depressing. I had no idea of the amount of hatred there is people’s hearts today, a lot of it directed at minorities, a lot of it directed at gays, a lot of it directed at believers in God. The vindictive nature of the stuff I’ve seen spewed onto this board tonight makes me ill…I mean totally, completely sick at heart.

It’s not just this board. Nobody can get along, apparently. My partner and I responded to a bad one about 12:30 Saturday morning, shooting in progress; the result was the husband dead, the wife in jail, two little kids, four and three, with Protective Services. The neighbor reported they kept screaming about who was right and who was wrong, and finally she killed him. We been out to this place on domestics six times before in the last four months. Merciful Jesus and Holy Michael.

And now I come back to find these flamewars still in progress, not only on one board or in one thread, but they’ve expanded all over the place, like a fucking cancer. Who’s right and who’s wrong? My, God, you people, WHO CARES?!?!??
I am sick unto death of the arguing, the posturing, the arrogance, and everything else connected with it. I’m tired of having my faith degraded, ridiculed, desanctified and generally shat upon every time I read these boards. It’s gotten to the point where it sends me into a black depression, and frankly, I don’t think I’m strong enough to deal with it any more. Who needs this, what I need to do is move into an environment where it’s a lot more psychologically healthy.

Polycarp, Tom, Chaim, I want to say that I respected you more than most here. God bless. I fear that if the SDMB is designed to eliminate ignorance, you have your work cut out for you. Keep them away from guns, for God’s sake.

Take care, everyone. Have fun bickering. I won’t be joining in, I’m afraid. If you want to claim victory for driving another irritant off the board, you have my permission. And the really sad part is, whatever I’ve said here won’t make the slightest bit of difference.

For what it’s worth, so long.

Methinks we’ve just lost a very valuable voice here.

This is a very good point. It’s dangerous to take this board too seriously, because so many people here do not treat one another as respectfully as they would in person, face-to-face.

A lot of people on this board ham it up for the audience. They attack people personally, engage in name-calling, and treat others in a manner that would be unthinkable in a face-to-face encounter.

A person who speaks up here and shares his or her heartfelt beliefs runs the risk of ridicule, disdain and sarcasm to a much greater extent than would occur in a face-to-face environment.

Disrespectful behavior is rewarded here, because it can be entertaining. After all, it’s hip to be snide.

But it also can be hurtful.

It’s very easy to treat people like objects when all one sees are words on a computer screen. To the extent that the SDMB environment enables us to treat one another as objects, it is psychologically unhealthy to participate.

I disagree, Pickman–I think this is a very healthy atmosphere, and an enlightening one, too. Where else could I hear the opinions of–and and exchange ideas with–people I would never meet in real life? All sorts of Christians, Orthodox Jews, witches, hippies, college kids, etc., etc.

I’ve learned an awful lot about others’ opinions, and I don’t see that as unhealthy at all.

Flora, I think Pickman would agree with you; learning about that diversity is what brought him here. The problem is not what’s being said, but the violent and disrespectful way of saying it.

Pickman, if you’re still out there lurking — May I suggest leaving the Great Debates section if you must, but stay with us in General Questions, ok?

The other option is to simply ignore those threads here which turn into the type of thing Pickman has described. If you see a thread is turning that way, don’t read it any more.

An online culture is different than a face-to-face one; insults and invective tend to be more acceptable here. This might not be the best attitude to have, but there are reasons for it.

In “Real Life”, it’s easy for an argument to get out of hand. When people get emotional over a topic, and frustrated that they can’t communicate their ideas, they sometimes give up on speech and express their feelings physically. This usually ends up with somebody getting hurt or killed, which is considered a Bad Thing. In order to prevent this kind of thing, the society frowns on emotional arguing.

But here-- in “cyberspace” if you like that word-- there’s no way for us to hurt each other. No matter how upset someone gets, no matter how much he has been insulted, he simply can’t lash out with fists or knife or gun; about the worst he can do, if he’s a skilled cracker, is cause some temporary inconvenience. For this reason, there is less cultural pressure for discussions to remain civilized.

I don’t mean to say that random invective is allowed; newbie posters are often taken to task for being insulting without reason. But a clever, well-phrased flame does obtain respect for the writer, if not in the same way that a polite statement does.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

When a job is stressful (and being a cop has got to be one of the most stressful), one wants relaxation and/or intellectual stimulation as a relief from the stress.

Not invective of the “if you’d only read what I intended to write” variety. (Note: this is not[ directed at any extant poster, just the atmosphere such posts convey.)

I got extremely depressed when two fascinating religious threads degenerated into “Did Jodi unreasonably take umbrage at something another poster said?” pseudo-flame-wars. I stuck around, tried ot throw oil on the troubled waters, and we got by one of them, and the other one seems to have cooled off, and people are debating interesting things again.

I’d ask PM, don’t leave, because “this too will pass” and your wit and reasoned eloquence is sorely needed. If you must go, go with the prayers of the religious among us, and the good thoughts of the others.

A well-reasoned description, Auraseer, but… when you say: << No matter how upset someone gets, no matter how much he has been insulted, he simply can’t lash out with fists or knife or gun … For this reason, there is less cultural pressure for discussions to remain civilized. >>

Yeah, but… You flame someone, and he can’t lash out AT YOU with fists or knife or gun. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t lash out at someone else, taking that frustration out on some poor innocent slob who happens along. It just means you don’t see it. And I think the lack of respect shown online is (as you say, Auraseer) disquieting, and is based on the hideous moral premise of the ostrich: that “if I can’t see the bad effect of my actions, then they don’t exist.”

Pickman, I hope you’re lurking, and I would like to add my hope that you will remain here – the trick is to avoid certain forums and certain threads.

“Shane, Shane!”

I, too, think you should stick around. I will, however, throw out a couple more ideas:

  • You’re exceptionally stressed because of stuff that happened on your job.

  • These past few days have seen more bickering than we usually get among posters who don’t normally troll. Maybe it was just the New Moon. (We all know that the Full Moon doesn’t cause trouble, but what do we really know about the effects of the New Moon?)

  • It might be a good opportunity to take a break from the SDMB–without deciding to never return. I have watched a number of posters get fed up, take a leave, and return refreshed. Sometimes a time out is necessary (because we can get pretty nasty around here), but we can always use calmer voices–especially ones who bring facts into the conversation.



Another problem with message boards and arguments is those same cultral differences Flora and the rest of us love.

To illustrate:

I come from a large, boisterious family and we ARGUE. I’ve been raised to argue since I was in the craddle. I’ve seen my mother and my aunt have impassioned disscussions over cost accounting. Now, outsiders who come from calmer families sometimes see us as horribly disfuntional, when nothing could be further from the truth. I finally realized that in some families, rejecting a person’s ideas is seen as a rejection of a person; in our familiy, those issues are kept seperate–after a three hour heated disscussion on PCs vs. Macs, there is zero awquard lingering bad feeling once the subject is changed. However, I can see how if you were not raised in this atmosphere it would be very hard to take.

I have the same problem today. I am an education/ liberral arts major, and I have had to learn that what liberal arts professors and students see as a reasoned discussion education majors see as an unprovoked, vicious attack.

So in this diverse nation their really is no way to set a standard for arguments; If we were as as gentle as half the people would like, half of us would get bored and wander off. On the other hand, if we were as acerbic as some people like to be, we’d have to impose a “no one under 18” rule.

Really, all we can do is what has already been suggested–you don’t like the tone of a thread, don’t read it. And don’t waste a lot of time feeling sorry for the person being attacked–if they are still in it, it’s probably a sign that they are enjoying the give and take, even if you wouldn’t. Also, I would suggest that we all of us who do enjoy a good screaming match try and avoid provoking those who can’t be objective about it–esp. those who are obviously young [ Not Pickman!] and can’t defend themselves.

Manda said:

A good note. I’ve also seen this – here at work.

We had a fairly knowledgeable lawyer (as lawyers go :wink: ) come to work here. For several months, everybody thought of her as “the bitch.” Why? Because she argued every point – harshly – when she thought she was right. If she thought you were wrong, she said, “You’re wrong,” and why. No beating around the bush or niceties. When I became friends with her later, I mentioned this to her. She said that when she had been in a large law firm previous to joining us, that’s the way it was done. If you thought you were right, you said so and the other person was expected to back up their claims or admit to being wrong. There was nothing personal and it was just understood. But she failed to take into account that people outside that firm didn’t work that way and expected a bit more, um, niceness.

On the flip side, whenever she said that, for example, I was wrong about something and I showed that I was right, she admitted it quickly, did things the proper way, and we moved on. We formed a very good working relationship and are now good friends.

Hear hear! I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again (probably not soon enough for some ;)).


David…if that’s the case, why didn’t you treat her nicer when she started posting here? :wink:

Poly, my lawyer has advised me not to answer that question. :wink:

I have to agree with Wally here, we are losing a very valuable voice. Pickman, I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now, other than what you’ve posted. I do know that you are one of the people whose posts are almost certain to be interesting, even if I don’t agree. Sometimes, despite the fact that I’ve actively participated in a number of them, the unremitting flamewars get me down too. I’ve been avoiding the BBQ pit and the Great Debates for a while for this very reason, and I’m sure that everyone gets a little sick of it now and again. I don’t think that’s any reason to leave the board to the trolls, though. Stick around. Things will probably get better, and if they don’t, then it’s fairly easy to stay out of the barbecue-intensive regions. In any event, hope the emotional health gets better.

Modest? You bet I’m modest! I am the queen of modesty!

I regret your decision, but I understand it.
As you said, your work pulls you into situations where people’s disagreements and unreason cause tragedies. Sometimes some of the discussions here would be "more’ piled onto of “too much”.
Do please take a break, but consider coming back at some time. Your voice and viewpoint will be missed. Your posts were always civil, thoughtful, respectful expositions of your faith and experience.
First and foremost, though, take care of yourself. You have enough to cope with in real life. If you do choose a more affirming environment for your spare time, that’s certainly understandable.
All the best.

Dex wrote:

Blowing off steam is what a flamewar is all about. I flame you, you flame me back, I insult your mother, you call me some four-letter names. Eventually the subject gets changed, everyone calms down, and we get over it.

I don’t think anybody is going to beat his wife or his dog because he was insulted online, unless he’s got some serious emotional problems anyway. And if he’s that easy to set off, he probably doesn’t need any real stimulus. (Maybe some psychotic dude gets pissed off at a flame, and decides to go beat up a random stranger. Or if I didn’t flame him that day, maybe the neighbor’s stereo was too loud, or somebody cut him off in traffic. If his personality is such that he’s about to snap anyway, one conversation will not make a significant difference.)
Pickman, if you’re still reading, I won’t try and get you to stay; it’s obviously your decision alone. I’ll just suggest that you take the boards a little less seriously, as the entertainment for which they were meant.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

Pickman…when people flame, its almost always just because a spitball wont fly that far! I have rarely seen any true animosity. (Although I have seen some, and it werent pretty!)

Like the new thread I started in the pit…do you really think I hold any animosity for people with excessively long sig lines?
No, of course not, I am exaggerating a minor annoyance for fun, and a few laughs, and to demonstrate the difference between short sharp lines and those boring long ones.

Its all for fun…

Dont go.We need you.