Fellow Dopers, A Word if I May

This is not a rant. You won’t see So-and-So called a dumb bastard, or even see a mention of the perennial favorite: “fuckwit.” I throw down no gauntlets here. All I do is voice an objection to what seems like an unfair standard to which I am subject, and for that reason, seems to belong in the Pit. (If I am mistaken, my apologies to the Mods.)

In reference to this thread.

Honest to God, I do not understand. I’ve really tried to be as polite as I can through all of this, but I’ll be honest-- all of you who are gleefully kicking me around are hurting me. Maybe that amuses some of you or is considered some kind of victory, I don’t know.

All I can do is throw up my hands because it makes no sense. I did a search of my last 200 posts. Besides this thread, prisons and the CJS system came up once. I was roundly attacked for appearing there, too. Two threads. (Maybe I missed one, so I’ll call it three to be on the safe side.) To hear some of the complaints about me, you would think that I pop into a thread about icecream and start talking about my husband working in a prison.

I’ve got a nickname for it now: The FedEx Phenomenon. A few years back, someone posted a thread about the arrow in the FedEx Logo: they’d never noticed it until another Doper mentioned it and now that’s the *only *thing they noticed when they looked at it.

My “FedEx Moment” happed with that “A Word if I May” thread. After that, every time I post in a thread which mentions prisons, I find myself at the bottom of a pile of people eager to slam me for it, even though in reality, prison-related topics make up a very small percentage of my posts.

The “A Word If I May” thread addressed my habits of using my husband’s experience as my cite-- specifically, my wording of it. I was a bit flattered at the time, because it never occured to me that people remembered what I said or me as a poster. So, I made efforts to change my style because I didn’t want to annoy anyone, and started using internet cites (where they exist.) I even started avoiding mentioning him in other threads, just to avoid the accusations of never shutting up about him. (Had to mention him in the Valentine’s Day thread, though. It would have looked funny if I didn’t.)

I had even made a vow after the last debacle that I wasn’t going to post in prison threads any more because I was tired of being jumped on personally rather than being able to discuss the issues at hand. But the other side of me asked if I should be subject to special restrictions other Dopers were not.

So, when it was mentioned a pace downward in this thread that one of our Dopers thought that the child molester of the OP was probably aware now how it felt to be raped, I did the Doper thing.

You can see it in any thread. Somebody says that they saw ponies and wonders how long it will take them to turn into horses and Smart-Alec-Doper pops in to say that ponies don’t turn into horses and explains why. (Lame example, I know, but I’m upset right now.) I pointed out that this was mostly a myth.

Admittedly, I screwed up. I completely lost track of the fact that the crime in question took place in the UK. I was asked how I knew that. Paranoid-at-Being-Attacked Lissa thought, “Aha! A shallowly disguised attempt to get me to mention the Forbidden Name.” (Apologies to the poster in question if that was not their intent.) I responded with cites about flat sentencing, parole boards, prison rape, yadda yadda yadda. My first cite was even relevant to the difference between US and UK prisons in sexual assaults.

But from the above quote, it’s apparently completely irrelevant if what I have to share is correct. I have broached the Forbidden Topic. But, as I pointed out, alice was wrong. I hadn’t cited my husband.

So, no matter what I do, if I mention this Forbidden Topic, I’m in the dog house. The wounded side of me says, fine, let it go. Don’t bother any more. But I want to be able to participate just like anyone else. Christ almighty, I actually considered e-mailing a mod tonight to get my name changed so I could go back to doing what I was doing in quiet obscurity.

Yes, it upsets me. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I try to treat each and every one of you with respect and refrain from getting personal, even when the issue is something about which I hold strong opinions. I’ve failed at times. I try to apologize to those at whom I lash out, and if any of you has ever been someone I’ve treated badly and failed to apologize, please know that I do regret it. It’s hard to keep my temper in check sometimes.

I love this place. I’ve been here since '99 and I can see myself continuing with it indefinitley. I love debate, and I never take it personally when someone attacks my ideas. I am, however, easily wounded by personal insults and venoumous remarks, especially since I don’t feel the’re merited.

In the last thread, there was a nice person who phrased his opinion politely: that I should stop talking about my husband constantly. I didn’t do an exact count, but from my brief review of my last 750 posts, it appears that I talk about my dogs more than I talk about my husband. (They’ve certainly been the primary topics of threads I’ve started.) Am I to be held to a standard that no other Doper is: that there is one Forbidden Topic and one Forbidden Name?

Yeah, some were nice, but others were cruel, and I guess I just don’t understand that. Yeah, it’s the Pit, and such things are allowed but as my mother used to say, just because something’s legal doesn’t make it ethical. Why such seething anger and venom towards another poster when you could just simply skim by their posts if you prefer not to read their input on a subject? I could understand the nastiness if I were making racist remarks or insulting people, but all I’m trying to do is debate a topic which interests me. Why be so goddam* mean*?

I won’t be returning to that thread any more because, like the last few I’ve participated in, it’s become more focused on me than the topic at hand and that never was my intention.

I’m not asking for special favors. I’m asking to be treated like any other Doper, free to post ideas and opinions and have *those *rigorously attacked, not me personally.

Lissa, I do like you, so take this for what it’s worth. I think a LOT of people got really annoyed, and justifiably so, when you refused to listen to people who had more experience with the subject in this thread. It also might seem like you mention your husband’s job a lot, that’s all.

So people, rightly or wrongly, I’m not saying they’re correct, seem to think that’s all you post, or that’s how you come across.

I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but since you asked for opinions, well, I don’t know what else to say.

I could have stayed and defended my position, but I simply couldn’t take the venom. If that makes me a wuss, so be it, but I got the impression that factual data wasn’t really going to help my cause.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but prisons all over the country are sued every day by people who cherry-pick cases but don’t understand how department policy meets it. (Hell, we’ve been sued multiple times personally by these people and have never lost a single case.)

Is perception everything?

No, of course not. But sometimes, we end up giving an impression that we don’t mean to. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Lissa, I am new. I have never tangled with you, nor have any beef with you.

You know how there are some running jokes on the 'Dope? The Hal/sheep, the womensperm debacle, the other memes? You working in a museum, and your husband working in a prison is one of them. This is how you are known to many.

Don’t get too worked up about it, you can’t win. Remember, it’s just a message board.

I’ve never seen Hal bitterly eviscerated for mentioning sheep. I wouldn’t mind being the subject of gentle ribbing as Hal is, but what I get can’t be considered good-humored teasing.

I try not to get worked up over it, but I really enjoy this place and the company of my other Dopers. It hurts when people you respect as a group say mean things to you, even though, yes, it’s over the internet.

No. On that note, lemme offer you mine. :smiley:

This is the first I’ve heard of your husband’s job. I have no idea if you run your mouth off about it or not, but just going by the linked thread it does seem like people are jumping all over your shit for no good reason.

People get worked up sometimes. Try not to take it too hard.

Don’t ever “respect people as a group.” Especially anonymous weirdos on the internet. And as far as the people who are knocking you go, I think writing 10,000 word posts responding to the allegations is kind of feeding the fire. I would just let it go and move on if I were you.

Rightly or wrongly, the perception is that you don’t feel you have anything to learn from other posters. I know, I know; you’ve asked questions, you’ve conceded arguments a time or two. But your habit, and it is an established pattern, of jumping in to threads to state, “No, that’s not so,” (rather than “Are you sure? Because I read/heard…”) and continuing to persist even after people have counter-cited, does not give the impression of someone who wants to learn.

Furthermore, this OP, and your subsequent posts in the thread, is being perceived by me, and perhaps others, as having a tone of “You guys are being mean for no reason…It can’t be anything I’m doing, but I’ll stop, if you guys can live with my hurt feelings on your conscience.” I perceive that your ego is rather precariously inflated.

And finally, although you say that your search of 200 posts turned up very little, I daresay that a) a search of all your posts would tell a different story and b) you don’t have to directly mention your husband or his (former?) job to be perceived to be speaking from a misplaced position of authority.

I already pretty clearly stated my position on this issue in the thread Guin linked to, when I said (Post #90):

Now you say:

This is IMO complete BS. I think you stopped posting to that thread because you did not want to answer my inquiries regarding the basis for your extremely authoritative opinions.

So now that you’ve decided to decicate an entire thread to the subject, I would appreciate answers to the questions you failed to answer in that thread. I will repost them here (from my post #110):

YOU: Yet again, I am only making suggestions about the possible reasons for the issue at hand based on things I have seen in the past.

ME: Please explain to us the circumstances under which you have “seen things” in the past? What did you see? And how? Based on your professonal capacity? And what might that have been?

And later in the same post:

ME: Furthermore, to the extent you are giving examples of policies “you have seen” (whatever the hell that means, beyond that you probably actually have no idea how these policies work or don’t work on the ground)” . . .

YOU: “Actually, I do.”

ME: Great: Let’s hear how you have first-hand experience working with correctional medical policies. At the very least, this should get you away from “My husband used to work in corrections.” I’m genuinely interested: When, exactly have you seen these policies at work on the ground?

I submit that you did not bow out of that thread because of the “venom,” of which there was actually very little by Pit standards, but because you did not want to answer these questions. So I would appreciate it if you would answer them now.

Similarly, I would be interested to know who or what, precisely, is the “we” you are referring to in this post. I trust I haven’t been excessively venomous in these requests.

Also, from my perception, it isn’t that you only post in corrections threads, it’s that when you post in corrections threads, you post with great authority and with a clear implication that you work in this field – your statement here that “‘we’ve’ been sued multiple times by these people” is a prime example of this – when AFAIK, you don’t. So I honestly would appreciate it if you would clear that up.

In this example, I assume the “we” you’re referring to in “we’ve been sued” is your husband, and you were named in suits against him as his wife, simply as part of his marital community, as opposed to you having been sued in your professional or personal capacity for anything you’ve ever done in this field. Is this incorrect?

So AFAIAC, the issue isn’t that you say “My husband works in corrections” but rather that in fact the only connection you actually have to corrections is what your husband – not you – does for a living. And that is simply not grounds enough for you to (a) post as authoritatively as you insist on doing in this area alone, and (b) continue to insist that you are correct and others are incorrect, based solely on your second-hand knowledge.

So you don’t fix the problem to continue to post in corrections threads with such apparent unassailable authority but merely not mentioning your husband. You still have no better grounds to be so immutably certain about issues arising in an area that is not your field.

Also, in the thread linked in your OP, Lissa, you say:

It is not my impression you post so obnoxiously authoritatively on any other subject – just corrections. Also, you have never undermined your own authority in dog behavior threads by revealing that the only basis for your posts is that your mother is a dog trainer.

No problem.

I often proof-read policy written by my husband and spoke extensively with quite a few people who were in charge of implimenting them on how they worked. Considering I’m not an employee, they were probably more open with me than they would be with someone in the department. I’ve read a lot of books, correctional professional publications, have attended dozens of seminars and discussions on policy all around my state. No, I have never actually dealt with the inmates myself, but I talk to a lot of people, on a daily basis, who do.

Sure, you wouldn’t go to a get an appendectomy from a doctor who had only studied how to do it, but research can teach you a lot. And you wouldn’t tell a med student to shut up if they were discussing different medical treatment options that are out there.

I’m really surprised that my posts are considered in any way to be “authoritive.” I’m just like any other poster who throws something out there and other people expand on it or correct it as the situation warrants. I’ve been in very long discussions on these topics before and I’ve always tuck through it. My misconception was that if I posted in the Pit and remained polite, others would as well.

As for the “we” in my sentence about being sued, I meant it as in “my husband and I”. (The department, too, but he gets named personally.) In many of these suite, we would be open to civil penalties if his actions were found to violate people’s rights.

Honestly, this is like a model asking “Is physical appearance everything?”

Perhaps it isn’t quite everything, but it’s a HUGE part of what people think of your posts. You do have a tendency to speak from authority, intentionally or not, and that rankles people because everyone knows your experience is second hand.

Not that second hand experience is bad, but it’s not a strong position to argue a controversial topic. I’ll offer up my second hand experience on topics, but I’m not going to get into a heavy weight argument based on it.

Correct (as I addressed previously. He is the one named in the suit. Our community assets would be the ones at risk if we were open to civil liablity through his actions.

I’ve seen examples of Dopers who don’t work in astronomy explaining physical phenomenon in our universe. Likewise, a poster who contributes to a math problem thread is not expected to be employed as a mathemetician. They got their information from studying the topic, just as I have.

I beg to object that I never asked for extra weight to be given to my posts. In the past when I used to preface them with “My hubby works in a prison” it was to explain where I got my information, not to declare myself to be an authority based on it. I can be wrong just like anyone else, and I’ve never minded someone challenging one of my statements.

Lissa, did you even see my post number fifty in the thread you linked in the OP? I thought I explained things very well, and quite nicely too.

Alice_in_wonderland is annoyed by your excessive mentions of the correctional system? Huh. It’s amazing how people can criticize other people for perseverating on the same couple of topics over and over and never notice that they are being total hypocrites. Hey, just countermention that you’re sick of her excessive mentions of her huge, perfect rack. In fact, I’ve just been waiting for an authoritative photographic cite on that :wink: , and a number of other topics on which she is wont to bang her own gong, like her collection expensive underwear, her size 0 ass, and god knows whatever other self-aggrandizing bullshit she brings up over, and over, and over, like a record that skips a groove. Criticism from this quarter? Not to be taken seriously, Lissa. Blow it off. Hell, be flattered-- she noticed something other than herself for 5 minutes and registered your existence. You rock.

The difference is that we uninformed people are quite prepared to to listen to an actualy authority. I’m a psychology student, and I might put forth my opinion in a thread on that subject - but if Shoshana* or someone with actual first-hand experience comes in and totally disagress with me, i’ll at the very least reconsider my argument, and likely retract it completely. It just seems that in threads where you participate, you speak with such conviction - “No, you’re wrong. This is how it is.” - against even people who do have actual experience and first-hand knowledge of the subject.

I think it’s an issue of respect. You appear (perhaps you don’t do it deliberately) to give your own opinion more respect than it sometimes deserves, and to give other’s opinions less than they deserve.

I personally don’t mind how often you mention your husband’s job. It’s the position from which you argue that seems a bit off to me.

*I think Shoshana’s a psychologist. Someone with a similar name, anyway.

I did, and I tried to address this issue in my OP. Yes, I was wrong for where the crime occurred, and I apologized. perhaps you’re right that it would have been best to slink away at that point, but another poster (Seven, I believe) asked questions about the data I had presented.

If I’ve given people the impression that I don’t respect their opinions, that is completely contrary to my intent and I apologize. My intent was to argue against their positions, which I’ve never felt was dissrespectful in of itself.