Straight Dope Remediation (Get In Here!)

I was insensitive and inconsiderate in a recent Vegetarian thread. I’m sorry about that. It seems I am often insensitive and inconsiderate. It’s doubly bad because I joined that thread saying to myself that I was going to be sensitive and considerate. I guess my punishment is that I never did satisfy my curiousity about vegetarian ethics.
Anyway, this thread isn’t about me.

It’s simply about this:

If you wish to be a kind person, you need to leave people with something to cover themselves. A way out.

When somebody is being personally attacked, it makes it very difficult for them to concede a point, even if they want to. Trust me, I know.

Even (and I think, especially,) if the gang that is attacking has a valid point, it is wrong to wield that point against a person like a sledgehammer.
So, what I’d like to do is talk about possibilities.

I think Opalcat is a fantastic person. I love her website, and I enjoy 99.9% of her posts. I think she is most often careful, friendly, and meticulous, but she’s got a lot of passion too.

Occasionally, in the heat of passion, defending something one believes in strongly, one may say something that is ill-considered, or doesn’t come out right, or is over the top.

When you’re being personally attacked, it’s very hard to admit to anything, and it’s hard to say you’re sorry to people who are actively attacking you. You wonder if they deserve it, for their lack of understanding.

On the other side of the coin, I’m not a big fan of The Ryan, but does the current attack against him have any possibilities of ending constructively?

So what do you say to the idea that all offended and involved parties come in here, take a deep breath, and talk about mountains and molehills.

Perhaps admissions of overzealousness might be forthcoming as well.

Let’ start applying the social band-aids. Look at wounds other than your own, whether you caused them or not, and spray on the soothing bactine of a kind word or an apology.

Then we can try to do better next time.

Scylla, you’re a great guy, and I appreciate this effort.

But the next time someone uses a holocaust analogy to point out something completely trivial, I’ll call them a fucking idiot again, and again, and again. I’d like to think this place has certain standards.

See, I think I’m better at using the tweezers of empathy to remove the imbedded splinter of insult. But hey, we can all do our part!


Anyway - sometimes someone needs a gentle nudge to see reason and sometimes the people they are pushing need to shove back. Sometimes only a mass of people telling you that you are being unreasonable will make you question your position. Even if that questioning comes much, much later.

Not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment Scylla.



I agree that it’s trivial. Other people don’t think so. Opalcat has subsequently come out and said that she didn’t mean to equate the two things with her “microscope” example.

I think she’s acknowledged that they’re not the same thing, but at the same time she feels very strongly about animal rights and it looks to me like she’s left one of two choices:

  1. Say that the analogy was totally invalid

  2. defend it to some degree.

If she does the former then she’s saying that the life of animals is without worth.

If she does the latter then she’s saying killing animals is the same as WWII death camps.

She’s stuck. She made a mistake.

I can’t possibly recall how many times I’ve said things that I wished I could take back.

If making mistakes makes somebody a fucking idiot than I’m a fucking idiot, too.

Calling somebody who you know to be a good person a “fucking idiot,” is never a nice thing. It’s never a good thing.

That’s my thought.

Scylla, you’re a fucking idiot.

Joke. :stuck_out_tongue:

Good thread.

What if you don’t know them to be a good person?

Scylla, nice post. I keep hoping that one of the two people involved will take the high road and apologize, but I’m afraid I’m going to be sadly disappointed.

regardless of the holocaust comment, she was still acting like an idiot.

Nice thread Scylla.

I would think if you don’t know what a person is like, you hardly oughtta call them a “fucking idiot.”

What if they are being a fucking idiot?

Oh great, now I’m going to have to start a “Straight Dope Remediation Thread Remediation Thread” to try and clam this thread down.

Scylla: good thread, good point.

I have seen “wiggle room” offered to posters time and again who’ve refused it -with extreme prejudice. But you’re right that it should be offered as part of civil discourse.

You mean kinda like what you’re doing now?

A smiley got ommitted there. Oops. I was being facetious.


The simple point is that calling somebody a “fucking idiot” regardless of there behavior is rarely a constructive or worthy thing to do.

You may posit “cruel to be kind,” or “They deserved it,” or other sorts of things, but that does little to change the fact that it tends to hurt things more than it helps.

I’m not sure why you’re focussing on this point.

I need some Prozac, some Tylenols with Codeine, and. . .


This isn’t the Remedication Thread?

Never mind.
Good effort Scylla, but I think it’s a lost cause.

I think one of the marks of being a good debater (and a good citizen on the boards) is the ability to say “Wow, I really fucked up.” I know it’s hard, but from where I stand if you’re not able to swallow your pride and admit an error, you’re underqualified to play ball here. I wish more posters would go home and grow up some more before leaping on the keyboard hands a-blazin.

Then again, that might cut the SDMB membership by a frightening margin.

When I’m long gone from here (probably due to a banning, the way my mood has been lately) the only thing I really hope anyone remembers me for is the willingness to concede a point and to apologize when wrong.

But then what the fuck do I know?

Anyway, while I am on the topic, I’d like to once again apologize to Lucki for being an insensitive clod last week. My fault, I can be such an ass sometimes.

[breaking out the tweezers]

Scylla, I know how you feel. It sucks to try to be diplomatic, to calm things down, and to be attacked in turn. Sometimes, when the lobsters are angry, you just gotta get out of the aquarium.

It’s a tortured metaphor I’m learning every day.

Daniel[/putting away the tweezers]

I think you are on to something here, Scylla, but it’s something that takes civility, maturity, a deep amount of self-awareness, and some time. It’s much easier to say I’m sorry for (fill in the blank) in person or to a friend, than it is on a message board to somebody you have never met. Were Coldy and Opal friends IRL, this would easily be much easier to resolve. OpalCat would say “I’m sorry you misunderstood the point of the comparison between the Holocaust. I should not leave it open to the interpretation that genocide of humans is as bad as using leather to make books.” Then Coldy would say “Yeah, OK, don’t do it again. And I’m sorry I called you a fucking idiot.” They would both apologize, hopefully soothe over the injuries, but still be able to think to themselves that they were right. Does that mean that the apology is insincere? I don’t think so. Does it mean that the standards of the SDMB are somehow compromised? Get real. I think it is just courtesy and kindness.

And to show that I try to practice what you preach, I’d like to take a deep breath and tell Revtim and Rilchiam that I’m sorry that I called them assholes in this thread.. To be completely honest, I still believe I am right, and I’m still pissed that no one seems to respect me enough to answer the questions I posed. However, that does not excuse my short temper and name calling. Hopefully my apology will be accepted so I can stop letting it eat away at me like it has.

Scylla, I didn’t mean to overfocus - sorry. I’m a bit pushed for time today, hence the short nature of the post.

All I’m trying to say is that the pit is a place where if one feels that someone is a fucking idiot then one should be able to call them a fucking idiot. I agree- it probably won’t help, though if enough people do it then it may occur to them that they are acting like a fucking idiot. But we aren’t necessarily always here to act as life tutors for fucking idiots. Sometimes and for some people, if it doesn’t help them then I reserve the right not to give a fuck. That’s all.

Or maybe I’m just grumpy. Two days back at work post-holiday. You know how that is. Right now I think that EVERYONE up to and including myself is a fucking idiot.