The chilling effect

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Mule, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Mule

    Verified Gold Member

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    While flame wars, drama and online slugfests are hardly new, I know that many people here are feeling the pain of several extended conflicts which have resulted in many "veteran" members either being banned or leaving the site.

    It occurred to me today, and then was confirmed when I read Drifterwood's thread "Too many have gone" that the loss of those more-vocal members and the associated banning may have had a chilling effect on the discussion here. I am sure that quite a few people, myself included, have gone to type a response to someone and decided against it, somewhat afraid of what might happen. No (sane) person wants to stir up a hornet's nest, but at the same time, one of the great things about these forums is that opinions are given, positions are defended, and people become informed through that process.

    With the recent problems, perhaps the risk of being labelled a troublemaker, or the possibility of being banned has had a chilling effect on that lively and sometimes-heated debate. When I try to think of something that might help, the one thing I keep coming back to is the idea of boundaries. Children (and adults I suppose) learn by having boundaries set, then experience consequences when those boundaries are exceeded. Bringing consequences onto someone who wasn't informed of exactly where the boundaries lie is unfair. I'm not saying that the mod team does this necessarily, or that the ToS does not set those boundaries, but I am saying that it seems that the interpretation of the ToS might be different from one person to the next. The rules by which we play here should be crystal clear and not open to interpretation.

    The boundaries of LPSG are laid out in the ToS, but I think that there is still uncertainty about what can and cannot be done. At what point does a debate become an argument that could lead to a ban? How does one post one's unconventional opinion without being labelled a troll? Exactly what makes a troll a troll? It goes on.

    Personally I would feel far less "chilled" and more willing to jump into threads with both feet (all four hooves?) if I knew precisely where the boundaries lie. Is that the case with others here too?
     
    #1 Mule, Jul 11, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2008
  2. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    It's sad but some people refuse to agree to disagree or even consider another's point of view. They will go on attack if a person defends ones own point of view. Maybe, controversial topics should be put on the back burner a while. It would give things a chance to cool off. We've got some newer peeps that love to argue along with older members who can't wait to fuss.
     
  3. Mule

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    Yes, and I think that has its own chilling effect, in that people will hesitate to share their opinion because someone might jump down their throat for it and off we go...

    I think having confidence that those kind of behaviors will not be tolerated by the admin, and that those who get attacked will not be penalized for defending themselves, will give people more confidence to engage in discussion here.
     
  4. D_Kay_Sarah_Sarah

    D_Kay_Sarah_Sarah Account Disabled

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    Any time race, religion or politics is mentioned it is going o turn into an argument. As most people say they shouldn't be talked about at the dinner table i sometimes think the same should be said about discussing it online
     
  5. Phil Ayesho

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    I think that is a cop out for weak minded individuals who can not cope with the plain fact that not all people agree.
    Argument is NOT war... its a philosophical exercise in putting forth and defending your position. It should be possible to do so without undue rancor or threats.

    Anyone of sufficient intelligence and maturity should be able to discuss anything at all, as long as they do so with in good conscience and with grace and humor.

    That not all people exhibit said maturity or intellect is just something those people will have to learn to get used to.
     
  6. mista geechee

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    Agreed. Now some (who shall remain nameless) think that their opinion is fact and won't stop until someone acquiesces or they get the last word. Anytime race or religion/philosophy is mentioned , people are quickly offended. It seems that people now have a vehement abhorrance toward an open mind and free discussion.

    But don't worry Mule , you'll know you're a troublemaker/troll when you go on a 3 paragraph rant without actually stopping to look at what you typed.
     
  7. B_dumbcow

    B_dumbcow New Member

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    Sometimes it stoops into name-calling and personal attacks. That is not what's wanted.
     
  8. D_Fiona_Farvel

    D_Fiona_Farvel Account Disabled

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    Mule, I think the key is civility. If you enter a thread with a post that shows you've have some 'home training' and can conduct yourself in an adult manner and hold a civil discussion, even when in disagreement, there is no justification for banishment.

    Regarding "trolls", I think the term is thrown around far too casually and too often for newcomers, especially when considering some veterans, or quasi-veterans, have engaged in incivility, clinging to immutable opinions, and name calling that leave new members who immediately show these characteristics labeled trolls. Either these are shitty personality traits for a poster regardless of tenure or they aren't. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    I agree. If anything, it is the lack of constant open and civil discussion about the topics Lee mentioned that makes people lose their shit the moment they are introduced.

    Omg, stop talking about me! :biggrin1: I'm starting to think that many people are hostile to discussion of sensitive topics because it is always easier not to question your stance, or usually, whatever they adopted from someone else, then slapped on a club-like banner to wield in fierce defense of what they consider to be the sole truth.
     
  9. JustAsking

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    I agree with the posters here who say that lack of civility is the problem. One can have a knock-down drag-out debate without resorting to personal attacks.

    My advice to everyone is to not respond emotionally to troll-like baiting. Either respond by pointing out the faulty logic, or don't respond at all. I think most of those who were banned had good reason to be offended by those that were challenging them, but their responses to the challenges were too personal.

    I am not saying that I agree or disagree with the banning, but I do see a pattern in who gets banned and why. It is too bad, because at least half of the bannished are people I really and truly enjoy talking with.
     
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