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Tyler Ludens
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Bumping this up to remind folks to be nice. It's possible to disagree with an idea without calling it BS, without calling other folks clueless, etc. Let's practice nicer ways of expressing ourselves.

Thank you.

 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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OK, I admit that I have been less than nice, I apologise. However, there has to be a balance between letting miss information be perpetuated and having creditabliy as a forum. I am not overly active here anymore because I feel that so much is posted that I have doubts about. I have enjoyed this forum and have gleaned some very good ideas here that we have put into practic. I have learned to follow the posts of several individuals here, because they have shown that they are doing what they talk about, Walter Jefferies in particular comes to mind. However, I brush over so much of the diolog here for the oposite reasons. I ask you who moderate to help keep this a positive source of information.
Thank you,
kent smith
 
paul wheaton
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Kent,

I guess it boils down to: do I pay for and manage this forum to get what I want out of it, or to get what you want out of it?

I think you are suggesting that your path is the right path and my path is errant?

I would like to ask you to point out the forums you manage so I can get an idea of what your idea of good forum management looks like.

I think the awkwardness that you are expressing is that this forum may not be a fit for you and you should find a forum that is a better fit.
 
wayne stephen
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This is the first forum I have posted on. I joined last spring and daily I gather much useful information. When I first signed on I was drawn into some topics I felt heated about and was probably close to being directed towards niceness by the steward. This can be attributed to lack of practice on my part , when does one have much opportunity to engage in these debates in our daily lives. Since then I have learned to glance over a subject that gets my goat - Pet peeves are geared toward pseudoscience and most political/economic idealogies . I do not engage in a topic that I feel may bring out my argumentitive side, not worth it.
There is plenty to learn on this site. Besides I am a nurse and chef by trade , not a research physicist or political scientist. I have been drawn to comment on other forums since joining this one and will scroll down and see the malignant diatribes and challenges to others IQs and manhood and will never look back .
Thanks to Paul and the stewards for keeping it nice and focused on the permaculture world which we share.
 
Leila Rich
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I think people here are nearly always really, really nice
Thanks guys for making permies a great place to hang out, and making my job really easy!
 
wayne stephen
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Years ago I was a sous chef working for a very finicky , OCD stricken {really} , violent tempered man who owned a small bistro famous for it's quality foods . I would be busy freezing mango ice cream , beating allspice mayonnaise , mincing herbs , etc. Every once in awhile he would say " Wayne , make it nice ." I would say "OK " . That's all , just make it nice .
 
Dale Hodgins
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Things seem a lot nicer than when I joined over three years ago. I think the real name policy may have had something to do with it. The worst behavior is often done in secret.

I am always careful to separate the topic from the speaker, but have sometimes been accused of stirring the pot, usually when I comment on something so silly that it might have been better to let it move to the bottom of the pile. I'm naturally attracted to train wrecks. I've found that if I stay away from threads that propose ideas that I'm likely to view as unscientific, there's nothing for me to refute or mock. This leaves more time for productive discourse.
-------------------------------------------------------------
I've made up for all of this online restraint by becoming even more boorish in person. I leave no stone unturned when arguing about this that and everything. I've said things that would make Russel Brand and Christopher Hitchens blush. This hasn't hurt my social standing, so far as I know. Being on a forum where there are certain restraints, causes me to adjust my approach and my vocabulary. That's as close to being bilingual as I've ever been.

The niceness policy seems to be working. I'm going to try it out on a couple of my brothers even when I have the urge to call them idiots. It'll freak them out.
 
allen lumley
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- Its the sneaky-high pitched voice saying " But you/he said - " That makes me see red and thump the computer table so hard my Hand-stitched sampler ,
The one that says ''Be nice-play fair'' falls off of the wall!

The over day one got to me Sooo-bad it cracked my little boys heart, or rather the glass jug I keep it in, bottom left drawer ! If there is just one thing that
pisses me of its the other guys (sneaky) intolerance ! FOR THE GOOD OF THE CRAFTS whether they realize it or not ! Big AL
 
shilo kinarty
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As someone with bad English it's hard to me to write in English and therefore I tend to write very in short. sometimes this can cause me to show am not nice in spite of that this completely not what I meant .like in the event that someone wrote what he understood and asked if he wrong and I wrote him "yes. you wrong". end you delete my words.
it was very important because this guy can accidently kill his family with co!
please try to understand that for one that don't speak English, it is very difficult to know how exactly his words heard and difficult to explain him self a little more.
 
Burra Maluca
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Permies does not allow members to call other members wrong. Your post was nothing but a statement that they were wrong, so it was removed. If it had included a bit more explanation, then the post could have remained, but without the 'you're wrong' bit.

A much better answer was given here, by a member who understood the situation very well - http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/45091#358682
 
r ranson
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A bit of a bump, and a few random thoughts about this being nice thing.

Personally I love the way this site is moderated. I imagine Paul as some sort of benevolent dictator who kindly gives us this forum so that we may find people who share similar interests. The people here are very positive about wild and crazy projects and always willing to share their thoughts and experiences. Occasionally things get a bit tense, but very quickly, there is someone there to calm the situation. You guys are doing an awesome job.

Speaking as a poster, not as a mod or anyone with any power or authority here:

I have to admit, I sometimes have trouble remembering this be nice rule. Maybe remembering isn't the right thing, it's more understanding how to write in a way that lives up to the standard of Paul's niceness meter.

I've started making myself a list of questions. I ask them each time I write a post - before I press the submit button.

Questions like...
... does this post add anything useful to the conversation?
... is this the kind of post I would want to read if I was a guest to this group?
... is this the kind of post I would be embarrassed by if I read it in a week, month, year or decade from now?
... if I'm replying to a query, did I actually answer the question? Did I get sidetracked by my own thoughts and experiences?
... have I included something positive about what the other person said, even if I totally disagree with them in every way and wish their keyboard would brake so I don't have to read their disagreeable drivel anymore (this doesn't happen so much here, it's more a general rule for myself).
... if I asked a question, did I actually ask a specific question? Was the question I asked, the one I wanted answered?
... if I've gone over 500ish words, did I make my points clear and easy to find by either highlighting them in the text or summarizing/introducing them at the end/beginning of the post?
... if I am saying something that people may for some unknown reason be stupid enough to disagree with me about, did I phrase it in a way that makes it a possibility and not an absolute?
... did I point my finger and go 'you this', 'you need to do that', you should... you can't... or any variation on the theme? If so STOP and rephrase it to be more... in a similar situation I experienced/felt/had trouble with specific example.
... and most importantly for me on permies.com - how's my apple stash doing?

I love the apple system here. When I get an apple not only do I feel good about myself for a few hours, but I also can go back and try to understand why that one post got an apple. And I can see other people's posts that get apples... eventually my brain starts to make connections and I can experiment with making apple worthy posts.

I get so much inspiration from this site, that I want to live up it's standards. Sure, there will be trivial posts like why my squash has funny leaves and stuff, but I can also post informative stuff to make up for all my trivialities.

My theory is - and it's just a theory - if I keep my apple to post ratio so that my apples never drop below 10% of the total posts, then I know that I'm doing okay.


huh, that got away from me a bit. Basically, cool site, keep up the good work.
 
r ranson
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What are our thoughts on disagreeing with a statement?

For example: It's not possible to...

Can I say: I disagree with that statement (not the person), here's my personal experience that shows it is possible to... here's how to... and here are some examples of things not me to show that I'm not just bragging... And here's some reasons why the original statement is often believed these days, but something clever about how we can overcome this mythical meme that has worked its way into our society?

All very careful not to point the finger and say - you're like every other stupid person who just parrot things without trying them or thinking them through.

Avoiding talking about the individual person, or saying outright that they are wrong. Instead saying that I disagree with the specific statement.

Or should I say something nice about the individual as well?


Should I run my post past a mod before posting it just to be certain I haven't tread on the Be Nice guidelines?
 
Judith Browning
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R Ranson wrote:What are our thoughts on disagreeing with a statement?



I think most of the time it's safest, and nicest, to just go on and say what you think is the correct way to go about something (or what ever is disagreed with) and not say anything directed at the post disagreed with....not even refer to it. Most everyone can read the posts and draw their own conclusions. It seems like to me, when folks start directly correcting each other they many times end up in boring long diatribes that only sound like 'one upsmanship' banter...that's just me though, easily distracted by perceived tone getting in the way of information.

I think the exception here would be if someone is suggesting we eat a toxic mushroom or happens to misidentify a poisonous plant.......and even that correction could be 'nice'.
 
paul wheaton
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I remember using the following to preface a position that might not be well received: "I appreciate the oppotunity to express my position:"
 
r ranson
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Thanks guys and thanks to the mysterious mod who helped me earlier. I learned something new today.

I think for me, I get frustrated when people tell me you can't... bla bla bla... Quite often they've never tried bla bla bla because they've been taught that it's too difficult/inefficient/something else. These little you-cant-chas float around from one person to another, gathering strength each time. All these people believe it, thus making it true. Yet... sometimes... looking at history, trying it for yourself, or simply sitting down and thinking about it... sometimes, it isn't that way at all. It's not the people's fault, at least I don't think it is, but it's a reoccurring pet peeve of mine every time I see it happen.

An example of one of these youcantcha memes I ran into long ago, before the internet was big, was the You Can't bake your own sourdough bread without using commercial yeast. Sourdough is unsafe they tell me, because you leave a perishable at room temperature for more than a couple of hours. It's inefficient and not worth the bother trying. Only properly trained individuals can even attempt it. It won't taste any good when made at home. And so on and so forth. Every home cook, teacher and book I came across warned against sourdough baking at home. Yet, commercial yeast is only about 100 years old, what on earth did people use to make bread before then?

Now a days, we know better. Sourdough is not only easy to make at home, it's worlds easier than commercial yeast. But for the first 20 odd years of my life I believed all those youcantchas and missed out on something awesome.

I worry that other people might be like I was. They discover this totally awesome thing, are told all the youcantchas, then never even try it for themselves.


Long story short, the point is: I'm glad for the opportunity to learn how to phrase my disagreement in a way that is less disagreeable. My ongoing campaign against youcantchas will never work if I phrase things in a way that encourages conflict. Thanks for helping me.
 
Tyler Ludens
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one more time with feeling!

 
Jason Silberschneider
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R Ranson wrote:What are our thoughts on disagreeing with a statement?


Why do you disagree with the statement?

Did you do the exact same thing 3 years ago and it went horribly wrong? In that case, I'd love to hear the story of what you did and how it went horribly wrong.

Do you think the statement is factually wrong? Then where did you obtain your more factually correct information? I'd like to hear that story as well. Perhaps the statement is correct for their particular circumstances, and your particular circumstances give a very different but equally correct result. I want to hear both stories and make up my own mind.
 
Dave de Basque
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I really like to establish connections between related ideas, so I'd like to throw out a couple of things that are on my radar screen that strike me as being very in harmony with this "be nice" conversation.

One is the area of complexity theory aka complex systems. And what is nature and what are human beings and human societies if not incredibly complex systems? Not an area I'm an expert in, but I am really interested and I like to read about.

Coolest talk I've heard in a long while in this area I stumbled on by accident while looking for something else. Absolutely brilliant and thought-provoking. Keynote given by a professor of the philosophy of science at a UX (user experience, aka computer system usability or user-friendliness) conference. She's speaking about how in western thought, we feel the need for clean, definite, always-true facts, and that just ain't the way a lot of the world works. Among many other brilliant points and ideas. About a half-hour talk.

"Safe-Fail, not Failsafe" -- Alicia Juarrero

Truth and being right and facts have a way of shifting under your feet as your knowledge expands, and sometimes new and greater ways of doing things come along that make all of the above irrelevant. And more power to us if we can make a bunch of the world's current problems irrelevant! Seriously, from relativity to quantum physics to complex systems theory, it's clearer and clearer that a fact under one set of circumstances can be patently false or irrelevant under another. Thus our different experiences.

Anyway, I think being nice plays an important role here. From what I've seen, it can be surprisingly effective and really boost the collective ability of a group to think creatively, outside the box, brainstorm crazy ideas that gradually get whittled into workable ones, etc. It's a great group effectiveness booster.

In one of my other lives, I am involved in an approach called Appreciative Inquiry that's often used to bring about big changes, especially in organizations. The basis of it really throws people for a loop because, like complexity theory and sometimes the "be nice" rule, it challenges the whole way we are trained to think, reason and solve problems.

One of the things you specifically stop doing when using AI is solving problems! It freaks people out when you present it as an idea, just like some people here in the days of yore got freaked out by not being able to present "the truth" and "the facts" and call out when something or someone is "right" or "wrong." However, it works really well in practice, just like the "be nice" rule, and once you get going, you find that there really are much better uses to everyone's time than analyzing problems, falsehoods, and what went wrong. So I find this aspect of AI to be really similar to the "be nice" rule: No finding fault with what people said, i.e. no solving problems with them or their thinking.

But of course there are problems in life! you say. I can hear you. Don't we have to solve them? Maybe not so much. AI tends to simply seek out loads of stories and practical examples of what has worked really well for people in whatever area you're inquiring into. Often a much, much better and maybe even paradigm-shifting solution emerges out of this inquiry that really does not share too many characteristics with all the "problems" we were seeking to solve previously. A lot of "problems" can be transcended completely by combining a few focused, good ideas coming out of real, practical, workable life experience.

For instance, if a friend is struggling with smoke and soot problems, poor heating and high wood consumption in their open-hearth fireplace, one approach could be to look at rational, scientific, fact-based ways to solve each of those problems: better wood, chimney characteristics, etc. You could spend a lifetime studying the problems and making ever-more-perfect solutions. Your results would be dramatically better or worse according to whether you embraced or ignored the "right" facts and experience. And people could suggest incorrect formulas for calculating the draft of a chimney and you could tell them they're stupid. Unfortunately, this at best would be a tragic waste of everybody's time.

Alternatively, instead of focusing so intensely on "solving" those "problems," and searching for the truth and the right way to do what you have in front of you, you could just forget all the current "problems" and do some friendly, blue-sky, crazy brainstorming about the best ways to meet the person's goals -- efficient heat, enviro-friendly, very low waste products -- hmmm. That's what a few people in our orbit here actually did -- and come up with the paradigm-shifting designs of the latest and (so far) greatest rocket mass heaters.

So you suggest to your friend that they build an RMH where their current fireplace is and their goals are met better than they could ever have imagined, all without solving any of the problems your friend thought they had. Or yes, maybe you solved them, but really you transcended them. I.e., you set up a whole new system that takes care of many of those old problems automatically, by its very nature and elegant design -- the former "problems" have simply lost relevance and disappeared. Plus it was much more fun.

So to circle back to permies and being nice, it's just another way to suggest that the friendly atmosphere here is great for brainstorming, creative thinking and paradigm shifting. People do not throw out their precious crazy ideas, the ones that even if presently half-baked could somehow help lead to a really important breakthrough, if they think they are going to be called out, criticized, showed up and ridiculed. This is a "safe-fail" space, not looking to be a failsafe space, as Dr. Juarrero of the above talk might say.

Conversely, if people sense that they are going to get dumped on, they often adopt a defensive position. And this often leads to a long and largely pointless interchange of defense-offense, one-upsmanship, holier-than-thouism, that don't shift no paradigms or advance the conversation or the cause. Often, maybe usually, they miss the point entirely by narrowing the focus to a few points in the service of ego. Maybe a few points do get resolved, but the big picture often gets lost, and the ground-breaking totally different solution that was possible if only people would stop bickering and collaborate, never got thought about. These are the typical shortcomings of looking for "failsafe."

I'm new-ish here on permies and can say, happily, that much of the beginning of this thread seems like it's from another planet now. Isn't that great! And it seems that the people who come here and "be nice" do manage to fully express themselves, and even propose alternative ideas or solutions that they like better. And even even, two people can each keep a different solution that they like better or works better in their circumstances without either one being "right" and without anyone insulting anyone! So kudos to Paul, and also to Adrien, Burra, Cassie and others who have created and implemented some really workable and productive rules that allow us to enjoy this space so much and get so much value out of it.

Edited for typos
 
Jason Silberschneider
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A few years ago in Perth, the discussion came up about hybrid and electric vehicles becoming more common and the possibility of charging them at parking lots. The question was who would pay for this, and how would it be paid?

A very bitter, sarcastic comment was made in the comments thread along the lines of, "Oh! So I suppose we're just going to go back to the old days in England where you put coins in the electrical meter!"

Boom.

There is was. the answer.

Electricity to power an entire house is a handful of dollars a day. To top up an electric car, maybe 2 or 3 dollars. A parking meter that also activates the charging cable for a few more coins is a simple and elegant solution.

As bitter and sarcastic as the answer was, it was still brainstorming as the person never intended it to be the actual solution. The difference was how they said it. How easy it could have been to say, "Hey! Remember the old power meters in England that took coins to maintain power to the house? That might apply here, as cars would only take a few coins to top up!"

Same idea, different attitude. And creates an entirely different vibe in a discussion.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I've been a member of this site for awhile now and I've been aware of the "Be Nice" thread for almost as long. I've never read it until now (breezed through some of the "Stormier" parts) because I have never (IMO) had an issue with not being nice. Only recently have I seen mentioned that "sweet and complimentary" were not the qualities of a great post. I cannot / will not apologize because nice, sweet and complimentary describe me, no matter how boring that may seem. I have had a rude thought here or there after reading a post I disagree with but I sometimes remain silent because I consider TACT an art form in which I am not very skilled. In reading this thread, I'm reminded of one of my favorite poems - "If", by Rudyard Kipling. It applies to women too, in my mind.
 
r ranson
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Karen Layne wrote:... Only recently have I seen mentioned that "sweet and complimentary" were not the qualities of a great post. I cannot / will not apologize because nice, sweet and complimentary describe me, no matter how boring that may seem. ....


I think you're on the right track. This is the forum for people that enjoy nice conversation. If someone doesn't feel like being nice, there are plenty of other places on the internet.

My personal thoughts are that when I encounter an opinion or position that I disagree with, being confrontational and offering personal attack just make things worse. I think a lot of people forget, on a forum like this, the real audience isn't the other person in the conversation. It's the hundreds or thousands of readers who visit the forum. This thread alone has over 12 thousand hits at the moment... not very high compared to some of the threads on this site... imagine 2/3rds of those hits are repeat visitors, that still leaves us with (if I got my math right) 4 thousand new people. That's a pretty big audience.

If I wanted to disagree with someone and I wasted energy attacking the other person for being ignorant, stupid, rude, whathaveyou. Then it makes me look like an ass. If my position isn't strong enough to stand on its own, without personal attacks and not-nice writing, then I need to rethink my point of view. At least that's how I see it.

It takes practice, but there are ways to disagree with others, and still be nice, "sweet and complimentary". Some of the best posts I've ever read were sickly sweet and highly complimentary, but they still progressed the conversation forward into new ideas. These S&C kinds of posts have much more impact than deliberate shit stirring.


Being nice is not a failing, it's a strength! It takes one heck of a lot of energy to be nice, but hardly anything to be nasty. Be proud of your niceness! Not everyone has that ability.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Well put, R. I certainly need practice. I've critiqued my past actions in the attacker role and it wasn't tactful at all. Does shine a bad light. I should learn from my MIL, she was quite skilled with the wielded word.
 
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