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ejecting people from a community  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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travis laduke wrote:
How did 2 people out of 7 or 11 cause the IC to not survive?


Hostility. 

How much hostility can you bear inside your home. 

Your home is where you come for peace.



 
travis laduke
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About one wifes worth and no more.

I guess make sure to include a function for kicking dickheads out of community...
 
Charlie Michaels
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Do you think this could work with "constitutional food monarchy" model where one competent, calm, experienced person has the final word over dumb arguments that eventually crumble the whole community. The food monarch would kick out anyone who thinks they can use screaming, hostility, intimidation, ect. to influence the whole thing. Its amazing how people can fight tooth and nail with people who are supposed to be their friends and neighbors over things that don't really matter all that much.
 
paul wheaton
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I split this stuff into a new thread

In 2005 that was my primary mission:  to figure out how a consensus based community expels icky people.  And then, how do I make damn sure the person getting expelled isn't me!

What I discovered is:  if you bend to the will of all other people, and hide from decisions and are nigh mute, you can last forever in community.  If, on the other hand, you have the audacity to have principles and will not be subserviant to others, and especially if you passionate about progress and innovation - your days are numbered.

I am certain I would be quickly expelled form nearly every community.  Oh sure, there are hundreds of communities out there right now that probably know my name (yes, I am that arrogant) and would say that they would love to have me.  And would probably put me on the fast track to get in.  But I suspect I would be moving again in six months because a majority had decided that I am not a fit:  I want to do things on the land that they are not comfortable with;  people asked for my opinion and don't like what i said; I made web pages or videos that some members of the community are uncomfortable with ....  etc.

Yet, in this on-line community, I manage it much like the farms I worked for when I was a lad.  There is one guy in charge.  If you don't like it, you can leave.  And if he doesn't like it, you get to leave. 

And now the site is massive. 

If somebody comes here and behaves in a way I don't like, they're gone.  Quick and silent. It isn't as if they are dead or anything.  They're off on some other web site.

It could take months of debate with a consensus based community.

 
David Galloway
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Paul,

I think there is wisdom in your words.  While I cherish and uphold the values that intentional community promotes, it can be very difficult to put these philosophies into practice.  In my limited experience it seems to me that most communities have an established leader or are large enough that they can put into place institution mediation principles without ruffling as many feathers as it would in a smaller community. 

That said, the type of community I seek for the immediate future is the farmer/apprentice relationship.  I want to live a year or two as an apprentice, a year or two as a hired hand, and hopefully after that be able to acquire land of my own and after a year or there start to invite my own apprentices. 

While in these situations, I'd love to have egalitarian intentional communities among my neighbors and my friends, but with my wife's design business and our kids we really wouldn't be ideal small community members.  I'd love to have the land next to one of these communities though...you'd have good neighbors as long as the community holds and if sadly it ever fell then hopefully you could get a deal on the land and if you don't need it sell it to a like-minded apprentice at cost.

But like you said, for many of us there needs to be a master of the domain.  Whatever farmer I apprentice for I will enter into that relationship with the understanding that I am not trying to change any of that farmer's views about anything; I am there to learn how to farm.  PERIOD.
 
tel jetson
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I don't think a strong man is required and I'll try to explain why.  our culture (I'm speaking specifically about U.S. culture here) hasn't, in the previous several generations, really fostered the sort of interpersonal skills that a close community requires.  so those skills are noticeably lacking in the general population.  those of you doing the good work of trying out various intentional community models are very likely to run into problems because of this.  but as folks figure it out, as a culture develops around this way of life, those skills will return.

in the mean time, when somebody starts dragging a community down, there should be mechanisms in place to send them on their way.  give the person a chance to shape up before they're booted, and don't do it in a nasty way or on a whim.  establish the rules for tossing someone out ahead of time instead of assuming that everything will be smooth sailing and then scrambling when reality turns out differently.

in this way, folks with some of the bad habits described here and elsewhere will get the picture.  over time, the bad habits will be suppressed.  folks who come up in intentional communities will learn the skills they need and every generation will get better at it.

might require some unpleasant situations until folks figure it out, but I think that's better than the alternative.  that alternative: we never learn to live in close community without a strong authority.

I can certainly see some advantages to Paul's proposed model, and I wouldn't begrudge anyone who chose to live in that way.  obviously a multi-generational project isn't for everybody.  and in this sphere as in others, diversity can lead to resiliency.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul talks about letting go of community members in his podcast on intentional community: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/310-podcast-037-intentional-community/
 
ellen kardl
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What about having a code of conduct? An actual physical document that the person entering has to sign in front of the group. Something along the lines of:

• I will behave like an adult at all times, meaning:
• I will not invoke excessively dramatic and/or negative behaviors such as shouting, stomping, judging, belittling, malicious gossiping, etc.
• I will be respectful to individual viewpoints, property, coupled relationships, and privacy.
• I will be respectful to the vision and untold hours of labor that built this community.
• If I disagree, I pledge to not be disagreeable.
• I will not singlehandedly block a consensus however strong my convictions are.
• I will pull my own weight and contribute in tangible ways to the growth and harmony of the community (with specific hourly/task guidelines)
• I will control the actions, decibels, and behavior of my animals/children/guests.


...and so on. Do any ICs have this type of pledge? ie, focused on behaviors, over and above the practical pledges to contribute in concrete monetary/labor ways. Personally, I think that laying out as many expectations in advance will eliminate issues based on mis/non understandings. I'm totally onboard with all of the above sentiments.

It could be easy to see if the pledge is not being met.
 
John Polk
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As Tel pointed out, our culture has erased many of the community skills.  I believe they started to fade when our country eliminated the mandatory draft.  Kids, fresh out of high school went into the army, where they were housed with other kids from different regions, economic backgrounds, personalities and skill sets.  By the time Basic Training was over, they had formed a team, where each individual realized that if he failed to do his duties properly, one of his buddies might die.  Now, the norm is for everybody to have a me-me-me attitude, with little concern for the team.

I do not advocate a return to mandatory draft, but I believe we had a much stronger nation back then.
 
Tyler Ludens
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msellenk wrote:


It could be easy to see if the pledge is not being met.



Who would decide if the pledge is not being met?

 
ellen kardl
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Easy enough to quantify. If people see one person behaving badly, ie, screaming, intimidation, blocking over a period of time — maybe more than a week, enough to establish a pattern, they can be called on it by the group.

A thoughtful and calm group conversation addressing the either a) temporary nature of the upset, or b) a just plain cussedly dissonant personality would be in order. Majority rule or consensus could be reached about the health to the group of having that person remain.

And at the very least, they get called on it — and come to realize, maybe for the first time in their life, that behavior such as this is not acceptable. My one time manager's boss was a 64 year old who threw temper tantrums every couple of weeks. Obviously, he was never called to task o them.
 
George Lafayette
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gee.I dunno who you've lived with , but "behaving like an adult at all times" might be a goal, but its far easier said than done - people do have bad days. FWIW I live with about 60 people.

Also, we count on people to block consensus when they have strong convictions. We think there are some things more important than progress, and our decision making system explicitly gives every person the ability to stop any new proposed action ("vote no". Of course we hope that having so much power will make people feel like its safer to consider saying 'yes.'

We do have some deal breakers - endanger the community and you are history- you could be gone before sunset.  It has happened. We are relatively tolerant of people behaving like a**holes for short periods of time, but you could wind up being the focus of an intervention, which isn't fun.

msellenk wrote:
What about having a code of conduct? An actual physical document that the person entering has to sign in front of the group. Something along the lines of:

• I will behave like an adult at all times, meaning:
• I will not invoke excessively dramatic and/or negative behaviors such as shouting, stomping, judging, belittling, malicious gossiping, etc.
• I will be respectful to individual viewpoints, property, coupled relationships, and privacy.
• I will be respectful to the vision and untold hours of labor that built this community.
• If I disagree, I pledge to not be disagreeable.
• I will not singlehandedly block a consensus however strong my convictions are.
• I will pull my own weight and contribute in tangible ways to the growth and harmony of the community (with specific hourly/task guidelines)
• I will control the actions, decibels, and behavior of my animals/children/guests.
<snip>

 
ellen kardl
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which is why I said

"a pattern of behavior". Of course everybody has bad days. I'm talking about repeated ass-ism.

Yes, it's a goal. You can't "enforce" when there are no standards, right?
 
ellen kardl
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Also, a pledge, or public commitment isn't so much about enforcing, as it is the ACT of making that commitment. Do you get what I mean? Maybe having made that commitment, people might monitor their own behavior?
 
                        
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Except  (possibly)for very passive people who assume they are deservedly on the bottom of the heap,  people generally try to establish where they are in the hierarchy of any group, and sometimes, to try to move up in it.  I have never seen any group where personal politics doesn't come into it sooner or later.  There may be some, I just have never seen any.  How it is dealt with is the question.

I would expect even Paul's model to run into this; perhaps not as a challenge to Paul..it's pretty clear there will be none of THAT    but as the  "next in line" - the person who has the most influence with him.  They say it's lonely at the top, maybe this is why.

As far as making a commitment..people do that all the time and  these days what it  seems to mean  is : I will make this commitment until it becomes inconvenient or I change my mind..thus the divorce rate. e.g.

Not saying it can't be done as clearly it CAN. Just saying that no matter what model   you choose there will be interpersonal stuff that WILL  come up and have to be dealt with. IMO.
 
                                  
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would i be crazy in thinking that we could just reward everyone else.  i know in the larger communities it would be more difficult. but what if you rewarded people for exceptional behavior.  I was thinking since the community would be so profitable there would be no reason the farm couldn't own holiday houses around the world and offer holidays for families.  i'm sure everyone needs to get away every now and then.  is this type of thing offered in communities at the moment?  you could offer point based reward systems...  you offer higher points for the shitty and important jobs and smaller points for fun filled activities.

i'm just using this as one example but there are many more 
 
Tyler Ludens
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In my experience most interpersonal problems come from a lack of, or poor, communication.  People don't make their expectations clear at the beginning, so everyone has to try to read minds, which isn't possible for most of us.

 
paul wheaton
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msellenk wrote:
What about having a code of conduct?


Just like the one we have on permies:











[size=20pt]be nice.[/size]












And this is the same one for coderanch.com.

Here is what my experience has taught me:  when you have a large document, it is pretty much an unread document.  With page long (or longer) rules or "code of conduct" documents, it is weird how a big slice of time is then consumed with bickering over what it says.  And then bad guys wanna say "you can't hassle me because I did not break a rule." 

But with "be nice" it has been sweet sailing.  Rules just give bad people traction in how to screw good people.  With a dictator, you don't need rules.  You just do whatever seems like the stuff that the dictator would be okay with.

I remember at the greenlake house we had a "choreography document" which basically said that at 9pm things should be quiet-ish and then quiet at 10pm.  And at 7am the house comes back to life.






 
Marissa Little
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We have a bit of a setup like Paul's idea.  But we only have a few long term folks (2-4) and the rest are interns, some staying for a few weeks, other for 6 months or more.  In total, there are usually about a dozen people living/working on the farm.  My mom and I are the benevolent dictators for the most part.  My mom doesn't rule with a strong hand though and I'm only on the farm part time.  I would more than love to have kick out a few people along the way but so far I only exercised that for one person.

So for us, it's been an odd situation.  I'd say of the 20-30 people that have circulated on our farm, 2 of them have been sternly asked to leave and another handful were encouraged to do so.  All of these have been because of work related issues (not doing their hours, being sloppy, making unnecessary mistakes and never learning from them, etc).  But we have also had a few people with just general "attitudes".  That's the one that's hardest for me really.  They may be contributing their workload to the farm side of life, but they aren't contributing to the emotional living side of life.  For instance, one worker (who was a short termer anyway) YELLED at every creature on the farm. Just generally cussed and screamed and riled up the animals (for instance, during feeding, you can get mobbed.  I just get the feed out as quickly as possible and he yelled at the top of his lungs at them to back away...which of course they didn't).  He never hit a creature, but just generally made early mornings - usually a peaceful time - unpleasant. 

For some reason, these are harder for me to deal with.  A person who simply doesn't put in their hours, or makes obvious mistakes after repeated correction, can easily be called out.  But the more touchy feely stuff is harder to decide who will go and who will stay.  It's like H Ludi Tyler said - who decides if someone is being a "jerk"?  In our case, it should be my mom or I, but since anyone's actions can hurt another's, the whole community must be involved in pointing the finger at said "jerk".

What about reform?  Do you think it's worth the time to tell the jerk to simmer down and start living like a member of the community?  Or is it just better to cut your losses on them and get a new person?  It takes a lot of time for us to find long term people that will fit and it's always a sad day to see them go.
 
                                  
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Marissa Little wrote:

What about reform?  Do you think it's worth the time to tell the jerk to simmer down and start living like a member of the community? 


i think for the most part people are capable of change and sometimes are willing, but knowing how is sometimes difficult.  That's where it's up to the members of the community to pull people aside and have a small word.  maybe change their duties to help them reflect, or take privileges away. 

the times i remember the most about be reprimanded as a kid, didn't come from my parents but came from strangers or close family friends, who pulled me a side and told me they were disappointed in me.  some people miss this growing up and are oblivious to some of their actions.   
 
paul wheaton
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What about reform?  Do you think it's worth the time to tell the jerk to simmer down and start living like a member of the community?  Or is it just better to cut your losses on them and get a new person?  It takes a lot of time for us to find long term people that will fit and it's always a sad day to see them go.


I was recently talking to somebody from my geeky past.  We were talking about the role of a manager.  I was conveying that it was a lot like the movie "The Bad News Bears":  you get a bunch of misfits and you are expected to make a baseball team.  In corporate management, you get a bunch of people, most of whom are generally useless, and you need to get something productive out of them.  So your job becomes being a part time psychologist/motivator/spiritual leader/etc.  You learn about each person and then try to figure out the magic words so that everybody moves forward and has a lovely time. 

And still, the primary strategy is to bring in more people than you need and be prepared to let the worst of them go.


 
                        
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The thing is that many managers are not promoted to that post because they would be good motivators  part time psychologists etc, but for various other reasons.  There is a reason for the old saying that people rise to their level of incompetence. So not sure that that would apply so much in the sort of setup you re thinking of as the goals and what would be regarded as success a little different.  Ok, the goal would be to make money but think about how some of the really successful companies in the past have been run, with people feeling a connection with their part of the overall effort to make the company a success. That is very unusual now..even more so than it used to be.

I remember reading a story a few years ago  about a company that had been in business for quite a long time and was sold for a gazillion dollars.. the original owner gave all the  employees a BIG chunk of the money, I think graduated  depending on how long they had worked there,  saying that they were the ones responsible for the success of the company and if not for them the success (and subsequent sale) wouldn't have happened so they deserved to share in the money.

Most companies today seem to regard their employees as a sort of necessary evil; that they are disposable (as employees, that is!) and relatively easilly replaced.  Small wonder that employees don't feel any sort of of connection with their work beyond the paycheck and don't regard their it as fulfilling or important. 

I think what you are intending would tend to attract  people who were very motivated to find a place where they can feel that what they do has value, so your rate of success should be higher. There are always people looking for free lunch; always people who are ungrateful or angry or sometimes a bit mad. But since you are clearly looking to combine the ideas of permaculture with the idea of making it a money making BUSINESS as well,  then it might  be easier to screen the lotus eaters out in the beginning rather than have to weed them out later.  I didnt express myself very well, but I think you probly get what I mean.
 
paul wheaton
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For a lot of departments in a lot of companies, there isn't much competition.  So even if they do a lousy job with a lousy manager, they are going to do "good enough".  So your theory about incompetence works. 

Let's face it:  sometimes a group comes together and is awesome.  How did that happen?  Maybe it was accidental.  Maybe it was pretty strategic.  Maybe it started off icky and over time, hundreds of people were hired and hundreds were fired until there were eight people that were really awesome. 

If that is the case, then a system needs to be in place to eject hundreds of people from the community.  I kinda think that just by having a powerful system to eject folks is one way that folks might be less ... icky.  After all, I think a lot of nasty on the internet, or in community, is rooted in "oh yeah - and what are you gonna do about it dumbass?" 


 
                        
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hmm   it would seem that booting people would always create a degree of stress..for the booter, the bootee AND the community, even if the members of the community are in agreement.  It  seems to me a better selection process in the beginning would be preferable to having a powerful process which could be used to boot  "hundreds  of people". That sorta smacks of the  "disposable people" syndrome to me..bring 'em in and get what you can from them until you can't stand it anymore then boot them and on to the next...

Has any work been done on the selection process by which people are accepted INTO  ICs?  It seems to me that with the knowledge available now it should be relatively simple to develop a process which would minimize the chances of letting people in who will be disruptive and destructive to the  community, and that's where the most stringency should apply.  Then you would know that at least the  bones of compatibility are there and so worth working on....
 
paul wheaton
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All true. 

Try to be more selective so you don't have to boot anybody. 

And still, the most rigorous selection process seems to be only 10% better than a pretty moderate selection process. 

Further, I wish to express a corollary to something I expressed earlier:  I think a majority of community ickiness comes from there being no consequences for ickiness.  When the system for expelling somebody from a community can last up to a year and requires a huge amount of work, a person can do a lot of icky during that time.  And THAT icky "would always create a degree of stress..for the booter, the bootee AND the community, even if the members of the community are in agreement."

The bottom line is that booting people is an ugly experience and nearly everybody wants to avoid that happening.  At the same time, if you keep a toxic person around, all the good people will leave to get away from the toxic.  So you need to be prepared to do that toxic-ectomy!




 
                        
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Maybe nobody has really figured out what to select FOR very accurately in the selection process yet.  Maybe nobody has figured out how to get past the 'honeymoon"  stage of things in the first place and see what's waiting down the line..I would think a really rigorous selection process would be a bit invasive of privacy..does anyone HAVE any privacy anymore with FaceBook and all that stuff?

I always thought that the business of renting houses and apartments was backwards..if people are really concerned about who is coming in, go to the house they are in NOW and see what's what. No need to worry about references and such, take a look at how they are living  in the place they're in. 

People want to join?  They might have to send  20 photos of their home or whatever and another 50 of anything at all. Seems that might give some insights about where/how  they spend their time...if they game it then at least they are showing that they understand what would be expected/valued. Just a thought off the top of my head as an example..
 
John Polk
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Hiring/Firing is one of the hardest jobs in any business.  Like so many other tasks, it gets easier to do after you have done it a couple of times.  The consequences of NOT firing somebody that deserves it are much worse than the other option.  A mal-content will quickly spread his poison throughout the environment.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul also talks about ejecting people from a community in part 2: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/322-podcast-042-intentional-community-part-2/
 
Marissa Little
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Pam wrote:
hmm   it would seem that booting people would always create a degree of stress..for the booter, the bootee AND the community, even if the members of the community are in agreement. 


Ugh.  I couldn't be in any more agreement.  When I first posted in this thread (july 12th) it was because we were first aware of an issue with someone being a jerk.  Everyone's schedules over the past 10 days have been scattered so no one had a real chance to get to the bottom of it.  Last night the decision was finally made to eject a couple from the community.  But the people who brought up the issues also decided to leave because the whole thing was too stressful.  So we lost FOUR people out of 10 member community.  Ouch.

So, I'm starting to see the appeal in "over stocking" the community because something like this is happening about every 6 months.  Is this just growing pains of a new place?  We've only been doing things this way for 2 years.  I feel like our system just isn't set up right...
 
Fred Winsol
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paul wheaton wrote:

And still, the most rigorous selection process seems to be only 10% better than a pretty moderate selection process. 


Where does this 10% number come from?  Seems the EVs that take a year or more to pre-select people by gradually longer trial periods don't have this problem.  Thankfully people are not all perfect and don't always have their eyes/brain/heart wide open when considering the initial move-in.  Continual communication and conflict resolution also seem part of the solution.

I think the word 'ejecting' may be a bit harsh... perhaps a more compassionate 'moving on, change of scenery' etc. works? Heck even a family that's bound by blood lines has these issues.  I also wonder if there's an age or experience i related ssue here.
 
Marissa Little
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winsol3 wrote:
I think the word 'ejecting' may be a bit harsh... perhaps a more compassionate 'moving on, change of scenery' etc. works?


The majority of people that we have not wanted in our community have been encouraged to find other places and it was a good solution all around.  We have just had our first forceful ejection and that really is the only word to use here.  Yuck.
 
John Polk
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The one thing that is harder on the community than ejecting somebody, is allowing somebody that should have been ejected to remain there.

One person's bad attitude can spread like wildfire throughout the community.
 
rose macaskie
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Make sure you have colonies you can ship them to. I suppose that you can send nuiscances like I often am to make a nuiscance of themselves in other forums. rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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People talk about people being unwilling to take a commitment after the honey moon is over, sometimes you find out that that the terms of the commitment when you come to understand them properly are so very abusive that it is a support of abusive situations to stay.
It seems that few people read about bullying, and the abusive in the office and such, it normally entails blackening of the victims their break time sandwhiches stolen and themselves made to look like the bullies. before they have even got to know anyone. Those who start blackening from the start have ever opportunity to do so discretely and for those who fight back in the end it is a messy business, they are going against the stream and so they cant do anything in  a descrete way: They start when everything is already so bad tha they have to go in making a big fuss. You get tarred when you do it and it is very hard for others to know who is the goody and who is the baddy.
  There is just no way of looking good all your life unless you are willing to be trampled on more each year. Maybe you have to fight in this life unless you are a coward and when you fight you are likely to get besmirched, cuts and wounds are the consequence of phisical fights and getting besmisrched and losing friends are the things you have to be brave enough to face in verbal ones but often it is fight or whatch the weak being done for by the strong, in your family and among your friends and everywhere. Just as there is no guarantee you wont be killed in a physical fight there is no guarantee you wont be commiting total social suicide in a verbal one. agri rose macaskie
 
rose macaskie
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Soldiers may form a solid group in the army but when they get out they may feel their role is as bosses and just dominate others. There is a fair amount of film dedicated to abusive situations in the army, and the men in the army in england were so rough that an oficer told me I should not talk to them. He had also told me going to the army was good for young men, I asked him how he thought he could uphold an institution that made boys so rough he thought it was better for women to give them a wide berth. If there were any on trains they were always asking young women to go to the bathroom with them five minutes into any conversation with them. They did seem rough. rose macaskie
 
rose macaskie
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My observation of classes which work is that the teacher has gained respect from the majority of the class so that if anyone tried to do for the teacher the other members of the class would object, the girls in the class mostly follow the teacher and that pulls any crazy elements into line.
  Also the schools can back their teachers up, the director can back up the teachers when children are sent to him or can make it clear that he does not want to be bothered, the other members of the staff backing each other up is a second line of control.
  Of course revolution is not just a bore it is a way of stopping those that rule from being abusive. Bad teachers always blame their students, they probably just can't be bothered to teach well enough to be interesting i have met lots of adult who odnt think the world need a lot of capable people, they dont believe in education lots of people.
The schools i went to that were nice to pupils were those whose heads often talked of tolerance for the disabled, smelly and strange members of the classes. Asked for that politness that Paul Wheaton asks for and tolerance fo rdifferent  points of veiw. If you want to disagree with others though, experience does help us, me, to do it more politely and less agressivley, technique and lack of it does play a part in managing this open discusion bit without creating to much discord or that is what i find and experience comes through trail and error is messy. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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I  have met people that used my one time politeness to stop my mouth, I have known those that shouted if i started up a topic they did not agree with so i shut up, this happened for years like five or ten years and in the end i decided to shout, to talk though that made me look silly and mad. Fighting is frightening and one of the reasons it is frightening is that it can make you look mad and that really does you down.
I have known people who yawn unless my conversation is the one they like and i politely gave them the conversation that  did not make them yawn, years later they called mye frivolouse they had stopped me talking of anything seriouse because they were very competetive not because those subjects bored them. They had simply been edging me out. Human behavior is very complicated, i learnt that if i was to have a voice in the world i had better toughen up and not mind boring people and being rude. A teacher has to bore their class, boring people is considered anti-social but in the classroom it is acceptable. Maybe it is acceptable from bosses but not from subordinates. As a woman i was taught not to bore others maybe if i had been male i would have been taught to hold my own. Maybe not, lots of men get nudged out of the running too. agri rose macskie
 
                        
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A man told me the other day that although men would stop talking and listen to a woman, women never would stop to listen to men and that was why men didn't talk to them. I told him that although that might be true in some cases,  in my experience although men would stop talking (sometimes) if a woman spoke up that was not the same as listening, as what she had to say was often just totally ignored as though she hadn't said anything at all  anyway, but there had merely been a pause in the conversation. To my astonishment, after a long pause, he agreed
 
Brice Moss
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Pam wrote:
he agreed


naw he just nodded and smiled cause thats what we are trained to do when the women say crazy things 
 
                        
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