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paul wheaton
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I've been seeing a lot of posts lately that emphasize "the truth" as opposed to "my position."  And I find that "the truth" seems hostile and makes me uncomfortable.  "These are indisputable facts" which I can see somebody wishing to express and alternate position - but expressing an alternate position could be interpreted as "dispute" or contrary to the "facts" and, thus, "lies". 

I would much prefer to see even the fact-iest facts presented as personal opinion, and, thus, give room to others to have alternative positions. 

I recently heard about a farmer that used to teach philosophy that told his students "I never want to hear any of you use a four letter word that starts with F:  fact."  --- I thought that was a pretty good point.

 
            
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Thanks for that, Paul. Good to see it gets on someone else's tits as well.
 
Leila Rich
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"I think"  in all it's permutations is making me a much better (and hopefully nicer) internet communicator.
It's invaluable to remind myself that "facts' are usually just opinions stated  extra-confidently!
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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So if you mention someone is wrong, back it up with reference, it can still be deleted because someone took it personal when they are giving very wrong information.

That is exactly what you just did to me, and it isn't the first time.  It happens anytime I am contrary to certain people no matter how much information I supply about the facts.


It's one thing to foster a community, what happens here is becoming tiring and tedious.
 
Emerson White
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I think that the notion is that you supply the facts (references are always welcome, though for some things unfindable) and then try as hard as you can to cast everything you say as if it were a matter of your own opinion. This mode of discourse is extremely contrary to what I am naturally inclined to do (and from what I gather it is curbing my inclinations specifically that lead to the genesis of this rule).
 
Tyler Ludens
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Mekka Pakanohida wrote:
So if you mention someone is wrong, back it up with reference, it can still be deleted because someone took it personal when they are giving very wrong information.

That is exactly what you just did to me, and it isn't the first time.  It happens anytime I am contrary to certain people no matter how much information I supply about the facts.


It's one thing to foster a community, what happens here is becoming tiring and tedious.


I think the significant thing is the use of the phrases "You're wrong" or "That's incorrect."  Neither of which are really necessary, in my opinion, though may take some practice to avoid.  If I think you're wrong, I don't have to say so.    I could simply quote your assertion, state whatever my assertion is contrary to yours but without pointing out that it is contrary, and then post my reference.  I've done this a bunch of times and so far not been deleted for doing so, to my knowledge.

edited (still learning!  ).

 
paul wheaton
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"I'm not entirely convinced that's the case"

That would bother me too.  it suggests that you are THE person that decides what is right.

If you really are THE person, well, then it is okay.  But most topics are where we are all on equal footing.

I think it is pretty simple:  present your position without reference to other positions.  I see a lot of people doing it without a problem.

Mekka, are your references absolute?  Just because a study is done, how can you be sure that the study was done correctly?  Or that the folks doing the study were not involved in some sort of shenanigans. 

In the very first post of this thread, I say:

While some folks might feel that saying "You're a loony dumbass!" is verifiable fact and therefore, nobody should object to it - I choose to not publish it.


If somebody says "the sky is green", can you not say "when I look at the sky, it looks blue, sometimes white, sometimes black, sometime black with white specs" rather than "the sky is not green".  Or, maybe, site some things that talk about blue and how it gets to be blue. 

You seem to be concerned with needing to state that someone is wrong.

I propose the following conversation:

ferd:  I think the sky is green
gert:  you are wrong

In this case, the confused lying sack of shit is gert.  I am quite certain that gert cannot read the mind of ferd better than ferd.  Ferd also qualified his analysis of his own mind as the sky being green.  Therefore, this statement can NEVER be wrong.  No matter what ferd chooses put after "I think".  (although "I think gert is stupid" is something I don't want to publish)

the facts


Here's the thing:  this site does not exist so you can verbally bitch slap thousands of other people.  It exists to further my own nefarious plots and conversations.  The way I want.  And a big part of what makes this site awesome (to me) is the set of information that is contrary to "the facts". 

Consider this fact from another point in time:  the world is flat.  Facts seem to change as we build knowledge and innovate.  I like the idea that this site does a lot of innovation.  I think that inappropriate voices loaded with "facts" can dissuade innovation.

From my second post in this thread:

I've been managing electronic forums for over 20 years.  And I know that most forums devolve into one of two states:

1)  six people wearing asbestos underwear ripping each other to shreds every 20 minutes or so.  The other 2000 would be participants moved on because they couldn't bear the hostility.  I would rather have the 2000 than the 6.

2)  500 people that have lots to say about nothing.  1500 left out of boredom - seeking meatier topics elsewhere.  I would rather have 2000 people hanging around talking about stuff of substance, so I try to minimize the chit chat stuff - or move it to "meaningless drivel".


I am concerned that what you advocate would lead to state #1. 

It's one thing to foster a community, what happens here is becoming tiring and tedious.


I agree.  Tedious for me. 

I would think that any reasonably intelligent person would be able to express their position well within my comfort zone of publishing it. 

If you cannot fathom my comfort zone, or if you do not like to function within my comfort zone, then it does seem that you and I would both be happier if you moved on to some other community.  This site is for those people that are happy to function inside of my comfort zone.






 
Tyler Ludens
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paul wheaton wrote:
"I'm not entirely convinced that's the case"

That would bother me too.  it suggests that you are THE person that decides what is right.


Thank you for clarifying. 

 
paul wheaton
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I want to express that there have been times that I have seen posts that were edited followed by a post that says "Paul might not like that.  You might want to edit it to say ____" and it clearly worked.  I am very grateful for that.  It makes for a lot less work for me - thus giving me more time for videos, podcasts, articles, etc.   

I was thinking about this yesterday:  between the podcasts, the videos, the articles and the forums, the forums are, by far, the most important.  The other stuff gives people ideas; but it is this community that brings understanding.  And it is my arrogant and obnoxious opinion that this recipe for how we communicate on these forums is a critical component to innovation and growth.

 
Tyler Ludens
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paul wheaton wrote:


I would think that any reasonably intelligent person would be able to express their position well within my comfort zone of publishing it. 




For me, it seems to take a lot of practice!

<<< possibly not reasonably intelligent by paul's standards!  
 
gary gregory
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paul wheaton wrote:  This site is for those people that are happy to function inside of my comfort zone.









Permaculture is all about zones! 
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Paul, not everyone has the luxury of typing out essays & citing multiple references when they visit, life just doesn't entail that.  It is spring for the Northern Hemisphere and I personally don't have the time to just cause drama, its not my way, to quote Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy.

"You are harshing my zen man..."


Given the 'fast' paced world, why is it not outside the realm of people simply asking another person to expand upon it?  To edit kills the conversation, and pisses off the writer who is trying to help a community.

You are busy, I am busy, the Universe is busy and so is that bee out there flying around by my swale.  See what I am getting at or do I need to expand more upon this?



 
paul wheaton
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Paul, not everyone has the luxury of typing out essays & citing multiple references when they ...


This statement seems to suggest that at some point I said "everyone has the luxury of typing out essays & citing multiple references ..."

I'm pretty sure that I never said that.  If I did say anything like that, could you please help me find it? 

I'm pretty sure I didn't suggest anything close to that. 

In fact, this seems to suggest that I am the type of person that would insist that "everyone has the luxury of typing out essays & citing multiple references" - which makes me a less than perfect person.

Is that nice?

I feel that if i don't respond, people might get the idea that I agree with this analysis.  And I really don't have the time for that.  And I think if this is indicative of the sort of thing you commonly post, then I can see why you are frustrated.

"You are harshing my zen man..."


So now I am a harsher of zen?  That also implies that I am less than perfect. 

As long as zens are being harshed, I think I could say "backatchya!"

Given the 'fast' paced world, why is it not outside the realm of people simply asking another person to expand upon it?


Are you suggesting that I am against people simply asking another person to expand on something?  Please help me find where I did that.

I think there is a massive difference between "citation needed" and "that sounds cool - please tell me more!"

Mekka, I'm having a hard time figuring out if you are working to understand what I am saying or if you are working to not understand what I am saying.


 
            
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Yeah. I like what Ludi says about the way the rules are structured here forcing you to imagine "nicer" ways of voicing disagreement. When I sense bullshit I'm inclined to call out the offender directly most of the time, but I've seen since starting to frequent these forums that doing so in this medium can often result in a catastrophic collapse in the flow of conversation within the thread. For me it's become mostly an exercise in impulse control, which is never a bad thing to practice. I'd also add that I feel Paul allows for some leeway in regard to calling people out for clumsy statements; it seems to me it's just a matter of trying not to be too big an asshole when you do so. He's an individual with opinions too, and not just an emotionless arbiter. If someone says something completely outrageous and you call them on it in as polite a manner as you can muster, it'll probably stand (in my experience - and I've been edited too); unless of course if in doing so you also imply that they're an idiot for thinking/saying something so outrageous.. in which case your post is sure to be deleted, and you'll probably get a ban warning if not the insta-boot.
 
            
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In Mekka's defense though, I'd add that I'm in favor of an asbestos underwear-clad council of elders to vote idiots off the island.

In all seriousness, though.. in my opinion, since there's no place here in these forums (as per the rules, which I don't necessarily disagree with) for the community to ostracize people who make careless statements that degrade the quality of conversation (e.g. anectodal evidence based on heresay or opinion and presented as fact), then someone in the leadership ought to bitchslap the offenders into order (or something.. I'm not really offering this as a valid solution). I've seen polite warnings posted in this thread by Paul in regard to the issue, but it continues to go on day in day out with no sign of abatement. It'd be nice to see the same kind of passion in dealing with this real and valid problem as is apparent in the enforcement of the "be nice" policy. Maybe hire some more moderators? There seems to me to be no shortage of people willing to volunteer their time to the betterment of this place (at least in word).
 
Emerson White
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How do you harsh a zen? I thought the whole point of a zen was that it was completely and totally impervious and unharshable
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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paul wheaton wrote:


Mekka, I'm having a hard time figuring out if you are working to understand what I am saying or if you are working to not understand what I am saying.






So why don't you take this private with me so we can be on the same page.  Paul, I honestly feel you and I are a lot alike, but with text communication it is difficult to 'read' someone.

You have my email, you have used it before to ask me questions, use it again. 

Lastly, I suggest posting a ToC, you don't appear to have one.

ToC - Terms of Conduct
 
paul wheaton
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ToC:  be nice.

And I alone will interpret this.

It's all pretty simple:  if your post has one word that is outside of my comfort zone, I'll delete the whole post.  Or the whole thread.  If I delete a lot of your stuff, it makes less work for me to just ban you.

This thread goes into a lot of detail about giving folks an idea of what I am and am not comfortable with.  Folks that wanna play in my playspace seem to get it. 

Sometimes people think that I am the problem and that I need to change.  Those people need to leave.

 
paul wheaton
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Wow, today is turning into one of those days where people want to test the boundaries of "be nice". 

So I think it is a good time to give this thread a bump.

An important point:  I am very short on time and I cannot hold somebody's hand and say "see that sentence right there, where you call the other person a festering ball of fuckwit?  See, I think that isn't very nice, and I would rather not publish that."  and then have a six hour discussion about how that statement may or may not actually be true, most of the discussion being centered on my obvious lack of sense, IQ, and breeding.  So I just delete it.  Lately I have tried to leave a comment that says "hey, please edit your post" only to come back a couple of days later to find the post is still there.  It would have been way easier for me to say nothing at all and just delete the post.

 
Steven Baxter
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I think you are doing a great job managing and guiding these forums Paul. I am very grateful for Permies as a resource to learn and share. Thank you so much for your time and effort to make Permies what it is. It is very much appreciated by me, and I am pretty sure it is very much appreciated by many others. Keep doing what your doing! 
 
Phil Hawkins
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I just listened to that podcast! The delightfully softly spoken gentleman who copresented it with Paul (I always manage to miss his name) made me think that if even he has had posts deleted, maybe my self effacing, hippy bashing humour may earn the wrath of moderation? But after rereading it, I figured it wasn't actually directed at specific folks, more just at certain stereotypes that I feel hold back wider adoption of this great stuff.

Anyways, I thought I'd take the time to say how nice it is to actually have a nice forum. In a previous life I was heavily involved in another forum where being an asshole approached an artform. It was fun for the people that enjoyed it (myself included), and some of it really read like more like a comedy sketch than a thread on a forum.

After a while, the quality of the forum's core content declined as people either left or didn't join in the first place, presumably because they didn't want to have to choose between the available roles of fucker and fuckee. The worst offenders were banned, and started a rival site which sort of looked a bit like the old one, but all the various special interest areas were vacant, because the prime assholes held court in their special asshole ivory tower moderator forum, and bitched about how stupid all the people on the other forum were. They invited me to join asshole land, but it really was boring, so I walked away. The most amazing thing was that a while later, I heard that the assholes had a falling out, and a handful went off and started a third site (still with a grand structure of almost completely empty forums) and spent their time bitching about the other two sites. I wondered if any of them had seen the Monty Python bit about the People's Popular Judean Front, and all it's splinter groups.

The original site never really recovered, because the assholes took a lot of knowledge with them, that was really the glue that kept the site ticking over.  The whole episode made me so jaded that I had nothing to do with forums or any sort of internet community for about five years until I joined biobees.com and here in the last couple of months.

So, as much as Paul likes to say he's just an asshole, he's really acting in your best interests. Of course he could assert himself as Alpha Asshole by deleting this post and banning me, but I hope he doesn't 
 
Tyler Ludens
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I've been on some messagaboards like that, Phil.    I was even an asshole on them sometimes. 
 
Phil Hawkins
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I think Walt (Clint Eastwood) from Gran Torino would make a great forum moderator
 
Dale Hodgins
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Phil H wrote:
I think Walt (Clint Eastwood) from Gran Torino would make a great forum moderator
                                                                                                                                                        Personally, I would love it if Walt were one of the moderators. But I don't think it would work out for very long. Walt was a no-nonsense kind of guy. And sometimes our members engage in nonsense. He wouldn't tolerate any malarkey from the people who make up facts to support their position, he'd bitch slap those who fail to punctuate and produce giant run-on sentences with no capitalization and with every second word misspelled. He would delete the post and then send the member a private message informing them that they're a dumb ass.

       Walt would be all for the gardening thing and slaughtering hogs, building your own house and all the tips on saving money. He'd probably become a major contributor to the trespassing thread and the one on automotive frugality.

      But he'd never engage in poop talk on a forum where there are ladies present. Walt was a product of the 50s when etiquette meant something.  He would quickly put a stop to all the bathroom talk. "Women peeing outdoors"     "Can I drink the water from my septic system?"    "Can ladies sanitary napkins be used as hamster surfboards?"     "What would happen if I wiped my butt with this plant with three shiny leaves?"     He would delete all that stuff. And if anybody posted a picture of a steaming pile asking;   "What kind of shit is this?" Walt would Google them and then hunt them down at home to personally deliver one hell of a bitch slapping.

    Even Paul wouldn't be safe from Walt's delete button and they'd really get into it whenever something went outside Walt's comfort zone. He would try to hijack the whole forum in the name of common sense and decency.

     " Feeding dogs on tofu."     "Uses for nose hair?"     "Why I don't use soap"     "Knitting for men"    "o you know where I can buy land for five bucks?"      "How would you preserve an igloo in Texas?"    "Should people be allowed to own land?"     He wouldn't hear any of these people out, he'd just remove the post and then write their name in a little book he keeps in his jacket.

      Sometimes he'd delete an entire thread filled with dozens of harmless posts just because he figured it was too silly: " Could I live on just lettuce? Has anybody ever built a house from doughnut holes? Walt wouldn't even read these posts, he'd just shake his head as he muttered to himself and hit delete. No explanations, no warning or remorse.

    Eventually things would come to a head and Walt would have to be removed. He wouldn't go down easy since even at his age he can out wrestle five hippies and three dreamers. But eventually after far too many warnings Walt would have his delete button taken away.

    In time he would be allowed back as a regular member since the conversion of Walt would be of concern to us all. He's from California so we'd probably be able to get him into a solar heated adobe house. After getting over his initial shock over the messy nature of poly-culture he would at least learn to appreciate the shade.(I've seen Walt's car and garage. Based on this I'll assume he plants his vegetables in neat rows). He'd probably try some of Dave's homemade shampoo bars. And he would be completely obsessed with his state of the art aquaponics system and his rocket stove.

    But there's no way Walt would ever agree to get rid of the gas guzzler or to accept endless bathroom talk. Walt would be very useful in bringing people of his generation on board but we would all need to accept his boundaries and biases.        Although Walt will never be sugar sweet nice, he could become a little nicer.    And who knows with enough time he might not be too put off by women peeing outdoors.      

   
 
Thelma McGowan
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TOOO FUNNY! 
 
Phil Hawkins
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An ode to permies.com...

[size=14pt]
[font=Arial]There once was a man from Missoula
Who's forum was so much cooler
For deleting what sucks,
And banning dumb fucks
Always the benevolent ruler[/font][/size]

Man, I've gotta stop mainlining cough syrup...
 
Brice Moss
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I had the urge to flame someone today so I stopped myself and decided to bump this back to the top and post a link to this thread as a reply to the comment that irked me.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I like this quote from Paul Wheaton:

paul wheaton wrote:

I think it is important to keep in mind that each person has their own bucket of standards. Because one person subscribes to a philosophy does not mean that they demand all others to subscribe to the same philosophy.




 
P Thickens
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paul wheaton wrote: An important point:  I am very short on time and I cannot hold somebody's hand and say "see that sentence right there, where you call the other person a festering ball of fuckwit?  See, I think that isn't very nice, and I would rather not publish that."  and then have a six hour discussion about how that statement may or may not actually be true, most of the discussion being centered on my obvious lack of sense, IQ, and breeding.


Another board I frequent makes this distinction very clear and very easy to understand: you may criticize the idea but not the person. That is: no ad-hominem attacks.

OK: That idea is utter bullshit.
BAD: You are utter bullshit.

If the 'ok' is too harsh for you, I understand. Please note that this hard distinction does remove all discussions on allowableness.
 
paul wheaton
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P Thickens wrote:
OK: That idea is utter bullshit.


Not ok here.

The reason is that that statement suggests that the person with the idea has ideas that are utter bullshit. thus suggesing that the person is less than perfect.

I think it is fair to state: here is my idea. it is different from your idea on these points.



 
Fred Morgan
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There is a saying I once heard that makes sense to me. "Keep your words short and sweet, they go down better when you have to eat them."

I hate eating angry, arrogant words.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I like this quote from Paul Wheaton:

paul wheaton wrote:

I think it is important to keep in mind that each person has their own bucket of standards. Because one person subscribes to a philosophy does not mean that they demand all others to subscribe to the same philosophy.




This statement runs completely counter to my understanding of American politics.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Another board I frequent makes this distinction very clear and very easy to understand: you may criticize the idea but not the person. That is: no ad-hominem attacks.

OK: That idea is utter bullshit.
BAD: You are utter bullshit.

If the 'ok' is too harsh for you, I understand. Please note that this hard distinction does remove all discussions on allowableness. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Above this line is a quote. Something went wrong and the color is all the same ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I can't see that working when you have people like me to contend with. Quite often I get called out to popole's homes to remedy some problem created by fools who have never heard af rain or ground water. I choose my words carefully so that everyone knows exactly what I think of the shoddy workmanship AND the person who screwed up. I jokingly refer to their lack of inteligence, the shame their mothers must feel, the chances that inbreeding played a role and the possibility of having the guy neutered to save society from his progeny.

By heaping all of this derision on the guilty party, I let my customers off the hook since they were simply dupes taken in by a con man. I always encourage them to tell as many people as possible about what went wrong and what we did to fix it. This produces leads for more work.

All of this is great fun for me in my private business, but that sort of behavior would be poison on a forum like this. It would squelch open discussion since no one likes to be mocked no matter how silly their idea.
 
Leila Rich
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Bumping this thread.
New, or could do with a refresher? The one rule on permies is "be nice".
 
Brenda Groth
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Really enjoyed reading this again, I'm sure re reading it all will make me a better person...more PERFECT ..or less less than perfect..and less suggesting anyone is less than perfect..did you get that?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I would like to add my two cents. When you believe that something that someone is doing is wrong --- it is not necessary to point it out – in public. Please remember that when you post something that you are doing you think it is great – otherwise you wouldn’t have put it out there.

Just like a hat I like to wear, if I thought it was ugly I wouldn’t wear it. My mother thinks it is hideous but she didn’t say that in front of everyone (thank you mom).

If someone specifically asks for criticism then we all know that is what they want. But if they are simply sharing what they feel is an accomplishment ---- then to tell them – in public – that they are wrong is hurtful (not nice).

If you feel that strongly about the subject maybe you could PM that person and discuss it with them privately.

Reward in public and correct in private, in my opinion, is a way to nurture relationships and form more trusting bonds between people.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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How about it, folks? Let's be nice.

 
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