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Re^2: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all.

by pemungkah (Priest)
on Feb 10, 2014 at 15:57 UTC ( #1074266=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all.
in thread Having our anonymous cake and eating it too

"You and your ilk are a tiny minority trying to impose your opinion upon the majority who actively and vocally disagree with you".

There are four "you"s and "your"s in that sentence. I don't know how to parse that sentence in a way that is not personal.

If you'd care to explain how it is not personal?

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Re^3: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all. (you)
by tye (Sage) on Feb 10, 2014 at 16:34 UTC

    I am replying to you. If one takes the mere fact that I'm specific about that as a personal attack, then one is being thin-skinned and/or paranoid.

    "Taking it personally" means feeling that you are being personally attacked. It isn't the same as me just using "you" instead of the less-common "one" as a pronoun. A personal attack is making disparaging remarks about the other's presumed personal attributes, especially in an off-topic and/or intentionally insulting manner. Twisting "taking it personally" to claim it means "noting that you addressed me directly" is the kind of thing a troll would do. (No, I'm not accusing you of being a troll (though, I'm not ruling it out), just noting the lack of useful point in your reply.)

    For the record, I amend "the best counter to bad speech is good speech" by noting that it mostly doesn't apply to insulting speech. The best counter to insulting speech is pointed silence, with a very infrequent bit of extraordinary eloquence (and that last bit often not in public). Though, if the insults are from trolls, then it is best to skip the eloquence entirely. And on-line, unfortunately, the odds of even extraordinary eloquence having much impact on those doing the insulting are quite thin (and the odds of generating more insulting speech in reply rather high).

    There are a lot of inconvenient, unfortunate, and uncomfortable things in life. Perhaps even more so in on-line life (though the consequences on-line are usually much more limited in their actual harm). In theory, it may seem like a great idea to try to eliminate such things. In practice, attempts to ban or hide everything bad have consequences that are easily worse than the benefits.

    Now that you've spent a lot of time trying to come up with how other things can change to benefit your on-line life, I think it is time for you to spend some time considering ways you can change to benefit your on-line life.

    - tye        

      Thank you, tye, appreciate your input.

      I'm past the thing about trying to change the Anonymous Monk situation, as I said before. I do trust in your good faith when you said you continue to think about this.

      I simply wanted to answer a question about why one might want to try making a technical change for a social reason; then it became about me and "my ilk". I hope you can understand that being asked to explain one's thoughts and then being told by implication that they are worthless and stupid is not a positive experience.

      I've done my best to explain why I made the suggestion, and why I followed up to BrowserUK's post, in the hopes that I could communicate that it's perfectly possible to be respectful of the other person and at the same time disagree, even strongly. I've even, at this point, given the equivalent of code examples.

      I will, as of now, stop commenting on BrowserUK's posts if they're of a non-technical nature. I hope for reciprocation in this but do not expect it.

      If you feel that my commenting on social issues on the site is disruptive, please say so directly so I can decide whether I should continue to participate at all or not.

        Revisiting this much later, I was struck by how much of an attack "you and your ilk" sounded like, especially relatively out of context. And how I did not respond to that part of your response at all.

        So, yes, "you and your ilk" is a personal attack, at least usually, IMHO. To be clearer, it seems to me to be a common component of a rather classic form of personal attack. So, one should not be surprised when it is read as a personal attack. This doesn't mean that the author meant it as a personal attack, of course. It means, IMHO, that the author did not exercise adequate care if they were trying to avoid the all-too-common case of people reading the text of a contrary opinion as an attack.

        However, the word "ilk" has an interesting history. This author lumped you into a group and then labeled that group "a tiny minority". Given the context, that label is actually on-topic and so I don't read it as a personal attack. So I can certainly read even that use of "ilk" as just unusual usage (compared to my experience) rather than a personal attack (when enough of the context is considered). But I, of course, understand that such a reading is likely much more difficult for the person that the text was addressed to.

        Now, making speculations about the inner workings of another's mind is something that I usually advise against, especially doing such in public. So I need to be clear that I make not the slightest claim to any type of accuracy to these speculations. And I want to apologize to that author, because I believe that I would feel uncomfortable if I were the subject of such ramblings. My point is not at all about that author. My point is to demonstrate and discuss different ways of interpreting text.

        I also read that response as arguing strongly. Such is often enough to elicit a feeling of being attacked, IME. But I very frequently argue strongly. Sometimes there is emotion behind such. But I also frequently argue strongly with no emotion behind it because I simply want to make my best case rather thoroughly in hopes of avoiding the ensuing discussion going in circles or even just being an extended round of back-and-forth1. Arguing strongly doesn't (necessarily) mean that I am trying to discourage any counter argument; I would just prefer that any counter arguments do a decent job of addressing my expressed point of view.

        1 At $work, there have recently been several incidents of an e-mail chain that stretched to just a bare few back-and-forth exchanges before somebody (usually a manager) stepped in and forced the discussion to move to a face-to-face meeting. So half a dozen people got to wait two days and then spent 30 to 60 minutes in a room in order to avoid spending a few minutes reading an e-mail and then writing a reply. In at least one case, the conversation had actually already concluded (but management didn't understand that).

        But it is certainly possible that there was emotion, even strong emotion, behind that response. Even if there wasn't, it is easy to read emotion into that response. An emotional argument is even more likely to come across as an attack than a merely strong argument. And such interpretations are that much more likely if one has previously felt attacked from that same source (whether the perceived attack was meant as one or not).

        So, one can expend effort to try to prevent the interpretation of a response as an attack (and to avoid actually attacking, of course). One can also expend effort to try to avoid interpreting a response as an attack. All three of those endeavors can be difficult. I encourage all three.

        A site can certainly facilitate the first two. As I outlined above, a dedicated and cohesive team (often a single person) can be rather effective at restricting the tone of discussions. For historical reasons (including technical and social ones), PerlMonks doesn't have and probably never will have a sufficiently dedicated and sufficiently cohesive team for tight restriction of tone to work well (IMO). Those historical reasons include that a significant portion of the membership don't want such tight restrictions.

        So I can understand the third endeavor being more than one wishes to endure at PerlMonks. I hope (and believe) that it is a minority that will feel that way (at least during most of the site's history -- there will always be periods of increased discord, even belligerence, unfortunately).

        I wish you luck (sincerely) in finding a replacement that better fits your temperament, pemungkah.

        - tye        

Re^3: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all.
by BrowserUk (Patriarch) on Feb 10, 2014 at 16:13 UTC

    Stop being crass.

    You just said: "If you'd care to explain how it is not personal?"

    Am I offended because a responder referred to me by a personal pronoun? Of course not. It is tedious -- and ridiculous to even try -- to avoid saying "you" when conducting a conversation.

    But responding to one member of a group, does not make the response "personal" to that individual; much less an "attack".

    I'll say it again, stop being crass. Stop trying to perpetuate a pointless discussion. Stop trying to whip up controversy where there is none. Stop searching for something to be offended by. Stop attempting to start fires where none exist. The motivations for such are as juvenile as they are transparent.

    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
      I'd like to suggest a sentence that is appropriate when someone brings up a problem they have that either can't be solved without breaking something important, or which is not high enough on the priority list to do anything about.
      "I don't agree with you that this problem is significant enough that we can devote any time to it, but I understand what's going on."
      This sentence does a very important thing: it treats the person on the other side of the conversation as if they actually matter. The "You and your ilk..." approach is being dismissive and strongly implying "no one who cares about this problem matters to me".

      Does that clarify why I felt your remark was personal?

      I don't expect you to agree with me, nor do I want to "win". I simply am trying to communicate that there are ways to positively acknowledge the other person is a person in a conversation 0r an argument even if you can't, or don't want to, address their issue.

      I'm sure you feel that you weren't unreasonable, and I understand your position - there doesn't seem to be any way that the Anonymous Monk can exist as it is without the chance that someone will abuse it, and that you feel that the upside is so much greater than the downside that messing with it might break things badly, whether technically or socially. I get this. I'm asking you to try to understand why I felt dismissed by the way you said this, in the hopes that we might be able to come to a better understanding of one another. I respect your technical contributions, and it pains me that we can't talk about other issues without it turning into something like this thread.

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