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Re^4: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all. (you)

by pemungkah (Priest)
on Feb 10, 2014 at 17:27 UTC ( #1074282=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^3: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all. (you)
in thread Having our anonymous cake and eating it too

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.

  • Comment on Re^4: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all. (you)

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Re^5: Let's drop this long belaboured, never pertinent, pointless subject once and for all. ("ilk")
by tye (Sage) on Oct 28, 2015 at 23:26 UTC

    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        

      a type of person or thing similar to one already referred to.

      Another phrasing of the same sentiment might be: You and those (who think) like you.

      There can be no "personal attack" when I am simply referring to the person's stated opinions and grouping him with a (self-selecting) group of other individuals that think the same way.

      How can grouping a person with others who hold the same opinions be an "attack"? Especially when the 'group' are an unnamed, unnumbered, unselected 'group' who may or may not exist.

      There is no condemnation; no accusation; no unfavourable comparison; beyond the statement that on the evidence of expressed opinions here; that group are a minority.

      Being a minority does not invalidate the opinion; but it does mean that any action taken in light of that opinion would be an imposition upon the majority.

      Offense isn't given; it is taken. And can be found everywhere if you look hard enough.

      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". I knew I was on the right track :)
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

        I don't really disagree with anything you say above.

        Being a minority does not invalidate the opinion; but it does mean that any action taken in light of that opinion would be an imposition upon the majority.

        Even more than that, in the given context, it was part of a refutation of part of the argument being made (seemed to me).

        In a different context, I could easily read "You and your ilk are a tiny minority" as a personal attack. But I suspect your understanding of the work "ilk" is somewhat different than my perception of it based on the ways I've most often heard it used (usually as part of a slur). I make no claim to my perception being more accurate. Just because you made me curious if others share my perception, I found that the current voting at urbandictionary selects:

        Pronoun. Represents a group of items of the same type. Has a connotation of the typed group being of bad or questionable character.

        Don't get involved with those of that ilk.

        My only point being that there are some people (not just me) who will tend to interpret "ilk" as derogatory, even lacking supporting evidence. I did check just a couple of definitions of "ilk" before I wrote the node you replied to and found no clear indications of modern usage being documented as derogatory, just the history of shifting meaning.

        Offense isn't given; it is taken.

        Exactly. I've long lamented that the verb in English is "to offend". There should be no such verb. There should instead be a (single word) verb that means "to be offended". If there is an action on the other side of the interaction, then it should only be expressed as "try to get one to be offended".

        - tye        

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