Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

For endless numbers of endless posts about the same endless techniques
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Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#1

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:21 am

Figured we should split off the meta-discussion about whether or not my postings are even appropriate for the pit.

I contend that, as the pit was originally proposed, as 'almost anything goes', and a focus largely on anti-FTB/A+/Skepchick/etc., that posts introducing or explaining or responding to questions about, or even demonstrating different posting/debating/discussion techniques is a fair topic according to the original stated purposes of the Pit. I really don't see the problem with it.

Whereas, I also contend that in trying to restrict these posts, to the point of warning about shunting a user off into a single forum, based on unstated criteria, and unstated rules, is a distinct change from the Pit's previously stated guidelines and purpose. I acknowledge that such a decision is *of course* entirely up to the owner, Lsuoma, and would never dispute that fact. I do, however, have concerns for the effect it would have on what I gather to be the original purposes of the pit from previous writings and statements by members and by Lsumoa himself. I think it would set a dangerous precedent.

So, I started this thread to collect comments for and against, and to post my replies here and only drop a link in the main thread to notify.

I chose this forum because I don't want to interfere on the other forums, and wasn't sure which forum would have been the best one in any case.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#2

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:29 am

From viewtopic.php?p=107410#p107410
Lsuoma wrote:
welch wrote:
Wonderist wrote: I would argue that, over the long term, it would improve discussions here also, with fewer pointless flame wars.Of course, that's assuming other pitters pick up methods of their own for calming down pointless drama. Which is the point of my demonstrating it in the first place; that others might pick up some ideas from it and try things on their own, esp. outside the pit. Once the techniques proves their usefulness, people will undoubtedly start using anti-drama techniques here, too. Dave2 is already one of them. I think Steersman has his ways of doing it, and there are others here who are good at managing drama. Fewer pointless flame-wars would be a good thing all around, IMO.
yes dear. However did we survive before you. in a world full of fog, you are Clear.
Fair warning everyone - if you all start using Wonderbread's "techniques" I'm closing down the Pit.
From my point of view, this is a clear over-reaction to anything I'm proposing. I feel that such knee-jerk responses which are based on questionable assumptions, undermine the Pit's atmosphere of 'anarchy' 'anything goes', etc. I repeat that I fully acknowledge it's entirely up to the owner, Lsuoma, but I still feel it's an over-reaction and that if Lsuoma would engage in a discussion over this it might help clarify and/or alleviate his concerns. My purpose here is not to undermine the pit at all, nor to 'corrupt' any other members. From my perspective, I'm only interested in sharing what I think are useful ideas, and I honestly see nothing incompatible with that and the original purpose of the Pit as I understood it from lurking for a long time (including at ERV).

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#3

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:19 am

From: viewtopic.php?p=107394#p107394
Lsuoma wrote:
Gumby wrote:
OK, now I'm off to start my weekend.
Y'all have fun, now.

I, for one, have as a mission ripping the piss out of Wonderist as much as I feel like, never engaging him on his terms, and generally countering his superdickheadness with my own "technique".
I wouldn't question your right to do that. However, do you see that when you *also* make a *vague* warning about if I post anything long'again, you'll segregate me as one would a genuine troll, that this puts me in a position of having an 'authority' with their finger on a button, and having no prior knowledge of what the conditions are for when the button will be pushed?

In my position, that is far more auto-cratic than anarchic. Sure, the auto-crat is quite lenient, but that leniency is no longer connected to publicly stated rules and principles, but to the whim of the auto-crat alone.

I was blocked at Ophelia's blog under much the same circumstances. She thought my comment about ElevatorGate was 'too long', and now she goes on to call it 'boring' (which is where I picked up that word, BTW). But can you read that post and find anything actually ***wrong*** with it? It's much shorter than my long posts on the Pit: http://gnuatheism.wikispaces.com/Elevator+Guy+Kerfuffle

For that, I was shunted away.

On Zvan's blog, I posted in defense of the pit, and used myself as a member to deflect the attention onto me to make more personal for them. Instead of facing a vague, nameless entity, I showed them how, through stereotype and guilt-by-association, they were including me in those attacks. I challenged them on that basis. Yes, my posts were annoying. But were the ***wrong***? viewtopic.php?p=81381#p81381

For that, I was shunted away.

I've repeatedly asked people who object to my postings about these 'techniques' to engage in conversation and explain what they object to, rather than just continuing with flames. Some people have even done so, and I respond to them reasonably, not with long-boring-anti-drama. If people engage reasonably, I do as well. Even if they flame, I still respond reasonably, just at greater length and with more caution. But still reasonably.

And during this, it was unexpected to me that the owner, Lsuoma, would make a vague warning essentially saying 'don't do it again'. But with no elaboration, what does that mean? Do what exactly? Is there some new character limit cutoff? Is it based on arbitrary judgment? Is there any possibility for discussion beforehand, or will it be a flip of a switch? What are the parameters/conditions?

Without clarification, it's as if a Sword of Damocles has been placed over my head. I could be punished at any moment, on a whim from one person, not based on any rule or principle, but only a tug of a heart-string of emotion.

I find this quite disturbing, as it seems to me anti-thetical to what I thought were the original purposes of the Pit.

Was I wrong to challenge Ophelia? Was she right to block/delete my comments? Was I wrong to challenge Zvan? Was she right to block/delete my comments? I don't think I was wrong, and I don't think they were right.

I also don't see my situation here as very much different to the one at Ophelia's. My posts may have been long, but they were not off-topic or irrelevant, and others had posts just as long or longer. Here it is the same.

Some people there felt I was annoying and 'talking down' to them, and while they may have been annoyed, I did not talk down to them (AFAIK), but was just expressing my opinions. Opinions that they disagreed with. And that pissed them off, and so the Sword of Damocles was hung up. So I left.

I am open to discussing the pros and cons of my posts, but I would hope that drastic action against me not be meted out on a whim or without clear, detailed warning of just what my 'crime' is, and just what are the 'limits' I must stay within. I would also hope that those limits would be fair and equally applied to all pitters, rather than arbitrarily being imposed on one person.

If, through reasonable dialogue, we can determine that my posts did cross some sort of line of principle or rule, then I would be more than willing to adapt my style to accommodate that finding. On the other hand, if it cannot be shown that I've crossed some sort of line, then I would ask that my unusual situation, with a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head, be reset back to 'normal' pit member. I don't think it's unusual to seek this sort of resolution, nor unreasonable.

Regards,
Thaumas

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#4

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:40 am

From viewtopic.php?p=107460#p107460
Dave2 wrote:
Wonderist wrote:I've repeatedly asked people who object to my postings about these 'techniques' to engage in conversation and explain what they object to, rather than just continuing with flames. Some people have even done so, and I respond to them reasonably, not with long-boring-anti-drama. If people engage reasonably, I do as well. Even if they flame, I still respond reasonably, just at greater length and with more caution. But still reasonably.
I'm not sure that you can douse flames through verbiage because I don't think it really counts as clear communication - given that people here probably aren't devoted to reading every word or post on the forum, but try and keep up for the juicier and funnier stuff. If someone wants to wind you up they've only got to respond rudely to your efforts - they don't have to actually read your post.

People are here for the gossip really. I'm not sure analysis of systems of communication - at your level - is the conversation people want.

I thought people were joking about making it more difficult for you to actually post - boo to them if not - but maybe you could try being brief and seeing for yourself if it works better at reducing the negative reactions you don't want than your current tack.

And I do like that there are people here who take things at a more gentle and reasoned pace and avoid being rude - but you do milk it a bit.
Thanks for the reasoned reply, Dave2.

I'm trying to shunt discussions of the pros/cons of discussing the technique in the pit here, so as not to clutter up the main thread. Hope you don't mind. The link above goes back to the main thread at your comment.

First point: I don't just generate *random* verbiage. I address whatever's being discussed, I just do it in a way that is much more *calm* and *cautious*. And, unfortunately, calm and cautious tends to bulk up the reply. So the verbiage is mostly a side-effect, not the main method itself. There are points being made, and I would wager that the communication is *clear*, even if it is bulkier and more likely to be skipped due to boredom. However, maybe you're right and the communication is not clear. Could you then provide an example of this by quoting, or linking to something I wrote?

Next. Yes, absolutely, trolls don't necessarily read it, they can just post more trolling. But that still plays out well because at the end of the conversation, onlookers will see: A calm, reasonable person, making thought-out and relevant points, if a bit *dry* and wordy, but still reasonable dialogue; and on the other hand, one or more trollish people making trollish remarks, not addressing any of the relevant points at all.

If I don't convince a troll, I'm much not worried. In that case, it's the onlookers I'm mainly communicating with. And in any online discussion the onlookers far exceed the actual participants.
People are here for the gossip really. I'm not sure analysis of systems of communication - at your level - is the conversation people want.
That's perfectly fine, they don't have to read anything I write. They can put me on ignore. I have no problem with that. I'm interested in discussing with people who *are* interested in these topics, and I know that there are more than just a few who are. Many of them have popped up in the thread to say as much. But in this 'argument', they are staying out of it, because mostly the people opposing me aren't opposing me through reason, but through character attacks on me (ad homs). I don't blame others for staying out of it. Doesn't mean that *everyone* is in opposition to me posting here. I don't think we have an accurate reading on this at this time either way.
I thought people were joking about making it more difficult for you to actually post - boo to them if not - but maybe you could try being brief and seeing for yourself if it works better at reducing the negative reactions you don't want than your current tack.
I tend to be brief in a neutral or friendly atmosphere. I become less-brief when I'm in an atmosphere, like here, where people *go out of their way* to impugn my character, try to put words and thoughts in my mouth, etc. By being up front and cautious, and giving more detail about my thinking process, I make it harder for false characterizations to stick, because I can always go back and quote something I said earlier which contradicts the caricature being drawn of me.

In my past experiences, such as in commenting on YouTube videos, where you have to stuff a whole response into 500 characters (or post multiple comments if over), I've found that writing more condensed text causes *far more* misunderstandings and sends the discussion on trivial tangent issues. And even if you manage to have a reasonable discussion, the cramped nature of the comments means you *cannot* get into detailed discussions about things that don't already have a nice tight vocabulary to go with them (like science or math for example). For example, it would be nearly impossible for me to have discussed this 'technique', and how I use it, etc. in cramped YouTube comments. For hashing out ideas like this (especially since they start out so nebulous and vague/hand-wavy), you pretty much need a forum with people interested in the same or similar subjects. The Pit is currently the best such forum to discuss these techniques, AFIAK.

And in a hostile atmosphere, being more cautious in what one says, has the unfortunate side-effect of adding verbiage to what one writes. But conciseness is not always a good thing; in a hostile environment, it can get you pigeonholed and ostracized (or silenced) very quick. I may still end up ostracized here, it's too early to say, but if that happens, it will be very difficult for anyone to make such a case against me because there will be lots of thought-out, cautious examples of me contradicting nefarious claims made against me. Only trumped up charges and unsubstantiated accusations could give a plausible excuse to segregate or boot me, because I don't intend to do anything *actually* wrong or against the rules. We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully it doesn't come anything close to that.

If you don't mind me asking, Dave2: I can see this post is somewhat long-ish, but consider that this is also a fairly hostile environment for me, with Lsuoma just recently declaring, "I, for one, have as a mission ripping the piss out of Wonderist as much as I feel like, never engaging him on his terms, and generally countering his superdickheadness with my own "technique"". Under these circumstances, do you see why I might feel extra cautious? Do you think this whole comment should/could be shorter? Do you think there are significant sections where are pure blather (don't say anything worthwhile or relevant)? Just curious, want to get a feel for what kinds of text you find objectionable. Thanks again for your reply! Cheers!

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#5

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:43 am

Back to the Main thread, where I replied with a link: viewtopic.php?p=107489#p107489

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#6

Post by Dave2 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:16 am

I wouldn't say I found anything you wrote objectionable - but there have been plenty of times when I've scrolled past when I have realised that its you and that the post was longer than a couple of lines.

And normally I would rather read a longish post - I like it when skep tickle and steersman get chatty, for example.

I don't doubt the atmosphere here is intimidating at times - but that seems almost a requirement of a forum about which someone is advised upfront that you need a thick skin. No doubt other approaches facilitate other sorts of conversations, but AFAICT this forum is about people being able to say what they want without feeling that they will be moderated for it - and I think the admin's entitled to join in with that.

Yes I agree that Youtube's not a good place to chat in any depth and I don't mind chatting. But if a lot of people were going "please stop chatting in depth so much" I'd have a go at it - brevity - if it was bothering me that I was being made to feel unwelcome.

I did make a conscious decision when I started posting here that I wasn't going to join in the ruder stuff, and I've mostly kept to that. However I think a forum dedicated to free speech and not minding what you say has to expect and maybe even indulge in that a bit - there's little point to a celebration of free speech if you can't be taboo.

But as far as I understand the Pit - it's primarily a place to discuss online atheism/scepticism without watching your tongue and aiming barbs at those who say you should watch your tongue. It may therefore be paradoxical that you feel like you're being shut out - but on the other hand I suppose many of the others feel your trumpeting this "technique" is the thin end of a wedge requiring people to think more about what language they use.

Which seems a little counter to the point of the forum as I see it - where frank talk and rudery are part of the appeal.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#7

Post by Aneris » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:57 am

Wonderist, I do read and appreciate longer writing. But it depends on my time and what I am interested in at that moment whether I actually read it. If I stumble too often and it doesn't promise something interesting early on, my attention wanders off and I skip the exercise. I also root for the underdog when they come under fire. In this instance though you aren't paying attention to what others have been telling you. Writing longer text seems fine here. It has nothing to do with being calm and cautious, or "anti-drama techniques". Others are calm and reasonable as well, aren't dramatising, or aren't that sarcastic. It works.

I am by no means an expert (and may fall short as well), but it seems you'd greatly benefit from:
  1. Determine your point(s). If you use writing for yourself to get clarity (which isn't unusual), then always write twice. Write once just for you, then find the key points that emerge and write a second time. Some people find it helpful to talk to someone (or to yourself, seriously, that works) to order thoughts.
  2. Set expectations correctly. If you write something longer, make a promise early on what this is gonna be about and deliver on it. Otherwise people don't know what to expect and they won't pay attention for 10 minutes just to get a vague idea what you intend to claim.
  3. Don't always cover all bases. Covering all bases and anticipating what others may respond is good, but can be overdone. If you do this, advance the original point. Then group possible objections and work them out one by one. Don't anticipate and rebut on a per-sentence base, this kills it. You can do it once, or twice, but not each statement and subsequent statement. It only appears smart when you anticipate likely objections, not nitpicking and language games. That's super boring and tedious (and looks dull).
  4. Use your bandwidth wisely. You have "100% bandwidth". The more unnecessary paragraphs are wasted on minor side points, the more you take away from that bandwidth. Nobody cares if you have a killer observation in one paragraph out of 20 all about nitpicking.
Off the top of my mind. I haven't read everything you wrote here, mainly due to these points.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#8

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:13 pm

From viewtopic.php?p=107470#p107470
Lsuoma wrote:
Dave2 wrote: I thought people were joking about making it more difficult for you to actually post - boo to them if not - but maybe you could try being brief and seeing for yourself if it works better at reducing the negative reactions you don't want than your current tack.
It was certainly a bit of a dick move on my part to threaten to move Worderist to his own thread and confine him there.

I still may do this if he pisses me off enough, but the interesting thing is that NOBODY has called me on the dick move, and that says a lot. Compare him to Eucliwoo for example - when I threatened to slow down her posting by setting a board-wide maximum posting rate and then exempting everyone but her from it, people complained. Also, he now has more that three times the number of people ignoring him than Eucliwoo ever had.

I think that says a lot.
I don't think it 'says' as much as you think it does. It's an ambiguous finding. The reasons for ignoring would almost certainly be different. And also I've encouraged people to ignore. There are a lot of different factors at play. I don't think it would be justified to jump to too many conclusions based on that data point.

And as for segregating me, there may be many different reasons for not sticking up for me. For instance, those who are already familiar with the technique may not have bothered paying attention to the flame-type messages, because they are tedious. And your warning was in the middle of a flamey part of the dialogue, and also there was the JV/SINK thing going on. They could easily have missed it. Furthermore, they may have felt intimidated into not speaking up, due to the fact that I'd gotten several people already annoyed, and you were one of them. I don't think it's such a clear cut case that people not commenting at the time therefore implicitly agree that that would be a good action to take.

And lastly, "if he pisses me off enough" is so vague and subjective, I can't characterize it as anything other than autocratic. You might as well say, "on a whim," it means as much.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#9

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:16 pm

back to my linked reply in the main thread viewtopic.php?p=107563#p107563

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#10

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:37 pm

Replying to: viewtopic.php?p=107475#p107475
Lsuoma wrote:
Dick Strawkins wrote:
Lsuoma wrote: It was certainly a bit of a dick move on my part to threaten to move Worderist to his own thread and confine him there.

I still may do this if he pisses me off enough, but the interesting thing is that NOBODY has called me on the dick move, and that says a lot. Compare him to Eucliwoo for example - when I threatened to slow down her posting by setting a board-wide maximum posting rate and then exempting everyone but her from it, people complained. Also, he now has more that three times the number of people ignoring him than Eucliwoo ever had.

I think that says a lot.
I presumed you were joking!

The simplest solution for people complaining about him is for them to put him on ignore so they won't see his twenty posts per page.
Yeah, I was, but don't tell the wordy cunt that.
If that's the case, that you were joking, and for the sake of argument, let's say it was the case, then I don't think it was a fair joke to make, especially after you reacted rather strongly when I made a similar joke about JV having strict orders from you (using a silly variation of your username). Your objection at the time is that people (outsiders mostly) could take it literally.

Couldn't they have also taken your joke literally?

However, dropping the assumption that it was a joke, for a minute, I'm not so sure it rings true that it was a joke, in my ears.

For example, in the quote above, you say, "It was certainly a bit of a dick move on my part to threaten to move Worderist to his own thread and confine him there". You don't indicate here that it was in jest in anyway, but refer to it as a threat.

And also, "I still may do this if he pisses me off enough," This seems like a re-iteration of the position that you were serious about it. Or is this another joke, too?

I'm not concerned specifically about these quotes. I tend not to hold grudges over perceived wrongs. I have no ill feelings toward you, Lsuoma, nor welch, nor bhoytony, nor Apples, nor anyone. As long as we're all on a level playing field (more or less, obviously you have the last say), then I can get along with almost anyone. I don't intend to stir up trouble, and I do try to adapt to become less of a pain in the ass over time. I just want my chance to express my opinions too. Or, if that's not acceptable, for whatever reasons, I will move on to some other forum or group or whatever. I'll be disappointed, but I'll live.

So, if they were a joke, or even if meant sincerely and being re-thought, or even if you still feel it's a good option for you to hold onto, that's okay. I just want to have a conversation to see if we can find a mutual common ground or not. If so, awesome! If not, I'll be on my way. But let's discuss it first. I can't see any reason why not to.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#11

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:39 pm

Back to my linked reply: viewtopic.php?p=107574#p107574

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#12

Post by Stunt Whisper » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:37 pm

I'm going to try and address a couple of things.
Wonderist wrote: I've repeatedly asked people who object to my postings about these 'techniques' to engage in conversation and explain what they object to, rather than just continuing with flames.
While I can't speak for the pit for me reading your posts is an exercise in patience. While often there is something of interest in them wading through the screed to find it is often not worth the return in investment. It's clear you are sincere, but it's also clear that your target audience is you.
I also don't see my situation here as very much different to the one at Ophelia's. My posts may have been long, but they were not off-topic or irrelevant, and others had posts just as long or longer. Here it is the same.
Relevance is subjective. The never ending thread has no specific topic, the idea of being "on topic" there is mostly irrelevant.
If, through reasonable dialogue, we can determine that my posts did cross some sort of line of principle or rule, then I would be more than willing to adapt my style to accommodate that finding.
While I don't personally believe any rule was broken it may have been that you committed a faux pas within the context of the main thread. You may not have considered that most of the denizens are there for a quick lulz and treated the conversation with more weight than it deserves. That is not to say that serious things aren't said, but often when they are it's in a blog post or off site link, or something.

Finally I like reading your stuff, though not here and appreciate that you strive to de-escalate and remain calm, these are worthwhile characteristics and I'd be interested in reading your blog. I would recommend that while you are posting here you consider who you are posting to, whether you're being trolled, and whether you should disengage or go to private messages when you engage in 1 to 1 comms in the main thread.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#13

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:47 pm

Dave2 wrote:I don't doubt the atmosphere here is intimidating at times - but that seems almost a requirement of a forum about which someone is advised upfront that you need a thick skin.
I have a very thick skin, and can easily handle welch and the others trying to goad me, *as long as* it's a level playing field and I'm allowed to use the forum features (e.g. long posts) as well. They have their tricks; I have mine. But when Lsuoma starts changing 'the rules' mid-game, and those rules are intended to hamper only one side of the issue, then that is, by definition, no longer a level playing field.
No doubt other approaches facilitate other sorts of conversations, but AFAICT this forum is about people being able to say what they want without feeling that they will be moderated for it - and I think the admin's entitled to join in with that.
If Lsuoma wants to jump into the fray, I can engage him as well, no problem. As long as he doesn't then turn around to 'push the button' when things either a) don't go his way, or b) annoy him. If he's going to engage (and I would welcome that), in my sincere opinion, he has a principled responsibility to take his hands off the controls for the duration of the engagement, to ensure a level playing field. As long as I stay within 'the rules', whatever they are at the time, then I don't see any problem with this. If he's not willing to take this principled responsibility on himself, but still wants to engage, then I would consider that a form of bullying and would leave the pit on that basis. I don't think that kind of 'finger on the scales' is a fair, principled position. It's like the referee joining the Home team on field, but still wants to adjudicate the game. It just doesn't work, IMHO. If the ref wants to play, and I think he absolutely should be able to, then there needs to be some limitation so that the ref is not biasing the outcome. Clear rules ahead of time would be a big benefit. Right now it's 'anything goes unless Lsuoma doesn't like you or something you said'. A wee bit too vague and problematic, IMO.
Yes I agree that Youtube's not a good place to chat in any depth and I don't mind chatting. But if a lot of people were going "please stop chatting in depth so much" I'd have a go at it - brevity - if it was bothering me that I was being made to feel unwelcome.
I can do brevity. I had lots of practice on YT, and I'm pretty good at it actually, but it has severe limitations, as I mentioned above, especially when trying to explore a new-ish idea. Sometimes too much enforcement of brevity is not good.

The only time I felt unwelcome was when Lsuoma started imposing *new* restrictions in the middle of the action.
I did make a conscious decision when I started posting here that I wasn't going to join in the ruder stuff, and I've mostly kept to that. However I think a forum dedicated to free speech and not minding what you say has to expect and maybe even indulge in that a bit - there's little point to a celebration of free speech if you can't be taboo.
Absolutely. I have no objection to 'rude' or breaking taboos. (Within legal and ethical limitations of course). Actually I feel like *I'm* the one breaking a taboo here, challenging the one-trick pony of snarky replies. It gets under peoples' skins when their usual tactics of shouting others down doesn't work anymore. That's when they have to resort to banning and blocking and segregating.

If, instead, we all just switched to *reasonable dialogue*, *none of this* would be an issue. I can laugh at jabs at my quirks (the wonder-wall-o-text thing, and another 'fuck off' post). But if someone's going to tell untruths about my intentions and motivations (as welch for one did many times), I think I deserve an opportunity to respond to that. And that's what would be denied to me if I were shunted of 'into the corner'.

I can handle myself. I'm just wondering why Lsuoma feels he needs to turn the screws on this situation. Does he feel the other members *can't* handle themselves? I'm not even doing anything *controversial* or *offensive*, certainly not compared to the snark attacks. I'm just using a *different* technique that tends to undermine those 'tried and true' pit tactics. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because the ultimate intent is to use it *outside* the pit.

I think people in the pit *can* handle themselves. It's a level playing field, and they have all the tools they need: skip, ignore, or reply at their leisure if they want to. They can even use their snipes and jabs if they want. Why can't I use my words in response? What is the big deal? What is the threat or the harm? That's what I don't see.
But as far as I understand the Pit - it's primarily a place to discuss online atheism/scepticism without watching your tongue and aiming barbs at those who say you should watch your tongue. It may therefore be paradoxical that you feel like you're being shut out - but on the other hand I suppose many of the others feel your trumpeting this "technique" is the thin end of a wedge requiring people to think more about what language they use.
They don't *have* to think about it. They can ignore me.

And let's say, hypothetically, it is a thin end of a wedge. I'm not an authority. I have no authority over *anyone*. I'm not doing anything unethical, nor sneaky. I'm not trying to pass any laws promoting creationism (the other 'wedge'). I'm just expressing my opinions. Free speech, right? Right on!

Thanks for engaging in this discussion, Dave2, and although I've posed lots of questions to you, I know you're not really in a position to answer them, since you're not Lsuoma, so don't worry about trying to respond to everything (or anything, if you don't want to). You bring up a lot of things that are making the pushback more understandable for me, so I appreciate your feedback for that alone.
Which seems a little counter to the point of the forum as I see it - where frank talk and rudery are part of the appeal.
But again, I'm not forcing it on anyone. And it was a demonstration, I don't do it all the time that persistently. And I like the frankness and rudeness too, or else I wouldn't be here. I engage in it myself.

I kinda find it funny (in a way) that when someone attacks my character with some wild accusation, such as welch did, and I respond with calmness instead of escalation, *that's* when people freak out! hehehe Like, "OMG he's maintaining calm instead of blowing a gasket at welch!?!? WTF!?!?! The world is ending!!!! And it's going to be such a long, and boring ending. Ohhh Noooooo!" :lol:

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#14

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:48 pm

Thanks for the reply, Aneris,
Aneris wrote:In this instance though you aren't paying attention to what others have been telling you.
I disagree. I have been paying attention, but I disagree with some of the opinions presented to me. That's why I keep asking for evidence of their claims. When I expressed my disagreement, all was going well until Lsuoma issued his warning. That kinda hamstrung the strategy I was going with, and 'tipped' the balance away from a level-playing field. That's the only time I was concerned.

Others have expressed annoyance. But they can easily skip or 'ignore', so they have full control over their experience there, as they should.
Writing longer text seems fine here. It has nothing to do with being calm and cautious, or "anti-drama techniques".
The bold part here is contradicted by something you say later...
Others are calm and reasonable as well, aren't dramatising, or aren't that sarcastic. It works.
They are not under a hostile atmosphere, however. When I'm not in a hostile atmosphere, my posts are about the same length as other peoples'. The hostile atmosphere included: bhoytony, welch, and others actively engaging oppositionally, innocent bystanders getting annoyed by the whole thing, and finally, Lsuoma basically stepping in and taking sides while continuing to hold his 'finger on the button'.
I am by no means an expert (and may fall short as well), but it seems you'd greatly benefit from:

1) Determine your point(s). If you use writing for yourself to get clarity (which isn't unusual), then always write twice. Write once just for you, then find the key points that emerge and write a second time. Some people find it helpful to talk to someone (or to yourself, seriously, that works) to order thoughts.
I am listening to you, but I disagree with your assessment. All my posts made the points I was trying to make. They may have been redundant in areas, but most of those redundancies were cases of 'covering my bases' as you mention later. Some *small* proportion of those redundancies would be unintentional ones (we all goof in our editing sometimes).

But, each post made points. Each post was relevant to what I was replying to, and the situation/topic at that time.

So, because I disagree: You think my points were unclear, perhaps absent. I think that some people may not have *understood* the points at the time, but the points were fairly clear, even if embedded in lots of 'covering my bases' stuff. (Some people were making assumptions about what they *thought* I was saying and focusing on, so the points I made didn't seem to be 'points' at all to them. Not saying this about anyone in particular, it's just my guess.)

Therefore: Could you provide a quote or a link to something I *actually* wrote, which you find to be suffering from the problem described in your point #1?
2) Set expectations correctly. If you write something longer, make a promise early on what this is gonna be about and deliver on it. Otherwise people don't know what to expect and they won't pay attention for 10 minutes just to get a vague idea what you intend to claim.
Thanks for the feedback, I've attempted things like this recently and will try to continue. However, the posts that seemed to evoke Lsuoma's warning actually *did* have topic listings, so I don't think this was a consideration for Lsuoma's warning. But still, good advice, thanks.
3) Don't always cover all bases. Covering all bases and anticipating what others may respond is good, but can be overdone.
This is the part where an earlier point you made contradicts this (or at least it seems to, in my eyes; I might be misreading what you wrote).

You said earlier: "Writing longer text seems fine here. It has nothing to do with being calm and cautious, or "anti-drama techniques"."
But do you see why I think that writing longer text *does* have to do with being 'cautious' and 'anti-drama'? Because I have to *include* extra 'cover my bases' text. And why do I have to cover all my bases? Because when the drama is dialed up, the opponent will look for *any* chink in your armour, and then try to exploit that to twist your words into the opposite of what you mean. Of course, we're all familiar with this.

I just dial up the 'cover my bases' way up to make it *really freaking hard* for them to find any chinks at all. I'm trying to avoid intentional and unintentional misunderstandings. Why? Because they are a pointless waste of time that just generate *more* drama, when what I'm trying to do is *suffocate* the drama, to *starve* it of any fuel.

No, perhaps even given that consideration, I'm *still* overdoing it. That's certainly possible. But I'm not perfect either, and I tend to be over-cautious about things anyway. Maybe someone else is able to pull off the same effect with less verbiage. If they can, awesome, I will try to learn from that. However, I tend to thing that *in the Pit* especially, "better safe than sorry". So I was super extra cautious in a lot of places.

Remember, I only started confronting one or two people, and then welch got into it, and a couple others dabbled into it after that. From my POV, things were *escalating*. I felt that I needed to be even more super-extra-cautious than before, just to let the drama start to subside. So, my cautiousness level went way up, and thus the posts got pretty damn long. However! That's only a defensive stance. It doesn't last forever. As soon as the attacks and escalations die down, I can dial it down too, and posts become back to normal.
If you do this, advance the original point.
When drama is high, I find that making *fewer* points, and just holding steady with them, rather than trying to advance them, is my preferred way to proceed. When drama is low, you can move along much faster, but if you move along too fast when drama is high, you open yourself up to a major risk of fighting on too many fronts at once. Especially in a forum like this one, where there are such a variety of people that many of them are experts in many areas, and so if I was trying to defend three or four points at once, I might end up attracting *new* people who happen to be experienced in those different points. Now I've got *more* opponents. Drama is escalating, not decreasing. I find it's better (IMO) to make one or a few solid points during an engagement, and stick to them strongly, rather than making many weaker points, each defended with weaknesses and openings that can be attacked later.
Then group possible objections and work them out one by one. Don't anticipate and rebut on a per-sentence base, this kills it. You can do it once, or twice, but not each statement and subsequent statement. It only appears smart when you anticipate likely objections, not nitpicking and language games. That's super boring and tedious (and looks dull).
Do you have any examples of this? Quotes or links? Without a reference point, I find it hard to respond.
Use your bandwidth wisely. You have "100% bandwidth". The more unnecessary paragraphs are wasted on minor side points, the more you take away from that bandwidth. Nobody cares if you have a killer observation in one paragraph out of 20 all about nitpicking.
Need an example. Quote and/or link?

But also remember that my ***main*** objective of this technique is not the making of the point. That is secondary. The main objective is to defeat the drama escalation. Once the drama is at reasonable levels, then making points is easy. I can always requote something I wrote earlier to 'dig it up' if necessary. Or just make the same point fresh, and with less verbiage, because we've stopped trying to flame each other now and are having a reasonable discussion instead. The thread I posted a while back with julian and EBW contains lots of examples where I had to calm the drama, and then make a point, calm it down again, and then make a point. Etc.

Here in the Pit, welch et al never even bothered with the reasonable discussion part (well, welch did seem to calm down at one point, and I thought we were close to a discussion, but then he freaked again shortly after). So, you won't find clean and concise arguments, no. It's all buried in anti-drama covering bases. But they are still there. It's not just empty bullshit bafflegab.
Off the top of my mind. I haven't read everything you wrote here, mainly due to these points.
Thank you Aneris! I truly appreciate the thought and time you put into this response. If you don't have the energy to dig up the examples I requested, don't worry, I understand. It is quite a lot of material to dig through, and if you don't want to do it, no problem. If you do, though, I would love to see whatever you turn up. Either way, thanks.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#15

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:01 pm

Stunt Whisper wrote:I'm going to try and address a couple of things.
Wonderist wrote: I've repeatedly asked people who object to my postings about these 'techniques' to engage in conversation and explain what they object to, rather than just continuing with flames.
While I can't speak for the pit for me reading your posts is an exercise in patience. While often there is something of interest in them wading through the screed to find it is often not worth the return in investment. It's clear you are sincere, but it's also clear that your target audience is you.
Perhaps. That's an interesting thought. Can you give an example of something that struck you this way? Quote, link?
I also don't see my situation here as very much different to the one at Ophelia's. My posts may have been long, but they were not off-topic or irrelevant, and others had posts just as long or longer. Here it is the same.
Relevance is subjective. The never ending thread has no specific topic, the idea of being "on topic" there is mostly irrelevant.
I'm not using relevance in such a subjective way as that. I'm using it in the sense that the comments I wrote, in reply to what people wrote to me, referred to the topics and issues and circumstances the other people wrote about. They were 'on topic' in reply. I didn't just start talking about unicorns or some random subject.
If, through reasonable dialogue, we can determine that my posts did cross some sort of line of principle or rule, then I would be more than willing to adapt my style to accommodate that finding.
While I don't personally believe any rule was broken it may have been that you committed a faux pas within the context of the main thread. You may not have considered that most of the denizens are there for a quick lulz and treated the conversation with more weight than it deserves. That is not to say that serious things aren't said, but often when they are it's in a blog post or off site link, or something.
I am certain that I committed a faux pas, and that's a pretty good phrase to describe it, thanks. I expected pushback and was ready for it (except for Lsuoma's warning, that was the biggest surprise). I did consider that most people are here for quick lulz. But I also considered that the main thread is not *restricted* to lulz, and has tolerated extended discussions of various esoteric topics in the past. Honestly, faux pas in the pit should be considered par for the course, IMO. Taboos were made to be broken. :P
Finally I like reading your stuff, though not here and appreciate that you strive to de-escalate and remain calm, these are worthwhile characteristics and I'd be interested in reading your blog. I would recommend that while you are posting here you consider who you are posting to, whether you're being trolled, and whether you should disengage or go to private messages when you engage in 1 to 1 comms in the main thread.
Thanks for these ideas. Some I do actively consider, some I disagree with (but only minor), and some I'll keep in mind for the future).

Thanks for your reply, Stunt Whisperer, much appreciated! :)

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#16

Post by Stunt Whisper » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:43 pm

Wonderist wrote: Perhaps. That's an interesting thought. Can you give an example of something that struck you this way? Quote, link?
In your response to Aneris in which she asked you to reconsider your posting style you responded with:
I am listening to you, but I disagree with your assessment. All my posts made the points I was trying to make. They may have been redundant in areas, but most of those redundancies were cases of 'covering my bases' as you mention later. Some *small* proportion of those redundancies would be unintentional ones (we all goof in our editing sometimes).

But, each post made points. Each post was relevant to what I was replying to, and the situation/topic at that time.

So, because I disagree: You think my points were unclear, perhaps absent. I think that some people may not have *understood* the points at the time, but the points were fairly clear, even if embedded in lots of 'covering my bases' stuff. (Some people were making assumptions about what they *thought* I was saying and focusing on, so the points I made didn't seem to be 'points' at all to them. Not saying this about anyone in particular, it's just my guess.)

Therefore: Could you provide a quote or a link to something I *actually* wrote, which you find to be suffering from the problem described in your point #1?
Let me be clear here, I don't disagree with your point that you do consider your points, but I think this illustrates my point that your audience seems to be you. Aneris, in her post, seems to be sympathetic, you could have tailored this response to her suggestion and made it more concise. If there was something that remained to be questioned then Aneris could have taken the initiative and asked.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#17

Post by Stunt Whisper » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:46 pm

i.e. This could very well have been a single paragraph something along the lines of:
I am listening to you but I disagree with your assessment. I try to consider my points carefully and often try to cover the bases before posting, this can unfortunately lead to excess verbiage.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#18

Post by Wonderist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:31 pm

Stunt Whisper wrote:
Wonderist wrote: Perhaps. That's an interesting thought. Can you give an example of something that struck you this way? Quote, link?
In your response to Aneris in which she asked you to reconsider your posting style you responded with:
I am listening to you, but I disagree with your assessment. All my posts made the points I was trying to make. They may have been redundant in areas, but most of those redundancies were cases of 'covering my bases' as you mention later. Some *small* proportion of those redundancies would be unintentional ones (we all goof in our editing sometimes).

But, each post made points. Each post was relevant to what I was replying to, and the situation/topic at that time.

So, because I disagree: You think my points were unclear, perhaps absent. I think that some people may not have *understood* the points at the time, but the points were fairly clear, even if embedded in lots of 'covering my bases' stuff. (Some people were making assumptions about what they *thought* I was saying and focusing on, so the points I made didn't seem to be 'points' at all to them. Not saying this about anyone in particular, it's just my guess.)

Therefore: Could you provide a quote or a link to something I *actually* wrote, which you find to be suffering from the problem described in your point #1?
Let me be clear here, I don't disagree with your point that you do consider your points, but I think this illustrates my point that your audience seems to be you. Aneris, in her post, seems to be sympathetic, you could have tailored this response to her suggestion and made it more concise. If there was something that remained to be questioned then Aneris could have taken the initiative and asked.
Thanks, Stunt Whisperer,

Under normal circumstances (i.e. if I was in a private chat with Aneris) I surely would do something along the lines of what you're suggesting. But here in the open on the Pit, there are going to be many different eyes reading this, and *some* of those eyes are very suspicious of me. That's what I mean by a hostile environment. People looking to take what you *didn't* say and blow it up into an imagined nefarious plot or motivation. It's the same way Rebecca Watson invented her smears against Stef McGraw, that she was just "parroting misogynist thought". It's the same way welch has taken what I've written and invented this anti-Thaumas character in his head (perhaps he's just making shit up for lulz, but other readers in the pit don't know that), and imputes onto me some sort of evil conspiracy or stalker complex.

It's only because I've written so much of my other thoughts and motivations in other posts that I'm able to defend against that with *more* than just "I am *not*!" I can do better than that. I can quote something I wrote earlier, and provide a link. It directly contradicts smear claims, making the claimant look foolish.

So, as a kind of 'cover your ass' defense mechanism, I tend to spew out all of my motivations and reasonings, and 'cover all my bases'. But only when the situation calls for it. Normally I don't go on at such length, unless the other person is asking me to (e.g. if they want me to go into more detail on something).

So yes, I agree, even my reply to Aneris was bulkier than it could have been. But then I feel that I would open up the risk of some new crazy accusation from someone sticking to me through mere innuendo and lack of 'covering my ass'. I've been a target of rumour mongering before, when I was younger, and it sucks hard, and I don't want to get caught in any of that again.

Over time, as people here get to know me, I'll be able to be more informal, but right now there are far too many variables and personalities to let my guard down like that. Other places I frequent, like the Anti-Atheism+ group (not recently, but previously), I'm much more informal and only go into 'defensive mode' when some random drama starts up.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#19

Post by Useless Lurker » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:13 pm

Please put Welch (and maybe a couple of others) on "ignore" so that you're not constantly being dragged off into unproductive disputes. His style depends heavily on personal abuse and I doubt that's going to change. You accomplish nothing by engaging with him. If I were registered here, I'd likely do that myself. He's usually just a time waster.

Please consider even more carefully what Dave2, Aneris and Stunt have said in this thread. Aneris was particularly helpful, IMO. I agree with all of them and like them am very sympathetic to what you're trying to do but find your posts can be a chore. When your friends are consistently making the same sorts of suggestions, you really do need to consider making a change. Not easy, I know.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#20

Post by Wonderist » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:11 pm

Hi Useless Lurker, thanks for the feedback (and I mean that, I'm not just being 'polite').

I understand your concerns, and I'm not ignoring them (nor those of Aneris, Dave2, Stunt and others), nor do I discount them. I understand that from your perspective that is how things appear to you, and that your suggestions are sincere attempts to give constructive/helpful advice. And I do sincerely appreciate that. Very much so. :)

However -- and I hope this doesn't come across as dismissive, though (being mere text, without voice or body-language) it may unintentionally come across that way (sorry in advance if it does) -- some of the suggestions are based on premises about my goals/intent that do not accurately match my actual goals and intentions. For example, when you wrote "you're not constantly being dragged off into unproductive disputes", it seems to me that that contains an implicit assumption that I'm somehow 'compelled' to respond to things (such as welch's jabs) and that these responses of mine are counter-productive to my long-term purposes/goals. The biggest indicator to me of this interpretation is the word "dragged", as if I'm responding impulsively, against my better judgment by some irresistible irritation. (Also known as SIWOTI syndrome, "Someone is wrong on the Internet!".)

But this is not the case. (If I'm interpreting your comment incorrectly, feel free to correct me, BTW.) First, though, let me acknowledge that it probably does appear that way to many people, and I don't fault anyone for seeing it that way. I am, after all, a relative stranger to most people on the pit, and without much background info about me or what I've been doing the past several years, it's understandable that people would interpret my actions that way. But, just to emphasize, this is not actually the case. My responses were deliberate and measured. I won't claim to be perfect, of course, but I did not make any of my responses without thinking ahead about what I was intending to do, and what kinds of outcomes I was shooting for.

I'm sorry that my posts became a chore for you and some others, and I will continue to try to improve in that area, but I disagree with the idea that these engagements were 'unproductive' or 'accomplish nothing'.

I rather see it like debating theists. Even if you 'accomplish nothing' in terms of convincing the single person you're debating, the overall debate can serve a much greater purpose for the wider audience of lurkers/onlookers who are curious and/or on-the-fence. Again, I won't claim to be perfect at this; I might inadvertently turn off potential friends and allies, quite possibly. Of course I'll try to minimize or eliminate that unfortunate side-effect, but that doesn't necessarily mean the outcome is entirely negative, if I manage to reach one or two or ten people and give them new ideas and options in their own encounters with trollish behaviour in other forums (such as FTB or neutral blogs, obviously).

Debating theists is a net positive thing, even if the debates can get tedious, or boring, or whatnot. Same with what I'm trying to do here. Spreading ideas and techniques in the area of anti-drama, anti-trolling, etc. can be a net positive thing, even if this thread or that thread becomes boring, tedious, or a chore.

Obviously I would prefer if I can improve my style so that friends/allies don't get turned off by it, and I'll continue to work at that. But in the mean time, I still feel that I'm contributing a net-positive, and so I will continue to look for opportunities to share and explore these ideas/techniques, because they work for accomplishing what I'm really trying to accomplish: defeating the pointless and harmful hyper-drama antics of FTBers/Skepchick/RW/PZ/etc. which can best be exemplified by the ridiculous ElevatorGate.

Engaging with people here (including people who out-of-hand reject the whole idea of anti-drama, but also including folks such as yourself who *don't*) has as its main long term goal to get people thinking about it, talking about it, and perhaps trying it for themselves if they want to. Whether it's me that does it, or someone else, I couldn't give a fuck. As long as *good ideas* to defeat harmful drama-mongering are being explored and utilized, that's all that matters to me in this area. That's what I am betting is going to continue to heavily erode FTBers' relative popularity and influence (and it's not just them; the underlying radical feminism dogmas are quite wide-spread in the overall population in North America at least, and among those are many atheists/skeptics who are unrelated to FTB/RW/etc.).

So, since it's not being talked about enough, I'm talking about it, and giving a go at demonstrating the techniques I've picked up in the past few years. If some folks have a problem with that, but have no response other than flames, well I just might take that as a handy opportunity to keep talking about it and keep demonstrating (note that I've not instigated any drama myself, AFAIK). It serves as a handy source of raw material to show how it works, rather than talking about it abstractly, or constantly linking to the same articles and comment threads where I've already discussed and demonstrated things in the past. That's why I have been responding to some of the ad homs and whatnot directed at me; it's not about a short-term SIWOTI response, it's about the long-term dissemination of anti-drama/anti-trolling techniques to defeat the hyper-drama shit that's been infesting atheist/skeptic communities.

It's very much the same reason I respond to theist arguments, even though they've been covered over and over before: you need to keep demonstrating the shallowness and emptiness of theist arguments, precisely because it's a widespread problem that many people contribute to without realizing it. Same thing here.

Again, hope this doesn't come off as dismissive. I will try to incorporate suggestions to make these engagements less of a chore to interested readers, but overall I'm going to continue to use drama shitstorms (and not just here, but from FTB/etc mostly) as opportunities to keep bringing up the same points and techniques; to keep pointing out that the real problem is the drama-mongering itself, and the solution is not an escalation of *more* drama, but a cessation of drama. I'm optimistic, too. I've noticed significant change and improvement in the atheosphere since ElevatorGate (with some relapses, obviously), and I intend to do what I can to help add to that trend.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#21

Post by Useless Lurker » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:04 pm

Wond: "thanks for the feedback (and I mean that, I'm not just being 'polite')"

If you were polite, you'd be thrown out of here. That's the rumor anyway. ;)

Wond: "I understand your concerns, and I'm not ignoring them (nor those of Aneris, Dave2, Stunt and others), nor do I discount them. I understand that from your perspective that is how things appear to you, and that your suggestions are sincere attempts to give constructive/helpful advice. And I do sincerely appreciate that. Very much so."

You're welcome, but I advocate civility too, so you can't really expect much else from me.

Wond: " I hope this doesn't come across as dismissive, though (being mere text, without voice or body-language) it may unintentionally come across that way (sorry in advance if it does) -- some of the suggestions are based on premises about my goals/intent that do not accurately match my actual goals and intentions."

I'm sure you're right, but I hope I'm not totally wrong. I'm not feeling too dismissed, at least not yet.

Wond:"For example, when you wrote "you're not constantly being dragged off into unproductive disputes", it seems to me that that contains an implicit assumption that I'm somehow 'compelled' to respond to things (such as welch's jabs) and that these responses of mine are counter-productive to my long-term purposes/goals. The biggest indicator to me of this interpretation is the word "dragged", as if I'm responding impulsively, against my better judgment by some irresistible irritation. (Also known as SIWOTI syndrome, "Someone is wrong on the Internet!".)"

It's hard not to respond to ill-natured attacks on yourself, and yes, that is some of what I thought I was seeing. I should probably go back and read it again. But, I really don't wanna. It's not, in my eyes, a matter of SWOTI, but simply a matter of the difficulty of accepting lies and insults without responding. You're getting dragged off by others.

Wond: "My responses were deliberate and measured. I won't claim to be perfect, of course, but I did not make any of my responses without thinking ahead about what I was intending to do, and what kinds of outcomes I was shooting for."

I don't see how you're going to accomplish anything responding to W. no matter how careful and thoughtful you are. When he's in one of his moods, it seems a bit like trying to reason with the fine folk over at Pharyngula.

Wond: "I'm sorry that my posts became a chore for you and some others, and I will continue to try to improve in that area, but I disagree with the idea that these engagements were 'unproductive' or 'accomplish nothing'. "

Some of your posts don't seem to me, and apparently others, to be on track to accomplish anything. You may want to accomplish something, but it sometimes seems like you're beating your head on a wall at great length, and then some more. When you're just responding to some stupid insult, it's really pointless and boring for the rest of us.

Wond: "I rather see it like debating theists. Even if you 'accomplish nothing' in terms of convincing the single person you're debating, the overall debate can serve a much greater purpose for the wider audience of lurkers/onlookers who are curious and/or on-the-fence."

I agree, and have even managed to deconvert a few Xians online. Three that I know about, including a Pentecostal and the wife of an evangelical preacher (who herself was a graduate of some evangelical college, Wheaton I seem to remember.) I used to be very active in online religion discussions on Xian boards. I was a sort of troll, but a very polite one who made arguments that THEY had trouble dealing with. I just thought of myself as a skeptical evangelist. I figured that if they have the right to knock on my door with tracts and lame arguments, I certainly have the right to visit their bulletin boards, etc. This was back in the days before everything on the web got so buttoned down that only one class of opinion is allowed on any given board.

Wond: "I might inadvertently turn off potential friends and allies, quite possibly. Of course I'll try to minimize or eliminate that unfortunate side-effect, but that doesn't necessarily mean the outcome is entirely negative, if I manage to reach one or two or ten people and give them new ideas and options in their own encounters with trollish behaviour in other forums (such as FTB or neutral blogs, obviously)."

I'd suggest you emphasize teaching by example and not trying to directly push your technique. The didactic approach seems to be what's alienating the Pitizens. That and the length. Some folks are just not readers.

Wond: "Obviously I would prefer if I can improve my style so that friends/allies don't get turned off by it, and I'll continue to work at that."

I'm not sure the things that alienate allies won't alienate enemies even worse.

Wond: "they work for accomplishing what I'm really trying to accomplish: defeating the pointless and harmful hyper-drama antics of FTBers/Skepchick/RW/PZ/etc. which can best be exemplified by the ridiculous ElevatorGate."

I agree that a calm rational approach is best, and most likely to be successful in convincing people to change their views. The aggressive hectoring approach favored by some on "our side" just gets peoples backs up and makes a sympathetic hearing unlikely. hs W. ever convinced anyone of anything? However, making your case in the fewest possible words also helps a lot I'm sure. That's not to say I don't sometimes go on at considerable length. But, the longer you go on before the punch line, the more readers you'll have lost.

Wond: "Engaging with people here (including people who out-of-hand reject the whole idea of anti-drama, but also including folks such as yourself who *don't*) has as its main long term goal to get people thinking about it, talking about it, and perhaps trying it for themselves if they want to. Whether it's me that does it, or someone else, I couldn't give a fuck. As long as *good ideas* to defeat harmful drama-mongering are being explored and utilized, that's all that matters to me in this area. That's what I am betting is going to continue to heavily erode FTBers' relative popularity and influence (and it's not just them; the underlying radical feminism dogmas are quite wide-spread in the overall population in North America at least, and among those are many atheists/skeptics who are unrelated to FTB/RW/etc.). "

I agree with all of that, but I'd suggest you spend more time just doing it, rather than telling people about doing it. Lead by example and all that.

Wond: "That's why I have been responding to some of the ad homs and whatnot directed at me; it's not about a short-term SIWOTI response, it's about the long-term dissemination of anti-drama/anti-trolling techniques to defeat the hyper-drama shit that's been infesting atheist/skeptic communities."

But you have to judge your audience and opponents and not waste time where there's no real hope. I think you should try to ignore the slingers of crap and focus on making solid rational arguments for one thing or another. I know you do that now, but I wish you'd do that exclusively. I've been very impressed with some of your posts and want more like those. Every minute you waste responding to abusive junk is a minute wasted for presenting good arguments about things that make a difference.

Wond: "It's very much the same reason I respond to theist arguments, even though they've been covered over and over before: you need to keep demonstrating the shallowness and emptiness of theist arguments, precisely because it's a widespread problem that many people contribute to without realizing it. Same thing here."

There's a big difference, IMO, between shallow or uninformed arguments for some position, the sort online Xians make, and the insulting non-arguments that we see too much of -- stupid statements not intended to convince but just to insult and perhaps intimidate. Real trolls (and a couple of folks in the Pit are borderline) won't care if you make rational arguments for a whole month. They're in it for some reason other than truth-seeking.

Wond: "I've noticed significant change and improvement in the atheosphere since ElevatorGate (with some relapses, obviously)"

Boy, there's something I'd not have said. Seems to me it's been all downhill for the past two years. I don't remember any of these internal divisions among skeptics and atheists several years ago. I was gone when "elevatorgate" happened (or, as I've come to suspect, was made up) and came back to the most amazing and discouraging shitstorm in history. I couldn't believe what I was reading. My beloved community was all in tatters. I still keep hoping the acrimony will dissipate, but it's becoming obvious that it's here to stay.

Maybe we should go find a nice Xian board that doesn't ban unbelievers and yet has no W. or Beccy, or the like. That'd be the place to practice technique. Is there such a place? The Christianity Today boards used to be a lot of fun, until they banned anyone who didn't affirm the Nicene Creed or some such nonsense.

Best to you.

UL

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#22

Post by Matt Cavanaugh » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:03 pm

Wonderist wrote:I wouldn't question your right to do that....
Thaumas,

You're just too damn verbose. It's not the raw volume, so much as the bloated words:content ratio.

I'm replying to your comment of 800 words. That's about what fits on a three-fold brochure. So, in the space it you took to insist that you're not too verbose, I could have pitched an entire product line.

Whenever you write, you're asking us for our time, so unnecessarily wasting it is, well, rude, to put it succinctly. (As is block-copying, for that matter.) If you want to engage us, you'll need to practice rigorous copy-editing.

For example:

Original
From my point of view, this is a clear over-reaction to anything I'm proposing. I feel that such knee-jerk responses which are based on questionable assumptions, undermine the Pit's atmosphere of 'anarchy' 'anything goes', etc. I repeat that I fully acknowledge it's entirely up to the owner, Lsuoma, but I still feel it's an over-reaction and that if Lsuoma would engage in a discussion over this it might help clarify and/or alleviate his concerns. My purpose here is not to undermine the pit at all, nor to 'corrupt' any other members. From my perspective, I'm only interested in sharing what I think are useful ideas, and I honestly see nothing incompatible with that and the original purpose of the Pit as I understood it from lurking for a long time (including at ERV).
133 words

Edit 1
I feel this would be an knee-jerk response to what I'm proposing. I acknowledge that it's entirely up to Lsuoma, but if we could discuss this, I believe it'd alleviate everyone's concerns. My purpose has never been to undermine the Pit or 'corrupt' other members -- I'm only interesting in sharing ideas I find useful. I fail to see how that's incompatible with the original purpose, as I understood it, of the Pit, or ERV before it.
77 words


Edit 2
You're overreacting, Lsuoma. Whatever happened to the 'anything goes' spirit of the Pit? It's your call, but can't we at least discuss it first? I have no desire to undermine the pit or 'corrupt' anybody. I only want to share ideas. I don't see how that's incompatible with the original intent of the Pit/ERV.
54 words

It adds up. Any words not pulling their own weight in a sentence, need to go.

I just edited that passage on the fly; so can you. Here's how:


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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#23

Post by Wonderist » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:12 pm

Hi Useless Lurker,

I see we're on close to the same wave-length, so I can be more frank.
Useless Lurker wrote:Wond: "thanks for the feedback (and I mean that, I'm not just being 'polite')"

If you were polite, you'd be thrown out of here. That's the rumor anyway. ;)
Note that all of that 'polite' rambling was intentionally loaded with caveats to 'feel you out' so to speak. It is, again, a technique, not my normal mode of conversation/debate.
Wond: " I hope this doesn't come across as dismissive, [...]

I'm sure you're right, but I hope I'm not totally wrong. I'm not feeling too dismissed, at least not yet.
It does to many people. Glad it didn't to you.
Wond:"For example, when you wrote "you're not constantly being dragged off into unproductive disputes", it seems to me that that contains an implicit assumption that I'm somehow 'compelled' to respond to things [...]"

It's hard not to respond to ill-natured attacks on yourself, and yes, that is some of what I thought I was seeing. [...] You're getting dragged off by others.
I normally *don't* respond to such attacks. My responding to them here is was to *demonstrate* a technique *for responding* to these kinds of flames in cases where you *don't* want to ignore them (such as ElevatorGate, where *the whole problem* was rampant flaming and character assassination). In these circumstances, it is *useful* to have another option rather than just a) ignoring it hoping it will go away (EG didn't go away when people ignored it), or b) joining the fray and returning mud-slinging for mud-slinging (that is what *most* people who got enmeshed in EG did, and it only added more flames to the already rampant flaming).

Also, the calm, "Hey, can't we all just get along?" approach didn't work during EG either. It just got shouted down, and the people who proposed it got smeared as well.

Maybe if we name these strategies/tactics, it might help make sense of what I'm getting at: Here, *broadly speaking* are the tactics I've seen used which tend *not* to *actually* counter drama:

1) Return Fire: W's approach, which he literally called, "Mock them!" Just adds more fuel to the flames.
2) Ignore It: sweep it under the rug. Simply doesn't work when you've got ideologues on your hands, rather than mere trolls.
3) Peace-maker: Can't we all just get along? Apparently not.

Peace-maker was rare because it got dog-piled heavily early on in EG.

So, with those in mind, what I'm suggesting/proposing/demonstrating/whatever is a *different* strategy, which might be named something like: Fire-wall it. Put a barrier between the conversation and the flames that is *itself* heavily flame resistant. Let the flames eat up all the oxygen and die out. Smother it; asphyxiate it. Suck *aalllll* the drama/heat out of it.

Now, please note that none of this has *anything* to do with responding to personal insults impulsively.

That's the key thing I think you're missing when you interpret my actions as being 'dragged off' by some tangential insults.
Wond: "My responses were deliberate and measured. [...]"

I don't see how you're going to accomplish anything responding to W. no matter how careful and thoughtful you are. [...]
Why do you assume I'm writing all that stuff for W? I'm not. Just like when I debate theists, I don't expect to make much if any headway with the hardcore types. My audience are all the *onlookers* who might one day have to face someone like W, and might not think they have any options other than, 1) Return Fire, 2) Ignore It, 3) try to play Peace-maker. I'm *showing them* a different option. The 'thing I'm accomplishing' has almost nothing to do with W himself or any of the other 'hard-core' types. If, at the end of the day, they haven't changed one iota, but I've given some *other people* ideas on alternatives to handle these kinds of situations, then *that's* the accomplishment.
Wond: "I might inadvertently turn off potential friends and allies, quite possibly. [...]"

I'd suggest you emphasize teaching by example and not trying to directly push your technique. The didactic approach seems to be what's alienating the Pitizens. That and the length. Some folks are just not readers.
I *have* been. I've been involved in dozens of comment threads where these EG-type conflicts have arisen. If you'd like, I could post the links again or other examples.

*That's* how I know it works, and that's why I took this long to get to *this point*, where I'm *starting* to be more 'didactic' as you say.

I'm only one guy: If I kept going like I was expecting these ideas to 'get out there' purely through osmosis, *that* would be a poor investment of my limited time on this planet. It is important to do that work, yes. That's why I spent two years doing it. Now I've got lots of examples as evidence. Now it's time to get more 'explicit', more 'in your face'. That's what the demonstration was about.

Like atheism vs. theism, it's not enough to simply be the best rational person you can be. That's important, too, but it's not enough. There are *too many* people who *continue* to do irrational shit -- whether it's believing in gods, or whether it's dousing flame wars with jet fuel and high explosives, expecting the flames to disappear magically. There comes a time when you have to start *confronting* the problem head on. That's what the demonstration was.
I agree that a calm rational approach is best,
Quick caveat: Please note I'm not claiming 'best'. I'm only claiming 'works'.
However, making your case in the fewest possible words also helps a lot I'm sure. [...]the longer you go on before the punch line, the more readers you'll have lost.
Sure. Again, I'm not perfect. Will try to improve. But it's a bit of a side-effect of the 'smother it', 'fire wall it' tactics that they tend to be wordier than normal conversation. Not claiming 'best', or 'perfect', just claiming 'works'.
But you have to judge your audience and opponents and not waste time where there's no real hope.
There is real hope in the many lurkers who read this site. Those are the people I'm focused on. If it wasn't welch, it would be franc; if it wasn't franc, it would be someone else. welch just happened to be one of those to jump in that day. There's hope for anyone, but those random flamers are not where the majority of my hope is invested.
I think you should try to ignore the slingers of crap and focus on making solid rational arguments for one thing or another.
Here's a rational argument for ya: ElevatorGate is highly unlikely to be a unique event. Something like it will happen again (already has, many times, on a smaller scale). *When* it happens again, *how* are you/we going to *prevent* as much damage as possible from it? *How* are we going to respond? We cannot afford to spend years and years fighting these kinds of fights endlessly. They are a complete waste of *everyone's* time and energy. Instead of an hefty portion of the community getting charbroiled in flames, what *alternative* courses of action can you/we take?

I've listed three primary tactics/strategies I've seen. They don't work. They *do not* defeat these kinds of skirmishes. In fact, sometimes they aggravate them (Return Fire has a high risk of this).

So the argument is this: Some ways work better than others. Pragmatically speaking, we should use the ways that work better. And for a community of *many people* to use pragmatically better ways of dealing with flame wars, they need to *know about* these techniques. If someone comes up with something even better than what I'm proposing, awesome, let's use that! But until then, I'll be proposing and defending the ones I'm most familiar and comfortable with.
Every minute you waste responding to abusive junk is a minute wasted for presenting good arguments about things that make a difference.
My goal is to help foster better rational/skeptical methods so that our rational/skeptical community/whatever-it-is is not bogged down in trivial flame wars like EG and its offspring while *real problems* in the greater world are neglected. The more people who wake up to this problem and start breaking out of the status quo complacency with it, the better, IMO. *That's* how I intend to make a difference.
Wond: "I've noticed significant change and improvement in the atheosphere since ElevatorGate (with some relapses, obviously)"

Boy, there's something I'd not have said. Seems to me it's been all downhill for the past two years. [...]
Note I said *since* EG. EG was like a stock-market crash. Yeah, things are worse than *before* the crash, but they *are* better than since the crash. We fell off a cliff, but after a few stumbles in a few places we've been climbing a slow and steady slope upwards since then, IMO.
Maybe we should go find a nice Xian board that doesn't ban unbelievers and yet has no W. or Beccy, or the like. That'd be the place to practice technique.
Just to clarify once more: I wasn't *practicing* technique, I was demonstrating it. Practice time was two years ago: http://www.rationalresponders.com/still_unapologetic
Best to you.

UL
Also, despite my excessive use of *emphasis stars*, don't take the change in tone the wrong way. The politeness feelers did their job, now I'm just trying to be clear about my purpose and points, without all the extra caveats. IMHO and all that. Thanks for the reply.

Cheers!

Useless Lurker

Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#24

Post by Useless Lurker » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:24 pm

Wonderist,

I'm sorry but I can only respond briefly now and then I'm running off for a week and won't be responding at all until after the 23rd. I might check in (lurk) via iphone, but I'll not write anything until I get back to my real computer with a keyboard. BTW -- no need to leave me pointers to here on the main board. I'm watching this one too. That'll save you a few seconds.

Wond: "1) Return Fire: W's approach, which he literally called, "Mock them!" Just adds more fuel to the flames."

Agreed. Widely used, but makes things worse.

"2) Ignore It: sweep it under the rug. Simply doesn't work when you've got ideologues on your hands, rather than mere trolls."

Works for most trolls, I think we agree. I'm not sure it never works on ideologues, but will concede it's a weak technique. Might work once in a while. Might be the only viable method for dealing with the totally irrational because no one wants to read conversations where one side is off in space, so attempting anything with them is a total waste.

Wond: "3) Peace-maker: Can't we all just get along? Apparently not."

Some of us can. I think this method does work fairly well even in its classical form, but not always. Nothing works when you're dealing with loonies. And, is not "fire-wall" really a long-form variant of this?

Wond: "what I'm suggesting/proposing/demonstrating/whatever is a *different* strategy, which might be named something like: Fire-wall it. Put a barrier between the conversation and the flames that is *itself* heavily flame resistant. Let the flames eat up all the oxygen and die out. Smother it; asphyxiate it. Suck *aalllll* the drama/heat out of it."

I have some trouble with your metaphors. But, seems to me, you're remaining calm and thus trying to get along, but explaining your position in unusual detail so that misunderstandings are less frequent and to force your "opponents" to think about things by hitting them with a lot of ideas. Plus, you're trying to offer a contrast to lurkers/others. That's my brief summary of the method as I understand it. Correct as necessary. If I'm wrong, please give me a simple description of what you see as the basic thrust of your method, with as few metaphors as possible. I like simple and clear.

Note that there are problems with your method even here in the pit where most people probably agree with much of your basic stance. You've apparently set some kind of record for drawing the largest number of "ignores". If that's happening, you're not getting through at all, at least to those people. Maybe you're doing better with the lurkers, but I seem to be the only one that's commenting, so they might be ignoring you the old fashioned way. The massive walls of text seem not to be very popular: the fire wall may be a wet blanket. Which may be your way of fire fighting, but it may be killing conversation and idea transfer too. Think on it and let me know what you think next week.

Best wishes,

UL

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#25

Post by Wonderist » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:45 am

Useless Lurker wrote:I'm sorry but I can only respond briefly now and then I'm running off for a week and won't be responding at all until after the 23rd.
Crazy. I've been on a break from the intertoobs since around when I posted my last comment (I often take such breaks, it's not unusual). I just read your comment today, and it's.... the 23rd! Neat. :D
BTW -- no need to leave me pointers to here on the main board.
Hey, Useless Lurker (clearly you're not useless, BTW, I feel a bit of regret every time I have to write that :( ),
Don't take this the wrong way, I *am* definitely responding to you specifically, but I'm not *only* writing for you, if you catch my meaning. I expect there are many other non-useless lurkers like yourself reading this and the reason I drop those notes in the main thread is for *everyone* who's interested in the conversation. Like breadcrumbs. Not everyone will be tracking this thread, especially not new people whose first introduction to the thread will be when I drop a note about a response to you in a few minutes. I'm always conscious of the extended audience of readers, even if I'm entirely addressing this comment to you in particular.
Wond: "1) Return Fire: [...]

Agreed. Widely used, but makes things worse.
Well, honestly, it *does* work in many every-day circumstances. However, EG was *not* an every-day circumstance. I won't pooh-pooh the 'mock them' technique completely, as, to be perfectly honest, I have used it myself quite regularly and still do on occasion. What I would say instead is that it carries *significant risks* of backfiring, and 'making things worse'. With that caveat, yes, agreed.
"2) Ignore It: sweep it under the rug. Simply doesn't work when you've got ideologues on your hands, rather than mere trolls."

Works for most trolls, I think we agree. I'm not sure it never works on ideologues, but will concede it's a weak technique. [...] Might be the only viable method for dealing with the totally irrational because no one wants to read conversations where one side is off in space, so attempting anything with them is a total waste.
Yes, my statement was too strong. It can sometimes work on ideologues. And you're right, it's the only real option with the Time Cube types.

[Quick aside about tactics/wordiness: Notice that my changed tone, away from WonderSteer, and back to regular conversational, with fewer caveats explicitly stated, introduces ambiguity to my statements, and slips of the 'tongue/fingers' where I state something accidentally a little too categorical. This introduces a potential 'hook' for someone of an antagonistic mind (not you! think back to ElevatorGate) to grab hold and twist a *minor* misunderstanding or disagreement into an alleged crucial point of difference. Thankfully, we're on close enough wave-length that you have no temptation to do that with me. But when you're trying to put forth an idea in a hostile environment, these kinds of 'misstatements' can quickly be blown up into an all out persecution attack.

That's why the firewall-it technique *has* to be *at least* a little extra wordy. You have to explicitly state things (caveats) that would normally just be assumed by a charitable reader. The problem is that a good portion of the readers are *not* being charitable. ]
Wond: "3) Peace-maker: Can't we all just get along? Apparently not."

Some of us can. I think this method does work fairly well even in its classical form, but not always. [...] And, is not "fire-wall" really a long-form variant of this?
My point is simply that it did *not* work for ElevatorGate and for the other related dust-ups since then. This is why/how the SlymePit exists, IMO, because it was the only place where real conversation about these topics could be had in the first place. And the SP is anything but 'peace-maker'.

Yes, 'firewall' is a long-term variant of 'peace-making'. However, it is *not* a short-term variant of it. I have not 'made peace' with welch or anyone else, and I've not even *attempted* to, directly. That is because they've made none or very little attempt to show they even *want* to make peace with me. (Note, that I both have and haven't made peace with various folks, SPs and non-SPs. It's a generalized issue.)

Firewall-it indirectly leads to more peace-ready conditions, but unlike a short-term "Can't we all just get along?" plea, it does not require one to 'shake hands' with someone who genuinely does not share common interests/goals with you. Instead, you 'do your part' to cease the chaotic flaming, and watch and see who out there is willing to give it a shot as well, to cease their part in the flaming. Then, *if nothing else*, at least you now know that you both share *that* common goal, and perhaps can begin building bridges with such people. This is the *long-term* effect. The short-term effect is just to suck drama out of flame-wars.
Wond: "what I'm suggesting/proposing/demonstrating/whatever is a *different* strategy, which might be named something like: Fire-wall it. Put a barrier between the conversation and the flames that is *itself* heavily flame resistant. Let the flames eat up all the oxygen and die out. Smother it; asphyxiate it. Suck *aalllll* the drama/heat out of it."

I have some trouble with your metaphors.
Please, elaborate. Could always use better metaphors and/or ways of explaining/communicating it.
But, seems to me, you're remaining calm and thus trying to get along, but explaining your position in unusual detail so that misunderstandings are less frequent and to force your "opponents" to think about things by hitting them with a lot of ideas. Plus, you're trying to offer a contrast to lurkers/others. That's my brief summary of the method as I understand it. Correct as necessary. If I'm wrong, please give me a simple description of what you see as the basic thrust of your method, with as few metaphors as possible. I like simple and clear.
Sounds quite accurate to me. I like your rephrase, and will think on it, try to adopt some/much of it. If I think of any differences, I'll let you know.
Note that there are problems with your method even here in the pit where most people probably agree with much of your basic stance.
Sure. Again, not perfect. But it did do it's job, from my point of view. We're having this discussion on the pit, are we not? ;)
You've apparently set some kind of record for drawing the largest number of "ignores".
Even if true, I'm not surprised and not concerned. There will always be those who don't like or aren't ready for changes like this. I would *not* want to *force* them to listen, and if they don't like me or what I'm saying or how I say it, then by all means, let them ignore me. This is as it should be.

Also, I already *know* that my position is an unpopular one, and a minority one. It's not exciting, it's not funny/humorous, it's not glamorous in any way really. It's dirty, tedious work. But it still needs to be done, and needs to be talked about (the general idea of defeating drama, not merely my specific techniques). On the flip side, it *can* be fun, I guarantee, and it *can* be *very* rewarding when you see it work. It gives me a lot of hope that such return-to-sanity in a discussion is possible and attainable. It means that episodes like ElevatorGate *can be* successfully prevented/controlled if and when they pop up again. It will just take more people aware of the problem and trying out their own techniques to help calm things the fuck down.

I'm only interested in discussing this with people who *are* interested in the topic. If there's evidence that *those* are the people ignoring me, then I would be concerned. But the evidence so far is that those who literally put me on ignore are not particularly interested in the topic or what I have to say about it. To them, I wish them well. To the rest, "Hi!".
Maybe you're doing better with the lurkers, but I seem to be the only one that's commenting, ...
You see this as a problem. I see this as a *huge improvement*!!! It went from ZERO people talking about this subject in a serious way on the pit, to *at least one*! That's a bloody start!

And there are more lurking and who occasionally throw in a 'cheer' here and there. As well as folks like earlier in this thread who are concerned about the topic, and express some disagreement/concern over how I'm doing things.

It's not as dire as you might think. I've been doing this for two years now (at least). People are waking up to this topic. If you'd like, I can dig up some non-private links to back up this claim. Let me know.
The massive walls of text seem not to be very popular: the fire wall may be a wet blanket. Which may be your way of fire fighting, but it may be killing conversation and idea transfer too.
Again, it was a demonstration. I don't always converse that way. Although these comments here are a bit long-ish too, we *are* covering new ground, IMO, so it's not purely a 'wall o text', with nothing to add. It's just an in-depth conversation, from my point of view.

It's more an issue of the pit as a medium, as an endless thread that everyone reads. Since everyone reads it to stay up to date, longer posts can be seen as an obstacle/annoyance. However, that's not an inherent feature of longer posts, and it's not true of all the pit's readers. I think it's too early to tell, TBH. I'm not surprised I caused a ruckus with some of the *regulars*. The only surprise was when Lsuoma threatened to ban/segregate me. That, I felt, went counter to the principles I associate with the pit's existence.
Best wishes,

UL
To you as well! Thanks for the thoughtful conversation, and cheers! :)

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#26

Post by Aneris » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:56 pm

I have skipped after this paragraph. Let's look at it, with numerated sentences.
Wonderist wrote:1 Hey, Useless Lurker (clearly you're not useless, BTW, I feel a bit of regret every time I have to write that :( ),
2 Don't take this the wrong way, I *am* definitely responding to you specifically, but I'm not *only* writing for you, if you catch my meaning. 3 I expect there are many other non-useless lurkers like yourself reading this and the reason I drop those notes in the main thread is for *everyone* who's interested in the conversation. 4 Like breadcrumbs. Not everyone will be tracking this thread, especially not new people whose first introduction to the thread will be when I drop a note about a response to you in a few minutes. 5 I'm always conscious of the extended audience of readers, even if I'm entirely addressing this comment to you in particular.
  1. Directed at other user. Okay.
  2. You let the other user know that you respond to them. Already redundant. See 1. There is a greater audience, too. Okay.
  3. We got it, you let others know that you want to reach the greater audience. It is a slightly different nuance than in 2. But how important is this detail? Do you really want to use up people's attention for it?
  4. Now you explain that leaving a link somewhere might let other people know. If this was your important point, you could have just left this sentences. It's clear that someone who leaves a link somewhere wants them to follow the link, and fairly clear that this concerns some "greater audience", too.
  5. Now you reveal that you want to reach another audience, despite that you respond to the user. Can't you really not see how highly rendundant and uninteresting this is?
Example 1 wrote:Hey "Useless Lurker" I respond to you but also like to address other interested people. I left a link in the main thread...
Even if it doesn't capture every nuance you wanted to convey, it still hits on all the main points.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#27

Post by Wonderist » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:06 pm

Hey Aneris, thanks for the feedback. I hope you continued past the first paragraph, as it's not representative of the whole post.

I'm going to respond with my *reasoning* for writing what I wrote, and/or agreeing with you that it's redundant. I'll leave the final judgment to you, but at least you'll be able to see what I was thinking, and that it's not without consideration. (I can see that the numbering you used is automatic, so I'll hard-code the numbers so that future quoting won't break the formatting.)
Aneris wrote:I have skipped after this paragraph. Let's look at it, with numerated sentences.
Wonderist wrote:1 Hey, Useless Lurker (clearly you're not useless, BTW, I feel a bit of regret every time I have to write that :( ),
2 Don't take this the wrong way, I *am* definitely responding to you specifically, but I'm not *only* writing for you, if you catch my meaning. 3 I expect there are many other non-useless lurkers like yourself reading this and the reason I drop those notes in the main thread is for *everyone* who's interested in the conversation. 4 Like breadcrumbs. Not everyone will be tracking this thread, especially not new people whose first introduction to the thread will be when I drop a note about a response to you in a few minutes. 5 I'm always conscious of the extended audience of readers, even if I'm entirely addressing this comment to you in particular.
  1. Directed at other user. Okay.
  2. You let the other user know that you respond to them. Already redundant. See 1. There is a greater audience, too. Okay.
  3. We got it, you let others know that you want to reach the greater audience. It is a slightly different nuance than in 2. But how important is this detail? Do you really want to use up people's attention for it?
  4. Now you explain that leaving a link somewhere might let other people know. If this was your important point, you could have just left this sentences. It's clear that someone who leaves a link somewhere wants them to follow the link, and fairly clear that this concerns some "greater audience", too.
  5. Now you reveal that you want to reach another audience, despite that you respond to the user. Can't you really not see how highly rendundant and uninteresting this is?
Example 1 wrote:Hey "Useless Lurker" I respond to you but also like to address other interested people. I left a link in the main thread...
Even if it doesn't capture every nuance you wanted to convey, it still hits on all the main points.
2. I have encountered before people who got offended when I told them I wasn't writing *only* to them. Not only *that*, but I've encountered people who get offended *on someone else's behalf* that I've not written *only* to the person I'm conversing with. In a hostile environment, such as with the several pitters who are annoyed by me, or equivalently on FTB forums etc., people *will* jump at the chance to get offended by otherwise innocuous stuff. By *explicitly* stating my intentions, that I *am* writing directly to the person, but *also* including the wider audience, I 'nip that one in the bud' so to speak. If I'd omitted that, I would have left an opening for someone to get offended on UL's behalf. Hence the extra caveat.

I especially added it because I was also bringing up the topic of leaving breadcrumbs for others in the main thread. Since I referred to some of those lurkers as being newcomers to the thread, I wanted to be doubly sure I didn't leave said newcomers with the wrong impression.

3. Because the discussion is now referring to other lurkers, some of whom may be new to the entire thread (and my style overall), I wanted to be explicit about my reasoning for dropping breadcrumbs. I also wanted to be respectful of said lurkers (as being non-useless, IMO), and to re-state that I'm only dropping them for those who *are* interested in the discussion. If you missed it or do not recall, recently 'cunt' got all hot and bothered by my *not* including such a caveat in one of my posts (NB: this is a *great* example of how people will jump at the chance to get offended over nothing): viewtopic.php?f=31&t=266&p=97761#p97761

As far as I can recall, all the extra caveats I throw in are due to past experiences. There may be some exceptions, but I expect they are rare.

4. Metaphors and similes are useful. Not only do they describe the thing, but they give a short-hand language for referring back to it in the future. Like breadcrumbs. :P By the way, for those pressing and/or looking for ways to shorten what I/they write, metaphors are rather indispensable. The hard part is just finding the *right* metaphor.

5. This part was written as a self-referential bit of implicit advice: I'm explaining what *I* do, with the implication that (IMO obviously) *it's a good thing to do in general*. Heck, even my local critics are picking up that key technique: viewtopic.php?p=111494#p111494
Jan Steen wrote:Arguing with wonderist is always a mistake, but this is for the onlookers.
(I won't attempt take credit for that, to be sure, it is only an example that I'm not the only one doing it. <<< Yet another caveat, based on past experiences of people jumping at the chance to get offended.)

I have also received feedback on several occasions (including recently from a pitter in a PM) that this kind of reminder is helpful for providing *ongoing motivation* to keep pursuing irrationality (whether it be theism, A+-ism, or other) even when it might *seem* on the surface that arguing with a highly irrational person is unlikely to make any change in them directly. Heck, that was even one of UL's criticisms of me, along with several others'. *Clearly*, it is not yet widely understood that when I argue, I'm not just trying to influence that *one* person. Also, clearly it's not understood that this is a very effective tactic, and also a really good source of ongoing motivation.

So I keep repeating it. Mystery solved: It bears repeating. It's a good thing to keep in mind. Yadda yadda yadda.
Can't you really not see how highly rendundant and uninteresting this is?
Redundant, yes, but not without reason. Uninteresting, I think is a subjective call. It is interesting to me, for example, the topic being how to effectively promote reason and evidence-based thinking in society.

I've been interested in this topic since 2001, and even before that, but *definitely* since 2001. That's when I first started pursuing it in earnest online.

Okay, so let's check out your rephrase:
Example 1 wrote:Hey "Useless Lurker" I respond to you but also like to address other interested people. I left a link in the main thread...
Even if it doesn't capture every nuance you wanted to convey, it still hits on all the main points.
From my estimation, it covers: 1, 3 partially but not entirely. I'll admit that my 4. was not strictly necessary, though I do find the usage of metaphor and simile to be very important for communication, and it was short, so I don't think it's such a big drain on attention. If someone else had picked up on that and started a discussion of metaphor, it would have been an especially productive mention, IMO.

So, let's say I concede that it covers 3, and that 4 was redundant. That still leaves 2 and 5.

For #2, I hope you can see, by the example of cunt going hyperbolic over *just that point*, that such caveats are not without their place *when attempting to minimize drama in a hostile environment*. In any case, that *was* my reasoning.

As for #5, I really do think it bears repeating, as I think there's plenty of evidence that not enough people realize a) that I'm doing it all the time, b) that it's a good thing to do in general (as a tactic), and c) that it's a good source of ongoing motivation to have in the back of one's mind: Arguing against irrationality is not futile.

So, there you have it. Note that the rest of that comment, beyond the first paragraph, had far fewer caveats.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#28

Post by Wonderist » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:34 am

A late correction: Sorry, I got confused on the numbering (argh!). When I said "For #2, I hope you can see, by the example of cunt going hyperbolic over *just that point*, that such caveats are not without their place *when attempting to minimize drama in a hostile environment*. In any case, that *was* my reasoning.", I am actually referring to my reasoning for point #3, not #2. Hope that clears up any confusion I may have caused. The incident with 'cunt' originated here (viewtopic.php?p=97733#p97733) in reply to this comment by me here (viewtopic.php?p=97717#p97717) and concluded here (viewtopic.php?p=97761#p97761). It's that kind of reaction that I'm saying caveats can help prevent. That's a point I think is worth defending.

Duration of time wasted on the event: From Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:25 pm to Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:51 pm, about an hour and a half
Number of pit posts wasted on the event: 8
Number of words wasted on the event: I didn't bother counting, but it's far more than the few short words in caveat I could have added.

Do I think I 'should' have to add all these caveats? No. Cunt was just being a cantankerous cunt, and that's on him, not on me.

However, *if* one's goal is to defeat and prevent pointless drama, *then* using such caveats to short-cut one's opponent's objections *can be* an effective tactic. That's why I use them, when that is my goal. For me, that is the key point: It works. If it didn't work, I would abandon the tactic post-haste.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#29

Post by Wonderist » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:07 am

An analogy occurred to me earlier today.

Where I live, the local law states that in a motor-vehicle accident, if one automobile hits another in the rear end, the person driving the car who did the rear-ending is *always* at fault. It is assumed that if you don't have enough control over your vehicle to avoid a rear-end collision, then you *don't have full control* over your vehicle, and therefore are at fault. I don't know how common such laws are elsewhere, but that's how it is where I am.

Now, with such laws in place (and there are other similar laws, as well), it is prudent to learn 'defensive driving'. So as a teenager, I took a local defensive driving course. A nice bonus is that those who undertook this defensive driving course were entitled to lower insurance rates.

The first big lesson that *at first* seemed 'wrong' or at least counter-intuitive was that: *Even if* someone rear-ending you is *always* at fault by local law custom, it is *even better* not to get into an accident in the first place.

Well, duh, right? But then, how can you prevent somebody from rear-ending you? Let's say you're at a stop light, and there are other cars ahead of you. Someone isn't paying attention and is speeding, doesn't notice the long queue of cars waiting at the light ahead of him. Bam! Nothing you could do, right?

Wrong. The point of defensive driving is that you take as many precautions as are reasonable to minimize the risk of getting into any accidents. Period. So, even if technically the other guy would be 'at fault', who cares? Let's see what we can do to prevent getting rear-ended by assholes not paying attention.

So, one of the things they teach you is to leave *several* car-lengths distance between your car and the car ahead of you at a stop-light, especially if you're the last car in line (the one most likely to get rear-ended). By giving yourself room to accelerate forward, you have enough room to maneuver quickly if you spot someone approaching way too fast in the rear-view mirror.

Which leads to another lesson: Check the rear-view mirror frequently, *even* when you're stopped at a light.

And another lesson: Think about what possible 'escape route' you could take if a car approaches way too fast. Obviously, you don't want to accelerate straight into the next guy in front of you -- then *you'd* be automatically 'at fault'. Instead, you look for other empty lanes (even the on-coming lane, although that itself carries potential risks), for side-walks or gravel shoulders, or whatever.

Long story short, you take *extra precautions* beyond what the average person who *hasn't* learned defensive driving takes.

The result: Fewer accidents (even preventing accidents where you're technically not 'at fault'), leading to a nice benefit: lower insurance rates, because you've proven by passing the class that you're knowledgeable about defensive driving, and less likely to get into accidents in the future.

Even shorter: Defensive driving because... it works.

So, some guy in the lane next to you complains, "Hey, fucker, why do you leave so much goddamn *extra space* in front of you? It's annoying! And man, you drive so *boringly*, like my granny! Neener neener!" And I say, "Hey man, it works." Haven't been in an accident yet. Still get the lower insurance rates.

Same thing with the 'firewall it' technique, and adding extra caveats (wordiness, analogous to the extra space I leave in front of me and the next car). The 'extra space' serves a purpose. And it is not random, it is deliberate. And it's not ill-considered, it's based on experience and the goal of using techniques that minimize the risk of drama flame-wars (collisions), *regardless* of how 'boring' or 'annoying' they might seem on the surface.

Caveats/wordiness can be annoying, and I'll try to minimize that annoyingness if possible, but *not at the expense* of the primary purpose of it in the first place: To reduce the risk of drama 'collisions'. Even if I'm technically not 'at fault' in said collisions. Why? Because it's better to *not get in any collisions at all* than to get in a collision which is *technically* not your fault, but which you nevertheless *could have* avoided.

Useless Lurker

Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#30

Post by Useless Lurker » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:28 pm

Wond,

Well, I go away for a few days and things fall apart. You're threatening to leave and Lsu may be shutting down the Pit in any event.

Should I bother continuing the discussion? I assume not.

UL

Useless Lurker

Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#31

Post by Useless Lurker » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:35 pm

Are there any lurkers reading this thread? Any besides me that is. If so, a simple "yes" would be appreciated. No need to say much.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#32

Post by LMU » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:53 am

I read.

I haven't actually been keeping up with the pit recently though, especially the main thread. For example: why is Lsuoma planning on shutting down the pit? It's his call obviously, but I would be sad if it ceased to be. I'd be sad if Wonderist left too. I often don't have the patience to read the entirety of his posts, but I generally appreciate his point of view.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#33

Post by Guest » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:43 am

LMU wrote:I read.

I haven't actually been keeping up with the pit recently though, especially the main thread. For example: why is Lsuoma planning on shutting down the pit? It's his call obviously, but I would be sad if it ceased to be. I'd be sad if Wonderist left too. I often don't have the patience to read the entirety of his posts, but I generally appreciate his point of view.
This place has become a massive circle jerking snore fest. Would anyone really miss it?

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#34

Post by John Greg » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:29 am

I would certailny miss it. Some people's massive circle jerking snore fest is other people's social network. If you are bored with it, or do not like it, then please just quietly fuck off into the woods.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#35

Post by Matt Cavanaugh » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:25 pm

John Greg wrote:I would certailny miss it. Some people's massive circle jerking snore fest is other people's social network. If you are bored with it, or do not like it, then please just quietly fuck off into the woods.
36 words. Says it all.

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Re: Pros & Cons of sharing anti-drama techniques on the Pit

#36

Post by flemshot007 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:03 am

totally unrelated quote.
Confusious say: Passionate kisses like spiders web.
Often lead to undoing of fly.

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