Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Burnt Hill » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:17 pm

Elvis wrote:
Heaven Swan » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:28 am wrote:
I would also support a zero-tolerance policy on bullying. Personal attack diatribes have been what soured me from posting more often. I don’t think you can allow heavy-handed personal attacks and encourage collaborative discussion at the same time.


Heartily seconded.

Thank you, heaven Swan, for putting it so succinctly.

Moderators, does that sound like a reasonable policy?


That is exactly what moderators are for, to temper heavy-handed personal attacks and to encourage collaborative discussion.
Just having active moderation will help.
There is no need for any policy changes at the moment.
Lets see what some appropriate moderation does for the atmosphere first.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:20 pm

.
SLAD: I'd be lying if I didn't share Elvis' frustrations. I'm all for spirited discourse, but the behavior on display here (particularly since late Fall 2016, not too coincidentally) has been petty, often unnecessarily personal, and counterproductive.

It's bordering on satire how a few members (peartreed, most vocally) apparently ignore such behavior because they agree with the viewpoints in the articles you paste here.

I've said more than enough on this topic, however.

Will defer to the mods and whatever is decided.
Last edited by Belligerent Savant on Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:24 pm

My behavior is in direct response to all the personal attacks that started in late fall 2016 ......and I will be collecting them all to prove it

you ignore a whole lot..you see what you want to see


you and Elvis have made this thread into a trash SLaD thread now but be my guest do what you do best
Last edited by seemslikeadream on Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby norton ash » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:28 pm

As they said on South Park "Let's make bullying kill itself!"
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby American Dream » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:33 pm

Burnt Hill » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:17 pm wrote:That is exactly what moderators are for, to temper heavy-handed personal attacks and to encourage collaborative discussion.
Just having active moderation will help.
There is no need for any policy changes at the moment.
Lets see what some appropriate moderation does for the atmosphere first.



I strongly agree. Any deep and lasting changes to come must be holistic. When an ecology begins to change, it changes everything. Putting clear and consistent limits on bullying will be one of the most important factors.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby MacCruiskeen » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:48 pm

Dammit, I've landed inadvertently on The Onion again. (Not getting any younger...) Can someone give me the correct link for, whatsit, Rickety Institution? Young Canuck fella called, er, Geoff Wall runs it. Thank you.

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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Burnt Hill » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:21 pm

Collaborative discussion? Do we really want that?
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Elvis » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:27 pm

Elvis did all those personal attacks by Rory ever upset you?


Yes Slad, of course: my take is that Rory often liked to 'push your buttons' in a way that just made things worse.

I applaud Rory for taking a step back for some fresh perspective, I sense the OP reflects a genuine desire to improve their own communication, correct past mistakes, and help make the board a better instrument.

No matter how fair or logical I think I'm being about it, I do not feel good, ever, about slamming you, Slad—more correctly, slamming behaviors that I think hurt the board—not you as a person, someone who I know wants their best nature to prevail.

We all get impatient after a point, and I made what I think are fair criticisms, but I'm not gloating with satisfaction, and even if justified, I feel crummy about it.

In the long run, from singing rocks to swinging dicks, since the beginning you've been key to the essence of RI and I love that. I'm just asking for a more "agree to disagree" approach to interaction.


Rambling on...

I have a friend in 'real life' who thinks Islam is inherently evil, believes 100% that Michelle Obama is a man, and that Hillary Clinton is a baby-sacrificing satanist, and he loves Donald Trump. It's so weird—he's also a gifted musician with a true artist's sense about music and its place in life. I try to avoid the iffy topics but when they come up, I show interest, mostly ask questions, and might offer some "I'm not so sure about that part" responses, and, less often, point out an opposing factoid. He'll laugh and say "Could be...but I'm tellin' ya, man...we gotta close the borders now!!" We both laugh and I change the subject.

Meanwhile I've poked at his bubble, I won't pop it, but at least he's hearing something outside it. If I said what I really think ("those nuts should be locked up in a crazy house!") I'd just alienate him and reinforce his beliefs. Instead, he knows I'm a real human, with some different ways of seeing things, and not just the "hate-filled SJW commie Soros tool" he's heard about. And even though we both see the other as a woefully misguided observer of the world stage, we're always glad to see each other.

The landlord just called (didn't answer)...gotta get back to work. Love to all (even you, Jerky :grumpy )


P.S. I see several posts made while I was writing this, no time to read... will post this as it stands
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Elvis » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:28 pm

Elvis wrote: often followed by miles of needless reposts "proving" the "offending" poster wrong

Elvis wrote:Now let the onlaught begin!


seemslikeadream wrote: I will be collecting them all to prove it


:lovehearts:
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby American Dream » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:38 pm

Patriarchy- the gift that keeps on giving:


Defining, Perpetuating & Challenging Patriarchy

A key point here is that patriarchy is generally not an explicit ongoing effort by men to dominate women. It is a long-standing system that we are born into and participate in, mostly unconsciously. It is like a game where we quickly learn to internalize and then stop thinking about the rules. Those “rules” are reinforced by the simplest of unconscious acts, like men and women separating into different rooms at a family gathering, or roughhousing with young male children while cooing and complimenting the looks of their female counterparts.

That patriarchal system invariably exhibits a hierarchical structure or “pecking order” (either formally set or informally agreed to) where people are ranked and slotted at different levels of the hierarchy. The hierarchy generally sorts people by type, with children and youth at the bottom, men at the top, and women and “out group” men (however that gets defined) somewhere in the middle. People tend to focus on the notable exceptions, the few women that outdo the guys at their own game, the “iron maidens”, “steel magnolias”, etc, that “claw their way to the top”. But at the top of the pyramid, almost invariably, the “alpha” males fight it out for dominance.

Dominance... that’s what it’s all about. Riane Eisler calls the patriarchal system the “dominator model”, which features “power over” (rather than “power with”) others. You fight to stay on top or you’re a loser. The sports we love are the perfect metaphor. People love the teams that routinely win, that “crush” their opponents to assert their dominance. We hate losers... part of the unwritten rules of the patriarchal paradigm.

Perhaps the darkest facet of patriarchy is that even many of the men caught up in its highly ranked structures, though perhaps unthinking beneficiaries of male privilege feel constrained and even powerless. But an acceptable escape valve in many patriarchal structures is to express frustration and anger towards those “under” your authority in the pecking order, often expressed as coercion or even violence. The perfect metaphor here is “the belt” that the archetypal angry father threatens his kids with, even if it is rarely used. In my own family of origin, and many others that I have heard about, there is generally that male family “tyrant”, that everyone feared.

While most people in a patriarchal hierarchy accept their place in the pecking order, those that do not are generally dealt with by ridicule, coercion and even violence where necessary. Men often deny the existence or at least the power of patriarchy because they do not feel a sense of freedom, a sense of real powerfulness within the system. The truth is that it constricts and restrains everyone, not just the people at the very bottom of its hierarchy.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Elvis » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:12 pm

Cross-posting from the "Sinclair Lewis, Hermann Hesse and Trump Mania" thread":

From the February 2018 issue
Worlds Apart

By T. M. Luhrmann

In March 1997, the bodies of thirty-nine people were discovered in a mansion outside San Diego. They were found lying in bunk beds, wearing identical black shirts and sweatpants. Their faces were covered with squares of purple cloth, and each of their pockets held exactly five dollars and seventy-five cents.

The police determined that the deceased were members of Heaven’s Gate, a local cult, and that they had intentionally overdosed on barbiturates. Marshall Applewhite, the group’s leader, had believed that there was a UFO trailing in the wake of Comet Hale-Bopp, which was visible in the sky over California that year. He and his followers took the pills, mixing them with applesauce and washing them down with vodka, in order to beam up to the spacecraft and enter the “evolutionary level above human.”

In the aftermath of the mass suicide, one question was asked again and again: How could so many people have believed something so obviously wrong?

I am an anthropologist of religion. I did my first stint of fieldwork with middle-class Londoners who identified as witches, druids, and initiates of the Western Mysteries. My next project was in Mumbai, India, where Zoroastrianism was experiencing a resurgence. Later, I spent four years with charismatic evangelical Christians in Chicago and San Francisco, observing how they developed an “intimate relationship” with an invisible God. Along the way, I studied newly Orthodox Jews, social-justice Catholics, Anglo-Cuban Santeria devotees, and, briefly, a group in southern California that worshipped a US-born guru named Kalindi.

Most of these people would describe themselves as believers. Many of the evangelicals would say that they believe in God without doubt. But even the most devout do not behave as if God’s reality is the same as the obdurate thereness of rocks and trees. They will tell you that God is capable of anything, aware of everything, and always on their side. But no one prays that God will write their term paper or replace a leaky pipe.

Instead, what their actions suggest is that maintaining a sense of God’s realness is hard. Evangelicals talk constantly about what bad Christians they are. They say that they go to church and resolve to be Christlike and then yell at their kids on the way home. The Bible may assert vigorously the reality of a mighty God, but psalm after psalm laments his absence. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Beliefs are not passively held; they are actively constructed. Even when people believe in God, he must be made real for them again and again. They must be convinced that there is an invisible other who cares for them and whose actions affect their lives.

This is more likely to happen for someone who can vividly imagine that invisible other. In the late 1970s, Robert Silvey, an audience researcher at the BBC, started using the word “paracosm” to describe the private worlds that children create, like the North Pacific island of Gondal that Emily and Anne Brontë dreamed up when they were girls. But paracosms are not unique to children. Besotted J.R.R. Tolkien fans, for example, have a similar relationship with Middle-earth. What defines a paracosm is its specificity of detail: it is the smell of the rabbit cooked in the shadow of the dark tower or the unease the hobbits feel on the high platforms at Lothlórien. In returning again and again to the books, a reader creates a history with this enchanted world that can become as layered as her memory of middle school.

God becomes more real for people who turn their faith into a paracosm. The institution provides the stories — the wounds of Christ on the cross, the serpent in the Garden of Eden — and some followers begin to live within them. These narratives can grip the imagination so fiercely that the world just seems less good without them.

During my fieldwork, I saw that people could train themselves to feel God’s presence. They anchored God to their minds and bodies so that everyday experiences became evidence of his realness. They got goose bumps in the presence of the Holy Spirit, or sensed Demeter when a chill ran up their spine. When an idea popped into their minds, it was God speaking, not a stray thought of their own. Some people told me that they came to recognize God’s voice the way they recognized their mother’s voice on the phone. As God became more responsive, the biblical narratives seemed less like fairy tales and more like stories they’d heard from a friend, or even memories of their own.

Faith is the process of creating an inner world and making it real through constant effort. But most believers are able to hold the faith world — the world as it should be — in tension with the world as it is. When the engine fails, Christians might pray to God for a miracle, but most also call a mechanic.

Being socially isolated can compromise one’s ability to distinguish his or her paracosm from the everyday world. Members of Heaven’s Gate never left their houses alone. They wore uniforms and rejected signs of individuality. Some of them even underwent castration in order to avoid romantic attachments. When group members cannot interact with outsiders, they are less likely to think independently. Especially if there is an autocratic leader, there is less opportunity for dissent, and the group becomes dependent on his or her moral authority. Slowly, a view of the world that seems askew to others can settle into place.

When we argue about politics, we may think we are arguing over facts and propositions. But in many ways we argue because we live in different paracosmic worlds, facilitated these days by the intensely detailed imaginings of talk radio and cable news. For some of us, that world is the desperate future of the near at hand. If abortion is made illegal, abortions will happen anyway, and women will die because they used clothes hangers to scrape out their insides. Others live in a paracosm of a distant future of the world as it should be, where affirmative action is unnecessary because people who work hard can succeed regardless of where they started.

Recently, the dominant political narratives in America have moved so far apart that each is unreadable to the other side. But we know that the first step in loosening the grip of an extreme culture is developing a relationship with someone who interprets the world differently. In 2012, for example, a woman named Megan Phelps-Roper left the Westboro Baptist Church, a hard-line Christian group that pickets the funerals of queer people, after she became friendly with a few of her critics on Twitter. If the presence of people with whom we disagree helps us to maintain common sense, then perhaps the first step to easing the polarization that grips this country is to seek those people out. That’s the anthropological way.


https://harpers.org/archive/2018/02/the ... -others/2/
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby peartreed » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:29 pm

As the writer explains his or her perspective on an issue, or a problem, their intent and their inner voice is likely reasonable, calm, clear, even kind and conciliatory as they type a criticism. The same applies to intended humor, sarcasm or jesting.

The reader, depending on their mood, sensitivity and defensiveness, might read those same words as shouting, argumentative, insulting and personal – and overreact accordingly.

The point is that words on a page or screen do not always accurately convey tone.

Similarly light sarcasm or playful scorning might read as a violent, personal attack.

This is not news to anyone here, but it is often overlooked in practice. It leads to escalation of anger and insult, often creating ongoing visceral antagonism.

The best strategy is to maintain calm and consideration and re-read posts as reasonable in tone with unemotional intent behind the words and expressions.

Regulars posting on a forum frequently also establish their tone over time by the consistency of the way they convey their views. Personal reputations result and an “image” of the regular is formed as an online personality – likeable or not.

I’ve watched readers here “read me wrong” too many times to count, and have seen them react badly based on a misinterpretation of my intent, tone and motive. Usually I’ll ignore it, rather than get into a self-justifying joust and argument. It is too tiring to get into a prolonged contest for truth, virtue and ultimate righteousness.

Others here obviously live for the battlefield, the drama and a boisterous fight for attention.

Different strokes for different folks, but let’s not lose the forum ambiance over it.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Elvis » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:40 pm

Peartreed, this is a lucid observation, thank you. I'm sure that at times my own 'tone' has been read as harsher than I intend, and I do try to read other's remarks in the best light. There are times though, I hope you'll agree, when malicious intent is obvious. I agree particulary that:

"The best strategy is to maintain calm and consideration"
and

"It is too tiring to get into a prolonged contest for truth, virtue and ultimate righteousness."


And this bears repeating:

"Others here obviously live for the battlefield, the drama and a boisterous fight for attention."



This all amounts to a plea: I am pleading for less battlefield drama and fewer boisterous fights for attention so that we can get on with meaningful and cordial discussion, debate and analysis.

It appears that Rory wants to stop poking sticks at Slad (forgive me if that's a bad metaphor, Rory) and I'm grateful for that. Rory has shown they can express themselves well and I hope everyone, including myself, will make a mindful effort to be fair, honest and tolerant.

I'll be asking myself:

- am I being fair?
- am I being honest?
- am I being tolerant?
- and would add: will my post add anything worthwhile to the discussion?


Cheers


peartreed » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:29 pm wrote:As the writer explains his or her perspective on an issue, or a problem, their intent and their inner voice is likely reasonable, calm, clear, even kind and conciliatory as they type a criticism. The same applies to intended humor, sarcasm or jesting.

The reader, depending on their mood, sensitivity and defensiveness, might read those same words as shouting, argumentative, insulting and personal – and overreact accordingly.

The point is that words on a page or screen do not always accurately convey tone.

Similarly light sarcasm or playful scorning might read as a violent, personal attack.

This is not news to anyone here, but it is often overlooked in practice. It leads to escalation of anger and insult, often creating ongoing visceral antagonism.

The best strategy is to maintain calm and consideration and re-read posts as reasonable in tone with unemotional intent behind the words and expressions.

Regulars posting on a forum frequently also establish their tone over time by the consistency of the way they convey their views. Personal reputations result and an “image” of the regular is formed as an online personality – likeable or not.

I’ve watched readers here “read me wrong” too many times to count, and have seen them react badly based on a misinterpretation of my intent, tone and motive. Usually I’ll ignore it, rather than get into a self-justifying joust and argument. It is too tiring to get into a prolonged contest for truth, virtue and ultimate righteousness.

Others here obviously live for the battlefield, the drama and a boisterous fight for attention.

Different strokes for different folks, but let’s not lose the forum ambiance over it.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby brainpanhandler » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:18 am

Elvis » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:40 pm wrote:
"The best strategy is to maintain calm and consideration"


You left off the best part there:

...and re-read posts as reasonable in tone with unemotional intent behind the words and expressions.


Excellent practice.

Elvis » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:40 pm wrote:
And this bears repeating:

"Others here obviously live for the battlefield, the drama and a boisterous fight for attention."


Not so much. I can only think of one member that this describes and even then it's a bit of a passive/aggressive overstatement.
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Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby peartreed » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:19 am

Cheers, Elvis

The first half of my career was with an international airline, so I spent a lot of time travelling around the world. The main lesson I was surprised to learn was that people are fundamentally the same everywhere – in terms of human emotions.

The second half was spent in various roles in the film and television industry, especially amongst performers, where I learned that those same humans could act irrationally in accord with their fantasies of the moment, or their life scripts, and do the strangest, unexpected things simply for drama, attention, neediness or malice.

But the common thread was that people everywhere deserve, initially, kindness and respect because most of our species are also, at the core, decent human beings.

Life experiences change that too but, playing the odds, it’s best to bet on decency.

The reason Trump fascinates me is that he epitomizes everything wrong with Man. The reason I follow fascism is the same observation, it is the antithesis of decency.

I guess my retirement is still being spent trying to figure out human behavior.

That’s also why I’m here on RI. The brighter minds sometimes have answers.

I’m just used to a study place more like a library than a zoo, one populated more by interested scholars than animals. But I’ll adjust, just like the tourist and actor I still am. I might even turn it all into a screenplay translated into universal language!
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