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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:39 pm 
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Codi wrote:
If vehement disagreement is not desired then it is on the shoulders of the original poster not to write things that would cause disagreement. Bringing up politics at a social gathering and then getting upset because it causes an argument is just silly.

I picked this section out because I like the analogy, and it helps illustrate my point well to go with this line of thought:

Imagine walking into a party and only knowing one or two people (there are around a hundred attending). Everyone realizes you're a little nervous, maybe even uncomfortable, and you try to make conversation. Someone asks a question that you heard people talking about earlier, and so you respond with what you think is an appropriate thought: "the health care reform bill is laughable at best because it doesn't address (x)" Suddenly you have the person who asked the question berating you, and you have no idea what to do.

Everyone... every single person... can make that mistake extremely easily. Vehement disagreement is alright when the people remain respectful in the conversation. That's the issue that is being pointed out. Take the above example and imagine these two responses and tell me which you think is better:

Response 1 - "That's not actually accurate, and I can't believe you would even suggest such a thing. Do you even think before you speak?"

Response 2 - "That's not actually accurate. The bill includes a provision for (y), which covers (x) and (z)."

In this case, the responsibility is on the responding party to [b]educate[/b[ the original person and keep the disagreement going in a tasteful manner. Tell me, can you see any benefit to the first response versus the second? (And this is pure curiosity and not meant any other way; I can't, but if you can I really would like to know what it is. My opinion is that the latter option is best in every case, but if it isn't perceived that way I want to know why so that I can understand the opposite view).

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:42 pm 
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Byaghro wrote:
Everyone... every single person... can make that mistake extremely easily. Vehement disagreement is alright when the people remain respectful in the conversation. That's the issue that is being pointed out. Take the above example and imagine these two responses and tell me which you think is better:

Response 1 - "That's not actually accurate, and I can't believe you would even suggest such a thing. Do you even think before you speak?"

Response 2 - "That's not actually accurate. The bill includes a provision for (y), which covers (x) and (z)."

In this case, the responsibility is on the responding party to [b]educate[/b[ the original person and keep the disagreement going in a tasteful manner. Tell me, can you see any benefit to the first response versus the second? (And this is pure curiosity and not meant any other way; I can't, but if you can I really would like to know what it is. My opinion is that the latter option is best in every case, but if it isn't perceived that way I want to know why so that I can understand the opposite view).


Absolutely not. As the saying goes "ignorance is no excuse." If I were the responder in your example, I would be in NO WAY responsible for educating anyone. Here is a person that I am only vaguely connected to coming up and saying something that is at best inaccurate and at worst insulting. Someone responding with choice #1 when they feel strongly about the statement is completely justified. We are all adults, fully capable of taking responsibility for our own actions. No amount of being part of a loose community changes that. The person who made the poor choice of conversation topic is at fault for his/her own hurt feelings, so long as the responder didn't say something out-and-out rude. (ex. called him/her an idiot, swore, sneered obviously) S/he made the willful choice to bring up an uncomfortable subject and should deal with the consequences of his/her actions.

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:10 am 
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Codi wrote:
Someone responding with choice #1 when they feel strongly about the statement is completely justified. [...] so long as the responder didn't say something out-and-out rude. (ex. called him/her an idiot, swore, sneered obviously)

I'm prettttttttyyyy sure that "Do you even think before you speak?" is sneering obviously or at the very least indirectly calling someone an idiot.

Though I think you mixed up responder & person who started the conversation. In this example, Person A started the conversation. Person B responded with a possibly inaccurate answer. Person A, who is picking between Response #1 & #2, is responding to Person B answering a question. Person B, who made the possibly inaccurate answer did not pick the conversation topic, but just answered with his/her opinion.

So...I'm not following your logic with your last sentence ("S/he made the willful choice to bring up an uncomfortable subject and should deal with the consequences of his/her actions."). =/

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:38 am 
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Oh, hrm, I must have misunderstood, then. I was under the impression that the conversation was underway before Person A walked into it and loudly gave their opinion. (Calling them Person A and Person B helps ever so much!) If Person A saying "the health care reform bill is laughable at best because it doesn't address (x)" was in response to a question asked to them by Person B, then I would say Person B should take responsibility for asking the question in the first place.

But that is not the situation we are talking about, from what I can tell. We are talking about someone putting out something into the public domain, unprompted by a direct question. This would be more similar to Person A walking into a crowd of people, including Person B, and bringing up his/her view on the topic as a conversation starter.

Poneria wrote:
I'm prettttttttyyyy sure that "Do you even think before you speak?" is sneering obviously or at the very least indirectly calling someone an idiot.


I find that assumptions made about the written word tend to be sketchy at best. Tone and intonation are important in getting the full emotional meaning of words. Do I think that saying that is a touch rude? Certainly. But there is a large difference between directly calling someone an idiot and in being slightly rude due to having a strong, visceral standpoint on a topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:04 am 
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(Sorry for the length...>.<)

Codi wrote:
I find that assumptions made about the written word tend to be sketchy at best. Tone and intonation are important in getting the full emotional meaning of words. Do I think that saying that is a touch rude? Certainly. But there is a large difference between directly calling someone an idiot and in being slightly rude due to having a strong, visceral standpoint on a topic.

So I think I'm confused as to why slightly rude is allowed but outright rudeness is not. Slight sneering is still sneering, in my view at least. I think it bothers me because asking if someone thinks before they speak is then criticising the person, not the issue, when your opinionated problems are with the issue, not the person. The rest of that response option is fine to me, because it criticises the issue and then states a belief/opinion/thought/interpretation of the speaker. But that third part still seems unnecessarily rude to me.

Even in the situation considered originally -- Person A publicly puts out an idea strongly opposite of Person B's, and Person B responds, also publicly, to Person A -- I don't agree with the third part of response #1. It's still the idea that is the vehement opposition, not Person A, so I think Person B would be well within their (human?) rights to present their strong opinions regarding the opposition of the original idea, but it would be wrong to attack the person. (Even saying, "Your logic/information is incorrect," is directed at the idea, not the person.)

And yes, I agree that the written word is inadequate at addressing tone and intonation. But the original topic -- blogging -- is primarily written. So I think it falls on the writer, not the reader, to convey what they mean, tone and all, in the best written phrasing they can. Asking for it to fall upon the reader feels to me like this:

Person C/Writer: How many fingers am I holding behind my back?
Person D/Reader:...4?
Person C/Writer: OMG YOU FOOKING NUB IT'S OBVIOUSLY THREE!!! GAWD you're such a HORRIBLE representative of the human race!!!
Person D/Reader now feels somewhere between an idiot who should have known better and an innocent bystander incapable of even possibly having known better.

No, as my AP US History teacher kept telling me on my test essays, in writing it's not always obvious what you meant to say or how you meant to say it. This is important for both our Persons A and B, whether you're introducing the touchy conversation topic or responding to it. Sometimes I would like to say things like "misguided" for a literal meaning -- incorrect reasoning -- but I know people can take that to mean I believe they don't know how to think, because they may read an attack on their work as an attack on themselves. Not everyone is awesomely good at taking criticism, and even the best of those can take it badly at some point. So I believe it's best to cut the other person some slack. Extend the first peace offering, y'know?

I'm not trying to say I should hold people's hands when discussing why their blogged opinion is completely wrong in my view, but I should consider that I'm talking to a human being with feelings that may be as attached to their opinion of the discussion as I am attached to mine. First I try to make sure I understood them correctly and that they understood me correctly. At the very least this acknowledges that I'm listening to them and their ideas and not just blatantly writing them off as a nutcake with a stupid idea. (Generally I've found that after I feel like I've been listened to, I'll be more willing to think upon other ideas as to why I'm wrong.) Then, once we're on the same page, I try to direct my criticism as best I can to focus on the idea they had, rather than on them themselves, because it's the idea I have issues with, not the person. Lastly I make sure that my phrasing of my criticism is obvious that I'm attacking the idea not the person, and that I still respect the person themselves, as best as I possibly could.

If I get caught insulting them unintentionally, then I apologize. Maybe it wasn't my fault at all, but a wrong was perceived, so I will try to rectify my perceived rebuttal. Perceived wrongs are like the fire patches in Koralon; no, I/the boss didn't cast it with a specific cast bar or emote action, but yeah, they may not move out of the fire, and yeah, while they continue to stand in the fire, it will hurt. Fortunately, unlike Koralon, my aim is not to kill my dissenting commenter. My aim is either persuasion (partial or full, and of either side) or agreement to disagree. On the flip side, if I find I'm standing in fire, I try to tell the person that that was offensive, but I don't expect an apology. It's awesome if I get one, but it's not my responsibility if somebody wants to be a complete jackass to other people.

Of course, there are people who will take offense at anything and everything, at which point it's "I'm sorry if I've offended you, I did not intend to imply anything rude or mean, but I just can't agree with you, for the explained reasons," and then I leave. Because it's pointless to have a conversation like that.

so TL;DR conclusion: Offense is subjective & written words are typically inadequate of carrying other information such as vocal intonation and body language. Because of this, I feel the participants of a blogged or otherwise written, online conversation should work towards making sure everyone is on the same page and understands all contributed points of view as best as possible, rather than just huffing off with "it's not my fault you don't understand/you're wrong/you can't take criticism my way." I also feel that when issues are discussed, the issues should be critiqued, not the person, so even lightly rude remarks are not acceptable.

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Note, I'm not quoting entire responses just to try to keep this from being a massive wall of text. If I emphasized a point that seems out of context please let me know :)
Poneria wrote:
... when issues are discussed, the issues should be critiqued, not the person, so even lightly rude remarks are not acceptable.

I wanted to emphasize this first, because it really is the easiest way to summarize the entire point of this discussion. It's easy to react to something and have it become aimed more at a person than the original idea, and that's what the thought of being tactful/respectful when blogging is all about.

Now I want to back up and point to something else that has been bothering me since reading it and, while it is perfectly possible that it is completely due to a difference in interpretation, I think it is something that fits in this discussion as well:
Codi wrote:
We are all adults, fully capable of taking responsibility for our own actions. No amount of being part of a loose community changes that.

Responsibility for our actions I completely agree with, and nothing has been stated otherwise that I've seen. The portion I want to look at, though, is the second sentence regarding "community." While you weren't addressing this specific topic, that is a word that seems to be tossed around quite a bit as of late; I think it worthwhile that we look at exactly what that means to us, since I have no doubt we all view it a little differently.

The "WoW Blogger Community," and more specifically those who are involved here with Blog Azeroth, have been touted as being here to provide a place for all of us to come together, share ideas, and grow as bloggers. Phaelia wrote it as "Blog Azeroth was created to facilitate the exchange of information and foster community among Warcraft blog authors" in the welcome/intro/guidelines post. (located http://blogazeroth.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13)

While those guidelines only extend to these forums, the principles set forth in those guidelines are, to me, what it means to be a part of the Blog Azeroth Community, since one is only a part of that community when they choose to accept those guidelines and join these forums.

Being respectful is the second item listed in those guidelines, and that is what this thread is trying to promote. And please, note the emphasis on promoting these ideas. I feel it is my responsibility to do so as a member of the community, and obviously I have no control over whether anyone listens to my attempts or ignores them ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:21 pm 
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One of my readers pointed out that our blogger interactions look like family matters from the outside.

I thought that was really cute so I decided to share.

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:00 am 
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Y'know, contrary to popular belief, bloggers are allowed to grow a backbone. :)

You are allowed to offer an opinion because hey, it's your blog. But the same works both ways on other people's blogs. No one likes to be wrong. Deep down inside, I chase that fuzzy feeling where I can say to myself "Yes! I nailed that post!". It's like shooting from the free throw line and the ball makes a swish sound as it goes through the hoop.

I've personally become a little more wary about what I write about. I don't have as much... shall we say, creative freedom as many of you may have. Why? It's simply because of reach. I publish one mistake, and it almost certainly gets cited as fact. I still remember that error I made with Tam when I thought he got the boot. It was a complete misunderstanding and yet Tam received a bunch of communication lamenting that he got the gkick (As an aside, sometimes I wish I was a new blogger again).

I would also argue that while being respectful is something that should be practiced anyway no matter what you do, it also pays to have thick skin. This is the internet. The majority of communication gets transmitted through text. How much actual communication are we missing? There's no facial expressions or tones or anything like that so it's difficulty to discern other important things. Unless it's blatantly obvious, I'll always assume that communication's made in a neutral tone, not a condescending, nor an angry one or so forth. Unless you completely shut off your comments and remove any forms of communication like email, you're going to receive feedback. It isn't always going to be nice. It isn't always going to be positive. It isn't always going to be from a blogger, either. The ability to shrug off feedback and accept others is going to help otherwise it's going to be mentally and emotionally draining.

I often ask myself "Why the hell am I still doing this blogging thing?" after receiving a particularly nasty email or comment. And every time, it gets a little harder and more difficult to answer it.

Unfortunately, I must've missed out on some excellent posts on that blog that shut down. I don't have as much time to read nowadays as I'd like. It's a shame because I did hear good things about it.

Anyway, at the end of the day, don't forget it's just a blog. It's not your job. It's not your life. Don't get super worked up over it. Relax a little. Have some fun. Meet people. If someone says something shitty, just move on. Made a mistake? Oops! Fix it, and move on. None of this stuff is a perfect science. I've spent years trying to figure blogging out, and to figure people out. Still haven't found an answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:55 pm 
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I think this sums up my opinion on the subject http://www.egscomics.com/egsnp/?date=2010-02-16 (don't forget to read the editorial below!)

As rude as it is for me to steal someone else's words like that (and purdy pictures!) This 100% explains my opinion, rude criticisms, are criticisms and if they're from a respected source, should be weighed. Maybe not weighed lightly but often times good can from it. Disagreements happen, the question is whether it's valid, a different perspective, a miscommunicated idea by either party, or misinformation. If I say something incredibly stupid along the lines of "MAGES R NOT GUD DEE PEE ESS, BECAUSE THIS ONE MAGE PULLED 7 DEE PEE ESS IN A HEROIC LULZ" I expect people to flame me, I was wrong, horribly wrong, I had a reason for my thinking but it was a poor piece of evidence. If you post anything on your blog, be prepared to defend it, the end.

If that defense is just ignore someone after reading their opinion, that's fine too. I wouldn't expet people to be respectful to me with the previous example, I said something blatantly ignorant. With as many resources for World of Warcraf that exists today posting misinformation is just silly, we all do it from time to time, but when someone takes offense to the fact you didn't properly research every word in your post, are they entirely incorrect?

Rude criticism is still criticism, and can still be constructive, to just throw away every angry comment you get because it's angry, or to expect everything to be sugar candy and lollipops is well, naive at best, destructive at worst. Sometimse a blunt slap in the face is exactly what we as writers need when we make a mistake, or post something more controversial. Don't feel bad for pointing out what you think is a mistake by another writer, state the problem as concisely as possible, and be willing to stand by your opinions as a reader and a commenter. To try to hide the criticisms in positive talk is just as bad as trying to hide constructive criticisms in angry banter.

"While the response is well written, and I can agree with many points, there's one tiny thing I disagree with, and that's the tone that someone should respond with I believe should be positive and while your views are very valid I have to say I disagree" Doesn't really state your true opinion, it sounds like you're kissing my butt and pointing out your opinion is different.

"I think you are mistaken in what tone your commenters sould respond in, I want responses to be positive because you took the time to read it so it was obviously good enough to deserve some praise" much more concise with reasoning

"Positive responses only!" ..bit unfleshed, but gets the point across, neh?

"LOLNOOBUSUKSOHARD" - yeah ignore worthy other than you can safely say somebody didn't like it?

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 Post subject: Re: Being Respectful
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:10 pm 
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I have read that one of the ways you can increase your blog visitors and readers is by being "controversial". This is a very broad subject and can be interpreted by someone differently. By saying "controversial" doesn't mean that you have to trash someone else or embarrass other people in your article. Creating controversy can be citing your own opinion even though you think it isn't what the majority of people think.
However, I strongly believe that your readers will respect you for doing so rather than appealing to the many and losing your credibility in the end. Successful bloggers write with their own style and don't care (generally) what most people say.


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