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Author Topic: How to Be More Civil Online  (Read 9350 times)

MamaLiberty

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How to Be More Civil Online
« on: September 09, 2011, 11:56:07 am »

Shamelessly stolen from http://zerogov.com/forum/index.php

How to Be More Civil Online

Being a gentleman online simply involves the application of common sense. But anyone who leaves their home each day knows how uncommon common sense can be.

In our grandfathers' and great-grandfathers' time, etiquette books were extremely popular; believe it or not, Emily Post's tome on the subject was one of the most requested books by GIs during World War II. Our forefathers understood something we often forget: no matter how common sense something is, without frequent reminders and practice, humans are drawn to the path of least resistance. While our culture has largely dropped these reminders to be our better selves, today we'll fill in the gap by reviewing some common sense principles for being a gentleman online.

1. Remember that there are real people on the other side of the computer.

This is so easy to forget. We see only our screen and our empty apartment; the faces of folks out there who will be reading what we write seem unreal and nebulous. But they are out there. And your words can truly wound them. So when writing something, keep this rule in mind:

2. Never say something to someone online that you wouldn't say to the person's face.

Perhaps the most important rule for online interactions.  People level the kind of vitriol online they would assuredly never say to someone's face. I know a website owner that sometimes figures out the phone numbers of those who leave extremely rude comments and calls them up to ask what made them say something like that. Inevitably, the confronted person, hearing the voice of a real human being, is reduced to a stammering, apologetic mess.

3. Use your real name.

This is simple: if you're not proud enough of something to have it associated with your real name, then why are you writing it?

Yes, there are caveats to this rule;ôlegitimate reasons for anonymity. But when typing in an alias, ask yourself why you're doing it. Do you have a valid reason for doing so, or do you simply wish to avoid ownership of your words because they are rude?

4. Sit on it.

This is something I've had to learn by experience and still struggle with. You see something that makes your blood boil, you're filled with the desire to absolutely eviscerate a person, and you furiously type out a scathing response and press send. And later you regret it.

Instead, go ahead and write out your comment to get it off your chest, but sit on it for several hours or even a day. I know it feels like you simply have to get it off your chest at that very moment, but your adrenaline and heart rate are up and you're not thinking clearly. Give it some time and you'll be amazed at how must respond! will transform into Eh, who cares?

5. Or don't respond at all.

Your mom was right: If you don't have something nice to say, sometimes it's best not to say anything at all. This is another thing I've learned from experience and still slip up with. I used to want to rebut every bit of criticism directed at me, but I've learned to choose my battles and that it's often better not to get involved at all. Just let people do their thing. I know it's difficult because when we feel someone is wrong, it's so hard to let it go. We want to show people the error of their ways and change their minds.

But as sure as you are about being right, you can never win an online argument. Why? Because of something called the backfire effect. In this article on the effect by David McRaney, which I highly recommend reading, he explains the fact that far from changing people's minds, threatening someone's beliefs actually strengthens and entrenches them further. This is why I generally abstain from heated internet debates; they get you all worked up, waste your time, and go absolutely nowhere.

If you come across a discussion where you really feel like a different perspective needs to be added, just jump in and civilly state your case instead of responding directly to specific people. People are much more likely to consider your point of view when they experience it indirectly as opposed to feeling attacked.

6. Say something positive.

Studies have shown what people already know from experience: folks are more likely to make negative comments in online forums than positive ones. It makes sense; when something makes you angry, you're much more motivated to complain about it and want to vent. McRaney explains why this is:

    "A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one 'you suck' can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happens is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information which lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something which threatens your beliefs, something which conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing."

Well, I certainly want to keep breathing, but I don't want to only respond to things that make me angry. So this is something I've been working on too. When I read a blog post I enjoy, I find it easy to think, 'That was great,' before surfing away. So I've been trying to take a minute to type those thoughts out before moving on. As a blog owner myself, I know how incredibly encouraging it is to hear something positive.

See the rest:  http://artofmanliness.com/2011/07/13/being-a-gentleman-in-the-age-of-the-internet-6-ways-to-bring-civility-online/

[Edited to remove crappy code]
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 03:15:33 pm by MamaLiberty »
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da gooch

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2012, 12:34:31 am »

Thanks ML

Off to get myself edyewmakated on manners.
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Rarick

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2012, 09:51:21 am »

One thing I do is follow an online RPG protocoll :  I do this, I think, I feel, and use the YOU as little as possible.  The You posted, you said, You think, you do, you......   Feeling edgy?   I try and just state what I do, what I think, people either get the point, or don't.  I DO NOT project things and try not to look like I am projecting things on other people.

There is also the trap of being too ego involved with a label or 3rd person description.  I am not a Prepper, survivalist, Gulcher, Male, Female, white collar, blue collar, upper, lower, majority, nminority.........  I am simply me.  Getting too attached to labels and Identifying with them too closely is something we all do and take something personally when we are talking about something objectively.  I "take a walk" when I realize I have personalized a general discussion.

In some ways we are kind of talking past each other, but at the same time the communication can be more effective.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 09:52:59 am by Rarick »
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Sandfort

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 06:57:14 pm »

I'm new to the list and just experienced some an over-the-top attack from one of the "long-time" members. (Which is irrelevant, of course, to exhibiting bad manners). I responded in kind. As a result, the thread was pulled. After that, I thought it would be a good idea to check out what ML posted about being civil on line (quoted below).

I agree, with everything that the post contained, but alas, it left out some that is important to be--the right to self-defense. Think of it as a verbal parallel to the ZAP, the Zero Aggression Principle. Of course, as with the ZAP, just because someone aggresses against you, you are not require to fight back. You may turn the other cheek if you want. But my suspicion is when some old silver-back isn't getting any gorilla nooky back home, he will just slap your other cheek to feel potent again.

If you do not like personal invective, just remember that there can be no sassy self-defense if there is no sassy aggression first. So if those on this list wants to be free of personal trash talk it should stop the person who starts it. Otherwise, no one should be surprised if people respond in kind to provocations.

I think the phenomenon that I experience has broader implications to the Freedom Community. This will be the theme of my weekly blog this weekend. It will be up by tomorrow evening, at the latest. If you would like to read and comment, visit my website, ZAPZone.webs.com and click on the "Golden From Blog" (gold trumps silver). POSSIBLE PROBLEM: The webs.com server is being very finicky lately. If it does not go through to my website, try again later. Eventually, it will come up.

Shamelessly stolen from http://zerogov.com/forum/index.php

How to Be More Civil Online

Being a gentleman online simply involves the application of common sense. But anyone who leaves their home each day knows how uncommon common sense can be.

In our grandfathers' and great-grandfathers' time, etiquette books were extremely popular; believe it or not, Emily Post's tome on the subject was one of the most requested books by GIs during World War II. Our forefathers understood something we often forget: no matter how common sense something is, without frequent reminders and practice, humans are drawn to the path of least resistance. While our culture has largely dropped these reminders to be our better selves, today we'll fill in the gap by reviewing some common sense principles for being a gentleman online.

1. Remember that there are real people on the other side of the computer.

This is so easy to forget. We see only our screen and our empty apartment; the faces of folks out there who will be reading what we write seem unreal and nebulous. But they are out there. And your words can truly wound them. So when writing something, keep this rule in mind:

2. Never say something to someone online that you wouldn't say to the person's face.

Perhaps the most important rule for online interactions.  People level the kind of vitriol online they would assuredly never say to someone's face. I know a website owner that sometimes figures out the phone numbers of those who leave extremely rude comments and calls them up to ask what made them say something like that. Inevitably, the confronted person, hearing the voice of a real human being, is reduced to a stammering, apologetic mess.

3. Use your real name.

This is simple: if you're not proud enough of something to have it associated with your real name, then why are you writing it?

Yes, there are caveats to this rule;ôlegitimate reasons for anonymity. But when typing in an alias, ask yourself why you're doing it. Do you have a valid reason for doing so, or do you simply wish to avoid ownership of your words because they are rude?

4. Sit on it.

This is something I've had to learn by experience and still struggle with. You see something that makes your blood boil, you're filled with the desire to absolutely eviscerate a person, and you furiously type out a scathing response and press send. And later you regret it.

Instead, go ahead and write out your comment to get it off your chest, but sit on it for several hours or even a day. I know it feels like you simply have to get it off your chest at that very moment, but your adrenaline and heart rate are up and you're not thinking clearly. Give it some time and you'll be amazed at how must respond! will transform into Eh, who cares?

5. Or don't respond at all.

Your mom was right: If you don't have something nice to say, sometimes it's best not to say anything at all. This is another thing I've learned from experience and still slip up with. I used to want to rebut every bit of criticism directed at me, but I've learned to choose my battles and that it's often better not to get involved at all. Just let people do their thing. I know it's difficult because when we feel someone is wrong, it's so hard to let it go. We want to show people the error of their ways and change their minds.

But as sure as you are about being right, you can never win an online argument. Why? Because of something called the backfire effect. In this article on the effect by David McRaney, which I highly recommend reading, he explains the fact that far from changing people's minds, threatening someone's beliefs actually strengthens and entrenches them further. This is why I generally abstain from heated internet debates; they get you all worked up, waste your time, and go absolutely nowhere.

If you come across a discussion where you really feel like a different perspective needs to be added, just jump in and civilly state your case instead of responding directly to specific people. People are much more likely to consider your point of view when they experience it indirectly as opposed to feeling attacked.

6. Say something positive.

Studies have shown what people already know from experience: folks are more likely to make negative comments in online forums than positive ones. It makes sense; when something makes you angry, you're much more motivated to complain about it and want to vent. McRaney explains why this is:

    "A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one 'you suck' can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happens is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information which lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something which threatens your beliefs, something which conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing."

Well, I certainly want to keep breathing, but I don't want to only respond to things that make me angry. So this is something I've been working on too. When I read a blog post I enjoy, I find it easy to think, 'That was great,' before surfing away. So I've been trying to take a minute to type those thoughts out before moving on. As a blog owner myself, I know how incredibly encouraging it is to hear something positive.

See the rest:  http://artofmanliness.com/2011/07/13/being-a-gentleman-in-the-age-of-the-internet-6-ways-to-bring-civility-online/

[Edited to remove crappy code]
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DiabloLoco

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2015, 08:06:29 pm »

I'm new to the list and just experienced some an over-the-top attack from one of the "long-time" members. (Which is irrelevant, of course, to exhibiting bad manners). I responded in kind. As a result, the thread was pulled. After that, I thought it would be a good idea to check out what ML posted about being civil on line (quoted below).


Great bump, Sandfort! I'll give it a re-read.

Sorry that I have not had a chance to welcome you yet. WELCOME! :hello: I love your profile pic. :thumbsup:

I'm looking forward to discussing/debating with you.

DL :threvil:
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Sandfort

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2015, 10:03:54 pm »

Great bump, Sandfort! I'll give it a re-read.

Sorry that I have not had a chance to welcome you yet. WELCOME! :hello: I love your profile pic. :thumbsup:

I'm looking forward to discussing/debating with you.

DL :threvil:

Right back at you DL. Now I feel welcomed.

BTW, if you like that profile picture, you can create one of your own. That same image is on my website and under it are URLs for a couple of sites that offer online software to custom create your own. Let's see what you come up with.

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DiabloLoco

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2015, 10:23:05 pm »


Right back at you DL. Now I feel welcomed.

BTW, if you like that profile picture, you can create one of your own. That same image is on my website and under it are URLs for a couple of sites that offer online software to custom create your own. Let's see what you come up with.

Very cool! Thx! Here's what I came up with. I will make it my avatar for a while. (I change my avatar here all the time :mellow:)

Edit- I checked out your site, too. Looks promising! Please let me know what your schedule is for updating it and I will stop by. I have it bookmarked. :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 10:45:03 pm by DiabloLoco »
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MamaLiberty

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2015, 07:09:59 am »

If you do not like personal invective, just remember that there can be no sassy self-defense if there is no sassy aggression first. So if those on this list wants to be free of personal trash talk it should stop the person who starts it. Otherwise, no one should be surprised if people respond in kind to provocations.

Big problem with that is the fact that so many "read into" what is actually said and assume an attack when none is likely intended - and/or see any disagreement as such. Other misunderstandings are so easy, because we don't have the feedback of body language, tone of voice, etc. All of the things that help us deal with others in meat space is pared down to bare words here, and we can make those "mean" anything we want. Those who are inclined to see everything as an attack, will do so.

Physical aggression is not possible on line, in a forum like this. Verbal "aggression" isn't going to break anyone's bones and anyone can ignore anything and anyone they please. Retaliation for written speech, however unpleasant or unwelcome, is seriously counterproductive. Does anyone really believe that an exchange of insults and nasty names will resolve the controversy? Ever? Does anyone truly believe that anyone can be bludgeoned with words until they change their mind?
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Sandfort

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2015, 09:06:30 am »

If you do not like personal invective, just remember that there can be no sassy self-defense if there is no sassy aggression first. So if those on this list wants to be free of personal trash talk it should stop the person who starts it. Otherwise, no one should be surprised if people respond in kind to provocations.

Big problem with that is the fact that so many "read into" what is actually said and assume an attack when none is likely intended - and/or see any disagreement as such.

Of course, but use of such language as "bullshit" does not need much reading into. Also, the same could be said for what appears to be a retaliation. All I am saying is that loud-mouthed bullies should be called out on their bad manners.

Does anyone truly believe that anyone can be bludgeoned with words until they change their mind?

Well that clearly cuts both ways, doesn't it? The loud-mouthed bully does not change any minds, but his victim can make him look like the fool he is, which may just temper his mouth in the future. Anyway, I think it is a personal choice, just as being a loud-mouthed bully is a choice. I reserve the option to explain why the emperor has no clothes in appropriate cases as long as the loud-mouth bully reserves the option to be a loud-mouthed bully. Seems fair to me. Am I wrong?

Don't for get to check out my wider views on the subject in the Golden Frog Blog, going up some time tonight on my website, ZAPZONE.WEBS.COM
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MamaLiberty

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2015, 09:35:43 am »

I reserve the option to explain why the emperor has no clothes in appropriate cases as long as the loud-mouth bully reserves the option to be a loud-mouthed bully. Seems fair to me. Am I wrong?

You have that choice, as does anyone else. Does it produce anything but more distension and strife? What real purpose is served? How is it productive to use nasty names and cast aspersions on someone's character and supposed intent? Who benefits from the fighting and angry words here? Not TMM as a whole, for sure.

The point is that I cannot really prevent or control any of that as forum admin. I'd love to be able to predict which exchange will be a lively discussion, and which a flame war. I'd love to have a crystal ball and know just what everyone is thinking and planning... hmmm, scratch that. I have enough to deal with thinking about my own life and plans. sigh

I can't be the judge of anyone's intentions, mind read what others will think of their posts, or do much to prevent people from either starting fights or contributing to ongoing arguments. Those things will happen, as long as we are all human beings. But I don't have to allow it to go on, or to damage the forum in general. It's a very hard call, and I've made a lot of bad ones over the years. Nothing I can do about that now.

The ONLY tool I have is the TOC, and a very imperfect human mind to apply it. My judgment is as apt to be faulty as that of anyone else, but all I can do is my best to be impartial and honest. So, if things get out of hand, I'll deal with it in accordance with the TOC. If that means deleting memberships, so be it. If that means deleting some who have been around a while, even though they do contribute from time to time, that's just the way it is going to be. What I'm not going to do anymore is try to talk them out of it. When I try that I wind up being part of the problem, not the solution.

And if anyone thinks they could do better, they are welcome to write to Elias and volunteer.
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Sandfort

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2015, 11:16:57 am »

I reserve the option to explain why the emperor has no clothes in appropriate cases as long as the loud-mouth bully reserves the option to be a loud-mouthed bully. Seems fair to me. Am I wrong?

You have that choice, as does anyone else. Does it produce anything but more distension and strife? What real purpose is served? How is it productive to use nasty names and cast aspersions on someone's character and supposed intent? Who benefits from the fighting and angry words here? Not TMM as a whole, for sure...

Understood. Let's see what comes next. I have a couple of kindler, gentler approach to dealing with unfriendly folks I haven't rolled out yet. Out of my respect for you, what you have done and what you continue to do, I will definitely tone down my responses to hostile provocations. I hope that the provocateurs do the same. Thanks.
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MamaLiberty

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Re: How to Be More Civil Online
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2015, 12:17:35 pm »

I will definitely tone down my responses to hostile provocations. I hope that the provocateurs do the same. 

It takes at least two people to have an argument or a fight. If everyone simply ignored the provocateurs, they'd go away. Any disagreement can escalate, of course, but if people resist the temptation to get personal, there will be few actual fights. The provocateur can pile a bunch of wood on tinder, but someone else has to supply the match.

We've seen it happen many, many times here at TMM. All it takes is a determination to engage only those who are offering reasoned discussion, and accept the fact that radically different or even offensive ideas can be discussed rationally - or set aside by mutual agreement. Nobody can do that for anyone else. We must all take responsibility for that ourselves.
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