Author Topic: Etiquette on the etiquette board  (Read 6741 times)

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Ms_Shell

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2010, 11:51:38 AM »
A poster asks if the person who called her on her cell phone for a non-emergency reason was rude, and without even commenting on her question, other posters responded quite abruptly, "Why are you answering your phone while driving anyway?"  Time and time again we've pointed out that this is not a legal forum, and that we are to stay on topic, so I just feel like this kind of scolding is a little harsh and outside the scope of the forum.  Especially when we know that laws vary in different areas, and people have different views about what is safe and what is not.

I have two thoughts in regards to your post.  First, I enjoy a good debate as much as the next person, so a board that never disagreed wold be boring to me.  Also, since having joined Ehell, I'm frequently shocked at how rude comments in other forums can get...so I actually think we're doing pretty well!  :)  I know that I can be pretty blunt sometimes, so please feel free to call me out if I say something that's hurtful to you.

In regards to your example, quoted above, one of the sacred cows here is "Safety trumps etiquette." So I believe it would be perfectly appropriate to ask an OP why she is driving and talking at the same time, KWIM?      

ETA:  I didn't read the cell phone thread, so disregard the above comment - I was just trying to point out that sometimes there are side issues that posters feel need to be discussed in in order to have a constructive discussion.  
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 04:45:57 PM by Ms_Shell »
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noexitwounds

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2010, 12:02:33 PM »
I think it is perfectly possible to have a polite argument. Being polite doesn't mean always pretending to agree.

I don't think the OP is saying that we shouldn't disagree or give our honest opinions on a situation.  I think she's suggesting that we really look at the words we use.  I'm of the mind that as long as a statement isn't outright rude, you can say just about anything nicely even if it's negative.  Some posters are fabulous at this; others are not.  (For example, for those who remember Tabris, I thought she expressed herself wonderfully.  She could tell you that you were Wrong but in a respectful and polite manner.)  Personally, I try to take my cues from the former and I think that's actually made me a better person IRL.

How can someone reasonably look at the words they use when disagreeing with someone and, beyond removing obviously insulting words/phrases (like "idiot" or "no one with any intelligence could think that"), edit it so that every single person in the world would look at that statement and be unable to find insult in it?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 12:06:53 PM by noexitwounds »
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Dindrane

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2010, 12:08:15 PM »
First of all, if you see a post that you think is rude, you can report it.  I believe that it is contrary to the forum rules to behave rudely on this forum.  Mods won't always respond to posts you report, but they will if they think something is in violation of forum rules.

Second, one of the rules of etiquette is that we are all required to give others the benefit of the doubt.  That can play out in a lot of different ways, and people won't always agree on what specifically that means in every situation, but I think it's fair to say that if you think a post is too harsh...it's often better to assume the poster did not mean it that way and ignore it.  Tone is difficult to communicate in writing, no matter how carefully you compose your thoughts.

Finally, to answer your question, I don't think that anyone ought to strive for more than civility and politeness on this board.  I can quite vehemently disagree with someone while remaining perfectly polite.  Civility is not always kind.  Sometimes, kindness is less important than what a person feels they have to say.

And, to be perfectly honest, I talk to people on this board in much the same way that I would talk to them in real life.  The only real difference is that I have time to compose my thoughts here, and I do not have that luxury in conversation.  But, ironically, the fact that I have time to compose and edit my words here often means that I am less kind than I would be in real life.  Because I have more time to think about what I'm saying, I am less likely to err on the side of kindness like I do in conversations where I can't choose my words as carefully.

I think it is important that we all treat each other with respect at all times, and that we all try to be as civil as we know how.  But neither of those things translates to kindness in every situation, nor do I think anyone should have the expectation that it will.


Sneezy

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2010, 12:13:20 PM »
I don't think it is possible to write something that will not offend at least one person on the planet, but one should at least try to meet the minimum standards for civility.  Give the benefit of the doubt when you can and hope that others will do the same for you.  

That said, this board is often a place to learn and learning can be painful, though we should try to not make it hurt as bad as it could.  I've seen quite a few threads with a good outcome where the OP learned that they were not a SS or that they were a SS and could handle the situation better the next time.

Edited to add a 'not' that was missing
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 01:27:39 PM by drinkingtea »

Shores

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2010, 12:15:44 PM »
I agree with you, OP, that rudeness does pop up on this board at times and I felt that the thread on the cellphone was barely short of ridiculous. I didn't see it until it was many pages in, but I was pretty put off by people who jumped in attacking the OP for being on the phone. "Safety trumps etiquette" is a poor excuse and wouldn't apply any more than it would to walking up to a smoker and telling them that they're bad for smoking because it might kill them. So, I agree with you on that one.

That being said, I also agree with everyone else. True rudeness on this forum is rare. Most of what you're talking about with your second point is nuances. Differences in phrasing coming from people living in different cultures, speaking different languages with different ideas of the connotations that words/phrases carry. It would be impossible to get everyone to agree on the most polite way of saying "X" while still getting their point across. I think in 99% of the instances, the onus is on the reader to give the writer the benefit of the doubt and realize that Ehell has had very few trolls and most people posting genuinely do want to help. The 1% of the time when the reply actually IS rude, they should be ignored or reported.
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Betelnut

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2010, 12:37:58 PM »
The only time I really felt like someone was being rude to me from this forum is when an eHellion messaged me about a topic I know quite a bit about.  I sent this individual a long response.  I never got a "thank you for the response" or any acknowledgment.  I thought that was odd considering this is an etiquette forum!  I almost made a thread about it but never did.

I agree that there have been times when my feelings were hurt on this forum, but, in general, I think discourse is pretty congenial.  I've learned alot from this forum and I hope that my posts have gotten "kinder" over the years.
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Layla Miller

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2010, 12:38:29 PM »
I know what you mean, OP, and while I agree with PPs that it's rarely outright rudeness, I do think that those nuances in tone can make the difference between a thread that goes for a couple of pages and ultimately reaches a compromise/amicable truce and a thread that lasts for 20 pages and gets so heated it has to be locked.  One poster may post a blunt or snippy response, and another poster replies in a similar tone, and then other poster jumps in, and suddenly that initial slightly snarky post becomes a snowball rolling downhill.

I'm not saying that every heated thread is caused by this, or that every snippy post turns into a heated thread, but sometimes I wince when I see one of those posts and wish it had been phrased just a little bit more tactfully.  Just in case.  :)
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jaxsue

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2010, 12:56:06 PM »
I agree with a PP - people on this site are, for the most part, much more polite than people on other message boards. There are times when posts are too snarky for my taste, and there are a couple of posters who tend to be too blunt for my taste, but I just avoid dealing with them.

Per the cell phone topic, I had my opinion, which is rather strong, but chose not to get involved. It's not the time or place for me to jump on my soapbox. At other times I will jump on the soapbox. I choose my battles carefully.

A few years ago I did quit ehell for awhile because someone seemed to be "stalking" me on the site. Either they're gone now or have changed for the better. At the time they seemed to be tracking me and would respond to my posts very, very rudely (using very personal attacks), to the point I was in tears and shaking with anger. I should have reported them, I know. What I did learn was that I should never let a person - especially on a forum - get to me like that.

I came back and just avoid posters/topics that will raise my blood pressure. Not worth it, KWIM?

hot_shaker

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2010, 01:14:31 PM »
I think it is perfectly possible to have a polite argument. Being polite doesn't mean always pretending to agree.

I don't think the OP is saying that we shouldn't disagree or give our honest opinions on a situation.  I think she's suggesting that we really look at the words we use.  I'm of the mind that as long as a statement isn't outright rude, you can say just about anything nicely even if it's negative.  Some posters are fabulous at this; others are not.  (For example, for those who remember Tabris, I thought she expressed herself wonderfully.  She could tell you that you were Wrong but in a respectful and polite manner.)  Personally, I try to take my cues from the former and I think that's actually made me a better person IRL.

How can someone reasonably look at the words they use when disagreeing with someone and, beyond removing obviously insulting words/phrases (like "idiot" or "no one with any intelligence could think that"), edit it so that every single person in the world would look at that statement and be unable to find insult in it?

If someone, for whatever reason, is looking for offense, they will find it.  There's no way to avoid potentially offending someone.  However, I'm not so much talking about not being outright insulting/offensive, I think that's rare on EHell.  I'm talking about trying to see how our words might come across to a stranger, especially ones that may be seeking our advice.  If you've ever started a thread, it can be a particularly vulnerable position.  You can never predict how much interest it will generate and how people will react.  We've all seen threads take unexpected turns.  Before I post, I try to see how my response fits in with what the OP has asked and what others have said.  Am I just repeating what others have said?  Are they going to feel attacked?  Am I contributing a different POV?  Am I letting my emotions guide my response too much?  Does that comment come off as funny or mean?

My overall point is, even if your post is technically polite, it is nice and is it necessary?  For example, the cell phone comment reference in the OP, IMO, was not rude but it's didn't come across as nice and I didn't see how it helped the discussion at all.

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Aeris

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2010, 02:02:19 PM »
I guess the bottom line is, would we truly say the things to a person's face that we are typing here? 
If the board was 'nice' all the time, I don't think it would have any depth.

But isn't this like saying that in order to be "real", we sometimes have to disregard someone's feelings?  I'm not trying to argue with you, I just think that's the opposite of etiquette.

Well, I'd give you an analogy ;)
Let's say you are learning a foreign language; you're not a proficient speaker but can express yourself. You write a story in that language and you offer it to someone to read. You put a lot of thought into it, you want the person to like it.. If they return the letter to you with  spelling and grammar corrected in red, that would be jaw-dropping rude.
On the other hand, when you are taking a foreign language class, at some point you may write a story and give it to the teacher (assignment or extra work you're doing by yourself.) The teacher will return it to you with spelling and grammar corrected in red, so you can see exactly what you did wrong. It is part of teaching you the language.

This is the difference between real life and Ehell.


True, but even in a foreign language class, I wouldn't expect to get a paper back with large bold red letters on the top that said "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????"

Occassionally, I do see a post or two here that look a bit like that.

Aeris

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2010, 02:05:18 PM »
I think it is perfectly possible to have a polite argument. Being polite doesn't mean always pretending to agree.

I don't think the OP is saying that we shouldn't disagree or give our honest opinions on a situation.  I think she's suggesting that we really look at the words we use.  I'm of the mind that as long as a statement isn't outright rude, you can say just about anything nicely even if it's negative.  Some posters are fabulous at this; others are not.  (For example, for those who remember Tabris, I thought she expressed herself wonderfully.  She could tell you that you were Wrong but in a respectful and polite manner.)  Personally, I try to take my cues from the former and I think that's actually made me a better person IRL.

How can someone reasonably look at the words they use when disagreeing with someone and, beyond removing obviously insulting words/phrases (like "idiot" or "no one with any intelligence could think that"), edit it so that every single person in the world would look at that statement and be unable to find insult in it?

I dont' think the point is to attempt to ensure that every single person in the entire world would be unable to find fault with a post. But there's a great deal of territory in between that and the attitude of "I'll say whatever I want, after all, it's my opinion".

It's not an unreasonable thing to expect that we would at least take some *care* with our posts here. Which honestly, many people do. But every once in a while a post pops up that just reeks of 'smackdown'. Heck, I've probably been guilty of it on a bad day, and that's not something I'm proud of.

noexitwounds

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2010, 02:11:54 PM »
How can someone reasonably look at the words they use when disagreeing with someone and, beyond removing obviously insulting words/phrases (like "idiot" or "no one with any intelligence could think that"), edit it so that every single person in the world would look at that statement and be unable to find insult in it?


[...] If you've ever started a thread, it can be a particularly vulnerable position. You can never predict how much interest it will generate and how people will react.  We've all seen threads take unexpected turns. [...]

See, I agree with your statement here -- when you post you can never predict how other people are going to react. That was actually my point. When you post you can't know if it's going to set someone off because there's so many different people with different, sometimes opposite, experiences involved as potential readers.
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Dindrane

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2010, 02:12:44 PM »
Wouldn't a post that reeks of smackdown be kind of against forum rules, though?  I mean, that doesn't strike me as a terribly civil way to communicate, and I feel like I've seen mods comment in threads when posts like that get reported.

I mean, really, the truly egregious stuff is often against forum rules anyway, so just report it.  People will learn or get banned, but either way...it'll get better.


Aeris

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2010, 02:20:26 PM »
Wouldn't a post that reeks of smackdown be kind of against forum rules, though?  I mean, that doesn't strike me as a terribly civil way to communicate, and I feel like I've seen mods comment in threads when posts like that get reported.

I mean, really, the truly egregious stuff is often against forum rules anyway, so just report it.  People will learn or get banned, but either way...it'll get better.

Well, I suppose it depends on how bad the reek is.  :P

I generally only report things if they are so over the line it's not even funny, but that's me. There's also posts that just come off with a haughty and/or snarky flip tone that seems uncalled for, and completely unproductive. Not heavy enough, necessarily, to get mod comment or a lock, but bad enough that I think to myself "really? is that how we're supposed to be communicating here?"

And my threshold is pretty high. If I see something like that in response to rising tensions, or an aggressive post, I usually don't think much about it. But when they seem to come out of the blue sky I do pause.

MsOverThinker

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2010, 02:23:00 PM »
While I agree that it would be best that posters self-sensor and avoid obvious provocation (name calling, "anyone who thinks so is stupid/rude/mentally ill", etc.), and be generally polite when responding, it is impossible, as PPs have said, to avoid offending everyone.

If you'll permit me, I'll repost a couple of excerpts from the the e-hell dame's Forum Rules post (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=2.0) which may address some of what you are talking about.

She writes:
"Before creating a new thread, have you considered several things? Like, have you explained your situation fully so we donít find out important but left out details 300 messages into the thread? Or, are you seeking validation for your rude behavior?"

If you're worried about how our posters will respond (and I have rarely been surprised), then maybe you shouldn't post your question.  I've seen a few that might be described as the last question -- seeking validation.  Anecdotally, I would say that most posters don't call you an SS unless you've either said the phrase "am I being an ss" or if your behavior is pretty blatant.  Remember, by posting it here, you're asking for the members' opinion.  This leads me to my other excerpt.

Writes the e-hell dame:
"The moderating team expects to treat the members like adults and that means not dumbing down the rules to the lowest common denominator explaining why basic civility is important to the health and well-being of this forum. Please consider that exposing yourself as a rude boor in a forum inhabited by etiquette lovers is an open invitation for people to comment on your behavior."

So I would trust that if others on this board see something posted in reply to you that is boorish, they will say so to that poster.  If no one else seems to take exception to their response, it is just possible that you are a little to sensitive or made a poor decision when you posted a topic that you are maybe too touchy about.