Author Topic: Etiquette on the etiquette board  (Read 6907 times)

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noexitwounds

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2010, 02:25:11 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?

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.

I think we're misunderstanding each other. The point of my question, which you quoted, was that I don't know you/anything about you nor do I know who may or may not read my comment. If I did know the people I was addressing directly so as to have some idea of their background and affiliations then I could cater my response to that knowledge. Since I don't know anything about anyone on this board except that we are, theoretically, all interested in etiquette to some degree then for me to reasonably write a comment in such a way as to avoid offense (beyond the very obvious offenses like personal insults) I'd have to predict what every other person ever interested in etiquette even casually would find offensive and avoid such things.

Now, obviously, this is not possible. Besides personal insults there's basically nothing that is universally offensive. The best I can do, reasonably, is not make any personal insults, not use language generally found questionable (most of which this board filters anyway), and hope for the best.

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Jan74

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2010, 02:28:32 PM »
I pod noexitwounds on all her posts.

Now, I think that the people who took the cell phone thread to accusations about how unsafe her driving was were in the wrong, and should have been reported - not because they are rude though, but because that is legal territory. However, people who said something like "If you are extra annoyed cause they called you while you were driving, you could simply not answer while driving" are completely within their right to say that. They are offering a helpful suggestion to minimize future problems the OP faces.

I think it is possible to be civil and polite and not have to treat anyone with "kid gloves". I'd feel worse if people treated me with kid gloves, personally. If I ask "Was I rude?", I don't mind getting "Yes, you were rude". Of course, if someone posted "You are a terrible person raised in a barn, how could you ever do such a thing?", then yes, of course, that is a bit more than what I've signed up for. But it is not necessary to say "Well, maybe, just possibly, what you've done might have been interpreted as not so polite...", which to me is what "kid gloves" means.

MsOverThinker

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2010, 02:31:29 PM »
Now, obviously, this is not possible. Besides personal insults there's basically nothing that is universally offensive. The best I can do, reasonably, is not make any personal insults, not use language generally found questionable (most of which this board filters anyway), and hope for the best.

This came up for me a few years ago (I think on this site, but it may have been the old forum).  Many posters were gabbing along assuming we had the same opinion on the equal rights of Purples (type of person, not religion).  Then one poster said that she was a Purple and her belief system said that Purples were meant to serve Reds according to her sacred text.  We had apparently offended, though honestly, I have never met a purple before or since that shared her belief system.  It could be that she was "stirring the pot" or was easily offended, but we were doing as noexitwounds suggested -- using generally accepted assumptions and hoping for the best.

Aeris

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2010, 02:41:06 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?

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.

I think we're misunderstanding each other. The point of my question, which you quoted, was that I don't know you/anything about you nor do I know who may or may not read my comment. If I did know the people I was addressing directly so as to have some idea of their background and affiliations then I could cater my response to that knowledge. Since I don't know anything about anyone on this board except that we are, theoretically, all interested in etiquette to some degree then for me to reasonably write a comment in such a way as to avoid offense (beyond the very obvious offenses like personal insults) I'd have to predict what every other person ever interested in etiquette even casually would find offensive and avoid such things.

Now, obviously, this is not possible. Besides personal insults there's basically nothing that is universally offensive. The best I can do, reasonably, is not make any personal insults, not use language generally found questionable (most of which this board filters anyway), and hope for the best.

I understand what you're saying, but I think you are missing my point.

There are ways we can phrase things that seem, to the objective eye, unnecessarily curt, snarky, flip, or haughty. This has nothing to do with anyone's particular backgrounds or affiliations. Nor is it about catering responses to any particular person or type of person's peculiar sensitivities. It is about pausing to consider, for a moment, how our words are likely to come across to most readers, and modifying out language to communicate what we truly intend. Honestly, it is not enough to say to oneself "well, I didn't outright insult anyone, so I'm fine." We have a stronger obligation to attempt to communicate in a civil manner than that.

For example - I could have written my post as:

What is this that you're not undertanding about what I'm saying? Obviously we can't avoid offending everyone, but for crying out loud, asking for polite phrasing shouldn't be too much to ask on an Etiquette board.

But I would think that would be a less productive way to get my point across. (Not to mention, hilariously hypocritical on its face.)

hot_shaker

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2010, 02:42:38 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.

Overall, I do agree with you.  I'm not saying that it will always work but I think there's a lot to be said for at least reviewing your words (either written or spoken) and trying to anticipate how they will be received. :)

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hot_shaker

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2010, 02:45:12 PM »
Honestly, it is not enough to say to oneself "well, I didn't outright insult anyone, so I'm fine." We have a stronger obligation to attempt to communicate in a civil manner than that.

As usual, I agree with Aeris.

(Also, in my earlier post, I almost showed a before and after (i.e., I wrote this but I could have written this) to demonstrate the power of word choice.)

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Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2010, 03:07:32 PM »


Good discussion, OP. I thought the same thing, myself, a few months back, but oddly enough have become less sensitive to it. I am myself a fairly tough poster-I call it like I see it, and I quite like the way that people are free to do that here, within reason, of course. I think that some posts can come off snarky, but a problem is that everyone's 'line' is different-some people are more sensitive than others, or are sensitive about different things. I used to think that it was pretty rude to tell an OP that they were 'too sensitive', but I have moved away from that belief. I short, what I'm trying to say is that we have a pretty good board here. There are ups and downs, but I agree with whoever said that e-hell was like the real world in minitature. It isn't perfect, but it's real.
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DottyG

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2010, 03:39:24 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.

If, by chance, that was me, I want to sincerely apologize.  I HAVE gotten some extremely wonderful information from my fellow EHellions via email and PM.  And, I know I may not have properly thanked you for it.  That doesn't mean that I didn't truly appreciate it.  It may have meant that I was so excited to get an answer to my question/problem that I was caught up in that rather than remembering to acknowledge it.  That was wrong of me, and I know better than that.

I really do appreciate the helpful information I've gotten from y'all about things.


Jan74

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2010, 03:46:59 PM »
I find this board fairly polite. Now, the comments on the blog are Harsh with an H, usually.

Marleigh

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #39 on: December 16, 2010, 04:23:39 PM »
OP here - just wanted to chime in and say thanks for all the responses so far.  I also want to clarify that I think this is a very polite forum; my intent wasn't to gripe about overall rudeness at all, but instead to discuss "wording", really.  I used to post on a weight loss forum and it got off-topic, catty and downright raunchy at times.  There were actually cliques with little leaders who would attack people.  It was so juvenile.  I definitely do not see E-hell in that light. :)

gellchom

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2010, 04:42:12 PM »
MissyMa'am, I'd like to thank you for starting this thread.

I agree with you.  And in no way did I see you calling for "kid glove" posts, just reminding us all to make the polite choice.

It's not only wording of posts.  Sometimes I see posts (and I am not thinking of anyone in particular) that seem to be contrarily misstating others' positions, ignoring qualifiers and explanations.  Other times, I see people grabbing on to some theoretical exception to some general rule and insisting that an unlikely but possible circumstance undercuts others' views in favor of their own.  And some miss the part about the OP asking how to handle something as nicely as possible, and respond with a "Cut 'em off!  You don't need toxic people in your life!"  Perhaps the writers of those posts just didn't read carefully, or missed earlier posts.  But sometimes I get the feeling that they are sort of spoiling for a fight, and it kind of hijacks the thread for everyone, in addition to being rather mean to the person whose post they are misrepresenting.

But this all sort of begs a meta-question that we deal with a lot, doesn't it?  Whether the rules of etiquette define good manners, or whether they are a starting point, potentially modifiable by "local rules" or circumstances, and sometimes insufficient in themselves to be mannerly.  Conversely, people disagree whether every violation of an etiquette rule is by definition "rude," whether all violations are equal, or if there are, to use a rough analogy, felonies, misdemeanors, and defenses.

To me, the rules of etiquette are real and important, but they are like the rules of grammar: not inviolable, but you have to know what you are doing before breaking them.  I am not of the "Well, it's correct according to etiquette, so if anyone is upset, it's their problem" school of thought. 

Including on these boards.

In my opinion, strict adherence to the rules of etiquette does not make for good manners any more than strict adherence to the rules of grammar make for good writing.

Ms_Shell

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2010, 04:50:03 PM »
I think Aeris and noexitwounds are sayig the same thing, and I agree with both of you.  Take reasonable care with your posts not to be directly mean/insulting, but you can't please everyone.
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high dudgeon

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #42 on: December 16, 2010, 05:18:14 PM »
MissyMa'am, I'd like to thank you for starting this thread.

I agree with you.  And in no way did I see you calling for "kid glove" posts, just reminding us all to make the polite choice.

It's not only wording of posts.  Sometimes I see posts (and I am not thinking of anyone in particular) that seem to be contrarily misstating others' positions, ignoring qualifiers and explanations.  Other times, I see people grabbing on to some theoretical exception to some general rule and insisting that an unlikely but possible circumstance undercuts others' views in favor of their own.  And some miss the part about the OP asking how to handle something as nicely as possible, and respond with a "Cut 'em off!  You don't need toxic people in your life!"  Perhaps the writers of those posts just didn't read carefully, or missed earlier posts.  But sometimes I get the feeling that they are sort of spoiling for a fight, and it kind of hijacks the thread for everyone, in addition to being rather mean to the person whose post they are misrepresenting.

But this all sort of begs a meta-question that we deal with a lot, doesn't it?  Whether the rules of etiquette define good manners, or whether they are a starting point, potentially modifiable by "local rules" or circumstances, and sometimes insufficient in themselves to be mannerly.  Conversely, people disagree whether every violation of an etiquette rule is by definition "rude," whether all violations are equal, or if there are, to use a rough analogy, felonies, misdemeanors, and defenses.

To me, the rules of etiquette are real and important, but they are like the rules of grammar: not inviolable, but you have to know what you are doing before breaking them.  I am not of the "Well, it's correct according to etiquette, so if anyone is upset, it's their problem" school of thought. 

Including on these boards.

In my opinion, strict adherence to the rules of etiquette does not make for good manners any more than strict adherence to the rules of grammar make for good writing.

I guess we'll just have to continue to strongly disagree on these things, as we do on so many other topics. As long as we can continue to do so politely, it's all good!  ;D

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #43 on: December 16, 2010, 05:19:13 PM »
I have an example from a recent thread which got heated and then locked. The comments are rephrased by me, but in essence this is the exchange that took place:

OP describes incident:
We were doing (X), then (Y) happened. This ruined the thing (X) we were doing.

One poster says:
Can't you just to (Z) to fix it!?

Other poster says:
I agree with that. How is it possible that you don't know anything about (Z)? I've never studied (X-thing) and I'm pretty sure I could figure out how to do (Z).


IMO, the other poster's post was unnecessarily harsh. There's no need to insinuate the OP is unskilled/stupid. It would have been better to say something along the lines of, "I agree, would it be possible to fix the problem with (Z)? I've had a crack at it myself, and I don't find it too difficult".  

Nurvingiel

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Re: Etiquette on the etiquette board
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2010, 05:40:07 PM »
To answer your question from the original post MissyMa'am, I would say everything I write on this board to someone's face, given that happy opportunity. I say "happy" here since 99.99% of the posters on this board seem so genuine and nice that I think it would be lovely to meet you. :)

Sometimes I say, "I think you're being too sensitive about this" or "I think you're reading too much in to the situation". These are statements I make in real life when I hold these opinions.

If someone shared a situation in which they answered their cell phone while driving or in some other venue I feel is inappropriate, I would ask them why they answered their phone at the time. If one doesn't have time to talk, one should not answer one's phone. I would nicely point this out.

I think Aeris and noexitwounds are sayig the same thing, and I agree with both of you.  Take reasonable care with your posts not to be directly mean/insulting, but you can't please everyone.
I agree. All a person can do is be polite and respectful to others. This will usually mean that people aren't offended.
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