Author Topic: Thoughts on thoughts  (Read 15737 times)

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MrsJWine

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 04:52:37 PM »
I think most of us who posted were just trying to say, "Well, actually, what she did is perfectly understandable to me, and here's why."  I think she handled it very well, considering how angry she really was.  I admit I don't usually have that kind of self-control.

But I do think explaining why her internal reaction was OTT might be helpful to her in the future.  I know being angry over little things generally makes my life more stressful, so I do appreciate getting others' perspectives on such things.


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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 05:05:21 PM »
Perhaps it's just me, but sometimes you can tell by the way a person says something in a post that they are trying to paint a person in a certain light based on their feelings rather than on the actions of the individual.  Like Yvaine's example:
"My mean, nasty MIL has always hated me and today she proved it! She actually had the gall to sneeze while visiting me! She's obviously implying my house is dusty!"

Usually that's pretty transparent.  Sometimes what posters think is related to the intentions of the people involved, which can lead us to interesting assumptions.  While I believe you have the right to think whatever you want, if it isn't directly relevant to the etiquette in the situation, don't be surprised if someone comments on your thoughts. 

i.e.  I disagreed with someone in another thread when they said that a certain cartoon character-themed bathroom made assume things about a person.  They are free to think that, and even post it here.  But I am free to comment on that thought, aren't I?  And if they assumed something horrible about that person in that thought, I think I'm free to say that assumption is rude.

DangerMouth

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2011, 05:13:08 PM »
The problem I see is when basically the OP will name call someone on the board, or the tone is nasty, or the person they are talking about didn't really do anything wrong, but they clearly are basing their post on their personal feelings.

I think it's one thing to post something like, "Now, I really don't like my SIL. She acts like a SS, and thinks the world revolves around her.", and "My SIL is completely stupid and selfish."

ETA- And the recent thread that was locked fell into the latter, IMO.

I have to agree with this.  While unexpressed thoughts can't be rude, confessing them can reveal an attitude that is over the top and is coloring the poster's opinion.  I think in this case it's to the poster's benefit to have the attitude pointed out.

The recent thread that was closed seem to typify this, exactly. One or two, fine, but anytime an opinion expressed makes a dozen posters go "Whoa, really?", I think it's wide open and not inapproriate if that opinion becomes the topic.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 08:54:47 PM by DangerMouth »

hyzenthlay

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2011, 05:19:04 PM »
But then the OP was chastised for thinking the girl was stupid. 

Had she said the girl did something stupid, I would not have an issue with it. To classify the person entirely as stupid is, I think, over-reactionary.   Perhaps because I would have done the same thing, as would several other posters, and I do not think we, en-mass are stupid.

When people react widely out of proportion to my perception of an event it is sometimes an indicator that there is either background they have not divulged, or that the correct solution is not that another person was rude, but that the poster is over-reacting.

And I think it can be important to establish that point one way or another. If they are over-reacting, sometimes the etiquette answer really is 'get over it.' And sometimes it's that they will have to be proactive, or that they will need to minimize contact, because there isn't a proper way to ask the other person to change their behavior.

Bob Ducca

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2011, 05:22:25 PM »
On one level, anything a poster writes is up for discussion, so if a poster would rather people not comment on uncharitable thoughts, they shouldn't be a part of the OP.  I don't think it's ever required to include those unless they are clearly an influence in the situation, and if they are, they are fair game for comment.  When I start a thread, I realize that anything in my OP will be up for comment, so I'm pretty careful.  (Once I included a thought I had that greatly offended another poster, who let me know in her response, in no uncertain terms that she did not care for it at all.  Including that thought cost me her objectivity as a responder, so I try not to put too much in outside of the actions now.)

As a responder, though, I do try to stick more to the question posed in the OP, if in fact there is one.  I don't care for it when responders offer unsolicited advice or criticism outside the scope of the OP.  That being said, if the thoughts are in the OP, I can't blame anyone for responding.

Ms_Shell

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2011, 07:58:57 PM »
I guess for me, in relation to the other thread, another point is that calling names and insulting people is not the best way of expressing oneself on an etiquette board.  In this case I think it would be stranger if no one said anything, because all of us are actively trying to learn (or in the case of long time posters, teach) politeness and social mores.

Aventurine, I do understand your POV and I for one don't want to be the thought police, but at the same time I want to be able to comment on things that seem off in some way to me. 
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Dindrane

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2011, 08:42:54 PM »
I have no idea what thread anyone is talking about, but my personal opinion on all of this is that while thoughts alone are not rude...thoughts expressed on here can be.

Any time you give voice to a thought, even if you're talking about a person that nobody you're talking to knows, you run the risk of being rude.  I'm not going to lie and say I haven't said some pretty mean and nasty things about people to my select few confidants, but I still think it's important for anyone who wishes to live in a more civil world to sharply curtail that sort of thing.

So if I see a post where the OP has put in a lot of unflattering physical descriptions, for instance, that have nothing to do with the matter at hand...I am, at the very least, going to think less of the OP.  If it seems egregious enough, or related enough, I might call them out on it.  And in that case, I would in one sense be calling them out on their thoughts.  I wouldn't be calling them rude in the situation they described, but I would be calling them rude for the situation they were in on the thread.

I think what this boils down to, sometimes, is that there seems to be the idea that in order for rudeness to occur, it must have a victim (so to speak). It must be perpetuated against a person or a group of people.  But I don't think that's necessary at all.  It is possible to behave rudely even when nobody is directly harmed by that rudeness.

And since this is an etiquette board, and we are all presumably looking to improve our manners, I think it is absolutely fair game to point out when another poster is expressing ideas that are rude.  Even if they didn't express them anywhere but here.


TaylorMade

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2011, 08:51:11 PM »
ETA:  It's also very hard to hide such strong emotions.  Often, if someone is posting about how much trouble she's having with someone she thinks is stupid/low class/irritating/whatever, it occurs to me that her disdain is what's provoking some of the conflict, even if she thinks she's hiding it well.

This is what I believe.   When there is someone in my life that I dislike or have ill-thoughts about, no matter how polite or nice I 'think' I am being to the person, more than likely my internal thoughts are both coloring my view of the situation and provoking some of the conflict because some of those internal thoughts can come out in facial expressions, shorter sentences, etc.

Jan74

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2011, 08:54:15 PM »
ETA:  It's also very hard to hide such strong emotions.  Often, if someone is posting about how much trouble she's having with someone she thinks is stupid/low class/irritating/whatever, it occurs to me that her disdain is what's provoking some of the conflict, even if she thinks she's hiding it well.

This is what I believe.   When there is someone in my life that I dislike or have ill-thoughts about, no matter how polite or nice I 'think' I am being to the person, more than likely my internal thoughts are both coloring my view of the situation and provoking some of the conflict because some of those internal thoughts can come out in facial expressions, shorter sentences, etc.

Pod to this. I don't think less of anyone if they think so-and-so is [whatever terrible thing] but if you start with "This person is stupid, and always rude, and fat, and mean." then end with "So, was I the one rude to her/him?", the answer is probably "yes, you were the rude one".  ;D

kareng57

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2011, 09:46:24 PM »
But then the OP was chastised for thinking the girl was stupid. 

Had she said the girl did something stupid, I would not have an issue with it. To classify the person entirely as stupid is, I think, over-reactionary.   Perhaps because I would have done the same thing, as would several other posters, and I do not think we, en-mass are stupid.

When people react widely out of proportion to my perception of an event it is sometimes an indicator that there is either background they have not divulged, or that the correct solution is not that another person was rude, but that the poster is over-reacting.

And I think it can be important to establish that point one way or another. If they are over-reacting, sometimes the etiquette answer really is 'get over it.' And sometimes it's that they will have to be proactive, or that they will need to minimize contact, because there isn't a proper way to ask the other person to change their behavior.


IMO that's exactly it.  "This seemed to be a stupid thing to do" is one thing.  "This person was stupid" is something else - even if no one actually confronted the "stupid" person.

aventurine

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2011, 12:47:43 AM »
Just got back online.

What a good discussion.  I expected a lot of variables of opinion, and they're all valid.  I'm glad that most of us seem to agree that private thoughts are off-limits for policing, and I totally understand the view that when they color what's posted here, that they're valid for discussion.





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HollysCats

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2011, 02:18:29 AM »
It's not so much that the OP actually thinks the girl is stupid.  As I understood the story, she didn't even really know the girl.  However, the girl did a "stupid" thing, so the OP referred to her in her post as "stupid."  (Not the best choice of words, I can definitely agree to that.  In the house I grew up in, "stupid" is almost a cuss word.) 

But then the OP was chastised for thinking the girl was stupid.  The girl, by her own actions, had portrayed herself to the OP as stupid.   The OP still doesn't know her well enough to know if she's stupid or not.  She was just using a convenient word that described the girl's actions.  We were calling her down for an opinion she may or may not even actually hold.  She wasn't letting her opinion of the girl color her reaction to the situation.  Rather, the girl's actions created the OP's opinion of her, so telling her she was letting her opinion get in the way made no sense in that particular situation. 

The OP was essentially saying that anyone who would do what the girl did is stupid, or at least deserves to be called stupid.  She's not just calling that one person, who presumably isn't reading her post, stupid; she's calling an entire group of people (some of whom did read her post, since at least a few people said they would have done what the girl did) stupid.

DangerMouth

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2011, 12:53:58 PM »
It's not so much that the OP actually thinks the girl is stupid.  As I understood the story, she didn't even really know the girl.  However, the girl did a "stupid" thing, so the OP referred to her in her post as "stupid."  (Not the best choice of words, I can definitely agree to that.  In the house I grew up in, "stupid" is almost a cuss word.) 

But then the OP was chastised for thinking the girl was stupid.  The girl, by her own actions, had portrayed herself to the OP as stupid.   The OP still doesn't know her well enough to know if she's stupid or not.  She was just using a convenient word that described the girl's actions.  We were calling her down for an opinion she may or may not even actually hold.  She wasn't letting her opinion of the girl color her reaction to the situation.  Rather, the girl's actions created the OP's opinion of her, so telling her she was letting her opinion get in the way made no sense in that particular situation. 

The OP was essentially saying that anyone who would do what the girl did is stupid, or at least deserves to be called stupid.  She's not just calling that one person, who presumably isn't reading her post, stupid; she's calling an entire group of people (some of whom did read her post, since at least a few people said they would have done what the girl did) stupid.

You know, if it was just the 'stupid' comment, it might have passed with only a remark or two. But "stupid", plus "I wanted to scream at her" plus "I didn't trust the waiter to actually give me a fresh burger" that caused a lot of posters to think the OP was over-reacting.

All and all, I don't think the closed thread is a good example of thought-policing, as there was much more going on than one offhand 'stupid' comment. It strongly reminded me of threads where the OP was rude, but looking for validation because of another's rudeness. The OP wasn't rude in this case, but threw in so much extraneous stuff that was hard to ignore. I'm with Deb1000Faces. If you want a question answered, ask it as clearly as possible.

That thread could have gone:

OP: Waiter served my burger while I was away from the table. Tablemate opened my bun, was she rude?

Other P's: Yes, No , Maybe...

Yvaine

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2011, 12:58:09 PM »
It's not so much that the OP actually thinks the girl is stupid.  As I understood the story, she didn't even really know the girl.  However, the girl did a "stupid" thing, so the OP referred to her in her post as "stupid."  (Not the best choice of words, I can definitely agree to that.  In the house I grew up in, "stupid" is almost a cuss word.) 

But then the OP was chastised for thinking the girl was stupid.  The girl, by her own actions, had portrayed herself to the OP as stupid.   The OP still doesn't know her well enough to know if she's stupid or not.  She was just using a convenient word that described the girl's actions.  We were calling her down for an opinion she may or may not even actually hold.  She wasn't letting her opinion of the girl color her reaction to the situation.  Rather, the girl's actions created the OP's opinion of her, so telling her she was letting her opinion get in the way made no sense in that particular situation. 

The OP was essentially saying that anyone who would do what the girl did is stupid, or at least deserves to be called stupid.  She's not just calling that one person, who presumably isn't reading her post, stupid; she's calling an entire group of people (some of whom did read her post, since at least a few people said they would have done what the girl did) stupid.

You know, if it was just the 'stupid' comment, it might have passed with only a remark or two. But "stupid", plus "I wanted to scream at her" plus "I didn't trust the waiter to actually give me a fresh burger" that caused a lot of posters to think the OP was over-reacting.

All and all, I don't think the closed thread is a good example of thought-policing, as there was much more going on than one offhand 'stupid' comment. It strongly reminded me of threads where the OP was rude, but looking for validation because of another's rudeness. The OP wasn't rude in this case, but threw in so much extraneous stuff that was hard to ignore. I'm with Deb1000Faces. If you want a question answered, ask it as clearly as possible.

That thread could have gone:

OP: Waiter served my burger while I was away from the table. Tablemate opened my bun, was she rude?

Other P's: Yes, No , Maybe...

Well, I think it needs one more crucial piece of info--tablemate thought it was hers--but yeah, sometimes a poster might get a clearer answer with less detail added.

DangerMouth

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Re: Thoughts on thoughts
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2011, 01:06:24 PM »
It's not so much that the OP actually thinks the girl is stupid.  As I understood the story, she didn't even really know the girl.  However, the girl did a "stupid" thing, so the OP referred to her in her post as "stupid."  (Not the best choice of words, I can definitely agree to that.  In the house I grew up in, "stupid" is almost a cuss word.) 

But then the OP was chastised for thinking the girl was stupid.  The girl, by her own actions, had portrayed herself to the OP as stupid.   The OP still doesn't know her well enough to know if she's stupid or not.  She was just using a convenient word that described the girl's actions.  We were calling her down for an opinion she may or may not even actually hold.  She wasn't letting her opinion of the girl color her reaction to the situation.  Rather, the girl's actions created the OP's opinion of her, so telling her she was letting her opinion get in the way made no sense in that particular situation. 

The OP was essentially saying that anyone who would do what the girl did is stupid, or at least deserves to be called stupid.  She's not just calling that one person, who presumably isn't reading her post, stupid; she's calling an entire group of people (some of whom did read her post, since at least a few people said they would have done what the girl did) stupid.

You know, if it was just the 'stupid' comment, it might have passed with only a remark or two. But "stupid", plus "I wanted to scream at her" plus "I didn't trust the waiter to actually give me a fresh burger" that caused a lot of posters to think the OP was over-reacting.

All and all, I don't think the closed thread is a good example of thought-policing, as there was much more going on than one offhand 'stupid' comment. It strongly reminded me of threads where the OP was rude, but looking for validation because of another's rudeness. The OP wasn't rude in this case, but threw in so much extraneous stuff that was hard to ignore. I'm with Deb1000Faces. If you want a question answered, ask it as clearly as possible.

That thread could have gone:

OP: Waiter served my burger while I was away from the table. Tablemate opened my bun, was she rude?

Other P's: Yes, No , Maybe...

Well, I think it needs one more crucial piece of info--tablemate thought it was hers--but yeah, sometimes a poster might get a clearer answer with less detail added.

Yes, exactly. In the case of the other thread, it sounded like the OP never considered that the girl thought the burger was her own. But that would come out with further discussion, in a lot less volatile manner.

At the same time, I often give up on threads where posters have to play 20 questions with the OP, and the story keeps changing as it emerges  :P