Conflicts of personality on the rise again at SM

Discussion in 'Site Announcements' started by melbo, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    We tend to run in cycles around here and I'd like to discuss something as seen from my perspective. This perspective is my own and is crystal clear to me only so keep that in mind. I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now and have composed and deleted a response to ghrit's Burnout TOTM a few times and ultimately feel it's better a standalone thread.

    It's occurred to me that an online community is very much like an IRL (In Real Life) community in many ways. Think of a small suburban neighborhood development. 20 families all live on the same street which gives them a commonality by geography as a start. The individuals who make up this community have a typical suburban mix of occupations.

    Let's look at 5 individuals (he and she used randomly):
    • Jones is a commercial electrician and member of the IBEW union
    • Smith has a landscaping business
    • Rogers works for a software company
    • Johnson works at a local manufacturing plant
    • Wilson is a cop
    Jones and Johnson are both 'hands on' people since they work with things that you can touch. They work regular schedules and are generally home by the same time every day. Imagine that they've also adopted the culture of their trades which can be coarse and rugged. Both have large dogs that bark some.

    Smith inherited the family landscaping business. She's never really worked dirt by hand herself but knows how to run her 6 crews. She stays busy securing new business, making sure materials arrive where they need to and checking the quality of completed jobs. Her yard is the most sparsely landscaped (perhaps slightly ragged) one in the sub. Her oversized truck is often in the driveway during the day. She has an annual income of 2x the others.

    Rogers is a programmer who works from home. His job is to QA the code for his company's flagship product which is under constant development. He has no set hours and since his girlfriend has taken a job overseas, has settled into a routine of working until 3:00 or 4:00AM and sleeping until noon or 1:00PM. He has (was GF's) an exotic hairless cat which sleeps in a pink little hammock in a front window most days. He drives a Prius (was GF's). His motorcycle hasn't been out since he moved in and is under a tarp in the garage.

    Wilson has been a cop for 14 years. She works swing shifts so you never can tell when she's awake or asleep on a given day. Her off-work interests are outdoor power sports and her back yard is full of dirt bikes, snowmobiles and a toy hauler. This is technically against the rules of the HOA but no one seems to say anything about it. Wilson rarely interacts with the rest of the 'civilians' (her word) in the neighborhood. She is a staunch conservative and watches Fox News (only).

    I hope that you can visualize each of the individuals above from my brief descriptions.

    thinks Rogers is a libtard fag (her words) and secretly wishes she could strangle that gawd-awful cat. Johnson thinks Smith should get a real job since she obviously has time on her hands (truck in driveway all day) and her yard needs work. Johnson drinks beer with Jones from time to time but can't get over the fact that he's a Union guy and their conversations are usually based on (differing) political opinion. The mix of people is about as dissimilar a bunch as you could create considering the separate opinions, interests and occupations of each of the members of the community.

    They all wave to each other when they pass on the road and smile at each other at the grocery store. When forced to sit in the same room waiting for an appointment, they make small talk as required and find something communally safe to bitch about - maybe those jerks who live in the apartment building down the street or the new town Mayor.

    Unless one is close enough to someone to have seen them naked, their perception of that individual is probably only partially true at best and often totally incorrect. Through one's own eyes, almost everything that others do should be done the way that they do it. From my POV, I can't imagine why anyone could be so blind as to believe _________ when it's clearly propaganda, etc.

    So what does this have to do with SM?
    We are a community with the same mix of oil and vinegar in our membership. Some of us are haves and some of us are have nots. Some have religious affiliations while others do not. To some, survival means backwoods cabins and to others it means having some spare supplies on hand if the power goes out for 2 weeks next winter. Some of us are strongly associated with a political party or movement and others have no interest. Some of us are experts in an area that others aren't even interested in hearing about, let alone learning. Some work manual labor, some work with their brains, etc. We're a melting pot of dissimilar people who are tied together by a couple of common interests which are probably loosely categorized as 'survival' and a close second might be 'firearms'. The rest of our lives are as different as those in the fictitious neighborhood above.

    Where we most greatly differ from an IRL community is that in an online community, the rules of civilized communication seem to have degraded. Perhaps because we have no fear of getting our noses punched for getting in another's face, the tone has cranked a few notches more towards nasty. There are no pleasantries that preface our replies in what should be a healthy discussion or debate (I see your point but...., I respect your opinion but want to show you how I've arrived at mine..., Well stated. However..., You make some great points but I can't agree with...).

    Because we can hide behind a keyboard and log off anytime we want, we're able to lob verbal grenades at others whom we disagree with (or dislike for whatever reason) with zero (immediate) repercussions. This needs to improve.

    We're going to move to a zero tolerance policy regarding ad hominem attacks effective immediately. Our threads are full of examples of this and it's going to stop. I will be contacting members privately when this is seen or reported with a link to this thread. Don't get all bent like you've been called out, just realize that it means that I think you're close to what we're talking about here.
    An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, means responding to arguments by attacking a person's character, rather than addressing the content of their arguments. When used inappropriately, it is a fallacy in which a claim or argument is dismissed on the basis of some irrelevant fact or supposition about the author or the person being criticized.[2]Ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, for example, when it relates to the credibility of statements of fact or when used in certain kinds of moral and practical reasoning.[3]

    Abusive ad hominem usually involves attacking the traits of an opponent as a means to invalidate their arguments. Equating someone's character with the soundness of their argument is a logical fallacy.​

    We're also going to encourage use of the ignore feature. If you can't stomach another members style or quirks, please stop PMing me like I'm the site's interpersonal relationship counselor and just use the forum's ignore function. It works and will pretty much remove that person from your view:
    (sorry @Bear, just an example)

    Some of us have strong ways of expressing ourselves and don't realize it. Let's try not use a hammer when a tooth pick will suffice. Let's stop beating the same tired old drums over and over and over again. Some of us need to realize that we're boasting rather than teaching. Some of us need to generally tone down our words and phrasing so we don't come across as belligerent bullies toward others. Some of us need to realize that we have quirks that we don't 'see' but they can be annoying to those around us. We need to realize that we're viewing the world (and SM) through our lens and it's associated biases.
    I know we can do better. We have to.

    TL;DR Stop attacking other members, & be nicer when interacting at SM
    Gesko, alaskachick, Marck and 28 others like this.
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    A few more things have come to me since hitting send on the above.

    Just as we need to watch the way we address others in conversation, debate and discussion at SM, we also need to get some thicker skin. Others are going to have different opinions than ours and are going to find ways we could improve a project we might be working on. We can't take criticism (so long as its constructive) as a personal attack. Too many times we see a reply we don't like and either lash out in defense of our position or take our bat and ball and go home. It's a discussion forum... Can you imagine how boring it would be if 100% of our new threads only received a like by the rest of the members?

    I've heard that a lot of our members perceive me as too tolerant in moderating SM. I was going through a team building exercise last week at a Regional work meeting and had to define myself by my interests (there was more to it but I'll spare you the corporate corniness). The problem is that I can generally relate to almost everyone here which is why a lot of you don't bother me like you might bother others. Not like I've reached a zen-like state of peace or anything but my interests don't really fit any standard demographic so they're worthy of noting. Many of them should be at odds with each other. I really don't have an identity and I suppose I should organize myself and become something someday.

    I'm a Libertarian an-cap, former construction worker turned small business owner who's noodled his way into a great corporate gig as a slacker professional. I'm a Christian who cannot stand most religion. I'm a Linux nerd who enjoys black rifles and high end body armor, a physically fit middle aged male who consumes a daily ration of Tequila. I've had long hair and been shaved slick, had a braided goatee and also been clean shaven. I read both pulp fiction and classical literature interchangeably. I prepare for disasters that include EMP but store some of my wealth in bitcoin. I'd wear those funny toe shoes while riding a Harley to a rodeo.

    Good, bad or indifferent, this is me and how I see SM and the world through my lens.

    -edit: This thread was not meant to be a monologue and replies/discussion are welcome :)
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
    Gesko, Hanzo, alaskachick and 19 others like this.
  3. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Heck, I'll break the ice...SM is such a good community because of our diversity. How many places (IRL or otherwise) can one go to bounce ideas off of professionals and laymen and get a bunch of good ideas out of the intercourse? Maybe even learn a better way?

    Personal interaction never has been a forte of mine, but if someone feels they need to be nasty or vulgar I just tend to ignore them. No buttons required - joe blow is at it again - I'll find something else interesting. If joe just is having a bad day, hey, he's human. If it gets to the point of where he is being a jerk on every thread, then he gets "the button."

    Enough of my noise...have a good day!
  4. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    What I have done on the net is walk away for a while.
    No one ever changed someones mind during an internet argument/flame war.
    Marck, Ganado, melbo and 4 others like this.
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I tend to edgy every year as hunting and vacation time come up. (I take all my vacation as hunting trips, or sick time).
    I know I need down time, me time.
    I seem to have a piece of every argument, lately, so perhaps I need to take my bat and ball and go home. :(
    I do not know this form of speech "ad homonim" or whatever it is called. I just try to be honest, both with you folks and more so with myself.
    If being true to myself, and speaking plainly is a problem, then perhaps I have overstayed my welcome.
    alaskachick and Marck like this.
  6. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    This is how a forum dies. Good members with Good intensions, Strong opinions, Thin skins, and the impersonal nature of writing to a forum. Nobody knows your intent, because there is no inflection in your writing, no one knows if your are serious or kidding until it gets out of hand. People leave the forum, or get fed up with PC and just stop contributing to the content. It is best for members to just be adult. Get caught not being an adult and you need to take time for some introspection. It's your responsibility, not the Mods, Admin or your fellow forum members to point this out. Some might think it is cute to post controversial threads or replies to posts, but all it does is stir up more BS. Some like to troll their own forum, and that adds another level of BS.

    People leave, and never come back.

    Lost in all this is what I see SM being. A place for folks to learn about prepping and survival. All the other stuff is diversionary.
    Marck, Tully Mars, CATO and 12 others like this.
  7. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Nicely written @melbo
    (no worries about using me for the example ;) )

    Here are some of my thoughts....

    Weighing in (publicly on a forum like this) with a healthy balance of a helpful perspective and a respectful vocabulary after a thoughtful pause to make sure our response actually contributes in a positive manner is a good skill to continually check and hone.

    I suppose the intensity of that response can range from a megaton yield that obliterates or humiliates the OP to a thoughtful post that encourages a productive civil "conversation" where both or all can actually learn something...

    If nothing else... that "encouragement" validates that we are mature and open enough to actually believe that there is another opinion, idea, approach, belief ... etc.. that they actually exist out there... just like the responding member's own views... and that it is just as valid, real, helpful, believable etc... at least to the OP's and maybe a few other members...

    Yes... I know we all have our own styles and beliefs... and we do well to feel strongly about them... I certainly have mine... Yet, I don't know that we add value when we let those trample on the styles and beliefs of others... not exactly the best way to encourage open communication and an honest exchange of true ideas, beliefs and practices.... a really good way to learn something new....

    Pausing at the mirror every once in a while and honestly critiquing that person looking back is a good exercise... can be brutal at times, or reassuring... or downright hilarious... (yes I have frowned, smiled and laughed at myself in the mirror)... that's not even the hardest part... the hardest part is then making a change... continually getting better opening up your mind and behaviors... opening up yourself to a different perspective, belief, opinion, approach... Growing!

    Jack Nicholson had a great line in the "Bucket list"... "Never pass up a chance to go to the bathroom, ........ and Never trust a fart"
    Hey... if you know you are like that... then go to the bathroom when have the chance and definitely... don't trust your farts!

    You don't need to grab your bat and go away... How about sticking around and doing the hard thing... Force yourself to wear another's shoes and learn something... or how about being just a bit more open minded about others and their opinions...

    On that note... I suppose in my real life and in my cyber life... I've had to endure those megaton hitting, sneak attacking, back stabbing, false cracking, humiliating, condescending, disrespectful, calloused, prejudiced, downward looking comments and conversations... Learned something from each one ... and more importantly about each person who delivered them... Thickened my skin and hardened the emotions a bit... not so that I could survive to lash back... but so I could endure that and learn whatever I could....

    Besides... on balance.... all the amazing kind words, compliments, thought provoking challenges and simple likes... far far outweighed those....

    So I think I've rambled on about my thoughts... I've read a few things here... even quite recently... that have utterly surprised me and disgusted me about how we treat each other... I know we are Monkeys... but this is not "Jungle Rules"... We don't eat our young... at least I don't...

    and... If a member or any members feel(s) I am ever out of line on anything I've said here... please feel free to call me on it... (openly or even a pm)... you'll do it respectfully I hope... or if not... and you decide to trust your fart tendencies... remember... that what ultimately comes out is on you not me... ;) .... I'll still treat you with the respect and dignity that I believe you deserve when I respond....

    Hope some of this makes sense... sure don't want to see anyone leave... staying over things like this is sometimes the harder but the right thing to do ;) (yeah... I have real problems with the philosophy behind the much celebrated practice of hara kiri and seppuku... Duh Duh Duuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh!.... shocking for a guy like me.... I know ;) )

    Have a great Friday all!

    Take Care and God Bless,

    alaskachick, Marck, CATO and 16 others like this.
  8. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Stick around @kellory

    alaskachick, Marck, Hanzo and 8 others like this.
  9. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    alaskachick, Marck and Bear like this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Folks, this is a call for introspection and self examination, NOT self flagellation in public. You do that in front of the mirror.
    alaskachick, Marck, AD1 and 6 others like this.
  11. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    What Bear said.
  12. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    I beg to differ with what has been said before me... we have personalities? I'm sorry I'm an Engineer, we deal in the speed of light, sometimes in a vacuum or not, electron flow, or is that hole flow, I forget.... I don't know, I'll try to be nice from now on.

    alaskachick and Bear like this.
  13. pearlselby

    pearlselby Monkey++


    I have always enjoyed your posts and your input.
  14. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I had a really great manager once advise me on this: "Don't ever let yourself be the only person in the room who doesn't know what you're bad at, someday they'll use it to blind-side you and knock you out of your position" He followed up with "If you can't see what you're bad at, ask your wife" Was really good advice and I perform the painful self introspective evals on a regular basis now. This particular guy also once said to me "Don't get stressed out that you find yourself continuing to have to remind people of trivial things. It's why we're here. If they didn't need that reminder, the company wouldn't need to pay us as managers" He was a really wise guy for his age. @Quigley_Sharps probably knows who I'm talking about ;)

    Agreed. We're not looking for kumbaya nor for confessions. I don't collect stamps on transgressions and all slates are clean as far as I'm concerned. What I'm attempting to address is the expectations for proper public discourse in open forum.
    • Show some respect.
    • Think before you reply.
    • Try to see things from the other persons shoes for just a second or two before you pass judgement.
    I have no delusions that we'll ever reach a point where everybody will hold hands and totally get along as we continue to circle the drain. I just want the nasty tone that tends crop up annually at SM to abate a bit. We're almost certain to have the same discussion a year from now...
  15. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Well said.
    Tully Mars, pearlselby and Bear like this.
  16. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Agreed and we're going to avoid that death that has come to many forums. (y)
    chelloveck, pearlselby, Bear and 3 others like this.
  17. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Right or wrong, I look at SM as @melbo's child. And us as adopted uncles and aunties of SM at a family gathering. Everyone isn't always going to agree with each other, but hey, we're family. Still gotta get along.

    As for speaking our minds, I think we should be able to speak our minds. We just need to be "nice" about it. Scratch that, civil is a better word. And if we can't say something nice or say it nicely, then maybe what we need to say can be tabled for later, when we can. I have been guilty of it in real life, as I admitted publicly here recently. It happens. And should it happen here, then the proper response should be made. "I'm sorry" can resolve a lot of conflict.

    Everyone has something to teach and share. I strongly believe that. I watched this comedian within that past couple of weeks. And I am sorry to say, I cannot remember his name. But part of his act revolved around, "We're not animals. We live in a community." when discussing conflict.

    I for one, hope everyone sticks around and continues to share. We can always be more civil with each other. And we should always have a thicker skin when we perceive someone isn't. Context is important and it is something we do not always get. One example I heard before was about a person who was very angry and upset and the people around where upset and maybe saying, "@ssh0l3!" They felt like one when they found out that person had just lost their child. A fate I wish on no one. So if we do not know or understand someone's context, maybe simply ask before we judge what we don't understand.

    One of the things I encourage in my tai chi classes is questions. Most times, no one wants to ask. But when someone has the courage to, invariably, they all benefit from it. Don't ask, don't tell. If they don't ask, I might not tell. If we don't ask, they might not tell us what they mean. And when we hazard a guess, or worse, judge someone by our guess, we are often both wrong and in the wrong.

    So thanks again, @melbo for the reminder. And to everyone else that cared to respond.
    Bear, pearlselby, Yard Dart and 2 others like this.
  18. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Thanks @Hanzo. Although initially my child, SM has grown beyond me through the generations of siblings, uncles and aunties, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I'm no longer the expert here. This place has always been about helping educate others.

    Families and siblings sometimes bicker like this. In a way it's a testament as to how close this community has become.
    Brokor, Bear, Capt. Tyree and 3 others like this.
  19. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    We have had a few disagreements in the past but I never noticed you being either abusive or exceptionally abrasive...hard-headed in not recognizing the truth as proclaimed by Pax, but nobody's perfect.

    I have noticed lately arguments of which I can only see one side. These lead me to believe that the individual or individuals must be of the small group that I have ignored in order not to be tempted to respond to their frequent malicious ignorance. I must say that, since doing so, I once again enjoy SM...just sayin'

    Tully Mars, pearlselby, Bear and 3 others like this.
  20. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    For those that have recently done this, please don't run off... All of my requests are from now and forward. The slate is clean :)
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