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Passions in Poetry

The Circus is Coming to Town

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Ron
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25 posted 09-12-2008 10:05 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I can understand that if I had called Jaime ...

Jennifer, as I said in a previous post, the line between what someone says and who they are isn't always a clear one. In my opinion, your choice of adjective went over the line, in tone if not specificity. Frankly, I would strongly discourage that kind of characterization in CA, too, where the goal IS to talk about a person's style of writing. In a discussion forum like this, I think the focus should be on what someone has said, not the manner in which we "feel" they said it.

quote:
Now contrast my statements about Jaime’s post with those below ...

First, Jennifer, it was hard to take any complaint about disrespect seriously in that thread -- the entire thing was rife with it, and you certainly got in a few barbs of your own. More than a few, I think.

Second, we can't really contrast anything in this thread with that one because that's not in keeping with the relationship between them. That previous thread was the push. This thread, and I suspect more threads to come, are the pendulum.

Pendulums don't swing half-way.

quote:
Ron, I think that's far too simplistic ... Outside of the artificial environment of PiP I'd say that if you DON'T make an effort to judge someone actions by looking beyond the overt, then you are potentially missing out on a lot of life, and moreover likely to do substantial damage!

This is the kind of topic that deserves its own thread, moonbeam, and it certainly deserves more time than I have this morning. Suffice it for now to say that I believe intent only becomes important if you hope to predict future actions. Past actions have to stand on their own merit.

quote:
That's part of why your job here is very difficult. You have to apply rules mechanistically and that inevitably leads to "mistakes" and hurt when the person to whom the rules are applied doesn't fully realise the unenviable postion you are in.

I think you know better?

Rules, I think, are a bit like ethics. Good rules, like good ethics, lay out a road map that is the "most likely" path to the desired destination. Philosophers have tons of fun inventing new ethical dilemmas, but I still believe -- in the absence of absolute knowledge of right and wrong -- that doing the ethical thing in a sticky situation will usually lead to the best results. Ya gotta play the odds.

It's not much different with rules. If someone is hurt at PiP, it won't be because we applied the rules mechanistically, but rather because we made a mistake. Our rules are generally pretty flexible and open to interpretation (and re-interpretation). Indeed, I think that last thread got into trouble (does anyone here think it wasn't in trouble?) because I allowed myself to be enticed into interpreting our rules a little too loosely.

When push comes to shove, however, we still have to play the odds. Rules that have worked well for ten years can't be lightly dismissed.
Jaime Fradera
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26 posted 09-12-2008 10:14 AM       View Profile for Jaime Fradera   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jaime Fradera

On a somewhat unrelated subject, why hasn't the presumptive vice president elect had an abortion?

Friendship is for Life, if not Forever.

JenniferMaxwell
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27 posted 09-12-2008 10:29 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

It was the word boorish? Rant, meaning claptrap is ok but boorish meaning artless isn't? Ok then, thanks for setting me straight, Ron.

And, Jaime, I apologize most sincerely for calling your factually unsubstantiated inflammatory rant boorish. Please accept my heartfelt apologies for using Dr. Dictionary's Word of the Day "boorish" in my post.
JenniferMaxwell
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28 posted 09-12-2008 10:33 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Because Biden is a male.
Bob K
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29 posted 09-12-2008 02:10 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Mr. Fradera,

                 [Edited]  While I personally don't believe there is any case at all for calling Senator Obama a marxist, I am still curiously awaiting your ethically sourced and objectively presented case.  I certainly am willing to be won over by good data.  I am loyal to the facts here, and if you have facts to present about Senator Obama's marxist  identity I would be the first to congratulate you on breaking this story.

[Edited]  

     It is my hope that Senator Obama and Senator Biden win the election.  I have no particular love for Governor Palin.  I have no interest in her decisions on matters of personal choice for political reasons.   If my reasoning were not governed by politics, it would be governed by politeness.  Everybody doesn't agree with me, nor should they have to.

     Your willingness to bring up the issue of abortion at a time when you are being asked to account for making  what certainly appears like an ill founded smear on a presidential candidate certainly doesn't speed your attempt to make your case. [Edited]  

      I patiently await your presentation of an ethical, factual and convincing case.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Kaven  

[This message has been edited by Ron (09-13-2008 12:12 AM).]

moonbeam
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30 posted 09-12-2008 02:56 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

quote:
I think you know better?  

~chuckling~ Yes, finally I do Ron.  I know that just because you have the keys to the car it doesn't necessarily mean you're in total control of it, and that makes all the difference.  You have both my congratulations and sympathy  

The rest of your reply is a Pandora's box which I'll have to sit on till I have time to cope with fielding the contents.  Later.

M
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31 posted 09-12-2008 05:07 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


My initial opinion, and it definitely IS an opinion, is that the original post is twaddle and the subsequent claim that Obama is a Marxist is also twaddle, though I‘m willing to change my mind given sufficient evidence.

As far as politicians being fair game is concerned my opinion is that they should deserve the same respect in these forums that members are afforded - their words and actions should be fair game but personal attacks, based on things like skin colour, shouldn’t be tolerated.

Would this post be removed if Obama were a member here as well as a politician? As a politician am I open to personal attacks despite being a member?

I believe that respect shouldn’t be dependent on skin colour or vocation or whether you’re a member of a poetry website, it’s either applied universally or it’s not respect at all.

Essorant
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32 posted 09-12-2008 07:45 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

It sounds very lopsided when Jen's comment was removed for something that was not at all obvious, but Jaime's that is outrightly insolent gets to be published here without any censorship whatsoever?   What is going on?  

Bob K
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33 posted 09-12-2008 07:46 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Grinch,

           I tend to agree, but political speech is protected speech constitutionally, and disrespectful treatment of politicians is one of the prices that politicians pay and that private citizens do not have to pay.  I believe that's the way the legality of it runs, and I'd rather err on that side.

     I do tend to draw the line on attacks that I believe to be not only smears, but blatantly untruthful as well.  I feel that if somebody is actually distorting the truth, then that should be made as clear as possible to as many people as possible so that when the same source (once again) attempts to float something in the future, not so many people will be inclined to say, Hey, maybe there's something true about that! when there really isn't.  If the charge is, in fact, real, why, there should equally be a forum for actual proof— fair objective journalistically ethical and not tinged by left wing or right wing propaganda truth—so that the charges can be aired, examined and assessed.

     Fairness in these matters, and a decent set of ethics, is of absolute importance to keep from having the political process completely taken over by people who don't believe in the importance of getting as close to the truth as possible.  Keep in mind, for example, the wretched charges made against Senator McCain during the 2004 campaign, false charges, by the way, using racist attacks whose contents I will not detail.  False false false, all of them, and yet they apparently helped defeat the Senator in the primary election in South Carolina in 2004.

     While Senator McCain is not my man, I would not see him defeated on the basis of such slime.  I want to know about the issues.

     Pardon me, Grinch, while I climb down off this particular hobby horse.  As usual, I seem to have gathered splinters in particularly troublesome places.  Maybe they'll let some of the hot air out; I'll set the fan going, just as a precaution.  No smoking in this part of the house, either.

All my best and much of my second best, Bob Kaven
JenniferMaxwell
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34 posted 09-12-2008 08:39 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

To my mind the admins and mods lost the high ground as far as respect is concerned the minute they decided it was ok for a poster to use a racial slur because it was his opinion. What’s next, gay bashing, attacking a person’s faith or ethnic heritage?

Have to tell you, really don’t care much if I’m attacked or if my posts are deleted, small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but I am heartsick every time I think that something as offensive as a racial slur gets a pass on this site. The bar has been lowered, not just by the posters, but by those in charge.

Grinch
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35 posted 09-12-2008 09:05 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
I believe that's the way the legality of it runs, and I'd rather err on that side.


I can legally drive at 30mph past some schools Bob, sleep with a girl of sixteen and discharge a firearm in the comfort of my own home but so far I’ve managed to avoid doing all of them based on the simple principle that I believe that it isn’t a good idea. If I’m going to err I generally try to do it based on what feels right rather than what’s legal and I’ve a sneaky feeling that you’re not that different in that regard.

Attacking the person rather than their words or actions is one of those things that doesn’t feel right, it seems to me to be a pointless exercise with no redeeming merit which, even in the political arena, serves no useful purpose.

This site however is governed by a different constitution created by Ron, one that, up until now, I believed was based on respect and the principle that personal attacks were unacceptable. Ron has the right to set that particular bar as high or as low as he pleases but he’s also had the foresight to allow us to respectfully disagree. Which is where I came in.

To my mind if all politicians are fair game then members who are politicians are fair game, the only alternative I can see is to stoop to discrimination and afford politicians who are members an immunity to attack that all other politicians are denied. In which case you may as well go the whole hog, with or without lipstick, and base that immunity on race, sex, or sexuality, they‘re all examples of discrimination.

That's the end of my little speech, it probably won't make a difference but I had to say it because it felt right.

As ever - thanks for the chance to read and reply Ron.

Ron
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36 posted 09-13-2008 12:31 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
It sounds very lopsided when Jen's comment was removed for something that was not at all obvious, but Jaime's that is outrightly insolent gets to be published here without any censorship whatsoever?

And you think Jennifer's comments in previous threads weren't insolent, Essorant? Her comments then, like Jaime's now, stood because they were directed at political candidates.

quote:
As far as politicians being fair game is concerned my opinion is that they should deserve the same respect in these forums that members are afforded - their words and actions should be fair game but personal attacks, based on things like skin colour, shouldn’t be tolerated.


quote:
To my mind the admins and mods lost the high ground as far as respect is concerned the minute they decided it was ok for a poster to use a racial slur because it was his opinion. What’s next, gay bashing, attacking a person’s faith or ethnic heritage?


Or, heaven forbid, motherhood?

What you are asking me to do, guys, is to set the qualifications for the leaders of the free world. Pouffy hair is a valid qualification to ridicule, but sexual preference or skin color isn't? I certainly know the criteria I intend to use when voting, but I am not so arrogant as to think my criteria has to be yours. If you want to judge a person by the actions of their child or their minister, by all means, go for it. If you want to try to sway others, again, go for it. You won't sway me with those arguments, but neither will I try to silence you because I don't agree.

You are perfectly free to argue that the color of a man's skin should not be an issue. Others will argue that a candidate's family should be sacrosanct. Neither, in my opinion, should be summarily silenced, if only because forced silence is never an appropriate answer.

quote:
To my mind if all politicians are fair game then members who are politicians are fair game, the only alternative I can see is to stoop to discrimination and afford politicians who are members an immunity to attack that all other politicians are denied.

You're missing an obvious alternative to your alternative, Grinch. We could just refuse to accept any national politicians as Members here. Most couldn't pass the Q&A test any way.
Bob K
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37 posted 09-13-2008 02:04 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


I've gotten an occasional newspaper on the nose myself here for being out of line.  I don't always agree, but I believe that folks make a good faith effort to be even handed.  Because I'm a Liberal, I believe that free speech boundaries should be set widely enough so that even I am uncomfortable with them, so my own personal sense of what just and comfortable have to be confused by the whole area of dialogue.  If I'm not slightly disoriented, I'm probably not listening widely enough.

     I don't have to agree with everyone I listen to; in fact, I hope I don't.  But I do believe I should at least listen.  If I don't like what they have to say, then I can dispute them.  If they are speaking in what appears to me to be bad faith, I can ask them to present the basis for their point of view, so I can make a better determination and not simply dispose of them out of hand.

     I try to confine myself to reasonable politeness, but I fall short, and I like that Ron is there to offer a point of view on the nature of the discussion.  I am no more obligated to take Ron's word as absolute truth than I am my own—I certainly know I fall well short!—or anybody else's.  He does the best he can and faulting him for not being somebody more perfect or different than Ron is like faulting a net in a tennis match for being too high or too low at the point where it catches your serve.

     I do like the idea of criticizing Ron, because I think it helps him feel at the top of his form, and I like to think that it keeps us from being too subservient to authority.  I think we both learn from it, and that's all part of the way  groups process conflict.  It's a balancing act, group leadership, and it's very difficult both to  encourage free exchange and supply a safe environment in which that exchange can take place.  Part of the solution is to develop a sense of these things within the group itself, so that what appeals to Ron or to the other leaders really is of secondary importance.

     Blather, de blather, blah blah, blather, bluster bluster, ahem ahem ahem blah  ahem bluster blah ahem ahem ahem.  Feel free to quote me on that.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
moonbeam
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38 posted 09-13-2008 03:15 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Time and need to address poetry stops me from commenting at length which is kind of frustrating.  But for what it's worth I pretty much agree with Ron with a teensy weensy quibble.

I also agree with Bob's last post especially the last bit which I think gives a clue as to the line of argument that could be most fruitfully put to Ron.

Definitely more later.
Essorant
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39 posted 09-13-2008 11:55 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
Her comments then, like Jaime's now, stood because they were directed at political candidates.


You will condone then the publishing of outright personal insults and attacks on people based on them simply bearing the title " political candidates"?    In which way do you justify that kind of discrimination?  I don't think it is much different from having a website and condoning publication of personal insolence and attacks toward you Ron, simply because you have the title "Administrator", nor is it different in principle from doing so because of your race,  or religion, or sexuality, etc. How does one's title,  or anything for that matter, justify giving room to outright insults and attacks?   In my judgement it doesn't.  I certainly would not allow personal insults or attacks to be directed at Ron, if I had an interactive website such as Passions, and likewise I don't agree with the publication of such toward Obama or any other person at this one.  This is a family forum, and particularily the Alley is "Rated G"?  Far from it when we see this kind of garbage being accepted.  

JenniferMaxwell
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40 posted 09-13-2008 02:46 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Ess, you’ve made your point quite eloquently and helped me see the issue from a totally different perspective. Thank you. And your point about the Alley being a family forum “rated G” is well taken.

I’m as guilty as anyone in crossing the line, letting my emotions overrule my head and not according all the respect they are due regardless of their politics, beliefs, role, station in life, etc.. Your post was a real wake up call for me, hope others will also listen carefully and hear what you’re saying.

moonbeam
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41 posted 09-13-2008 06:33 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam



quote:
This is the kind of topic that deserves its own thread, moonbeam, and it certainly deserves more time than I have this morning. Suffice it for now to say that I believe intent only becomes important if you hope to predict future actions. Past actions have to stand on their own merit.

How did I guess you were going to say that!

It probably won't surprise you to hear that I don't quite see it like that, and I think past actions can always be redeemed (or otherwise) in the light of later analysis or a better understanding of a person's mental state.  So I am unclear as to what you mean by the phrase "have to stand on their own".  And you are right about the importance of intent in predicting future actions - but isn't that what we all consciously or unconsciously do constantly in our interactions with other people.  In short I see it as so self evident that trying to establish intent is not only important but crucial to happy relationships that I can only assume I am misunderstanding you.
quote:
Rules, I think, are a bit like ethics. Good rules, like good ethics, lay out a road map that is the "most likely" path to the desired destination.

Agree completely with that.
quote:
It's not much different with rules. If someone is hurt at PiP, it won't be because we applied the rules mechanistically, but rather because we made a mistake. Our rules are generally pretty flexible and open to interpretation (and re-interpretation). Indeed, I think that last thread got into trouble (does anyone here think it wasn't in trouble?) because I allowed myself to be enticed into interpreting our rules a little too loosely.

I was wrong to state that if someone is hurt at PiP it's just because of a mechanical application of the rules.  That can be the case I think, but you are also right, "mistakes", perhaps better called misjudgements, are I suppose made, although this is such a subjective area it would be a braver person than me who started to dabble in an arena where we are essentially talking about an interpretation of what is right and wrong.  Having said that, I am about to dabble!  With the strong caveat that what follows is just my opinion:
quote:
Indeed, I think that last thread got into trouble (does anyone here think it wasn't in trouble?)

~Raises hand tentatively~

I'm probably jumping right into a bear or wolf or moose trap here Ron, but since you asked the question I'll answer "yes" and "no".

Yes - because I think the thread had about run it's course and was drifting off topic way too often; no thanks to yours truly introducing the Jaime's threads I might add.  Having said that, I am not sure whether the mere fact that in a discussion forum the discussion wanders a little from the originating topic should warrant a moderator closing it down.  So maybe that "Yes" is actually a No in any case.

Now the real No.  No - because I think the reason you cited for the "troubled" state of the thread was both tenuous and also based upon a shaky recent moderating history.

I'll explain.  

The moderating history:

You already know from my comments here and my long e-mail to you, what I think about Jaime's two contentious posts.  While I think you are right about politicians and people in the public eye being "fair game" I also think Ess has a point.  

You make your bed and lie in it Ron.  

If you want to allow such outrageously inflammatory, unsubstantiated and frankly (in the case of the Hitler references) obnoxious posts to remain standing in the forum that's clearly your prerogative as moderator.  But then to get all precious about the rules when subsequent discussions in the febrile atmosphere thereby created, get heated, strikes me as a bit illogical.  And lest you say that they were different threads, I'd point out that the "relationships" between posters are often forged over a series of threads, as I believe was the case here.

These semantics over what is and isn't disrespectful to a public person miss the point.  I agree with Ess's view that it's not "nice" to say nasty things about anyone!  I agree with you Ron that public people are legitimate targets.  Two different points - irrelevant to the real issue here in the Alley, which is quite simply what level of unsubstantiated abuse you as moderator are going to tolerate given, what seems to me to be the perfectly predictable consequences of  allowing, for instance, completely unsubstantiated vicious attacks to remain.

If you are fool enough to leave your tuna smelling finger dangling in a pirana infested river, don't complain afterwards if it gets bitten off!


The tenuous reasons for closure of the thread:

I shook my head and bit my lip Ron when you said as part of your closing speech:

"In my opinion, however, discussion only works when everyone has a voice."

I'm all for that, but really reflect on what's been going on in the Alley and tell me with a straight face that most "decent" PiP people wouldn't be put off posting in a forum with posts like Jaime's.  I suspect you make the (admittedly unconscious) decision to exclude a large segment of PiP each time you let posts like that stand.  And although I blame you (sorry correction, not "you" - the whole moderation effort) in the Jaime cases, as a general point I think you are right to leave rigorous posts and replies.  

For instance Temptress made a recent originating post that was nothing more than an announcement that she was hacked off with the posters in Dark for not making more replies.  Sure, it was a kind of criticism of other PiP posters, it was also a complaint and an outburst of frustration and it led to quite a bit of ensuing friction every bit as fractious as what went on in the Palin thread.  And so what?

It was good.  It aired the issue.  People had their say in a reasonably "adult" way, and you didn't close the thread.  Quite rightly in my view.

The point is Ron, you are running a forum here for "flaming' and complainin'" (yeah, I know about the respectfully bit!).  You are not running a poetry forum.  And my own opinion is that in the Palin thread you did, in one sense, apply the rules mechanistically in that you suddenly decided that precisely the same rules on "personal attacks" should be applied there as in the poetry forums, despite that fact that it seems to me some considerable latitude had been shown previously.  

Imo (and I know you won't agree but anyway) there are very good and solid reasons for applying the "address the poem not the poet" rule absolutely rigidly in a poetry forum.  The reasons are pretty obvious and I won't recite them here.  However in a debating forum I'd contend that not only is it much more difficult to apply them consistently and rigidly, but it's also, up to a point, undesirable.

The reason is simple - in debate, as distinct from a poetry critique, it is (as you have said yourself) quite difficult to separate a criticism of someone words from a criticism of the person.  Or put another way, it's all too easy when the rhetoric becomes heated, to transfer the commentary on text to a commentary on person.  The judgement becomes one of opinion not fact and opinion is swayed by context and language.  

So that what happens Ron is you start to judge not the FACT of a personal attack or otherwise, but simply the ferocity of the language.

Alison said that what I said was insulting.  (Was she saying I was being insulting?)
I said that what someone said seemed hypocritical.  (Was I saying he was a hypocrite?)
Jennifer said that someone's words were boorish.  (Was she saying he was boorish?)
Mike accused Jennifer of conducting a smear campaign.  (Was he saying she was a gossip?)

The words were all strong.  The temptation to make a judgement of personal attack strong perhaps.

What you (Ron) do, in fact, is to make a subjective judgement about a poster's intent and motive, based upon the language that that poster uses!

And that's fine because at the end of the day you are moderating the forum and that's what you have to do.  The problem that I have with your closure of the Palin thread is that I think you did, to use your words, make a "mistake" in your application of the rules.  A misjudgement if you like.  I think there were perhaps a few instances where direct comments were made about another poster, but even in these instances the people involved sorted out their differences and moved on.  Throughout the thread emotions heated and cooled and people joined and people left.  But there were no outright childish tantrums, and no flaming, swearing or name calling.  In fact the discussion proceeded much as many debates I attended at university, except in a considerably more polite manner.  There are occasions Ron when I feel you act a little like a parent stepping in to stop a squabble between children, and perhaps sometimes it's justified - this time I felt it perhaps wasn't.  But, having said that, I thought that, for the reasons I mentioned above, it was no bad thing that the thread was brought to an end.

Well, you did ask!

M
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42 posted 09-13-2008 08:18 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Jaime did one thing right. He gave this thread the correct name, as it turns out
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43 posted 09-14-2008 05:42 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

You callin' me a clown Mike?! Heh.
Grinch
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44 posted 09-14-2008 07:38 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
We could just refuse to accept any national politicians as Members here.


You could indeed Ron, but isn’t that simply applying another shade of lipstick on the same pig? Discrimination, by any other name, smells just the same.

Ron
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45 posted 09-14-2008 11:47 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I'm all for that, but really reflect on what's been going on in the Alley and tell me with a straight face that most "decent" PiP people wouldn't be put off posting in a forum with posts like Jaime's.  I suspect you make the (admittedly unconscious) decision to exclude a large segment of PiP each time you let posts like that stand.

You may be right, Moonbeam, and I'll be the first to decry that as a real shame. These forums exist today because ten years ago a large handful of people were outraged over similarly inflammatory posts in another forum. I haven't forgotten the feeling it engendered. Those posts, however, were directed at groups of people, not individual candidates. I hope the difference will keep such posts from becoming pandemic. If not, frankly, I suspect our policies will have to be reexamined. I don't intend we become a soapbox for the fringe.

Having said that, however, your concern for excluding large segments of our community is one I share. And I think that's exactly what happens when they see people standing toe-to-toe in a verbal slug fest. It takes an usual person, I think, to willingly stick their hand into a hornet's nest. I don't want to limit our discussion to just unusual persons.

Grinch is concerned about the potential overlap between protected Members and unprotected political candidates. I'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Honestly, I'm not sure those kind of relationship can overlap, and make no mistake, that's what we're talking about: relationships. That's the difference between attacking a political candidate and another member of the community. The relationships are very different. The former, I believe, requires an adversarial bent to remain healthy. The latter cannot long survive the same adversarial atmosphere. Without respect for each other we stop being a community. Without tolerance of our diversity we cannot be friends.

"Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naïve, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best." Robert Heinlein

moonbeam
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46 posted 09-14-2008 03:57 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Odd you should mention how PiP started, I was only telling someone that the other day.

Believe me Ron I see exactly what you are saying, and ideally I think you are right.  Perhaps it's simply that I have yet to see a worthwhile political discussion that doesn't get a little heated and I'm just not sure that the Palin thread was at the "verbal slugfest" level.

A graph of heatedness might have been peaks and troughs around a horizontal median, rather than peaks and troughs around an upwardly inclined trend line.

But then again that's just my opinion and I might well be wrong.  

And the Heinlein quote.  I couldn't agree more.  It's regrettable that his list of exceptions seems to be lengthening by the decade.  Or maybe it's just me getting older!

Thanks Ron.
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