Discussions: keeping them sociable

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TyrianQuill
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Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by TyrianQuill »

 

As far back as I can remember, when I was growing up there were many a heated discussion, on many serious issues, held by various persons holding different opinions, who may have had different faiths and belief systems, and I am just trying to figure out (by what means) how those discussions were kept (by the participants) on-subject and sociable.

I remember some of the subjects being discussed were:

    • the death penalty
    • abortion
    • child rearing
    • farming
    • social mores
    • the economy
    • religion
    • faith
    • belief systems
    • the arts
    • the law
    • language
    • nationalism
    • government
    • militarism
    • racism
    • the sciences
    • ethics
    • medicine
    • manners
    • morals
    • wildlife conservation
    • the environment
    • politics
The subjects of the discussions I refer to of my childhood included local provincial national and world implications as part of the discussions, and they were openly discussed, even us children could participate, if we were so inclined to if we had a question or something to add to the discussion, but never did anyone go away huffed insulted defensive or angry, so I am left with wondering … what is the difference in discussions now a-days?
Why such divisiveness?
Why so much emotionalism?
Why is there such prevalence now-a-days towards the “attack and defend” mode?

And finally what would help (while participating in discussions) to keep discussions on-subject and sociable?
 
 
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place (George Bernard Shaw)
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fluffy
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by fluffy »

What sort of venue are you thinking about? Bad manners abound on internet forums because there is no personal accountability, but for the most part I see face-to-face discussions still maintaining a level of civility. Well, unless you're looking in on Parliament or the Provincial Legislature.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato
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TyrianQuill
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by TyrianQuill »

 
Yes 'fluffy',

Thank you, you are correct; I was remiss- I neglected to specify which discussion venue I was referring to, sorry about that.

Primarily, I was, and am, referring to within this Castanet discussion forum, but also to, I have found progressively over the passing of the years, that people are (now) more reactive than responsive, compared to what people used to be say 15 years ago and earlier.

Do you think it is mostly a difference in manners?

I have tried to examine what I am sensing and have noted differences in wording and use of language, some examples: declarative statements, misuse to basic terminology and words, emotionalism, ridicule and defensive posturing.

It is like the reason for discussion may have changed from (exchanging for the purpose to learn and gain understanding) sharing ideas, to entertainment. Or it may be a subtle difference in the underlying attitude from "we are in this together" so let's share, to almost a defence/combative posturing and approach.

I am still working on it and trying to figure it out, but thought I would share my thoughts here to see
what others might have to say about it ...
 
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place (George Bernard Shaw)
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Lady tehMa
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by Lady tehMa »

fluffy nailed the cause as lack of personal accountability, but I believe the problem is more widespread than the anonymity of the internet would account for.

IMO another root cause is the entitlement complex that pervades our society as a whole. Permissive parents have taught narcissism as a way of life. Lack of respect for the other is inherent when one believes that the world revolves around them, that only they hold the correct answers.
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Glacier
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by Glacier »

If we act differently anonymously than we do in full view, what does that say out our true nature?

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.
~ Indira Gandhi

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
~ Proverbs 11:3

Integrity: When you do the right thing even though no one is watching.
~ Anonymous
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Nom_de_Plume
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by Nom_de_Plume »

TyrianQuill wrote: 
And finally what would help (while participating in discussions) to keep discussions on-subject and sociable?
 

I thought that was the purpose of this particular area of the forum.
I know in the main area of castanet sometimes our conversations degenerate due to trolls, which is a shame, as I really enjoy discussing and debating certain topics.
Wasn't that why the riposte and parry was formed? Approved members are the only ones who can post in here.
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.
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GoStumpy
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by GoStumpy »

I do still have those types of conversations to people face-to-face. Perhaps we are far too often having conversations on open public forums like this one, where you're not just having a conversation with 1, 2, 3, 5 people, but absolutely anyone that comes in...

Having these conversations face to face you're there, you stay there, and you may get a bit heated but rarely does someone just walk out...

On here, people get to say whatever they want, arrogant, ignorant, hurtful, it all can be typed just as easily, and then they can just disappear from the conversation completely...

I love the idea of Ripose & Parry, those types of discussions can actually happen here with a LIMITED group of people.

Thanks for the thought provoking thread!
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TyrianQuill
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by TyrianQuill »

 
Yes, I very much like Riposte & Parry for the previously mentioned reasons.

Thinking back now, to when I was younger, one of the nails (as “Lady rehMa”) spoke of, was and is, that (now-a-days, for many) issues are regarded as being part of the person holding them. Opinions are considered a part of the person and so discussions are taken personally, were as, when and where I grew up, the issues were separate from personage, issues were topics or subjects for discourse. It was considered that from most discourses persons could and did then go away and gain a better understanding of the subject matter from researching. Issues subjects or topics were never regarded as closed ended declarations, but rather they were more like open ended concepts to investigate further …
 
 
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place (George Bernard Shaw)
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fluffy
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Re: Discussions: keeping them sociable

Post by fluffy »

I found it interesting that with the advent of the "like" feature on the Castanet forums that there was a considerable outcry for a "dislike" feature to be added as well. This got me thinking about internet hostility again and poking around the net for new articles and theories. There was an interesting study that found a marked decrease in hostility levels with the use of webcams that permitted eye contact between people. I thought this would be a logical extension of the "anonymity" factor discussed above but the article tends to lean more toward better communication through empathy and body language. Interesting read:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rudeness-on-the-internet
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato

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