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Discussion: netiquette (was re: young people)
unto the merry rose, from melys, greetings!
i've been sitting on this letter for a week or so now, watching
accusations of offensiveness and discourtesy swirl around the list, and
i've finally got it into sufficiently coherent form to post. there's a
fair amount of verbiage here that some people will find only peripherally
related to the list; i think netiquette is list-related because the list
is on the net, but i'm aware that some people would disagree. if you're
one of them, you can stop reading here... :)
scott law (i'm sorry, i zapped your sca name) wrote:
> I think the lady thought that since this is a SCA list that people
> should be expected to act with courtesy. Is it so unreasonable to
> expect a public apology for something which was publicly aired? While
> shunning is at times worthwhile, should an attempt at correcting the
> behavior be tried first?
he didn't offend "the public" - he made a public remark which offended one
person, who then tried to discipline him in public for her personal
indignation. parents occasionally use that form of discipline on their
children; imho, for one adult to attempt to use it on another is
insulting, because it implies that the recipient of the attempted
discipline is incapable of judging what may or may not be said in public.
small children are subject to this form of discipline because they're not
old enough to know what one says and doesn't say; to assume the same of an
adult is in itself discourteous.
if the lady in question found his remarks offensive to her personally, she
had every right to contact him IN PRIVATE and express her discomfort. to
say that she should "attempt to correct his behavior" assumes both that
she has authority over him as an individual and that she has an
authoritative standard for appropriate behavior in general.
his remarks were not directed at her, and did not seem to be an
intentional insult to her. nor were they about her (and i make the
assumption here that she isn't one of the teenagers in question; if i am
in error, please correct me), and were not slanderous in nature. it seems
to me that she took offense at his remarks because she didn't share his
point of view, and expected him to apologize for expressing a perspective
which did not match her own.
(furthermore, the opinions for which she was demanding an apology were HER
INTERPRETATION of his opinions, and my interpretation of the same post was
distinctly different. i'm not trying to claim that my interpretation is
any more valid than her interpretation; i suspect that if we investigated,
we'd find that his actual opinions were a third thing altogether.)
it's really easy to read a posting on the internet, from someone you may
or may not know, usually with none of the verbal/visual cues we use to
add meaning to face-to-face conversations, and come up with an
interpretation that differs wildly from the poster's original intent. and
it's easy to take advantage of a public forum and turn it into a soapbox
(which i will freely admit is exactly what i'm doing here *wry grin*).
the combination of both leads to flame wars, people leaving lists, and
other undesirable consequences.
courtesy is as necessary on the 'net as in any other medium. a
fundamental part of netiquette is acknowledging that differing viewpoints
and differing interpretations of viewpoints will lead to offense being
taken where none is intended. as such, it necessitates making the extra
effort both to give people the benefit of the doubt and to not take
advantage of a public forum to make a personal point which would be more
appropriately kept private.
this is a public list. we all have different points of view. if someone
offends you, if someone posts something you feel is inappropriate, that's
not between you and the list - it's between you and the poster, and
should be kept there.
most of the people here are courteous, chivalrous individuals, and if told
in a calm and rational manner that they're given offense they will try to
either clear up the misunderstanding if one exists or refrain from doing
so again out of sheer consideration of the other person's sensibilities.
everyone on this list is human; if slapped on the wrist in public by
someone with no clear authority to do so, we're a lot less likely to
actually listen to the point of view behind the slap, regardless of how
valid it may be.
i like this list. it's a lot more adult and sane than some of the lists i
read professionally, and i like to think that's because we are, through
force of habit, more aware of the need for courtesy and chivalry in every
aspect of life. in my opinion, there is more discourtesy in assuming
intentional offense where none is intended, and particularly in using the
list as a bully pulpit to add weight to a personal opinion, than in any of
the remarks or habits i've seen described as "offensive" these past couple
*whew* i'd better get sappy the soapbox back to the rialto before they
notice he's missing. ;) i don't know whether this is an appropriate
discussion topic for the list itself - it touches on both chivalry and the
merry rose, which i think are list-related albeit self-referential, but
it's predicated on the vagaries of the medium, which distinctly aren't
list-related. so - flame me in email, debate me wherever you see fit. :)
firstname.lastname@example.org lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'intrate!
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