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Author Topic: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?  (Read 4187 times)

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Offline Sabby

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2014, 11:39:51 PM »
Simply put the explanations I give are coming off as "Insane Troll Logic" because you have a totally different set of life experiences than I do Sabby.

It has nothing to do with that, it's the choice of words you use to define spirituality. They are all either very subjective or do not have any descriptive power. It is not a good definition.

It has nothing to do with conflicting values or an unwillingness to listen, I simply cannot accept a definition worded in this way.

Offline Ironwolf85Topic starter

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2014, 11:40:32 PM »
But when one side says, "this unverified, unsourced Bronze Age book is the ultimate truth, our interpretation of it is the only valid interpretation, and we won't accept anything the contradicts said interpretation, no matter how repeatedly replicated or well-sourced," well then, there's not much point in continuing the discussion.  There's no common frame of reference.

I run into this viewpoint all the time with some of the older more fundie members of my church. This is kind of what I was trying to point to, not explain spirituality. One is trying to explain red, the other blue, both are slightly colorblind, and have no frame of reference, and thus begin the flame wars.

I try to see both, but it also means I can't explain well to either.

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2014, 12:46:11 AM »
I remember seeing a movie once (Mask) where a young man was explaining the concepts of colors to a girl who was blind since birth.  He ended up having to use other senses in sort of a synesthetic sort of way: an ice cube 'felt blue', a freshly baked potato 'felt red', newly mowed grass 'smelled green' (go bury your face in a tomato plant sometime), and freshly dug earth 'smelled brown'.  There are certain things that really can't be completely defined except clumsily - love is another one that comes to mind.  Unfortunately, sometimes the saying is true:

Human speech is a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make the music of the stars.

Offline Sabby

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2014, 12:51:11 AM »
There are certain things that really can't be completely defined except clumsily - love is another one that comes to mind.  Unfortunately, sometimes the saying is true:


love
noun
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?

Online Blythe

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2014, 01:15:08 AM »
I just thought I'd see if anyone else is tired of encountering Toxic forums and hate because of your stance on an issue. I've been encountering a lot of bitter vitriol lately on the internet, with a lot of knee jerk reactions.

Most people that regularly frequent forums are probably familiar with this, strongly dislike it, and are probably tired of it (not going to say everyone--not everyone encounters this, but enough do to make it a passably common unfortunate phenomenon with forums). I'm just happy that E is not like that.

Especially on the topic of religion, which makes me kind of sad when I encounter people who refuse to even explore or think on the subject beyond proclaiming "religion is the opiate of the masses" or "it just holds man back". As if even thinking on it is somehow a threat to "science."

I think there's a lot of interesting topics discussing and thinking on this, and duzons of other topics too. but people are far too quick to resort to toxic language and old propaganda for any of the subjects to get off the ground.

I certainly wouldn't say religion is a threat to science. They are just very different breeds of creature--religion deals very much with unquantifiable subjective experiences, while science deals with objective quantifiable experiences. I'm an atheist, so it's probably an easy guess as to which one I'm more in favor of, but I've no particular issue with those who are religious or with religion in general. It just makes it a bit harder to debate when coming from such different frames of reference. I do enjoy learning about various religions, though; it's pretty interesting for me to learn about the history of various religious institutions. Lately I've been reading more about Islam and Shinto out of an academic interest in those faiths.  :-)

So bring forth thy stories of stupid or bitter flamewars.

I want to see who else will join me in saying I'm not going to spread toxic hate, stereotypes, or flame war on the internet anymore.

I think I can safely say, as a rational human being, that I don't intend to spread any toxic hate, stereotypes, or flame wars, although the "anymore" part doesn't apply to me, as I never participated in those in the first place (I tend to poof away when those things start happening!). ^^

Edit: Fixed a few typos!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 01:23:57 AM by Blythe »

Offline alextaylor

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2014, 03:16:54 AM »
For the most part, I love arguments. I used to debate against universities nationally. It's not so much about being right but more sticking up for one side and defending that side. I believe the best way to find the truth is to defend one side and have someone else defend another side. My favorite internet argument involved me defending the values of anarchy. Even though I wasn't even really an anarchist at that point, the argument itself really raised my respect and understanding of anarchy.

I think a lot of people don't appreciate that. They think that when I defend say... a rapist's rights, I'm actually agreeing with rape. And that I'd actually encourage it. And encouraging such a morally wrong thing would make a lot of people blow their top. And my love for debate makes a lot of people think that I'm trolling.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2014, 04:57:09 AM »
Part of the problem, Sabby, is that spirituality is an individually defined thing.  The basic definition of spirituality is a self defining concept, that comes back to the idea of 'spiritual belief'.

An approximation: Spirituality is the personal belief structure defining what is not explainable by the sciences or by objective reality to an individual.  That's why spirituality itself is a toxic subject on any forum that isn't dedicated to one sort of spirituality, and even then it can become extraordinarily toxic - after all, even 'objective reality' is something nearly impossible to define given that all opinions and viewpoints are subjective.

The other aspect of toxicity of such subjects as religion and politics and most other such subjects was very simply defined in an old quote.  "To those who do not believe, no amount of evidence will be enough; to those who do believe, no evidence is necessary."  That polarization seems nonsensical and at odds with the very idea of discussion, but it does define the tenets of the problem.

Offline Sabby

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #57 on: January 28, 2014, 05:08:52 AM »
Quote
An approximation: Spirituality is the personal belief structure defining what is not explainable by the sciences or by objective reality to an individual.

This is actually a good definition.

So far, every other attempt to define spirituality seems far too full of special pleading and vagueness. This was simple and clear. Thank you for providing a better definition.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #58 on: January 28, 2014, 05:15:47 AM »
This is actually a good definition.

So far, every other attempt to define spirituality seems far too full of special pleading and vagueness. This was simple and clear. Thank you for providing a better definition.

The problem with the definition is that 'personal belief' is really hard to define.  I didn't really define spirituality so much as explain what it seems to be, which can and has been the topic of much debate as well.

Offline alextaylor

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #59 on: January 28, 2014, 05:54:47 AM »
Could we move the whole spirituality discussion to some other thread? It's the kind of thing that you'd have a college course for, not something to be defined in one sentence. It's only vague because it's a word that covers a wide range of different things to different people.

Buddhism's definition of spirituality may be based on peace, away from luxury and distractions (the monk in the mountains). Islam's definition might be based on actions (the person who spends the whole night in prayer). Christianity might mix a bit of both (the hermit who spends all his time studying theology). I'm sure there are some religions where a spiritual person is noted by their sacrifice... like someone who builds large cathedrals from his own money and time is considered spiritual.

Online Paladin101

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #60 on: January 28, 2014, 09:44:55 AM »
This is actually a good definition.

So far, every other attempt to define spirituality seems far too full of special pleading and vagueness. This was simple and clear. Thank you for providing a better definition.

I live a spiritual life, and defining spirituality is a difficult thing to do. For me, spirituality is living a life guided by beliefs based upon the concept of a higher power. A life spent in search of knowledge and enlightenment, where the mind remains open to new thoughts and beliefs. A life spent with the goal of making the lives of others better, and ensuring I leave behind a positive imprint of my existence when I shuffle off this mortal coil. Of course the problem with that is, this is the description of my personal beliefs. It's impossible to give a single definition of living spiritually, because it is different for everyone. Spirituality is for me best described as living your life viewing the world through the filter of your personal beliefs and faith. Which is for me at least, not incompatible with living a life viewing the world through a rational, and scientific filter as well. And now I'm done helping this topic go off topic. >.>

Offline Ironwolf85Topic starter

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #61 on: January 28, 2014, 10:16:55 AM »
yay people smarter than me are discussing things!

Next topic... political extremes in forums...
I see it all the time, it's as if both sides. Often Republican and Democrat, rely on only data that supports their claim, and ignore the other side.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #62 on: January 28, 2014, 10:32:08 AM »
yay people smarter than me are discussing things!

Next topic... political extremes in forums...
I see it all the time, it's as if both sides. Often Republican and Democrat, rely on only data that supports their claim, and ignore the other side.

Eh, there's nothing surprising there.  It's impossible to have a rational discussion on the topic because of the nature of humans.  The anonymity of the internet just exacerbates.

For the record re: Spirituality
Spoilering this as I don't want to reopen that off topic can o' worms, but I feel like - having been part of the discussion - I should show willing.

For me, and the reason I didn't immediately chime in with my own thoughts instead of just trying to facilitate, the basic premise of the question "Define spirituality" is mistaken.  We abandoned the idea of terms having single quantifiable definitions seventy or eighty years ago and its reasons like this that made it so.  I'm with Oniya that language is an imperfect tool for communication, particularly about matters that are so inherently personal.  No two people in the world will define spirituality the same way, even if they both had access to all the thesauruses (thesauri?  Spellcheck likes both) there are.  And that's fine.  We're happy with words having multiple meanings within multiple demographs; I'm not simply talking about sidewalks vs. pavements but also things like "nigger/-a" which have radically different meanings within different groups.  Defining spirituality/faith/etc falls very much into that trap, the best anyone can offer is "This is what the word means to me" which is very different to "This is what the words mean" 

Insisting on an objective truth behind words is misunderstanding the nature of language, claiming that its possible to establish universal axioms behind the meanings of words when - and, as I say, we've accepted this for almost a century - word usage is inherantly personal to a speaker and two people using the same word to mean two different things in no way results in one (or possibly both) of them using it incorrectly.

The closest I believe its possible to come to that definition - and the same problem occurs with non-religious words as well e.g. "happiness" - is to give an example or examples of how that word is actualised and allow the listener to draw their own conclusion as to what a workable definition for that case is.  Which is what I tried to suggest.

Offline consortium11

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #63 on: January 28, 2014, 10:40:08 AM »
I actually think the "off-topic" was a pretty good "on-topic" point.

I've no reason to assume that those who took part didn't do so in good faith or were ever trying to be anything but civil. Despite that we've had posters described as condescending, a quasi-accusation of trying to shut down discussion, of being unreasonable and some passive-aggressive "are you trying to understand or just score points?" dialogue. It may not quite yet be toxic... but there's hints it's going that way.

How appropriate...

On the off-topic point, in my view faith and spirituality (in this context) are essentially just metaphysics; an attempt to explain and understand the fundamental nature of existence and the world in areas that science either can't or hasn't yet given an accepted theory.

Offline Moondazed

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #64 on: January 28, 2014, 10:44:12 AM »
Simply put the explanations I give are coming off as "Insane Troll Logic" because you have a totally different set of life experiences than I do Sabby. The more I try and explain, the weaker my argument becomes, because I'm no super genus, just a regular guy.

Can I make a suggestion, try reading the book of five rings by Miyamoto Musashi, it is combat and samurai from a Spiritual Shinto perspective.
It isn't perfect, but it might give you some insights man.

As someone who's just read this thread from the beginning to this point, I wonder if you realize, IronWolf, how incredibly condescending it is to say, "You don't understand because you can't understand because only I can understand, or someone like Me (in the Us vs. Them sense of Me)."

I think toxicity on topics like religion and politics comes from the need to convince.  I find it much more productive to share one's own experience and answer questions from that standpoint, i.e., someone asks why you believe, you say you had a divine epiphany, they say that doesn't make sense to them, you say it makes sense to you because it feels right, without any assignation of either of you saying the other is wrong.  Reading this thread, it sounds like it went like this... some asks why you believe, you say you had a divine epiphany, they say that doesn't make sense to them, you say it can't make sense to you because you haven't had the experience, rather than trying to clarify the experience.  At the point that you take that approach it's no longer about sharing your experience, it's about passing a judgment that sounds suspiciously like the other party isn't part of your Us and won't be capable of comprehension until they are.

Just my two cents.  I've seen toxicity in so many settings, on so many topics, and I think part of the problem is the need to convince and part of the problem is often lack of awareness of one's own biases.  Everyone has them, they aren't evil or bad, but conversations on topics that involve things like faith, which can't be quantified in a tangible sense, can really benefit from recognizing when they're in play.

Again, just my two cents... *back to reading*

Offline Kythia

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #65 on: January 28, 2014, 10:47:01 AM »
I actually think the "off-topic" was a pretty good "on-topic" point.

I've no reason to assume that those who took part didn't do so in good faith or were ever trying to be anything but civil. Despite that we've had posters described as condescending, a quasi-accusation of trying to shut down discussion, of being unreasonable and some passive-aggressive "are you trying to understand or just score points?" dialogue. It may not quite yet be toxic... but there's hints it's going that way.

Yes, I was thinking that myself (and in no way am trying to minimise my part - for example if you felt it was a "quasi-accusation" then I misspoke, it was intended at the time as an "accusation").  Sadly, and this might be another issue that relates to the original question, the desire to have the last word is sometimes overwhelming.

Offline consortium11

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #66 on: January 28, 2014, 10:56:31 AM »
yay people smarter than me are discussing things!

Next topic... political extremes in forums...
I see it all the time, it's as if both sides. Often Republican and Democrat, rely on only data that supports their claim, and ignore the other side.

One of the key issues with political discussion (and politics... and politicians) is that it's essentially an unholy alliance of three different things. On one hand you have the more philosophical "battle of ideas" side of it. This views politics as opposing world views and a debate about which one is correct; is it right (morally? Economically?) to have a large welfare state, a small welfare state or none at all etc etc?

On the other hand you have the "game" aspect of it... it's not about having the best ideas it's about "winning". This is the part that takes in electoral dirty tricks, gerrymandering, smear campaigns, voting/campaigning for negative instead of positive reasons etc etc.

And then on the... I guess third hand... is the fact that in addition to the ideas and the dirty tricks, a politician is also presenting themselves as a sort of manager/ceo. They may have all the best policies... but if they're a "poor leader" (and I know that has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years but there is some merit in discussing it) are they a good option; a policy is great but without people to implement it it's simply hot air. How do we judge someone who might be a brilliant thinker and have great policies... but is corrupt, an awful judge of character and doesn't command respect.

It's the way those three aspects link together. Politics is largely adversarial... you're presenting either people or ideas against each other... and so what seems to happen is that someone will discuss the "battle of ideas" aspect... and then to "win" the argument someone delves into the other two.

Offline Shjade

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #67 on: January 28, 2014, 11:02:15 AM »
Benefits of working at a cathedral ;p

*high-fives*

It's sorta funny, but this thread actually provides a nice demonstration of how things can quickly become toxic even when unintended, even when the participants are generally pleasant folks. Frustration very easily leads to saying and doing things we wouldn't under normal circumstances, and once that starts it tends to spark even worse behavior in people responding to those first signs of hostility. Things very quickly spiral out of control and you end up with a vitriolic mess only superficially related to the initial topic. It's just sort of a thing that happens if everyone involved isn't very careful. Sometimes even when they are.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #68 on: January 28, 2014, 11:09:54 AM »
Yeah, I figured I could one up you there.  Climbing that ecclesiastical hierarchy. :P

Which kinda segues nicely in to my point.  I think its not so much "turning nasty" that is the issue as, given the lack of other cues, it's very easy to assume nastiness.  Talk a simple statement like "Oh, you work at a Church?  I work at a Cathedral."  That could easily be interpreted many different ways.  Am I showing off because I work at a bigger institution(leaving aside how pathetic that would be), am I teasing? am I inviting a conversation about presumed shared experiences?  Face to face it would be effortless to tell, online one simply has to take a wild stab and hope that its correct.

ETA:   That's why I think smilies might well be a brilliant invention.  Sure they can be kinda childish but they can serve, to some extent, as a partial stand-in for those body language cues.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 11:11:24 AM by Kythia »

Offline Shjade

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #69 on: January 28, 2014, 11:16:05 AM »
ETA:   That's why I think smilies might well be a brilliant invention.  Sure they can be kinda childish but they can serve, to some extent, as a partial stand-in for those body language cues.

Yeeeep. Maybe one out of ten people will assume I'm using smilies to be a dick, but 90% of the time I find people just don't get upset if I use smilies pretty much often enough to be replacement punctuation when in similar situations people HAVE gotten upset about my saying almost the same thing without the little faces around to indicate I'm not trying to be a jerk about it.

Regarding religious hierarchy: doesn't matter to me, my job is A/V, not preaching. ;p

Offline Kythia

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #70 on: January 28, 2014, 11:17:47 AM »
Regarding religious hierarchy: doesn't matter to me, my job is A/V, not preaching. ;p

Yeah, my job's exclusively secular as well.

Online Paladin101

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #71 on: January 28, 2014, 11:59:15 AM »
The comedian Arj Barker made a good joke for texting or online forums, since people don't know what tone your using. That we should have a new set of fonts. Like Sans Sarcastica, so you know what someones intention is. lol

I agree though, alot of trouble on the internet is caused by people not knowing if someone is being sarcastic, literal, condescending, or otherwise emotional in theri reply.

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Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #72 on: January 28, 2014, 12:09:51 PM »
The comedian Arj Barker made a good joke for texting or online forums, since people don't know what tone your using. That we should have a new set of fonts. Like Sans Sarcastica, so you know what someones intention is. lol

It's already out there.

http://glennmcanally.com/sarcastic/

Offline Moondazed

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Offline alextaylor

Re: Do you ever get sick of the toxic stuff on forums?
« Reply #74 on: January 28, 2014, 10:56:34 PM »
What's the point of sarcasm if you're going to be upfront about it? It's usually easy to call sarcasm, but sometimes you have to admit you've fallen to Poe's Law if people don't get it. I usually just stick a smiley at the end. But I stopped using it because I know a lot of people who use smileys as a way of being passive-aggressive. Like sometimes putting a smiley may turn out to be doubly insulting in certain situations.

Maybe we just have to use apologies more often? Even a brief "sorry" can disarm a conversation.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 10:57:56 PM by alextaylor »