[extropy-chat] Being Nicer (was Panicmongering)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Fri Jun 30 06:11:15 UTC 2006

Spike writes

> >... "You are unfortunate that these ideas are outside
> > your comfort zone, and I feel your pain"?  No, that's not
> > it either...
> That woulda been it, but a former US president ruined that "I feel your
> pain" comment forever, which is too bad because human empathy is a wonderful
> thing.
> > I give up. I thought I could nail it. Maybe you were just trying
> > to be "nice".
> JA!  I am.

Well, thanks for being nice even after my provocative (but hopefully
understood to be mostly playful) jibe.

> I know of Crocker's rules, and I always appreciate honesty,
> but I am in the camp that believes that honesty, diplomacy
> and kindness can all fit in the same package.

I've been thinking about Crocker's Rules the last year or so.
Initially, I never went for it, never "gave permission" so
to speak, for people to tell me exactly what they thought of
what I'd said or written, or exactly what they were thinking
of my intelligence or moral characters.  In other words, 
people who were internally reacting to one of my posts
with "Geez, what a stupid thing to say" were by default
invited to keep their opinions to themselves  :-)

I need to write an essay condemning them. It's clearer to me
now what my initial uneasiness had to do with.

Folks---especially libertarians---are tempted to think that we
are nothing but total individuals, and that the more individualism
the better. We now know that this flies in the face of our
evolutionary history.

It's as if they believed that *politeness* and *courtesy* were
Victorian aesthetic statements, or some dumb thing handed down
to us by the Church.

> In email, often we don't know the people we address in the
> flesh, oblique meanings are lost, shades of subtlety mostly
> are lost in the stark glare of online communications.

Yup, and that is *so* hard to keep in mind. It is especially
in this way that your own on-line behavior should serve as
a model to others. It does for me (not that---as many will
agree---it appears to have done much good on me yet).


> Our own list has improved greatly in diplomacy in the past couple years, yet
> ideas still flow.  In fact they flow better; I didn't often follow the flame
> wars that used to break out, and of course didn't comment thereon.  I
> commend the participants in the kinder gentler approach to debate.
> We are among friends here, even those of us who disagree.

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