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Re: What is "aggressive" argument?

by Argel (Prior)
on Nov 01, 2010 at 19:11 UTC ( #868863=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to What is "aggressive" argument?

There's a fine line between arguing passionately and browbeating, and where you think that line is and where the majority of us think it is do not exactly line up. Go back over the threads and mark ANYTHING that could be considered a personal attack. If you want to, you can also try to determine if someone did consider it a personal attack. Also make note if YOU responded to a perceived insult in kind (i.e. with your own insult). Then ask yourself if you could have made your point or responded differently, without the [possible] personal attacks.

If you still cannot connect the dots, then you might want to take a few print outs to someone schooled in debate and go over them.

As for your your example, it's irrelevant -- just because someone else crosses the line and does or does not get called out on it doesn't justify or vindicate YOUR actions.

As an example of what I was talking about in the first paragraph, I was going to end the previous paragraph with "Didn't they teach this back in school?" But it's just inflammatory -- there's no actual value to it.

Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks


Comment on Re: What is "aggressive" argument?
Re^2: What is "aggressive" argument?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Nov 01, 2010 at 19:42 UTC
    your example, it's irrelevant -- just because someone else crosses the line and does or does not get called out on it doesn't justify or vindicate YOUR actions.

    I ask others to look carefully at who initiates these trades.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with being on the receiving end, provided response in kind is acceptable.

    I do object to be held to different standards than those who initiate such exchanges.

    When I see the same standards being applied to those few with whom I am curt, as are being applied to me, I will take those standards to heart.

      Ah, I see. And here I thought you were actually interested in figuring out where that fine line between arguing passionately and browbeating is. Instead, I find you using an example from six years ago to justify your curt behavior today, conveniently overlooking that there has been no discussion about whether the community standards have changed over the past six years!! Definitely your style!

      Not that it's relevant -- just because someone is curt with you does not mean you have to or respond in kind. In fact, that kind of behavior is what leads to flame wars. [Insert something about the moral high ground here.]

      So anyway, I guess that makes your OP a typical rant on your part. Kudos for disguising it so well. <humor sense="dry" style="sarcastic"> And now we can all rest easy knowing that you 1) haven't been replaced by a doppelganger and that 2) this was not a sign of the Apocalypse and thus it is not the End of Days!! Don't scare us like that!! ;-) </humor>

      Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks

        Ah, I see. And here I thought you were actually interested in figuring out where that fine line between arguing passionately and browbeating is...Kudos for disguising it so well

        I think you should re-read the OP. There are 4 question asked. None of them ask where is the "fine line". And there is no attempt at "disguise". They all ask essentially the same question. See the very last line.

        I would never ask where the line is, because there is no line--except where those sitting in judgement choose to draw it. And each will choose a different place. What to some is a "strong personal attack", other will see as nothing more than passionate discourse or humorous banter.

        In part this seems to be a cultural thing. As I understand it, in Japanese, they tend to talk about things being "very difficult" when they actually consider them to be impossible. In (parts of) Europe, we tend to be rather more blunt. (Again, as I understand it) Mid-Westerners tend to more circumspect than New Yorkers.

        But it is more complicated than that. That 6 yr old reference was not made in justification of anything. It was to show how where people draw that line, is not tied just to the words used, or even the strength of the sentiments expressed, but who writes them and who they are aimed at. I chose an example of my own, because I try not to sit in judgement of others.

        As for "whether the community standards have changed over the past six years!!", in some areas they have. There is definitely far less newbie baiting; and far less Windows bashing here now than there was back then. I'd even like to think that I had something to do with that. You've never seen me bait a newbie. Indeed, if you care to review my record you'll find many occasions where I've gone to the defence of same.

        When I respond in kind, its not tit-for-tat, but because with most people doing so is the quickest way to earn their respect. Be polite to those who are habitually polite, and you get the best interaction. Similarly, standing up to those who habitually come on strong, and usually you achieve a mutual respect. It doesn't always work, but mostly it does.

        There are maybe half a dozen monks--all old hands, most pre-dating me here--with whom I've had strong exchanges. Often repeatedly. Now ask yourself why, of the hundreds of monks I've interacted with here at PM, is it always that same half dozen?

        It takes two to tango. And I don't mind tangoing with anyone. I don't even mind when people on the sidelines pipe up with a "Hey! Tone it down you two.". But when the judgements or defensive interjections are all one-sided, I seek to point that out. Hence, this thread.

Re^2: What is "aggressive" argument?
by pemungkah (Priest) on Nov 16, 2010 at 03:14 UTC
    BrowserUK - my take on an online discussion is that when someone heads into what feels to me as a personal attack (and that can vary wildly from day to day, depending on phase of the moon, amount of sleep, and coffee intake). it's time for me to say "We seem to have stopped talking about the actual subject here; I think I'll stop now" and then really stop talking to them about that subject.

    Once an argument has moved away from "I think this point is wrong", or "I think you have a mistaken assumption, here's what it is, and here's why I think so" on either side to the logical equivalent of "YOU SUX0R", it's over - there's no longer an argument that can be won or lost. Person A is talking about their opinion of person B, and opinions are neither provable or disprovable; they just are what they are.

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent", and that includes verbal and emotional violence.

    Please note that I do not mean you are incompetent!

    I mean "I think this is a mistake you are making that makes you look bad, and I think you're a lot smarter than that."

    Having read and upvoted many of your posts, I know you are smarter than that - there's no question in my mind about it. It's just a matter of spotting the point of no return faster, and being willing to say, "Bored now. Done." and walk away, no matter what the other person may fire after you.

    The temptation to respond is always very large. But not doing so after your polite termination of the discussion - "We're not talking about the subject anymore, but about me, so I think I'll stop now" - will mark you as someone wise enough to not waste his time on something that will be fruitless, pointless, and lead only to bad feelings on both sides - and makes the argumentative person look like the incompetent.

    If you politely stop talking after saying the truth, then you're done. If the other person really wants to talk about the subject and just got overheated, then that's their chance to cool off, back down, (maybe) apologize, and resume talking about the actual subject. Otherwise, you look good, polite, and mature, and they look dumb.

    Which is a far better result than any argument could achieve.

      Congratulations!! You are now a proud member of the "half a dozen would-be PM despots" that are trying to convince him that he could be doing better on the communication front.

      As someone who is 31 levels deep in a "discussion" with him elsewhere in this thread, I am sad to report that that is the fate that awaits us. Even the loose correlation between message reply depth and node reputation was not enough for him. He's right. We're wrong. His opinion is basically locked in at this point. :-(

      Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks

        How about you fuck off now?

        I just discovered this post; I hadn't realised that you were double dipping.

        His opinion is basically locked in at this point.

        I'm replying now, to try and persuade you that you are...you'd never believe how many next words I've rejected before selecting this one--dead.

        I realise that this will be contrary to your opinion. Quite possibly diametrically opposed to your explicitly stated, on the record, written opinion. But I still want to inform you that there are at least 5 other people that agree with me that you are, in fact, dead!

        Therefore, your stubborn rejection of our council that you should stop walking, talking and doing whatever else you are doing--that in fact you must simply stop "doing" anything--is a character flaw. A definite sign that you are overemotional. Perhaps even that you are mentally unstable.

        We have concluded that you are in fact dead. Therefore, your continuing to hold an opinion to the contrary is bad, uncouth, irreverent and rude. You should therefore, stop holding that opinion immediately. By order of the ...erm...us.


        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

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