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Re^4: What is "aggressive" argument?

by BrowserUk (Pope)
on Nov 02, 2010 at 01:37 UTC ( #868915=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^3: What is "aggressive" argument?
in thread What is "aggressive" argument?

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.


Comment on Re^4: What is "aggressive" argument?
Re^5: What is "aggressive" argument?
by Gavin (Canon) on Nov 02, 2010 at 08:53 UTC

    "It takes two to tango. And I don't mind tangoing with anyone."

    And Boy have you Tangoed - which has made for some very interesting exchanges.

Re^5: What is "aggressive" argument? (who)
by tye (Cardinal) on Nov 02, 2010 at 14:53 UTC
    There are maybe half a dozen monks

    Ah, so it is purposeful that you have removed your signature "Examine what is said, not who speaks" from your posts to this thread.

    It was disappointing to try to have a technical discussion with you and have you repeatedly turn it into an emotional tantrum and then just resort to knee-jerk "Tye must be lying" responses. I wasn't lying.

    But you won't be able to believe any of this because my name is attached to it.

    - tye        

Re^5: What is "aggressive" argument?
by Argel (Prior) on Nov 02, 2010 at 20:42 UTC
    Now ask yourself why, of the hundreds of monks I've interacted with here at PM, is it always that same half dozen?
    Because only a small number of Monks know enough about the internals of Perl and threading to do so? Because others tire of your belligerent attitude so avoid getting involved (or to put it differently the ones that do stay engaged have thicker skin than most)? Or maybe your personalities just don't mesh. Is it their attitude that is the problem or yours? Is it self-fulfilling -- i.e. you and/or them expect a heated debate and respond working under that assumption, which results in said heated debate?
    I don't even mind when people on the sidelines pipe up with a "Hey! Tone it down you two.". But when the judgments or defensive interjections are all one-sided, I seek to point that out.
    And an alternate "one-sided" view is that you were the one, uhm, how can I put this -- heavily emotionally invested in the thread?

    I find it interesting that you indicate if someone else comes on strong you will because it usually works. Except in this case it hasn't, so why not take a more diplomatic approach? Or more to the point, if strong vs. strong doesn't work, then are you sticking with a strong approach because you enjoy it more, even if it does tend start a mild flame war?

    Anyway, interesting discussion. It's hard to imagine Windows bashing going on left and right here when the two people who respond the most on here (you and ikegami) run Perl on Windows, so I'm sure you had an impact on that. And the commentary on culture and sub-culture was particularly interesting, though you may have to breakdown the Midwest region a bit more (e.g. I think people in the Show Me State can give New Yorkers a run for their money). And based on all of the Anime I watch, your assessment of the Japanese sounds correct. Japan is a very shame-based/saving-face culture, so I can easily see where they would want to avoid overcommitting to a point of view.

    I should add that the heated debates are part of the Monastery culture, so while it might be nice to see them toned down a bit, it would be disappointing to see them go away.

    Update: As a side note, I always appreciated your support and comments in 635960.

    Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks

      Because ...

      There's probably some truth in many of those explanations.

      I don't think the first one holds up, because we have the same types of exchanges on other subjects. The thread you reference at the bottom of your post is a very good example of a non-perl, non-technical subject, with many of the usual suspects showing up.

      There is no doubt that I enjoy debate--I make no pretence otherwise. And I happen to think that without open, vigorous, invested debate, this site would be nothing more than a static reference work. And a far less interesting and stimulating place than it is. And I don't think heat--passion, investment--is bad in a debate.

      I don't even mind there being a little name-calling, ribbing, verbal-sparring. Even a little direct sarcasm is fine by me. But I have a strong distaste for that insidious, under-the-breath, oh-so-polite by snarky, implied sarcasm that some here lace their posts with. It always smacks of plausible deniability to me.

      Strong personalities have always clashed over technical subjects. If you know your history of the build-up to the Copenhagen interpretation. If not, and you have an hour to spare this is interesting. Especially the personality clashes.

      (Not that the debate here has anything like that level of significance, but the clashes are as constant as Planck's at all levels.)

      But this is a code site. And at the end of the debate, there is only one way to resolve things. Code! And people who are unwilling to back up their theories, assertions (and FUD) with code, are pointless to debate with.

      On the cultural differences thing. I worked for many years at various IBM sites around the UK, and worked with people from all over the world--but especially the USA, Middle-East & Japan, and got to see some it first hand.

      I remember one Japanese woman came to liaise with me for a few weeks. She arrived at my office, started to do the whole deferential, bowing thing; and stand-and-inspect-each-others-business-card-for-5-minutes-for-no-apparent-reason. I interrupted her and told her that I was painfully aware that I didn't know their customs and so was quite likely to offend her through my lack of understanding. Her response was: "Thank goodness! we can drop all that and just get on with the job". We got on famously after that. She could hold her ground in any argument, and was one of the best analysts I ever met. (And boy could she ever hold her liquor!).

      As for Americans, I rarely knew where people were from in detail. I do remember that you always knew where you stood with most of the guys from PooKipsy; but had to be real careful around some of those from Boca Raton. Or maybe that's just the way I remember it. For me the "Mid_West" is just a label--much like the phrase "Middle-America". (Perhaps the latter would have been more appropriate?) I really don't know what actually constitutes either term. As for New Yorker, I'm probably thinking more about My Cousin Vinnie, or that "fugedabowtit" movie with Hugh Grant, than anything real.

      I also worked in several countries in North West Europe--Benelux, Netherlands, Germany,Scandinavia. And there I found they thrive on directness. And mostly, there is no animosity attached to it. You go into a meeting, stand either side of the conference table arguing strongly for an hour; break for coffee and have a laugh about the sport, the weather TV or whatever, before going back in and laying into each other(s points of view). Then a manager calls time; makes a decision; and everyone abides by it. Then lunch together.

      Bottom line is, I'm more than happy to accept half the "blame"--though I'm not sure that anyone should be blaming anyone; no one is forced to read long or heated threads, much less take part in them--but I do object to having all of the blame thrown in my direction.

      As I said. It takes two to tango.


      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.

        What a lie.

        - tye        

        > I also worked in several countries in North West Europe--Benelux, Netherlands, Germany,Scandinavia. And there I found they thrive on directness. And mostly, there is no animosity attached to it. You go into a meeting, stand either side of the conference table arguing strongly for an hour; break for coffee and have a laugh about the sport, the weather TV or whatever, before going back in and laying into each other(s points of view). Then a manager calls time; makes a decision; and everyone abides by it. Then lunch together.

        This phenomenon is sometimes called Streitkultur and sorry couldn't find an English WP page explaining it. Maybe the term Dutch uncle is a reference to this phenomenon. See also leo for possible translations.

        But it's not uniform, there are many regional differences, misunderstandings in discussion culture are a regular source of animosities.

        E.g. between (Alemanic) Swiss and (northern) Germans, even while speaking the same language. (Not even talking about British/German-misunderstandings.)

        Can't say much about US discussion culture, still hard to understand for meš... (maybe somewhere in between televangelist and John Wayne ...SCNR ;-)

        And there are still differences in the educational background. In my observation MBAs rather prefer to win a debate no matter which tricks they use and where the truth lies..

        But BUK, to answer your OP, an important part of "Streitkultur" is fairness, e.g. exaggerating rhetorical tricks or strawmans are considered "aggressive".

        Cheers Rolf

        UPDATE:

        1) interesting read "Those Americans, mein Gott, I'm never completely sure when they really mean what they say."

        Dang, you need a geography lesson!! Poughkeepsie is in New York and Boca Raton is in Florida. Neither are even close to being part of the Mid West. Maybe you're thinking of Peoria, Illinois? And comparing all Mid Westerners to IBM employees..... No comment!! :-)

        As for the blame game.... As the saying goes, perception is reality, and you are perceived as being [significantly] more inflammatory than your sparring partners. It doesn't matter if that's true or not. And you can start as many discussion threads like this one as you want, but it's not going to have any meaningful impact. Your only practical recourse is to ratchet back on those personal attacks (whether intentional or unintentional) you are so fond of dishing out.

        Of course, the other option is to suck it up and just live with all of the blame. Or I suppose you could just continue to complain about the situation.

        P.S. These heated debates are part of the PM culture. To avoid reading them is missing out on part of the sub-culture here. And often missing out on some popcorn moments and of course the chance to flex those downvote muscles. ;-)

        Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks

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