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Re^5: What is "aggressive" argument?

by Argel (Prior)
on Nov 02, 2010 at 20:42 UTC ( #869093=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^4: What is "aggressive" argument?
in thread What is "aggressive" argument?

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


Comment on Re^5: What is "aggressive" argument?
Re^6: What is "aggressive" argument?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Nov 02, 2010 at 22:25 UTC
    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."

        This phenomenon is sometimes called Streitkultur and sorry couldn't find an English WP page explaining it.

        Google came up with "A culture of debate", which seems pretty good to me.

        The wikipedia page contrasts it with "autocratic systems", which I thinks is also relevant here.

        If also sums up better than I did, (despite being an auto-translation), what I was trying to say with the OP:

        In a democratic society there is a fundamental principle: different people have different opinions. Parliamentary democracy thrives on political debate, of conflicting interests and finding a balance between these interests. 3 During the dispute in autocratic systems usually seen as a weakening of the Community or a deviation from accepted norms and stabilization is considered in the.

        I don't believe that debate weakens this place at all. Not even heated debated. Indeed, I believe it to be the life-blood of this place. Without it, this place would die.

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

        You and I have touched on similar discussion before. You seem to view 'rhetoric' and 'rhetorical trickery' as the same thing. They aren't.

        Rhetoric is not a scheme for winning arguments. It is codification of techniques for:

        • presenting argument clearly and concisely;
        • and for analysing others arguments to separate the valid from the invalid; the relevant from the irrelevant.

        Whilst it can be used by adept practitioners (which I am not), to attempt to overwhelm the opponents arguments rather than address them; discerning and distinguishing attempted trickery, from the more commonplace mistake or misunderstanding, is another skill set entirely.

        For example, distinguishing a genuine, but erroneous attempt at justification, from a 'deliberate strawman', is a very fine line. I seem to be attributed with far greater skills in rhetoric than I actually have.


        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.
      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

        Dang, you need a geography lesson!!

        Was that an American accusing a European of needing a geography lesson?

        Poughkeepsie is in New York and Boca Raton is in Florida.

        You didn't see the (deliberate, intended, flagged a mile away), irony? Definitely an American!

        And yes, those two 'anti-american' put-downs will earn me downvotes. What of it.

        And yet, every American comedian that visits or works here in the UK--recently including Rich Hall, Reginald D. Hunter, Ruby Wax, Joan Rivers, and many more going back as long as I can remember--makes jokes contrasting US 'v' UK, with the Americans (themselves) the butt of both those jokes.

        Of course, when they do it , it is self deprecating. When I do it, it's stereotyping a whole nation.

        But they also apply the American stereotyping of the Brits, to our faces. And we laugh all the louder because it's not personal.

        And neither are my two jokes above. Nor's this:

        Peoria, Illinois?

        What? Like, is that: the sound of barfing?

        By the standards of those-that-accuse, your "Dang, you need a geography lesson!!" would be deemed a personal attack at least as bad as most of "mine".

        By their standards, even just telling someone they are wrong--even if they are--is a 'personal attack'.

        Or I suppose you could just continue to complain about the situation.

        If you read the OP of this thread as a "complaint", you totally missed the point.

        But is that par for the course. (Again, not directed at you personally, but at the general reading of my intent.)

        And finally, within a few minutes of each other you wrote:

        These heated debates are part of the PM culture. To avoid reading them is missing out on part of the sub-culture here
        and
        Too much heated debate will hurt.

        I agree with the first. It is a good part of the point I've been trying to make in this thread.

        For the second--besides that it doesn't seem to do /. any harm; you've never heard of a site being PMed--there is a value judgement there.

        You are making offering a judgement on behalf of every other monk as to what is "too much".

        Just as my accusers believe they are making a value judgements on behalf of all monks. They're are not!

        If we take 868831 as an example. It is by far the strongest thing I've ever said on PM. It currently stand at -11(+3,-14). At most, 17 people have been bothered enough by that direct, personal, unredeemed & unredeemable post to even vote on it. Of whom 14 felt strongly enough about it to downvote it. (*)

        I'm guessing that about half of those are 'my sparring partners' & their supporters--7 to 9 seems to be about average for the downvotes I garner when I go up against one of my 'regulars'. The rest, people genuinely offended by that particular remark.

        Bottom line: My accusers--those would be moral guardians of monkkind--are a tiny fraction of those here at PM.

        And for the most part, the majority either reject, or simply can't be bothered with, their moral crusades.

        In response to your "Your only practical recourse is to ratchet back on those personal attacks", I'd say I have one more option. And in keeping with one of the monk's quips, I intend to make a virtue of laziness, and do nothing.

        (*)I'm guessing that three upvoters have been following the argument closely enough, and understand the subject matter enough. to get the point of the title brackets!


        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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