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13 February 2010 @ 01:40 pm
Puts on best Aunt Brammers voice  
It will surprise no one that there are some debates occurring on some of my older posts, because you lot are staggeringly diverse and interesting and involved. I think this is a very good thing and like it and encourage you all to engage as you see fit, or not, if you have better things to do.

However, PLEASE PLAY NICELY. I hasten to add that the vast majority of you do so at all times, just a few slip up occasionally.

I ask this partly because you are playing in what is analogous to my home, but also because to not do so is to change things from a debate to a pissing match. 'You're wrong' closes down debate; 'I have issues with your point as I feel it fails to ...' leads to productive debate. Please remember that everyone has a right to their thoughts and beliefs, and that even things that are 'wrong' in one sense can make sense when viewed through a broader lens (though often not when then applied to a different context, and since every single example I can think of to illustrate this will lead to a new massive debate and I am about 5000 comments behind, I'm not going to!)

Please also consider starting with 'I' statements. 'I' statements are one of the few things I like about the therapeutic language that has crept into the mainstream over the last 35 years. They force you to frame debate in terms of 'I disagree' rather than 'you are clearly a lunatic'; 'I would like you to have made more reference to' rather than 'you need to'. In very real ways they shift language to something that is more civil and which requires each of us to state our own cases rather than just slag off our opponents and theirs.

Please also remember that you often have no idea who you are talking to, even if you have read their work. My flist is in fact more diverse than my RL peer group, which I did not think was possible. You may be talking to a vegan peace activist, or to someone who is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, you may be chatting with a Liberatarian, you may be arguing with someone who worked on the Obama campaign, it will be read by someone who was at Greenham Common, since I read everything eventually (I know there are a few others on the flist, too!) It covers people with multiple degrees in literature and those for whom this is a third or fourth language, those who have lived in one house all their lives, and those who travel widely, and from all continents save Antarctica.

I do not think that you can always tell in advance where someone will fall on the political scale. And then, even if you can, that is no guarantee of agreement on other issues, as the vaccination arguments indicate (it's just an illustration here! honest!)

I also think that we can read texts in based on what we think, not what the commenter or poster intended. My best example of this is that there is a site listing Harry Potter fics that solidly right wing readers would very much enjoy, the archivist has listed Little Red Courgette. I was startled when someone pointed this out to me, but then I thought about it and realised that was a perfectly valid and reasonable reading. I also smiled at the idea of the laugh a few of you would have at me being on such a list. However, while that is fine for a fic, where the author is but one contributing factor, in a debate, this sort of reader-driven argument can lead to hundreds of words of passion against a point that was never made.

The reason I think all this is important is that I LIKE you all. I want you to be generally happy and relaxed here, even when you disagree with me or each other.

I hasten to add, again, that the vast majority of debate engaged in here, and at the virtual homes of most of you, has been the sort that I think is ideal, and thank you all for that.

Right, it's after 1 in the afternoon and I am yet to breakfast. See you chaps later! And in case I don't get back here today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY realolacola ! You are one of the enigmas on my flist, but you're a damned nice one from what little I know of you. May the day be excellent for you!
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on February 13th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)
It looks as if my break was perfect timing as I have missed all of this :) *squishes you for being the voice of reason*

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 13th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
To be fair, I'm usually the voice of instigating lunacy, and there was nothing gruesome this round, just fractiousness and mild snittiness. Previously things have been a bit Grrr (last year had a few!), so I thought I'd make a pre-emptive strike.
Bryoneybryoneybrynn on February 13th, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
Aw, you're such a good den mother, Brammers. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 13th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
Can you IMAGINE what parents would say after their kids spent a few hours talking with me? Nevertheless, the kids would be better equipped to deal with life ;-)
prone to mischieftreacle_tartlet on February 14th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC)
SG remains unscathed by spending a few hours talking with at you!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 14th, 2010 11:36 am (UTC)
That is because she, too is a barely restrained homicidal maniac ;-)
Hueyphoenixacid on February 13th, 2010 06:55 am (UTC)
*is wondering what I've missed* O_O

Well, I hope everyone will play more nicely in your den from now on, hun! *snuggles you*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 13th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
Oh just a few people lately. The biggest and most egregious incident related to this stuff was some time ago and so I saw a bit of pissing about today, I thought I would say something so I can link back to it in future. Nothing grim, but YAY Huey snuggles!
Catscatsintheattic on February 13th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
May I add something about the I-statement?

It's not just a question of wording. The important thing is that, when you use I-statements, you talk about yourself and your feelings and perspective, whereas in a you-statement, where you talk about the other and how you see them. "I think you are an idiot" is a you-statement, after all. :-)

A few examples:

Harry: "Draco, the way you treat Hermione makes me uncomfortable." (I-statement, negative feelings expressed)

Harry: "Draco, you are such a pure-blood prejudiced wanker." (You-statement, negative feelings expressed)

Draco: "Harry, I really like it when you take charge in the bedroom." (I-statement, positive feelings expressed)

Draco: "Harry, you are such a sex-fiend." (You-statement, positive feelings expressed)

Draco: "Harry, I love you." (I-statement)

Harry: "Draco, you're my favourite wizard." (I-statement: "I favour you")

Of course, it can get even more complicated. :-) But I'll stop here. The basic thing, I think, is to keep accusations and assumptions out of the discussion, just like you said.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 13th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
There are tens of thousands of reasons I am not a therapist, this is yet another of them ;-)

(The main one being that 'Oh do get over it, here, have a cuppa' is not what most people want to hear.)
Catscatsintheattic on February 13th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, that kind of stuff is fun (and I'm not a therapist, either. :-D). Language is such a powerful tool; it never ceases to amaze me how many nuances can be expressed, and how many possibilities there are to defuse an attack. :-)

I'd always take the offered cup of tea, thank you!

And I hope I haven't been too know-it-all-ish.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 13th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
Not at all! I love learning new things!
Catscatsintheattic on February 13th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
wemyss: better off OUT!wemyss on February 13th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes.*
I here reiterate publicly my private apology from yesterday - well, yesterday here, I never can quite tell what day it is for you lot in the Antipodes.

And surely you realised that LRC shd be seen as Eurosceptic, Sir-Humphrey-bashing, Thatcherite humour? I know I said so at the time.
* Not to be taken as a Morgenbesserish 'yeah, yeah', I hasten to add.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 13th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes, yes.*
You weren't the only person being testy, though you were the only one to apologise, which is good of you.

I don't actually recall you saying that about LRC. Which is most likely an artefact of one too many taxis to the head. To me, it is a tribute to the best factors of British Agricultural Unionism ;-) (Oh hush, there are more than two! And those two are not neat typing and fresh cream for the cakes! (I strongly suspect you're crafting a comment disputing the typing.))

It was just yesterday, it now being early tomorrow here. You think you find it hard -- I have to keep two time zones, two Englishes and two whole sets of etiquette running on parallel mental tracks. I feel this excuses all madness at my end. And, amusingly, I was listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs while reading your post script.
wemyss: better off OUT!wemyss on February 13th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
Taxis actually decrease The Knowledge?
Ahem: http://wemyss.livejournal.com/222293.html#cutid1

And I do think you over-estimate the NFU. I should know. It's the typing: and the stereotyping.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 13th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Taxis actually decrease The Knowledge?
In the cases where they interact with cyclists, taxis do to The Knowledge what a cat can do to the filing. Save for about nine months of 1994/5, I seem to have most of it still in there, but some days the order is so disordered that I may as well have spent my formative years being a Sloane after all.

And I note that the other major artefact of that accident - woeful typing - renders my comment on that post slightly nonsensical. Still, you are quite right, and yes.

Alas, it is now 3 here, and I must sleep, so I will leave a discussion on farmers' unions for another day. Best to you and yours.
george pushdragonpushdragon on February 13th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
What's the internet coming to?

People who can't argue in mature and polite terms are just ugly bumheads. Bumheads, bumheads, bumheads.

Let me know if you need any more of my special help on this delicate subject.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 14th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
Now I have cocoa up my nose. You are a terrible person and a worse influence. Any chance of us catching up before you head to Iran? We could both do Canberra, there's a good exhibition on ;-)