Mutually-incompatible people

Discussion in 'The Undercity' started by Exohedron, May 4, 2016.

  1. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    Okay, new thread for discussing what to do in the case of two people who absolutely cannot get along.

    Here are the guidelines that I would like to see adhered to in this thread, for the purpose of hopefully making this less prone to derails:
    1: No bringing up the past or mentioning any other threads. If you feel the need to, go somewhere else.
    2: No bringing up the past or mentioning any other threads. If you feel the need to, go somewhere else.
    3: If you can't help but be frustrated or insincere or flippant or sarcastic, please try to mark it as such as soon as you can. As much as you can, try to be sincere and helpful.
    4: If you see a statement and it makes you angry or concerned about the motives of the poster, do not respond immediately! Calm down and ask for clarification as soon as you can.
    5: Try not to get into arguments if you can tell that you're getting upset, and try to leave arguments as soon as you can tell that you're getting upset. If you start upset, please do not post until you can calm down.
    6: No bringing up the past or mentioning any other threads. If you feel the need to, go somewhere else.
    7: Please try to stay on topic, in the sense of either proposing answers to the stated goals of this thread down below, or analyzing or critiquing proposed answers.

    Unfortunately, I can't delete this thread if one of the rules gets violated. I'm sure I'll figure out some way to make life miserable for everyone, maybe by spamming this thread or maybe just reporting everything, but in the meantime I would really like rules 1, 2 and 6 to be held to as strictly as possible, and would appreciate people's assistance in at least trying to keep the proportion of infringing posts down.

    The goal of this thread is as follows:
    Given that there are people here who are mutually incompatible, we have three (EDIT: four) questions that this thread is intended to answer:
    EDIT: reworded questions:
    0: Is this a problem?
    1: Is this a problem that the community should try to come up with suggestions to alleviate, which includes both possible suggestions in which only the individuals in question do anything, and also possible suggestions in which the larger community may take action?
    2: Is this a problem that the community can come up with a feasible path toward alleviation?
    3: If the answer to questions 0, 1 and 2 is yes, what are the suggestions?

    1: Is this a problem that the community should solve?
    2: Is this a problem that the community can solve?
    3: If the answers to 1 and 2 are yes, how can the community solve this problem?

    I would posit that the answer to 1 is yes, and that the answer to 2 is maybe. I think 3 splinters into a number of subproblems such as how much the admins would need to exercise their power in each case or how social pressure should be exerted, rules versus guidelines, etc. But those three questions I think are the overarching ones here.

    I'd really like the ability to just delete this thread every time it comes down with a bad case of history, but nope.
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
    • Like x 3
  2. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    The best thing I can come up with is public agreements of mutual ignores plus not talking to/about each other with the community acting as watchdog to make sure that those agreements are upheld by giving warnings to the parties involved or by reporting violations. Violations of those agreements ought to be disincentivized in some way, and I think the admins will have to take part in that, either by bans of some form or by some publicly visible warning to others.

    This is of course not a full solution, and depends on everyone acting in good faith and trusting a lot of people. Analysis? Critiques?
    • Like x 2
  3. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    My gut feeling is that the answer to both 1 and 2 is no.
    Mutual incompatibility strikes me as very much a personal problem for each of the two people in question and I don't really think it's anyone else's business to try and solve it unless explicitly asked.

    If two people are spatting all over the place then by all means tell them to sort it out or leave it be somewhere else, but I am not comfortable with either being made part of a watchdog or having one watching me without my explicit :consent:
    • Like x 8
  4. Deresto

    Deresto Foolish Mortal

    what would constitute a double ignore? is it a case by case basis sort of thing? would they be required to attempt to hash issues out first, or could they choose to go straight to double ignore? what if one half of the ignore set cools down later and wants to try talking it out/apologizing but the other wants to continue the ignoring? are they required to keep ignoring?
  5. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    It's anyone else's business if it's disrupting conversations that other people are attempting to have, including conversations with one or both of the people in question.
    If one side is completely unwilling to play ball then of course there's nothing to be done in that case. Everything here is up to the consent of the people involved, both in forming the initial mutual-ignore agreement and in accepting community oversight. I would hope that, in the case of two mutually incompatible people who recognize themselves as such, they would consider that to be a suboptimal state and would attempt to reach a solution, or at least an agreement.
    The issue with simply leaving a pair of people to work it out themselves is that there is no guarantee that both of them will actually hold to whatever agreement they reach, and if they're supposedly ignoring each other than the violator gets away unchallenged. Hence the need for at least a third party. Perhaps rather than "watchdog", the proper idea would be someone who simply happens to read the violating post and is willing to step in. Again, anyone would have to choose to step in. If the incompatible people can't trust each other to hold to the agreement, then no agreement happens and so the issue is left unresolved. Sometimes this is the best that's going to happen. But if the incompatible people can at least agree to the reliability of some third party, public or otherwise, then that could increase the chance of an agreement occurring.

    Again, you don't have to consent to anything. But if private solutions aren't working then semi-private and public solutions are the next option.
  6. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    I would like an attempt to hash out issues first if possible, although both parties would have to consent; if one does not, I think the double-ignore would be the next step because the party that doesn't consent to hashing out issues isn't willing to talk for the purpose of resolving the issue.
    I think any attempts at reconciliation would initially have to go through a mediator, because the double-ignore solution hinges on removing direct communication.
    • Like x 1
  7. Deresto

    Deresto Foolish Mortal

    i don't know if a reliably neutral third party could always be available though. i think in some cases a double ignore would be hard to rescind or communicate through depending on the people involved. they aren't very good as a permanent solution. i don't think that's what you are saying though? edit: what i meant by the last sentence is "do you mean the double ignore as a permanent solution or am i misunderstanding"?
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
  8. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    I don't think it's a good solution at all except on the very-short-term. I just can't think of a better one.

    And I think we do have some people here who have volunteered as generic mediators. It's up to the individuals about how much they trust said mediators, of course.
    • Like x 1
  9. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    I think 1 is a question of "is it necessary, for the functioning of this community-as-intended, for the community to try to make it easier for mutually incompatible people to coexist." And I'm leaning toward "yes, we should attempt to brainstorm ideas." But that's all I'm willing to posit: that we should brainstorm ideas, and attempt to make resources available for people. I am not willing to posit any other "should" at this time.

    2 cannot be answered until we attempt to solve the problem.

    So, ultimately, the purpose of this thread becomes: how can the community improve the situations re: mutually incompatible people?

    If people are frequently arguing in public, and this becomes disruptive to other people in the conversation, we have the option to ask them to take the argument to another thread. There is a forum specifically for the purpose of arguments that observers are not supposed to interject in unless explicitly invited. We could make more use of it.

    eta I mean, sure, there's also the option of PMs. But I do not like having arguments via PM, so it didn't occur to me as an option.
    • Like x 1
  10. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    1: Is this a problem that the community should solve?
    What problem? Seriously. What problem? Maybe I stay in my little corner well enough but I rarely see full on spats. The skype gets more spats than the forum does. Shit works out, I think all of this 'OH NO LET'S SOLVE A PROBLEM' is only exacerbating it.

    2: Is this a problem that the community can solve?

    No and it never will be. Trying to solve the problem is out of scope of what the community can do as a whole. Look at it this way: We make a decision to Not Be Rude Ever, but a hunk of people who literally never come on to this area of the site don't know that! Should we punish them for not knowing that? What are our punishments going to be? Public shaming? Isn't that the whole issue?

    We have an argumentation forum and plenty of people willing to play moderator! If things get bad we have mods! If mods aren't around and things get bad too bad so sad. I know it's shitty but thread lockdown, which is a damn good way of forcing people into their chill-out corners, is about the only way I can see to help cool conflict. It is at least, the only good way.

    I mean, in stricter situations there is banning people from certain forums. Such as fine imported drama, since a lot of what does happen occurs there. Lock repeat offenders from the area and don't unlock it. Though, I'm sure many people would prefer that thread locks remain an opt-in thing.
    (not answering three because I accidentally the two questions)

    Edit: However I do think the 'dueling ignores' is a good idea, I just don't think it's actually a solution to the proposed non-existent problem. It's a quality of life solution.
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
    • Like x 9
  11. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    I agree that the "OH NO LET'S SOLVE A PROBLEM" it itself by far the biggest problem around.
    You can't actually have a community of people without friction, and trying to makes thing worse. Please stop trying.
    • Like x 5
  12. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    Hmm. Perhaps I should rework the questions then. Perhaps instating a question 0: Is this a problem? To which at least a few people say "no".
    • Like x 4
  13. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    Maybe go with question -1: is there anything about the community that has significantly more friction than is inherent to the interactions of varying people?
  14. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    I have difficulties with some kinds of conflict between people around me, and I tend to try to reduce the friction by offering translation where I see communication breaking down. But that may not be the best approach for me to take. In terms of there being any chance of it being effective, in terms of it being annoying/upsetting/harmful to others, and so on.

    So I may need to improve my ability to tolerate that distress.
    Or I may need to speak up and say "hey, could this conversation go elsewhere" more often.
    • Like x 3
  15. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    Hmm. I'm a bit on the fence about that one, because to me the obvious answer is the proportion of uncommonly-sensitive people here and the relative smallness of the population/forum. In the larger world, for people who are mutually incompatible the answer is for one or both of them to suck it up or or for one or both of them to find another niche, but I'm not sure that in the cases of the mutually-incompatible here that "suck it up" is a viable general solution and there are only so many niches on a forum of this size.
    • Like x 2
  16. Vacuum Energy

    Vacuum Energy waterwheel on the stream of entropy

    In general, I agree with swirlingflight and have roughly the same impulses.

    I have found that the pastime of restating what someone says in different words, and asking someone if that is what they meant, is useful but carries some risk to me. There are people who will get offended if I misinterpret them, and people who will get offended that the way they said it is worse than the way I said it. I have no way of telling which people these are beyond obvious generalizations about who is generally volatile and who isn't.

    I also have some skill in deconstructing my own reactions to things, which is less objectively risky (I try to make it clear that I am not making claims about other people) but more subjectively risky (because if someone does object, then my brain assumes that the problem was my reaction rather than what was said or how it was said).
  17. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    Yeah, I have absolutely no suggestions about people getting offended. My gut reaction is to say "ask anyway, and if they get offended that's their problem" but as I haven't gotten offended for the past maybe 15 years and thus don't remember how it feels, I don't actually have any clue how practical that is.

    The analogy that I draw is ask-culture versus guess-culture, which may or may not be a good analogy. In the case where everyone thinks roughly the same way, guess-culture may be viable, but I don't think that's the case here, so it would be nice if people could try to keep in mind that we have many different neurotypes here, both in the medical and the somewhat vaguer "how people think" sense, and that there is a good chance that no matter what you say there's a good chance of it being misinterpreted. Which is why I'm trying and failing to write shorter sentences.
    Anyway, people getting upset about being asked to clarify is unfortunate, but I'm not sure that accommodating them with regards to that takes precedence over people getting upset about declarations that look like indicative statements of fact or suggestions for behavior modification on either the individual or communal level. At the very least, if taken at face-value a request for clarification is neutral with respect to the content: "I do not understand this. I may support it, I may disagree with it, but at the moment I do not understand it."
    • Like x 3
  18. Lib

    Lib Well-Known Member

    Mildly ironically, could you clarify that? I am failing very hard in parsing it (mostly the post-comma section).
    • Like x 1
  19. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    Breaking it down:
    Person A makes a statement of fact or a suggestion for action.
    Person B is offended by or confused by whatever person A said.
    The proposed solution is for person B to ask person A what person A meant.
    If person B asks person A for clarification, person A may take the query as an attack.
    I would submit that person B's need for understanding is more important than whatever person A is feeling about the query.

    Unfortunately this isn't a great test of the situation as I take all requests for clarification as straightforward queries. I am like a database that can sometimes recognize jokes, but otherwise views every speech act as submitting or requesting data and isn't terribly concerned with motivation or meaning.

    And I would like to formally request patience with me while I learn to write shorter sentences. It is a problem that I have had for many years now. I think I am making progress, but it's marginal and difficult.
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
    • Like x 3
  20. KingStarscream

    KingStarscream watch_dogs walking advertisement

    0 is 'yes' in that any community is going to have these kinds of problems but kintsugi is specifically for people who may have these problems more frequently, 1 is a wiggly maybe hand gesture, and 2/3 are both 'no's.

    I don't think there's any way to make a mass community solution to mutual incompatibility beyond asking people to maybe take things out of a thread, but that's usually an issue of derailing. Community pressure to make up or to cut each other off could result in pretty negative results either way, and it would be hard to tell from the outside which is better.

    Any form of "mutual ignore" would have to be totally opt-in with mutual consent, because otherwise the system breaks down. That's why it would have to rely on good-faith, which may make it harder in some cases, but every incident would have to be taken on a case-by-case basis.

    The benefit of having a public thread for that specifically is that a) it allows anyone new coming in to know that is an option, and b) in the event that two people agree to ignore each other, it's public enough that if they need to use a mediator or have a third party monitor them it's easier to find someone to volunteer. For me, there's also c) having a public agreement to disengage makes it easier for me to actually do so, whereas private agreements are easier for me to renege on. I'm aware that this may be specific to me, but it's one of the reasons why I'd prefer to have a public space where it's explicitly allowed.
    • Like x 3
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