Discussion in 'The Undercity' started by seebs, Mar 8, 2017.
Volunteering as a mod!
On the subject of the ghostwritten posts, I really don't think they gave good data. The beldaran one did actually make me think, "wow that's unusually clear and emotionally considered for seebs" but the Kathy one in seebs voice just sounded snarky, because it wasn't a thing I expect from seebs so I mentally shifted the tone to fit.
That is fascinating and very confusing feedback.
That's why I wanted to provide it. I am pretty sure it is not just a me thing to have assumptions about how a person will express themself online, and use those assumptions as a basis for reading tone. It probably is a me thing to assume hostility when I see something that doesn't fit, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if that kind of problem colored the responses you got.
Yeah. Part of what's weird is that it didn't fit, because I say things like that to varying degrees pretty often; the only part that I would have thought was noticably atypical was the concrete suggestions attached to the self-care, because I normally don't do that. But I absolutely pause arguments to remind people that they're important, etc., occasionally.
Seebs, if I may, I think part of the problem re: people reading your posts/posts under your name uncharitably comes from, from what I've seen, you sometimes come off as talking down to people, like you're not actually interested in what they're saying because a) you have more experience or b) you handled a similar situation before, but in a different way than they are/want to, and it comes off as you thinking the way you handle things is the only right way to handle them. I know you're not actually trying to do that (at least I hope you're not, but I sincerely don't think you are) but it can come across that way and I think that contributes to an overall sentiment of reading what you say as always like that, as always talking down instead of seeing eye to eye and regarding the person you're arguing with as an equal with their own experiences and opinions, even if those differ from your own.
Though I will admit you've been better about that as of late. I notice it most often, or at least I notice the tells that would make someone else think that, when you're stressed and posting despite the fact that you should be taking a break. You seem to have a tendency to dig your heels in when you get like that, I do believe? Let me know if I'm totally reading you wrong though. It's just what I've noticed.
As for the letting other people make posts for you, I can understand how that'd scare some people. It may feed into paranoia about how real one's perceptions of events are, but I think you said you wouldn't do it again? Haven't been keeping up with this thread too much :-)
Yes. And there's a ton of conflicting issues happening here. Part of it is, I just genuinely don't have a ton of sense of tone and I am pretty much totally blind to status stuff most of the time, and even when I try to work it out, I'm really exceptionally bad at status signals. I can't feel good or bad about myself, in the sense that I think corresponds to the kind of evaluation people associate with status.
There's a secondary problem, which is... I first heard this described in terms of insomnia. Say you've got lifelong insomnia. You've done sleep studies, you've met with multiple specialists, and so on. And you tell someone this. You know what happens next? They suggest avoiding caffeine near bedtime. Every time. They can't not suggest that. It's a law of physics.
A number of people have suggested a lot of things to do for the forum. Many of them are things I have already considered. Quite a few have been things I've not only considered, but have specifically discussed why I am not doing them and what happened in the past when I tried them and why I think outcomes here would be negative. And there's a certain amount of "yes, I have considered trying to avoid caffeine near bedtime" in my responses on some of the forum administration things, because, well. Sometimes that is the factually-accurate response; "yes, I am fully aware of the thing you're describing, and if you'd spent 30 seconds looking or even just read previous parts of this thread, you'd have known that".
And that doesn't make it cool that I'm sometimes a jerk about it, but it does mean that sometimes the insulting implications are factually true, and I think that is a significant distinction.
I will also absolutely be less interested in things if it sounds like people are talking down to me. And yes, asking a full-time computer professional "have you tried turning it off and an again", or saying "well, what if you banned users who are disruptive" to someone who's been running forums for 20+ years, actually is pretty condescending. And if someone's giving the impression that they're ignoring my history and experience, well, yeah, I'll ignore them. Not just because they're rude, but because they've shown a disinterest in understanding the situation, which makes me inclined to doubt that their advice will be useful.
I probably do some.
Long story short, no further breaks until I have obtained a situation in which everyone posting has explicitly accepted the requirement that they at least make some kind of effort to support the site's mission/goals when posting here.
Yeah, poorly considered.
I think Maya's right. While I haven't been following the drama, @seebs, I have stalked your Tumblr for a long time and you do seem to get more stubborn and less likely to engage with all of what someone says when you're stressed. It's been mentioned before that we've got a lot of people who've had bad experiences with authority figures and that probably factors in, but I think we also may have a parallel issue where we've got a lot of people whose brains get the screaming jibblies when they see someone very strongly asserting an opinion and being unwilling/very reluctant to listen or give ground, and you often ping that when you have a tone-processing flub or don't read and respond carefully.
Makes some sense.
... And then people switch to "but you're bad because you won't listen" instead of actually advancing evidence and arguments, which I interpret as a moderately-reliable signal that someone hasn't got data and is probably wrong. So I become extra disinclined to listen to specific people who are upset because I'm not listening to them, and they become extra upset and convinced that I won't listen to them for various reasons almost none of which are the actual reasons I'm rude and dismissive.
And people being wrong about me upsets me, in a way that merely being negative about me doesn't, so they think I'm being angry and defensive because I won't admit that I'm wrong, when I'm actually being angry and dismissive because they're asserting a thing I know to be false.
Meanwhile, other people just say "hey seebs i think you overreacted there" and my pattern-matching says "hang on, i know I overreact to things, this is an inherently credible claim and should be evaluated carefully" and I re-check everything. And will do it more than once if someone says, a bit later, "no, really, I think you overreacted there". Because that's a known failure mode and I don't regard it as a claim which needs a ton of support because it's true often enough to be worth evaluating.
You may also find it interesting to look at some of the posts in the "please explain..." thread, where people simply talked about how they felt, and I reacted to that and took it seriously simply because they were making a claim on a subject on which they are an absolute authority (their own feelings).
"Seebs you shouldn't do X, only an idiot who has no experience with running forums would do X" => ignored as probably-invalid
"Seebs, if you do X, I will be sad" => credible and relevant argument, i should probably avoid X
I am now wondering how many of the arguments that people thought I was unfairly dismissive of contained argument patterns that I regard as not merely unpersuasive, but as good evidence that there are no persuasive arguments available for a position. Because that's a thing I totally do, and it's a thing I'm unlikely to stop doing, because so many of those arguments really are bad enough that I save a lot of time if I just ignore them and assume that if there's a good argument someone else will make it.
I have seen you really easily roll over and accept what someone has told you and update your thoughts accordingly, but also lots of times when you can't be persuaded at all. Now, it seems to me that the deciding factor is what idea is being expressed, something totally internal to your experience, but the ones that work on you are often very brief statements, and often from people who know you well (and probably know you haven't thought if whatever topic in this particular way) while the ones that can't sway you may be lengthy and apparently well-considered arguments (but which are nonetheless bad reasoning, or based on bad premises, or in whatever manner unpersuasive on their own merits).
Someone outside your head, who having trouble parsing text walls, or having little experience with real critical argument but plenty of experience with loudmouth assholes throwing social weight around and steamrolling opposition, might have trouble discerning why some very short statements get instant capitulation while long argument to get nowhere. Without better understanding of what good arguments can be, or without understanding how you work as an individual, they might think the most obvious explanation is that you will listen to your friends but not anybody else.
The tumblr experience, where facts don't matter but getting along with dominating asshole is a survival technique, is not limited to tumblr but is the learned behavior in many dysfunctional families, abusive families & relationships, and even a lot of work environments, all of which train people to certain expectations that you tend to defy and befuddle.
Rook's thoughts for the morning, hoping this ends up being helpful for you in the future ^_^
That's a really good point. It's super easy to produce a thing which feels like a really good argument to about 95% of people, but isn't actually logically persuasive, or which is persuasive only if you accept a particular premise which I don't accept.
And spoiler: In fact, there are people I'm friends with specifically because they persuaded me, repeatedly, that I was wrong in serious ways. Like, this alone was enough to make me value them and their inputs enough that I started thinking of them as friends. And that will absolutely skew things towards "seebs listens to friends", because if I am regularly convinced that you are worth listening to, I will probably start to think of you as a friend. And if you are regularly just awful at argumentation or making sense, it will be very hard for me to become or stay friends with you.
... aaaand hey hang on what if I stopped for social processing. The above DOES NOT imply that if I don't like you or get along with you, you are bad at argumentation. There are a ton of reasons I can find people upsetting or whatever. Some of the people I just can't deal with are actually pretty cool people, and I can absolutely confirm that they are objectively good folks who behave in consistently beneficial ways, are kind, etctera... but something about them just happens to bug me a lot. Personal can't-deal-with is not a moral value judgment!
Potential issue I see with this approach:
some people are used to being told, by abusers etc, that their arguments don't count if they have too much emotion in them, so they've gotten used to removing the emotional component from all of their arguments
some people are not good at articulating their own emotions
some people have trouble talking about Policy and emotions at the same time, in much the same way you expressed having trouble with talking about Policy and doing social processing at the same time
some people don't want to bring their deep emotions into a thread about Policy because they feel (not necessarily rationally) that would be getting their emotional spooge all over a Serious Discussion
(And when I say "some people" in all of the above points, what I actually mean is "me and maybe there are other people who have similar issues, who knows".)
Which means that people who are actually arguing from a very emotional position may well end up writing posts that look more like the "have you tried not drinking caffeine before bedtime" type, especially if those people have previously seen you arguing via non-emotional text-wall and think that's the way you prefer to have arguments presented. They are not capable of engaging well on the emotional front, so they're trying to engage on the logical front, and may or may not realize that this is a less helpful contribution.
I can't say if that actually happened in the other thread, because I don't know which posts you were interpreting as unhelpful and I can't speak to the emotional state of anyone but myself, but it seems like a potential thing.
Similar to the above, sometimes people who are in the middle of Having Emotions are not good at making persuasive arguments. It is entirely possible their argument would be better if they were not in the middle of Having Emotions.
An example: Pretty much all of my comments in the other thread about wanting the mods to be on the same page were not really articulated as well as I would have liked them to be. This is because I only realized about halfway through the discussion that the sentiment "I don't necessarily want strong cohesion in the mod team" is actually not viscerally terrifying to other people. At which point I realized out that I was getting lowkey triggered by the entire discussion, and my brain had been subconsciously jumping through about six different hoops to arrive at the "AND THIS IS BAD" conclusion. And that if I wanted to make my point properly I would have to actually explain what steps led it to that conclusion, but at that point I just wanted to go have a lie-down until my trauma stopped screaming at me, so I left the thread entirely instead of trying to explain better. And so it remains a bad argument forever, even if it might have had the seed of a good argument in there somewhere.
All of the above is intended more as data points and associated speculation than actual arguments, to be clear.
Anecdata: This is the opposite if how I think other people value arguments because i have a history of my feelings being dismissed as unimportant, so the more I care about an issue, the less i reveal my emotions and the more i try to find non emotional reasons for why whatever i want to happen should happen.
Another thing, I think a fair amount of people do not Know how much or how little experience you have with forums, which is why you get the "Caffeine before bedtime" effect. Not that they do not Care, they don't have that information because few people will think to research you, personally, when discussing forum policy.
...this would be the significantly shorter version of what I was trying to say with the first half of my above text-wall *facepalm*
I think that's exactly the point of the Caffeine Before Bedtime comparison. Many of the people asking if you've cut caffeine before bedtime don't know the immense amount of pain and suffering you've put into trying to not have insomnia, because they're not privy to your life and this is their first time hearing about the fact that you have this problem, and so are kinda clueless about how much time and effort you've put into addressing it. Just because people don't know better and might not do it if they did doesn't mean it doesn't get really annoying.
My habit of condensing shit has to be good for something :P
That is very true, it does get annoying,
I want to clarify, it's not exactly an approach. The thing is, statements about emotions aren't always persuasive or even relevant. But if you're a user on my forum, and you're scared about a forum thing, then your emotions are relevant because part of the point is to make a place where people can feel better.
But yeah, that's a definite problem.
It probably is, and I should maybe think about this. The big issue, from my point of view, is wanting to make sure that people know that lots of things can persuade me, and that the actual rules are not as simple as they seem.
Ohhhh. That makes sense.
Okay so I've been places where mods were wildly inconsistent, but like, any given mod would be moderately consistent with themselves, but no two mods necessarily agreed, and there was nothing to do if you got bad luck with a mod. And that? Yeah, that'd be horrible.
Here, what you get is me. And you get other people, and the other people are helping out and keeping up with things, but at the end of the day, it comes down to me, and my belief about what I want, which is a forum which is as welcoming and as fair as I can make it.
How serious am I about fair? Well, consider that this post will be approved by a moderator other than me, because I have a stated intent about use of post moderation for users whose posts sometimes hurt people and who can't-or-won't change that, my posts sometimes hurt people, I can't change that... therefore post moderation.
I genuinely don't think that my fairness is ever going to be an ongoing problem. I will totally lose my temper with people and stuff, but give me a few hours or days to think, and I'll go back to "no, we need to do the thing which is most fair".
... I definitely didn't communicate that one as well as I maybe should have.
Basically.... If you tell me a thing scares you or makes you sad, that is in and of itself a thing to consider. How much to consider, that could vary. But it's relevant. Whereas the "only an idiot would do ..." thing isn't really a meaningful argument.
On the other hand, a well-reasoned logical argument for a thing that works from premises I accept? That'll pretty much always win.
Yeah, and I´m glad it is. Because my experience was that not only were emotions never a thing to consider, but they were used as a reason to dismiss any logical arguments I might make, causing me to often not speak up when my objection to it is mostly/strongly emotional.
I don´t know if that is a cultural thing, an abuse flavoured thing, or what, but it´s a thing. Which some other people probably also have. So it´s good to know an emotional thing will actually be considered rather than being the "Dismiss all arguments from this person" criteria.
You can't work on mental health without dealing with emotions.
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