"Vent Threads" and the Community

Discussion in 'The Undercity' started by Beldaran, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. Mala

    Mala Well-Known Member

    I did say that I think someone can say "I saw what you said about me in your vent thread and it hurt" but that's not what happened here
    • Like x 10
  2. albedo

    albedo metasperg

    Agreed. And it feels very disingenuous to discuss that in the abstract right now when this is clearly prompted by a specific case, and that specific case was not what @Beldaran is describing.

    I would like to request that abstract discussion of "how vent threads should happen in general" should happen when everyone's cooled down, perhaps in a couple of days, and in a separate thread. Things are too heated for a useful discussion on that right now.
    • Like x 12
  3. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I can't see how this could go to "argument island", since it's not about a dispute between specific users. We have had many conflicts involving vent threads and related things, involving multiple different users.

    And part of the problem is that we're ending up with the thing where any specific case used as an example becomes itself a topic for argument, and people can then start arguing over how a given user handled a given specific situation, and many other categories of response, which can make it hard to talk about general principles.

    I do sorta agree that the "Ray Rules" wording carries stronger emotional weighting than it needs.

    But I do think that this is clearly not exclusively or primarily about one specific instance; the mere fact that there's a specific instance people noticed or commented on recently doesn't make that the topic of this thread.

    So, some specific thoughts:

    1. Does it matter whether you specifically identify someone, or merely say things from which other people can in practice identify what you're complaining about? I dunno. I think in general vagueposting is often rude, and can really be a problem for a lot of the other unrelated people, because we have a large population of people with social anxiety issues who might well feel like it's probably about them, even when it's not.
    2. Should we have any kind of general rule as to whether or not people can comment on, or argue with, things asserted in vent threads? I am reluctant to try to come up with a general resolution to that. If someone wants to pick a fight, it's really easy to frame it as "venting", and then you can get automatic support if anyone responds, because they're jumping on a vent thread. But it's also sometimes really important to be able to express feelings... And sometimes the point isn't that the feelings reflect an actual fact claim or judgment of other people, they're purely a current emotional state. So some amount of "I am just emitting emotional state, no action is required, don't put too much weight on it" seems like a reasonable thing.

    Mostly, though, I'm pretty wary of anything that starts creating anything that feels like a Thou Shalt Not, because those have never worked well in my experience, and have often worked catastrophically badly.
    • Like x 6
  4. OnnaStik

    OnnaStik Relatively nice for a bloodthirsty mercenary

    In the interests of accuracy, I had actually noped out of the argument but I hadn't said so until they put what I said in the place I had been specifically keeping it out of.

    Also in the interests of accuracy, I do not consider vent threads a "Peekaboo" zone. I do not object to people responding-full-stop. What I object to is:
    • someone taking what I specifically kept out of a discussion thread because I knew it to be unproductive and putting it there anyway, instead of leaving them where people would have to actively go and look if they wanted to be pissed off at me
    • someone trying to tell me what, barring actual violent fantasies, I can and cannot say in my vent thread
    • you, specifically, Beldaran, singling me out while insisting that you're really talking about the whole community when, as Aon's said, my vent thread is actually significantly tamer than some other people's.
    (Apparently I'm calmer than I thought.)
    • Like x 13
  5. Beldaran

    Beldaran 70% abuse and 30% ramen

    I disagree, I think that dogpile-style enforcing was exactly what was happening, and that the issue with peek-a-boo rules has happened before.
  6. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Having been bitten by this a few times:

    I think it's pretty important to distinguish between "prompted by" and "about". A specific event can get someone thinking about a general pattern, and even if you know which specific event you think brought it to mind, if someone says they're talking about a general pattern, I think it makes sense to talk about the general thing and leave the specific one alone.

    I don't think it's disingenuous to want to talk about a general thing even though specific things exist.
    • Like x 5
  7. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    That's about my take on that particular issue. It's more polarizing than informative. I'm not sure peek-a-boo is really fair either, but to some extent it's really hard to describe a behavior that you see as negative without the description having negative connotations, so.
    • Like x 2
  8. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    This part here really confuses me, and it's sort of upsetting because it seems to be a recurring theme that attempts to discuss general questions get derailed if anyone can identify a specific case that might be under consideration.

    And I don't think this can be fixed by waiting until another time, especially with recurring things, because there will always be specific cases that might be under consideration.

    At some point, you just have to be willing to let people say "no, I'm not talking specifically or primarily about that, I am talking about the general case". And not, say, keep bringing up that specific case, so that they respond to posts about it, and then using that as evidence that they were only ever talking about that one specific case. Which has happened before, and is really annoying.

    Face-value readings are a valuable thing sometimes, especially when you have issues which by their nature will always have applicability to emotionally-fraught topics.
    • Like x 4
  9. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    This feels too strong to me.

    So, the reason for the "walk-in-freezer" thread is that it was based on a specific vent thread I used to hang out in, several forums ago. And at one point, I ran into someone there whom I'd just been in an argument with. And we were both angry and frustrated and posting venting things. And I sorta looked at their posts, and looked at mine, and made a friendly joke about it, and acknowledged that I could see why they'd be frustrated, and it was fine. But neither of us was posting because we expected the other to be there, really.

    I think that there's a lot of reasons for which people who are distressed sometimes want to vent to "a community" rather than to a small number of specific people. But that does create the possibility that people will see the posts. But I don't think that's the same as intent that they see the things.

    On the other hand, it makes some sense to say that, yeah, there will likely be reactions. And they may be posted someplace you can see them. So either don't go looking, or deal with it, I guess?
    • Like x 11
  10. electroTelegram

    electroTelegram Well-Known Member

    however the general topic was posted directly after the most recent Specific Issue, and i think asking people to divorce this general topic with what specifically happened right before feels kind of unreasonable because of that context. in that yes, it is a general topic discussion prompted by a specific example of a recurring issue and not about that specific instance but it was posted so close in time to the specific issue i don't think it's reasonable to expect people to not to draw strong connections to what just happened.

    eta: basically, the first time i saw this thread was when i refreshed the "new posts" tag, and this thread and onna's vent thread were both at the top.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
    • Like x 7
  11. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I think it's perfectly reasonable for people to initially think "hey, is this probably about X". But if the poster says "no, it's about the general case", then we should probably run with that. Someone who's been vaguely annoyed by a thing for weeks or months might suddenly decide to post about it because of One Time Too Many, that doesn't mean the example in question is the best, or the most important, or the only reason they're posting about it; it just happened to be the thing which was there.

    "This is the straw that broke the camel's back" is not a moral judgment of the straw, or a claim that it is the heaviest straw.
    • Like x 4
  12. Beldaran

    Beldaran 70% abuse and 30% ramen

    People are allowed to draw strong connections between whatever they like and still discuss the topic at hand as addressing multiple cases.

    That something is brought up because of a specific case doesn't mean that the newest specific case isn't anything more than a symptom of a larger problem.
    • Like x 1
  13. Mala

    Mala Well-Known Member

    I don't think it'd be easy or useful to tell the difference between venting about someone on the forum and venting about someone from elsewhere (i see a lot of venting about family and irl people). I think it's the responsibility of those of us who're anxious to not look at vent threads if we're going to feel it might be about us when it's probably not.

    It should be up to the individual person how much response they're ok with in their vent thread. They can edit the original post or add tags to indicate boundaries wrt to responding to vent posts. The thing about picking a fight via vent thread is that it requires the other person to specifically be looking at a space clearly marked for emotional venting. I think it's reasonable to assume that if someone is talking about another user in their vent thread, then it's not something they actually want to say to that person.
    • Like x 7
  14. OnnaStik

    OnnaStik Relatively nice for a bloodthirsty mercenary

    What if we do actually suspect that the poster is not being truthful?

    In the general case, of course.
  15. Beldaran

    Beldaran 70% abuse and 30% ramen

    I don't think that there is an intent for people to post things specifically for targets to see, but I do think that the community assumption that the target is at fault for seeing stuff about them and responding accordingly is out of line. People should be allowed to be as annoying at each other as they like, but the idea that one can expect to rant without response and have the community surround and dogpile anyone who goes against that is not something that I think is okay.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
    • Like x 4
  16. electroTelegram

    electroTelegram Well-Known Member

    expecting a meaningful discussion to happen feels almost ignorantly hopeful, though. ignorant as in unaware/uninformed. which confuses me because it feels like the expectation that people will be able to not derail because of a recent specific issue directly clashes with

    @seebs said:
    if it's a recurring theme expecting it to not happen here seems unreasonable.
    • Like x 3
  17. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I think that last part is probably unsustainable, simply because it amounts to "if you have social anxiety, stop worrying about things and looking at them to see whether they're bad", and that's in practice not a thing that is usually attainable.

    Hmm. That last part is interesting. I'm a bit concerned about pushing such a thing as a General Rule, because I've never once seen an "OP dictates terms of thread" thing not resulting in bad outcomes.

    And of course, part of the problem is that "I don't want to say it to that person" isn't necessarily helping. Like, if someone doesn't want to tell Roach specifically that they think she's a pedophile, just tell everyone else that, well, she still has a pretty legitimate interest in knowing about that conversation and having a voice in it. And, yes, that's a pretty extreme example, and intentionally so; the point is that there's clearly some cases where "I want to vent and not have the people I'm mad at judging me for it" is quite reasonable, and there's clearly some where it's dangerously unreasonable, and I can't tell them apart.
    • Like x 6
  18. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I think that it's a recurring theme and that it is a thing which is bad and which needs to stop happening. And the way to get there is to point out that it is inherently counterproductive to say "I know you said you are talking about X, but I have concluded you are actually talking about Y". You can't really get anywhere in a discussion with that.
    • Like x 8
  19. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    You act as though they are truthful anyway. If they're being truthful, this is the only way to avoid being a spectacular asshole to them. If they're being untruthful, joke's on them; by taking the claim of intended topic at face value, you end up moving the discussion to the thing they said they wanted to discuss, rather than the thing they secretly wanted to discuss. So they lose.

    So regardless of whether or not you think they secretly intended to discuss the other topic, sticking with the one they said they meant produces better outcomes.

    Similar to the reasoning for why it's better to just answer a question than to allege that it was asked in bad faith.
    • Like x 12
  20. OnnaStik

    OnnaStik Relatively nice for a bloodthirsty mercenary

    Here is a short list of responses to seeing something upsetting in a vent thread that would have been better than what cA did on mine:
    • A PM, directly or, if you don't like that idea, through a third party, saying "I'd like to dispute this, can we go to argument island?" or the like
    • Venting about it in your own thread, where they may or may not ever see it and then may or may not do their own response
    • A single (as in just one) post in the vent thread saying "This is upsetting, is that what you really think?" with the understanding that you may not like the answer and preferably after waiting at least a little while so that the venter can actually assess whether it is or not
    • Virtually anything that doesn't involve moving the actual substance of the thing into an existing thread where it was not-posted for a reason.
    I'm sure others can think of more.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
    • Like x 10
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