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Gentlemen,

The level of discourse on this site is dropping. Several recent posts have been filled with personal attacks rather than discussions of the issues.

I am sorry to see this happen.

My proposal is to follow the rules of safe fighting: attack the issue, not the person.

Calling someone fat, or a lowlife, or a drug addict, or stupid is hurtful. That should not be the intent of this site.

Calling an arguement weak, or an idea foolish, or an opinion shallow does not leave marks.

Let's try to keep to the high road.

Dick

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Let me add my thanks as well. I have often noticed with as much astonishment as anything else how quickly the vitriol increases on this board. It takes fewer than half a dozen posts to get the level of name-calling and epithet-slinging to a pitch of something that approximates emotional or psychological violence. I have tried to understand it as a phenomenon of e-mail; in my office, for instance, we've had to learn not to let the anonymity of e-mail be the vehicle for the little bursts of temper that face-to-face discourse will often meliorate. Things have been much, much better in the work place ever since.

 

But I also wonder if the anonymity of cyberspace doesn't have a particular effect on gay men. Most of us -- many of us, anyway -- have endured all kinds of personal attacks from all sides. Depending on our ages and the circumstances in which we grew up, that kind of oppression, persecution, and outright hatred was the norm, not the exception, for much of our lives. We we are a community of very badly wounded people. It's no wonder that there's so much virtual fist-fighting.

 

It's no wonder, but it's not inevitable. If we follow the rules for "clean fighting" on this board, we can go a long way towards restoring civility in sexual matters to our lives. Even more important is the fact that this board offers what in my experience is a unique opportunity for us to heal each other. The very best escorts -- the genuine human beings (like Rick Munroe, Gino Mancuso, Rod Hagen, Matt in Vancouver, Brett Silvers, and so on) -- do just that. They gladly, even eagerly, make each of their clients feel like a million dollars for a few hours. And after it's over, some of us will think to ourselves, every now and then, "Hey! Maybe I'm not such a loser after all."

 

Every time that happens,there is one less quantum of homophobic hatred in the world. I'd rather help clean it up than spread it around. That's the opportunity HooBoy has given us on this board and I think we'd be wise to take it.

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Guest regulation

>Let me add my thanks as

>well. I have often

>noticed with as much astonishment

>as anything else how quickly

>the vitriol increases on this

>board. It takes fewer

>than half a dozen posts

>to get the level of

>name-calling and epithet-slinging to a

>pitch of something that approximates

>emotional or psychological violence.

>I have tried to understand

>it as a phenomenon of

>e-mail; in my office, for

>instance, we've had to learn

>not to let the anonymity

>of e-mail be the vehicle

>for the little bursts of

>temper that face-to-face discourse will

>often meliorate. Things have

>been much, much better in

>the work place ever since.

>

>

>But I also wonder if the

>anonymity of cyberspace doesn't have

>a particular effect on gay

>men. Most of us

>-- many of us, anyway

>-- have endured all kinds

>of personal attacks from all

>sides. Depending on our

>ages and the circumstances in

>which we grew up, that

>kind of oppression, persecution, and

>outright hatred was the norm,

>not the exception, for much

>of our lives. We

>we are a community of

>very badly wounded people.

>It's no wonder that there's

>so much virtual fist-fighting.

>

 

Sorry, but in my view being gay has absolutely nothing to do with it and should not be used as an excuse. I don't spend much of my time on message boards, but I have spent enough time observing boards having nothing to do with issues of special concern to gay men to notice that the phenomenon you describe is pervasive. On boards having to do with political, legal and economic issues especially, most participants lack the educational background to confine their discussions to facts. When confronted with facts that cast doubt on their positions they can present none in reply, and rather than concede the point they substitute insults instead.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

LAST EDITED ON Mar-09-01 AT 04:03PM (EST)[p]Sorry Will,

 

Generally, I don't buy the gayness explanation either, anonymity as an explanation -- yes, in spades -- but not the gayness issue, I think; although I'm sure there are specific instances where that applies too.

 

IMHO Regulation makes a valid point about other sites:

 

>On boards having to do with

>political, legal and economic

>issues especially, most participants

>lack the educational background to

>confine their discussions to facts.

>When confronted with facts

>that cast doubt on their positions

>they can present none in reply,

>and rather than concede the point

>they substitute insults instead.

 

However, it seems to me that many posters at this site do have the educational background and facts at hand, albeit with differing analyses and interpretations. So it seems that the explanation must lie elsewhere.

 

Maybe CT Dick has it right.

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As we're talking "discourse" here, let me say that I did not argue the "gay thing" as an excuse. An explanation is not an excuse. Nor, however, did I offer it as an explanation, not, anyhow, as a sufficient explanation. It was only a hypothesis; and if other people don't buy the hypothesis, that's OK with me. I don't really participate in other kinds of cyberdiscussion, and so I don't have any experience with boards of other kinds and thus take it as a given that Regulation is right.

 

Because I don't mind a genuine discussion at all, however, I cannot resist the temptation to make two points vis-a-vis my notion about gay people being hard on each other. First, as I've already said, to explain something does not excuse it. For example, it's a proven fact that most men who are convicted of sexually abusing children were sexually abused as children themselves. That tells me something about why they did it; it tells me absolutely nothing about the degree of their culpability. Second, the deep-seated psychological scars that may lead people to commit certain acts do not absolve those persons of responsibility. The last thing I'm talking about here is an ethics of victimhood, "the devil made me do it" sort of thing. Come to that, it's as old as our sex itself. When God discovered that the man had eaten the fruit of the forbidden tree, Adam said, "The woman you gave me made me do it." One of the most brilliant excuses of all times -- not only is it not my fault, it's not even her fault. Ultimately, God, it's YOUR fault!

 

That's not what I'm talking about. Meanwhile, I'll continue to contemplate my hypothesis, but will not put it forward again.

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Guest Hanover

On boards having

>to do with political, legal

>and economic issues especially, most

>participants lack the educational background

>to confine their discussions to

>facts.

 

There is no simple link between educational background and restricting oneself to the facts, as anyone who has to deal with lawyers can confirm.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Hold on Will,

 

Don't abandon your hypothesis so quickly... I have pondered it some more myself and while I agree that the members of the gay community often may be hard on each other, it is my perception that it is more of a judgmental nature than a vindictive nature. Then again maybe my experience is too liimited to draw an accurate conclusion. While there may be a judgmental aspect to some of our less savory discourses on the board, it seems to me that the more disturbing component to the exchanges has a strong vindictive flavor. I would appreciate your thoughts and the thoughts of others on my hypothesis of the judgmental vs. the vindictive reflected in the gay community at large and in our little microcosm here.

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TY, you are so cool! I didn't say that I'd abandon my thesis (I won't!), but only that I'd not push it here. As for the vindictive versus the judgmental, that's a distinction I'll have to think about. However, in a few hours I have to go out of town on business and won't be back until the middle of next week. Doubtless this thread will have been completely abandoned by then; but if the occasion should arise, I'd be delighted to take up your offer to discuss the matter thoroughly. Love from one of your major fans, Will.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

'Will,

 

>I didn't say that I'd

>abandon my thesis (I won't!),

>but only that I'd not

>push it here.

 

You are right, I should have said 'Don't abandon your argument'.

 

>However, in a few hours

>I have to go out

>of town on business and

>won't be back until the

>middle of next week.

>Doubtless this thread will have

>been completely abandoned by then;

 

I'll be here, and I don't expect that I'll be the only one. :-)

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Guest shadow

>On boards having

>to do with political, legal

>and economic issues especially, most

>participants lack the educational background

>to confine their discussions to

>facts.

 

Hooboy,

 

look at this! How can someone be so presumptious?

 

Why would anyone want to speak to someone like this?

 

It will just continue.

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Guest desertdaddy

Hi Will, I'm a new poster on the M4M board. You've made some excellent points. Knowledge of the underlying reasons does not excuse the behavior. We are all responsible for our actions. BTW - the statistics also show that the vast majority of men who were sexually abused as children do not become sexual abusers themsleves.

Later...Buck (a long time friend of Bill W. :-) )

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Guest cassius

>>On boards having

>>to do with political, legal

>>and economic issues especially, most

>>participants lack the educational background

>>to confine their discussions to

>>facts.

>

>Hooboy,

>

>look at this! How can someone

>be so presumptious?

>

>Why would anyone want to speak

>to someone like this?

>

>It will just continue.

 

 

You don't seem to get the point of this thread, which is to stop bashing other posters, you just keep doing it. The poster you quoted is correct, I see that sort of thing constantly on the AOL message boards. There is a message board right now about tax cuts. Republican posters are claiming that anyone who owns a house and a car is being hit by the estate tax. When you point out that the federal estate tax affects only estates with a net worth larger than $600K so that only 2% of estates pay anything, they call you a liar or reply with other insults. The biggest problem with message boards about political issues is that most of the people who post don't know what they are talking about and when that is pointed out to them they get very nasty very quickly. It is very easy to say you don't agree with someone without using derogatory words about him or about his post. The only reaon to use those derogatory words is that you enjoy hurting people.

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Guest shadow

LAST EDITED ON Mar-12-01 AT 11:05AM (EST)[p]> which

>is to stop bashing other

>posters,

 

cassius, this is precisely my point.

 

Stop for a moment. Calm down, and take another look at regulation's other threads.

 

Before saying anything more, really take a look.

 

Don't give in to a knee jerk reaction.

 

Then we'll talk again.

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Guest cassius

>LAST EDITED ON Mar-12-01

>AT 11:05 AM (EST)

>

>> which

>>is to stop bashing other

>>posters,

>

>cassius, this is precisely my point.

>

>

>Stop for a moment. Calm down,

>and take another look at

>regulation's other threads.

>

>Before saying anything more, really take

>a look.

>

>Don't give in to a knee

>jerk reaction.

>

>Then we'll talk again.

 

I read the nasty and obscene remarks you posted in this thread before the moderator took them down, which makes me think you are the one who needs to calm down. You sure shouldn't be criticizing others for bashing when you have done plenty of that yourself, you should just pay attention to your own behavior. I said above that it is very easy to convey that you disagree with someone else's remarks without using derogatory words, so are you saying that is not true? If it is true, why can't you just do it?

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Guest shadow

LAST EDITED ON Mar-12-01 AT 02:20PM (EST)[p]LAST EDITED ON Mar-12-01 AT 02:18 PM (EST)

 

Cassius,

 

see that regulation has the number 138 under his name. If you don't want to read regulation's other posts then understand this. If one style of communication doesn't get through to him in 138 posts, then its time to change styles.

 

Furthermore, Regulation owes apologies to Joey Ciccone and Stephan Lacoste.

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Guest cassius

>LAST EDITED ON Mar-12-01

>AT 02:20 PM (EST)

>

>LAST EDITED ON Mar-12-01

>AT 02:18 PM (EST)

>

>Cassius,

>

>see that regulation has the number

>138 under his name. If

>you don't want to read

>regulation's other posts then understand

>this. If one style of

>communication doesn't get through to

>him in 138 posts, then

>its time to change styles.

>

>

>Furthermore, Regulation owes apologies to Joey

>Ciccone and Stephan Lacoste.

 

I did read some of the other posts, which is why I said in the thread about prostitution arrests that he made it the most interesting thread by the issues he raised. I wanted to ask escorts I've seen some of those questions but didn't do it, and I appreciate the fact that someone else is bringing them up. I don't know of any other place where this is discussed. I guess you are saying that if someone doesn't agree with you the best way to get through to him is by calling him "ignorant piece of shit". I can't believe you think that makes any sense, do you? If you can't persuade someone you are right by arguments you aren't going to persuade him by calling him names, isn't that pretty obvious? And I don't see that he said anything derogatory to either of the people you mentioned. Prostitution is against the law even though some of us think it shouldn't be, so pointing that out is hardly an insult and no one has to apologize for it. There were a couple of other posters who did say derogatory things to Stephan but for some reason you don't have a problem with them, only with this one guy. Odd.

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Guest shadow

LAST EDITED ON Mar-12-01 AT 05:16PM (EST)[p]Cassius,

 

since regulation consistently speaks in a derogatory manner towards posters and refuses to even acknowledge this, he deserves to be spoken to in a derogatory manner. The only reason that I am not continuing to speak in a more derogatory towards regulation is out of respect of what Hooboy wrote.

 

Since you have pointed it out, however, I will take another look at that specific thread where you said that others spoke to Stephan Lacoste in a deragotory manner. Maybe I am being a little unfair about singling out regulation. But based on Regulation's usual rude and condescending manner, I doubt that others could compare.

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Guest cassius

Well, I guess you and I don't agree about this. I don't find anything rude or condescending in the posts I read except when he replied to people who had already called him names. And I never saw anything in his posts that was nearly as rude as "ignorant piece of shit" which is the expression you used. Maybe we don't have the same definition of what is rude and condescending, for example I found your remarks to me about how I should "calm down" to be condescending and offensive. The point is, you can't control what other people do but you can control what you do. If you think insulting other people is wrong, don't do it. If you think it is okay for you to do it then you can't complain when other people do it.

 

I haven't been visiting these boards for very long but my impression is that there are certain subjects or points of view that some posters here don't like and anyone who brings those things up is going to get flamed. That doesn't stop regulation from saying what he thinks and it's not going to stop me either.

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Guest regulation

I appreciate your words in my defense, but there's no need. As you say, there are certain points of view that make people here uncomfortable. Anyone who expresses those points of view is going to be flamed. One's choices are (i) don't say anything that you know other participants won't like or (ii) speak your mind and let the chips fall where they may. I don't really care about being popular with a bunch of people I don't know and will never meet, so I choose the latter.

 

As for Shadow, he hasn't gotten over the fact that he didn't do too well in our brief colloquy on MTV's Matthew Shepard film. He couldn't think of any way to counter the arguments I made on that subject, so he attacked me personally instead. As you said in an earlier post, this phenomenon is very familiar to those who visit a variety of Internet message boards. When posters run out of arguments they often resort to insults.

 

As for the subject of e-Manners, my rule will continue to be the one I've always followed: I'll never be the first to introduce insults or personal attacks into any conversation on these or other message boards.

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Guest Hanover

When

>posters run out of arguments

>they often resort to insults.

>

>

>As for the subject of e-Manners,

>my rule will continue to

>be the one I've always

>followed: I'll never be

>the first to introduce insults

>or personal attacks into any

>conversation on these or other

>message boards.

 

This seems accurate, more or less. But once the first stone is cast at you, you seem to descend with unseemly haste into hurling barbs and insults. Before long stones are raining in from all sides. If you have so many good arguments, you are so superbly well educated (which, you claim, means that you necessarily stick to the facts), and you really don't care what others think or say on this site, then why do you follow the lead of others into the fray? Why not just remain on your Olympian perch and let the mere mortals down below fight it out?

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