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Vicious Hounds or "Techie Darwinism"

Buster Peel
Spat the dummy.
Join date: 7 Feb 2005
Posts: 1,242
10-06-2005 11:41
From: Cory Edo
Its called the drive to debate, actually, and its highly common in institutions of higher learning.

Think of it like sports. I'm not getting out on a soccer field with Pele because I'll never in a million years be that good. Someone that's closer to his abilities will get a lot out of playing against him, because its improving his skills. But bet your ass Pele isn't going to let him score.

Debate, especially of a highly specialized topic, can get just as ruthless and bloody. And very few people, ubergeek or not, will personally fault you for an honest mistake or lack of some bit of arcane knowledge. (THAT'S jerky behavior.) But if you walk into Google and jump on said discussion board without knowing what the hell you're talking about, yet act like everyone there should be thrilled with the science you're dropping on their heads, chances are they'll jump you without thinking twice.

Debate is an art. If you participate in competitive debates, you quickly learn that you lose points for attempting to discredit your opponent independently from your opponent's argument. "Debate" is a contest of logic.

Personal attacks and overt condescension are considered fouls. To use a sporting analogy, a personal attack (including condescension) is akin to trying to inflict an injury on the opposing quarterback in order to take him out of the game. A debate isn't about the intelligence of the participants, it is about the validity of lines of reasoning. You don't have to be smart to have a valid argument, and you don't have to be stupid to have an invalid argument.

Buster
Gabe Lippmann
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Join date: 14 Jun 2004
Posts: 4,219
10-06-2005 11:41
He kept asking the same question over and over again ;)
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Vudu Suavage
Feral Twisted Torus
Join date: 27 Jul 2004
Posts: 402
10-06-2005 11:42
From: Cory Edo
From: someone
Originally Posted by Buster Peel
The behavior you are describing is more like the behavior of a bunch of bullies with low self esteem, not a bunch of "highly intellegent people". Most people who are highly intellegent don't feel the need to defend their intellegents by attacking idiots.


Its called the drive to debate, actually, and its highly common in institutions of higher learning.


Competetive debate in the "Techie Darwinism" mode advances policy and technology for sure, but Buster is right to point out that bully behaviour and groupthink are the evil twins of such debate, often killing open debate and taking its place with no one the wiser. We don't want to stifle productive discussion out of fear of hurting someone's feelings, but it's useful to know the near-danger of valuing familiar ideas over good ones as well as the far-danger of abandoning debate altogether.
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Angel Coral
Otherworldly
Join date: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 224
Knowing strengths
10-06-2005 11:46
I post little, but read most all the threads. In fact before coming to SL about 2 years ago, I didn't bother to read forums. I comment when I feel I have something to add. In general, I enjoy reading the forums. I learn continually from people. I see how they think, react to topics, and debate ideas. Thinking through the various arguments is a mental exercise I enjoy. Even though I can discuss a topic articulately, I am not an experienced nor trained debater. Consequently, I don't enter the fray of a heated debate.

However, I find that being new to the forums is not unlike being new in various other RL situations, ie. profession, sport, hobby, parenting. It's difficult for a new person (educated or not) to debate, advise or speak knowledgeably on a topic and be taken as seriously as an educated veteran to a subject. Not that new comers don't often have wonderful ideas and can't be perfectly correct. It's just that they are more apt to rush headlong into their interest with a great deal of enthusiasm and without taking into consideration that if it is a very lively debate they can either be dismissed or trounced for their lack of knowledge or experience.

Granted, thankfully not all posters or professionals will react negatively. Most in RL, I believe, give positive criticism and educate new comers. I do agree that the anonymity the internet provides does a disservice to civility and common decency.

angel

P.S. There are no veiled attempts here to identify anyone in the forums. My comments are just observations from an avid forum reader and lifelong learner.
Dnate Mars
Lost
Join date: 27 Jan 2004
Posts: 1,309
10-06-2005 11:46
From: blaze Spinnaker
So, why did Prokofy get banned?

Why are you bring this up? Ask Prodofy, he is the only one that can answer that.

I think we are heading off topic, yet again. Google is a different place that any I have heard of before. They have a very different enviroment then most other work places. It seems to be more of a playground then a real workplace. But that might be why they are being so profitable. Just because a debate is heated, does not mean it is unproductive. Sometimes emotions do get the better of us, I know I am guiltly of that. I always try and look at each thread as its own world. I try not to bring things from other threads into the new one. I try not to hold personnal grudges agaist people for what they have or have not done in other threads. I admit, I am not the best at doing it, but it can be done. I love a good debate. I can't stand people that think they know it all, but really are just clueless. It drives me insane, but I still try and keep it based on facts. If I get too worked up about something, then I know I need to just walk away from the thread for a while.

Now that I have said all that, what was the topic?
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From: Cristiano Midnight
This forum is weird.
Cory Edo
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Join date: 26 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,851
10-06-2005 11:49
From: Buster Peel
Debate is an art. If you participate in competitive debates, you quickly learn that you lose points for attempting to discredit your opponent independently from your opponent's argument. "Debate" is a contest of logic.


Personal attacks and overt condescension are considered fouls. To use a sporting analogy, a personal attack (including condescension) is akin to trying to inflict an injury on the opposing quarterback in order to take him out of the game. A debate isn't about the intelligence of the participants, it is about the validity of lines of reasoning. You don't have to be smart to have a valid argument, and you don't have to be stupid to have an invalid argument.

Buster


I absolutly agree with you, if we're discussing the strict rules of an actual Debate, capital "D".

That's not the scenario that the Googlegeeks are in, however. And honestly, since I haven't seen a single example of what personal attacks they may or may not be levying against each other, its hard to make any sort of judgement call as to how harsh they're actually being.


EDIT: Angel and Dnate, I think you guys are right on the mark. Angel, especially with your line "Granted, thankfully not all posters or professionals will react negatively. Most in RL, I believe, give positive criticism and educate new comers." I think that's generally true no matter where you are or how intellegent you are.

Here's my personal example which I'm basing a lot of my statements on. My best friend since I've been 15 is now working on his masters in physics. The man is unbelievably brilliant, to the point that it makes his life very difficult in certain areas.

Now, if you were to sit down with him and just chat about random stuff, you'd find yourself talking to a very polite, funny, respectful person.

If you were to sit down and talk about physics, even though you don't know a lot about the subject, he would be very informative and you'd walk away from the table with a much better understanding of physics than you did before you sat down.

However, let's say you sat down with him and you started spouting off half-baked theories and then in a haughty tone informed him that he needed to be respectful of you and your opinions. He'd probably tear you a new asshole and smile while he did it.

The attitude of the one coming into the discussion has just as much to do with the outcome, from what I've seen.
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Forseti Svarog
ESC
Join date: 2 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,730
10-06-2005 12:00
buster, one of Enab's key points wasn't that personal attacks are OK, it's that people too easily interpret something as a personal attack. Very different thing.

the problems we have in the forums don't come down so much to intelligence -- yes Cory I realized that you were commenting on the culture within Google, not here on the forums (cocoa, not everything is about you) -- but down to oversensitivity in reading and insensitivity in writing. The latter is often because people don't have time to edit or think about their post in someone else's shoes.

I still say you can have intelligent and heated debate, but it helps if people try to keep their oversensitivities and insensitivities in check.

of course, some of the smartest people I know have horrible social skills and are a disaster at this kind of thing! :D
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Nolan Nash
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Join date: 15 May 2003
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10-06-2005 12:03
Are we supposed to follow the rules of formal debate in here? If so, someone please indicate where that is said, and post the debating rules. Just because some folks may have been involved with debate teams or rules in their past, doesn't mean everyone else should or has to adhere to that mindset. Not anymore than all of us need to understand Ohm's Law to run a computer.

We are not all a bunch of Vulcans, and I do not see anyone advocating for personal attacks.

I see the guidelines being brought up again. Guidelines are called "guidelines" for a reason - to GUIDE where it's impossible to anticipate each and every scenario that crops up. They accomodate grey areas. I don't see anything about rules of debate and logic in the guidelines.

Now, I was enjoying lurking and reading the discussion about Google. I was mulling it over, formulating a response of my own. I may just refrain, now that this thread is on the verge of being derailed by folks for whom all roads lead to <their own personal> Rome.
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Cory Edo
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Join date: 26 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,851
10-06-2005 12:06
From: Forseti Svarog

of course, some of the smartest people I know have horrible social skills and are a disaster at this kind of thing! :D


I think that's a widely overlooked and probably very important aspect of this equation, Forseti.
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Desmond Shang
Guvnah of Caledon
Join date: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 5,250
10-06-2005 13:01
Enabran, this is what I saw:

The reassignment of 'fiery interactions' to the more humourous, positive term 'vibrant discussion' is a pretty clear endorsement of hostile culture.

Buy-in to sparring matches as an effective form of communication is another.



I think it's unlikely that this environment is intentionally propagated for the good of Google.

If management thinks they are working to promote 'vibrant discussion' - well, it is awfully convenient that no effort is required; all they have to do is step back and let Jack, Ralph, and Piggy play unattended.

I think it's far more likely that some folks were advanced solely on technical merit, and lacked the basic social skills to pull a group together in a civil manner.
Cocoanut Koala
Coco's Cottages
Join date: 7 Feb 2005
Posts: 7,903
10-06-2005 13:15
From: Forseti Svarog
buster, one of Enab's key points wasn't that personal attacks are OK, it's that people too easily interpret something as a personal attack. Very different thing.

the problems we have in the forums don't come down so much to intelligence -- yes Cory I realized that you were commenting on the culture within Google, not here on the forums (cocoa, not everything is about you) -- but down to oversensitivity in reading and insensitivity in writing. The latter is often because people don't have time to edit or think about their post in someone else's shoes.

I still say you can have intelligent and heated debate, but it helps if people try to keep their oversensitivities and insensitivities in check.

of course, some of the smartest people I know have horrible social skills and are a disaster at this kind of thing! :D

Excuse me, Forseti - exactly where in this thread did I claim this was all about me?

Was Enabran not talking about what happens on Google and drawing a comparison for us to think about regarding what happens in the forums? I thought it was an interesting comparison, and did give thought to it, as did a number of others, and then I COMMENTED ON IT.

So how, then, Forseti, does my commenting with my opinions somehow make everything

all

about

me?

However, your saying this DOES conveniently have the tendency to actually make it all about me, do you see that?

Is this some catch phrase you and others fall back on without thinking, like Nike's "Just Do It?" Do you just not even bother to read the thread or to think? Do you just HOPE to make it synonymous with my posts?

Or is it a none-too-subtle reminder that you'd rather I didn't add my opinions to a thread? That my very act of speaking up implies that I'm not keeping to my assigned place somehow?

Having looked back at my previous posts in this thread, the only place where I could find an "I" used is when Enabran decided my previous post was irrelevant to the topic, and I used the word "I" as in "when I said" in order to explain how it wasn't.

However, now - thanks to you putting me down with this little handy catch-all phrase, "not everything is about you, Cocoa" - to imply I'm some attention-starved kindergartener who YOU are sensibly paying no attention to - it now IS about me, because YOU have made it so, not I. By insulting me yet again.

Tell ya what, I'm just REAL tired of being responded to with this "not everything is about you, Cocoa," phrase, Forseti. It's baiting and it's hugely marginalizing of the reasonable contributions I've made to this topic. I have heard this phrase about a dozen times too many now, and I'm about ready to start reporting it.

Now get back to the damn topic, Forseti, and try to realize that not everything is about you trying to make it about me making it about me.

coco
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Gabe Lippmann
"Phone's ringing, Dude."
Join date: 14 Jun 2004
Posts: 4,219
10-06-2005 13:18
From: Desmond Shang
I think it's far more likely that some folks were advanced solely on technical merit, and lacked the basic social skills to pull a group together in a civil manner.


I work with many brilliant people, very few of whom are brilliant in any technical capacity. Most are advanced purely based on their social skills. There is no civility at all when a disagreement arises as to how to handle a problem.

Everyone wants it their way and the level of juvenile behavior among intelligent, normally socially adept individuals is amazing. Fact is, we work very closely together and spend 75% of our waking day together. It is a family, and we behave just like a large extended family will at times. Sniping, name calling, what have you.

Whateva. People are strange, when you're a stranger. Seriously, I love the discussion, but there is no bullseye that will solve this chasm in the forums. :cool:
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Seth Kanahoe
political fugue artist
Join date: 30 Jan 2005
Posts: 1,220
10-06-2005 13:18
From: Enabran Templar
I suppose the thrust of my assertion is thus: Fiery discussion is a Good Thing.


I'm confused. How often does fiery discussion proc in PvP verbal combat?

From: Vivianne Draper
... ESPECIALLY in a game like this, you are going to have your overachievers and underachievers and everything in between.... There's no one standing at the gates of SL saying "well if you can't build and script and post intelligently then off with you!"


Building and scripting well are not necessarily indicators of "intelligence" "overachieving", or "underachieving". Plenty of examples exist on these forums - talented builders and scripters who seem clueless outside of narrow mediums of content creation. I'd certainly agree that exclusivity is not the answer to SL issues. I'd also agree that enshrining certain SL "professions" is a harmful trend, not matter how many people follow an Elite Scripter's comments with "yoo rawk" and "I couldn't have said it better myself!" There are many cultures in SL, and many standards of achievement. One standard does not necessarily translate into a universal standard - again, as these forums have demonstrated.

If that puts me in the Koala Kamp, so be it. ;)
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Enabran Templar
Capitalist Pig
Join date: 26 Aug 2004
Posts: 4,506
10-06-2005 13:19
From: Desmond Shang
The reassignment of 'fiery interactions' to the more humourous, positive term 'vibrant discussion' is a pretty clear endorsement of hostile culture.

Buy-in to sparring matches as an effective form of communication is another.


I'm afraid I just don't see the negativity you want to ascribe to these things. Utter lack of emotion and conviction is boring. I can think of no historical accomplishment that was born in apathy. Passionately held beliefs are often controversial, as is their defense. As is the act of questioning them. People get stirred up. That doesn't mean it's a hive of personal attack -- it simply means people disagree. Vigorously. It's the fear of disagreement and the insecurity it brings that causes many of our problems, as I have posited.

From: Forseti Svarog
buster, one of Enab's key points wasn't that personal attacks are OK, it's that people too easily interpret something as a personal attack. Very different thing.


Yes. Precisely. :)
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Enabran Templar
Capitalist Pig
Join date: 26 Aug 2004
Posts: 4,506
10-06-2005 13:22
From: Seth Kanahoe
[formatted text]



/me fails his saving throw


omfg yoo rock seth i completely agree!


;)
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Cocoanut Koala
Coco's Cottages
Join date: 7 Feb 2005
Posts: 7,903
10-06-2005 13:22
From: Nolan Nash
Are we supposed to follow the rules of formal debate in here? If so, someone please indicate where that is said, and post the debating rules. Just because some folks may have been involved with debate teams or rules in their past, doesn't mean everyone else should or has to adhere to that mindset. Not anymore than all of us need to understand Ohm's Law to run a computer.

We are not all a bunch of Vulcans, and I do not see anyone advocating for personal attacks.

I see the guidelines being brought up again. Guidelines are called "guidelines" for a reason - to GUIDE where it's impossible to anticipate each and every scenario that crops up. They accomodate grey areas. I don't see anything about rules of debate and logic in the guidelines.

Now, I was enjoying lurking and reading the discussion about Google. I was mulling it over, formulating a response of my own. I may just refrain, now that this thread is on the verge of being derailed by folks for whom all roads lead to <their own personal> Rome.

Well pardon me all to hell and back, Nolan.

I must have just somehow misinterpreted the first post in the thread.

It probably had something to do with my faulty reading of this part:

"This all had a ring of familiarity to it. I found myself reminded of the passionate discourse here on the forums. To be sure, there is a tremendous amount of people who are wildly dedicated to a great many things related to Second Life and will defend their positions and presumptions doggedly.

Is there anything wrong with that?"

Somehow from that, I gathered that some comparison was being made between Google and the forums.

Derailed by folks to lead to their own personal rome?
Coco, not everything is all about you?

I submit the problem is not my faulty reading comprehension, but that some of you are so blinded by your need to poke at me - only heightened by the joy of doing it en masse - that you conveniently forget the point of the thread in order to do so.

I also submit that with stuff like this going on, it's no wonder there can't be a civil thread in these forums.

coco
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Enabran Templar
Capitalist Pig
Join date: 26 Aug 2004
Posts: 4,506
10-06-2005 13:25
From: Nolan Nash
Now, I was enjoying lurking and reading the discussion about Google. I was mulling it over, formulating a response of my own. I may just refrain...


I hope you will not. I was enjoying people actually talking about the topic. :)
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Cocoanut Koala
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Join date: 7 Feb 2005
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10-06-2005 13:29
What was I talking about, chopped liver?

coco

P.S. I take back what I said about you posting an interesting topic, Enabran, cause I'm pissed off now.
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Cristiano Midnight
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10-06-2005 13:34
Ok, I have to admit, I am confused. I have read the entire thread and have no clue why people are jumping all over Cocoanut. She didn't make the thread about her, she just expressed her opinion. I have to say, I think she is right - it does seem more about taking a stab at her than it does about anything she said.
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Enabran Templar
Capitalist Pig
Join date: 26 Aug 2004
Posts: 4,506
10-06-2005 13:36
From: Cristiano Midnight
Ok, I have to admit, I am confused. I have read the entire thread and have no clue why people are jumping all over Cocoanut. She didn't make the thread about her, she just expressed her opinion. I have to say, I think she is right - it does seem more about taking a stab at her than it does about anything she said.


All I see is a lot of talk about Cocoanut. But the thread isn't about Cocoanut. :(

:confused: :confused:
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Cocoanut Koala
Coco's Cottages
Join date: 7 Feb 2005
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10-06-2005 13:42
THEN COMPLAIN TO FORSETTI!

and nolan, and then your self.

Now you boys (and gals) can just carry on with this smug thread without me, as is your desire.

But before I leave, let me say that I think it is insufferable to think newcomers can't have intelligent and valuable input on any number of disparate topics, and should sit meekly by the sidelines in the hopes that you might eventually "educate" them to the point where they can possibly venture an opinion.

And MOST ironic are the examples in this very thread of people who don't know how to converse with anyone who disagrees with them without resorting to put-downs of that individual.

coco
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Weedy Herbst
Too many parameters
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10-06-2005 13:42
From: Enabran Templar
All I see is a lot of talk about Cocoanut. But the thread isn't about Cocoanut. :(

:confused: :confused:


I agree En, once again we see derailed threads because of personal issues.
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Cristiano Midnight
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Join date: 17 May 2003
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10-06-2005 13:43
From: Enabran Templar
All I see is a lot of talk about Cocoanut. But the thread isn't about Cocoanut. :(

:confused: :confused:


No one else had their opinions held up to scrutiny though, why?
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Weedy Herbst
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10-06-2005 13:43
From: Cocoanut Koala
THEN COMPLAIN TO FORSETTI!

and nolan, and then your self.

Now you boys (and gals) can just carry on with this smug thread without me, as is your desire.

But before I leave, let me say that I think it is insufferable to think newcomers can't have intelligent and valuable input on any number of disparate topics, and should sit meekly by the sidelines in the hopes that you might eventually "educate" them to the point where they can possibly venture an opinion.

And MOST ironic are the examples in this very thread of people who don't know how to converse with anyone who disagrees with them without resorting to put-downs of that individual.

coco


WTF does this have to do with Google? Take your dirty laundry elsewhere, please.
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Selador Cellardoor
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10-06-2005 13:44
From: Cristiano Midnight
Ok, I have to admit, I am confused. I have read the entire thread and have no clue why people are jumping all over Cocoanut. She didn't make the thread about her, she just expressed her opinion. I have to say, I think she is right - it does seem more about taking a stab at her than it does about anything she said.


Because people tend to jump all over Cocoanut when she posts about anything. I am surprised you are confused.
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