Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Community Spirit--veinglory

Sometimes community spirit strikes me as being a little like the girl with the curl:

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.

We each have our favorite blogs, forums and lists. There is a natural instinct to rush to the defence of 'one of your own'. But many of us belongs to several (or scores) of these places and end up seeing it from both sides. Major psychosis aside, it take two people not giving the benefit of the doubt to create a real handbags-at-dawn argument.

Some things to keep in mind are:
* If some one does the wrong thing they are more likely to be dumb that malicious. (Myself included).
* Hitting and criticising people doesn't make them any smarter. (And the pleasure you get from it is fleeting).
* Hammering the issue in public doesn't make it any easier for them to realise their mistake. (And is embarrassing if you then realised the mistake was your own).
* If something needs to be said, less in more--in terms of content, emotion and size of audience. Say exactly what needs saying to the people who need to hear it, and never press 'send' whilst angry--just save the draft for tomorrow when the world might look a little different. (Extreme brevity, understatement and surface courtesy is actually more cutting anyway).
* If you want to vent do it with your friends via email. Lists and forums are semi-"public" and many of them appear on search engines (forever).
* Let your friends know if you are just whining (whining, ranting and tantrums are very therapeutic but some people mistake them for a call to arms). If you actually want them to do something let them know what it is (Put down the machete, Bob. I just wanted some advice).

Unless someone disses EREC, of course. Then I expect you to go for them like a pack of ravening were-kittens ;)


Jennifer McKenzie said...

Mmmm a were kitten. I'll keep that in mind.
This put into words something I've considered many times.
I don't trust myself when I'm angry and I usually say pretty stupid things.
I'm grateful to all the authors that have given me the advice you just posted.

KMFrontain said...

All good advice, some of which I learned the hard way. ;-)

Jules Jones said...

Post in haste, repent at leisure. One of the best bits of advice I was given back when I first got online [mumble] years ago was never post in anger -- it can always wait until the next morning, and if you're still angry then, maybe it's worth posting. That plus being on metered dialup where I read and replied offline saved me from a fairly large number of opportunities to make a fool of myself in public.

veinglory said...

Oh yes, the most righteous advice always comes from the reformed transgressor ;)

well, semi-reformed...


Anne D said...

And don't forget the power of google cache - no matter if you delete your rant, it will be found by those with a high level of google foo.