Author Topic: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions  (Read 428 times)

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Offline Emma286

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For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« on: July 22, 2017, 02:28:01 AM »
Might it be worth adding a few calming down suggestions to the rules or posting guidelines sections here for when a member gets frustrated, angry or upset at any stage of participating in a thread?

We're all just human after all. Bound to happen on the odd occasion to just about any of us - staff or members alike.

Then again, maybe most here won't see that this suggestion is necessary....

If people think that this might be worth doing though, happy to mention a couple of ideas myself if this helps.

Offline velkyn

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2017, 07:21:31 AM »
it could be a good idea:

what would your suggestions be?   And what would be your suggestion be if they aren't followed? 
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Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 07:31:21 AM »
it could be a good idea:

what would your suggestions be?   And what would be your suggestion be if they aren't followed?

I was thinking along the lines of distraction/relaxation exercises. Such as simple breathing, counting and informal brief mindfulness meditation exercises for example.

I figure if the suggestions aren't followed then it's up to the staff here to decide what the best course of action is. Isn't that kind of thing up to the administrators and moderators here, as a staff team, to decide? I've always assumed that's how things work here though maybe I've assumed wrong!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 07:36:12 AM by Emma286 »

Offline Jag

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2017, 09:12:21 AM »
I was thinking along the lines of distraction/relaxation exercises. Such as simple breathing, counting and informal brief mindfulness meditation exercises for example.
How do you see this working Emma? These are all simple techniques, but members of this forum have no way to make another adult participate in them.

Quote
I figure if the suggestions aren't followed then it's up to the staff here to decide what the best course of action is. Isn't that kind of thing up to the administrators and moderators here, as a staff team, to decide? I've always assumed that's how things work here though maybe I've assumed wrong!
Well, sort of. People are expected to abide by the rules of the forum, which aren't particularly restrictive, and to manage their own behavior.

Here's the thing Emma - no one wants to be the forum police, and no one wants to be forced to act as another members therapist. We're all adults here, and as such, we're expected to have the capacity to navigate a discussion. I think if you want to put together a list of calming techniques or exercises, that's perfectly fine. But I assure you, telling an adult to calm down and take a deep breath is more likely to bring the existing uproar to entirely new levels of fury.

Regardless of junebug's previous accusation against me, I really am a trained and qualified professional mediator. The things you are suggesting can work, but it touches on the idea of "good faith" - the idea that all parties are actually committed to solving the problem.

That's an entirely different set or circumstances than someone not being able to control their frustration and/or anger on an anonymous website.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 09:14:32 AM by Jag »
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Offline jetson

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2017, 09:30:42 AM »
Members can and should report abusive behavior that clearly violates the forum rules, as well as report etiquette breaches. That is far easier than responding or getting involved in behavior that exacerbates bad behavior. Yes, there are more borderline behaviors than literal rule violations, but the mods have tools that help put appropriate pressure on members that include full post moderation (requires approval before it is seen.)

The other option is for members to use techniques that disarm abusive behavior and provide no resistance (something that keeps abusive behavior alive). Example, someone resorts to mild name-calling. Instead of reciprocating, stay on topic and use a gentle reminder that name-calling is not effective in discussion (and in most cases is against the forum rules). Basically, try to ignore the icing and get to the cake! Not all icing is amazing...lol.

I'll tell you what I've learned on this forum and elsewhere in my life as I grow older. Life is too short for petty and unkind or abusive behavior towards each other. I've said this before, but I delete more of my own posts than I submit. It's my form of personal therapy in a small way.

Offline Nick

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2017, 09:48:19 AM »
Damn it, I don't know why we need this.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2017, 09:57:11 AM »
Whenever my grandmother was properly incensed about things she would write a long letter outlining her grievances then put it away for a day. She would re-read it the next day. 9 times out of 10 she would burn the letter. The other times, she would normally rewrite it to make it more congenial and coherent.

On these forums it may be more difficult for some people to walk away from a debate or argument or discussion because it feels like it's more immediate and urgent to get a point across in the heat of the moment.

I walked away from the Female Dr. Who discussion the other day because I was drunk and getting worked up...not with anyone here in particular but because I was talking to people here about something I feel passionate about...that is where I was starting to vent my frustrations.

Looking back over it the next day, what I said didn't make a whole lot of sense in the context of the conversation because I was lashing out at phantoms. I didn't go back and expand or explain because I wasn't sure what point I thought I was trying to make and I wasn't really trying to argue against anyone in particular. If I had stayed up longer or had another drink I might have said some things worthy of an apology. As it stood, I think it's clear that I was just flailing my arms around randomly in hopes of hitting a windmill or something.

Drunk and looking for a fight. Heaven forbid if someone had come online at that moment to give me a real target. I might have thoroughly embarrassed myself.



« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 10:00:24 AM by Mr. Blackwell »
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Offline jetson

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2017, 10:15:50 AM »
Good points Mr. Blackwell.

The forum is actually a place where you literally do not have to respond immediately. This is a central point for those who "get frustrated or angry". A personal "time out" is one of the better tools a member could use in order to avoid lashing out or writing something they might not be so proud of after a later review. This is not a real-time medium!

To the point of the OP, we certainly have no way of forcing members to take this type of advice, but it would not be so bad to suggest in our etiquette verbiage.

The real challenge is within each of us. We all want to believe we are right - and when that dominates our thinking, we see no reason to hold back on proclaiming someone stupid, or an idiot, or whatever. We each feel a sense of being right, and thus we tend to believe our peers would support us and our replies are justified - almost always, I suspect. I am guilty, for sure.

Objective self-reflection is hard for us. I suppose that is because we are unable to step outside of ourselves in order to evaluate ourselves - because we are biased. Of course, this also means that when others direct their opinions about our behavior, we believe it is subjective (and wrong), and our biases prevent us from accepting it. This is unfortunate.

Final thought, this medium requires a decent command of grammar and language skills. Without these important skills, messages are taken in unintended ways, and sometimes in opposite ways of the original intent. How can members work on their writing skills to make their message as clear as possible? Important, yes!


Offline Jag

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2017, 10:18:16 AM »
Ah, some clarification. I was kind of baffled by that entire thing. This explanation at least gives it some context, because to be honest, I was wondering wtf you were trying to do. Since you tend to write clearly even then, it's hard to tell when you're drunk posting sometimes.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2017, 12:28:00 PM »
I don't drink, so that'll never be a problem for me.  But at the same time, I get worked up about things and start posting without thinking.  I've learned to take my time more often, so I'm less likely to write things I'll regret later.
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Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2017, 02:58:58 PM »
How do you see this working Emma? These are all simple techniques, but members of this forum have no way to make another adult participate in them.

Admittedly I didn't think of that. Thanks for raising that point. I can appreciate why that's an obstacle. Still, I'm not really understanding  why you seem to feel differently over this than over the posting rules/guidelines (no member can guarantee that another adult will ever follow those here either yet they've still been left up/are considered okay so far as I know)? Would you mind explaining further?

Well, sort of. People are expected to abide by the rules of the forum, which aren't particularly restrictive, and to manage their own behavior.


Well, regarding my suggestion, I didn't mean that in a particularly restrictive light either. More in the light of being an option anyone can make use of if they personally feel it would help them.

Here's the thing Emma - no one wants to be the forum police, and no one wants to be forced to act as another members therapist.

I never said anything about expecting anybody to act as forum police or for anybody to act as a members therapist (indeed, I don't see that anyone has to be in need of therapy to be able to practice a short basic relaxation exercise etc). I'm not sure where you're getting those ideas from?

Do you think I'm specifically talking about Junebug by any chance? If so, I assure you that I'm not. As mentioned earlier on, it just occurred to me that anyone can have a difficult time every now and then. This is especially bearing in mind that any one of us could be going through any number of difficult things offline at any given time at the same time as hanging out here i.e. being short on sleep, work stress, family stress etc.

We're all adults here, and as such, we're expected to have the capacity to navigate a discussion.

I think that's fair enough, but I'm reasonably sure it's a pretty rare adult person who never experiences any upset, stress, frustration  etc. Plus, surely the calmer members (or staff for that matter) can stay at such times the easier it is to navigate discussions at such times surely?

But I assure you, telling an adult to calm down and take a deep breath is more likely to bring the existing uproar to entirely new levels of fury.

Okay...that's a perspective type I (admittedly) don't remembering hearing before! :-o Why do you see that this is the case?

Regardless of junebug's previous accusation against me, I really am a trained and qualified professional mediator. The things you are suggesting can work, but it touches on the idea of "good faith" - the idea that all parties are actually committed to solving the problem.

That's an entirely different set or circumstances than someone not being able to control their frustration and/or anger on an anonymous website.

Agreed that, in cases like that of Junebug's, the sorts of things I mentioned is far from being enough to tackle the problem.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 03:08:46 PM by Emma286 »

Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2017, 03:26:16 PM »
Members can and should report abusive behavior that clearly violates the forum rules, as well as report etiquette breaches. That is far easier than responding or getting involved in behavior that exacerbates bad behavior. Yes, there are more borderline behaviors than literal rule violations, but the mods have tools that help put appropriate pressure on members that include full post moderation (requires approval before it is seen.)

The other option is for members to use techniques that disarm abusive behavior and provide no resistance (something that keeps abusive behavior alive). Example, someone resorts to mild name-calling. Instead of reciprocating, stay on topic and use a gentle reminder that name-calling is not effective in discussion (and in most cases is against the forum rules). Basically, try to ignore the icing and get to the cake! Not all icing is amazing...lol.

I'll tell you what I've learned on this forum and elsewhere in my life as I grow older. Life is too short for petty and unkind or abusive behavior towards each other. I've said this before, but I delete more of my own posts than I submit. It's my form of personal therapy in a small way.

I understand if you and the other staff feel that this is all good enough Jetson. If so fair enough and no worries.

Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2017, 03:35:59 PM »
Damn it, I don't know why we need this.

Wasn't assuming that this necessarily was needed. And, by all means, not wanting to force anything on anyone!

Offline Jag

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2017, 05:37:23 PM »
How do you see this working Emma? These are all simple techniques, but members of this forum have no way to make another adult participate in them.

Admittedly I didn't think of that. Thanks for raising that point. I can appreciate why that's an obstacle. Still, I'm not really understanding  why you seem to feel differently over this than over the posting rules/guidelines (no member can guarantee that another adult will ever follow those here either yet they've still been left up/are considered okay so far as I know)? Would you mind explaining further?
The only medium of expression here is text. Instructions regarding posts are followed by responding in text, which the audience (all, part, or a single member of the forum, for instance) can see for themselves if the instructions were followed. Instructions regarding anything other than how one uses text to communicate here are not enforceable.

For example - at the time of this posting, eh! has still not complied with jaimehlers green text moderator instructions in his most recent topic. It appears that he is not going to respond (perhaps in hopes that everyone forgets about it?) to avoid having to do as instructed. Even something as simple as that can't really be enforced.

Quote
Well, sort of. People are expected to abide by the rules of the forum, which aren't particularly restrictive, and to manage their own behavior.


Well, regarding my suggestion, I didn't mean that in a particularly restrictive(**) light either. More in the light of being an option anyone can make use of if they personally feel it would help them.
Which is why I pointed out that you absolutely could put together a list of such ideas and suggestions.
{(***)I was just observing that the forum rules are not particularly restrictive, not making a comparison}
Quote
Here's the thing Emma - no one wants to be the forum police, and no one wants to be forced to act as another members therapist.

I never said anything about expecting anybody to act as forum police or for anybody to act as a members therapist (indeed, I don't see that anyone has to be in need of therapy to be able to practice a short basic relaxation exercise etc). I'm not sure where you're getting those ideas from?

Do you think I'm specifically talking about Junebug by any chance?
Yes. I'm surprised that you weren't, to be honest. My point is that I - and by extension, I'm assuming others will feel the same - don't want to be responsible for directing members to the deep breathing room, more or less. The Shelter exists as a safe space already, and again, adults should expect to be accountable for their words regardless of where we are.

Quote
If so, I assure you that I'm not. As mentioned earlier on, it just occurred to me that anyone can have a difficult time every now and then. This is especially bearing in mind that any one of us could be going through any number of difficult things offline at any given time at the same time as hanging out here i.e. being short on sleep, work stress, family stress etc.
No doubt. But I don't see how personal circumstances such as those you are suggesting invalidate what I'm saying. If someone's personal life is that overwhelming, they probably shouldn't be engaging in controversial topics that will lead to them not being able to control themselves. I'm not disputing that everyone has a bad day (week/month/year/life), only that including rules about relaxation techniques or breathing exercises seems like a policy with little purpose.

Quote
We're all adults here, and as such, we're expected to have the capacity to navigate a discussion.

I think that's fair enough, but I'm reasonably sure it's a pretty rare adult person who never experiences any upset, stress, frustration  etc. Plus, surely the calmer members (or staff for that matter) can stay at such times the easier it is to navigate discussions at such times surely?
Not sure what you're getting at. I'm not arguing against people being calm.

Quote
But I assure you, telling an adult to calm down and take a deep breath is more likely to bring the existing uproar to entirely new levels of fury.

Okay...that's a perspective type I (admittedly) don't remembering hearing before! :-o Why do you see that this is the case?
Tell one of our more emotional members to "calm down" sometime while s/he is on a rampage. Let me know how that goes for ya. I predict that you will get internet yelled at, at the very least. Even better, try it with an adult who is clearly pissed off in public. But be prepared to run, because unless you're a cop, sometimes those people swing. Sometimes they swing regardless.

I guess it comes down to this. I'm not disagreeing with your overall point, but I don't think that rules and guidelines is the right place for it. Let's be honest - how many of us do more than skim them, or only refer to them again if/when we think we are about to, or someone else just did, violate them.

This website is based on a controversial topic, and as such, people are going to get emotional. Being emotional and being controlled by your emotions are two different things. These suggestions aren't a tool for moderation, they're a tool for individuals to use for themselves when they are worked up. The biggest problem I see is suggesting to someone that they might need to read and use such advice. Once they're frustrated, angry or upset, it's too late - if you bring it up then, you're going to sound condescending, no matter what your intention.

Maybe a sticky?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 05:45:45 PM by Jag »
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Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2017, 11:00:50 AM »
Whenever my grandmother was properly incensed about things she would write a long letter outlining her grievances then put it away for a day. She would re-read it the next day. 9 times out of 10 she would burn the letter. The other times, she would normally rewrite it to make it more congenial and coherent.

On these forums it may be more difficult for some people to walk away from a debate or argument or discussion because it feels like it's more immediate and urgent to get a point across in the heat of the moment.

I walked away from the Female Dr. Who discussion the other day because I was drunk and getting worked up...not with anyone here in particular but because I was talking to people here about something I feel passionate about...that is where I was starting to vent my frustrations.

Looking back over it the next day, what I said didn't make a whole lot of sense in the context of the conversation because I was lashing out at phantoms. I didn't go back and expand or explain because I wasn't sure what point I thought I was trying to make and I wasn't really trying to argue against anyone in particular. If I had stayed up longer or had another drink I might have said some things worthy of an apology. As it stood, I think it's clear that I was just flailing my arms around randomly in hopes of hitting a windmill or something.

Drunk and looking for a fight. Heaven forbid if someone had come online at that moment to give me a real target. I might have thoroughly embarrassed myself.

Sorry to hear that's how things were with you in that thread Mr Blackwell. I realised some disagreement was going on, but didn't have a clue about that!

Can appreciate how over doing the alcohol can get aggression going. It's certainly one of those substances that can easily get one extra fired up if too much is consumed!

Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2017, 05:24:17 AM »
Not ignoring that last post of yours by the way Jag. Will get to that when I can.

Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2017, 12:07:27 PM »
The forum is actually a place where you literally do not have to respond immediately. This is a central point for those who "get frustrated or angry". A personal "time out" is one of the better tools a member could use in order to avoid lashing out or writing something they might not be so proud of after a later review. This is not a real-time medium!

To the point of the OP, we certainly have no way of forcing members to take this type of advice, but it would not be so bad to suggest in our etiquette verbiage.

I think a time out suggestion is a good idea! Didn't realise that there was any etiquette verbiage posted on here before. Where abouts is that Jetson?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 12:42:03 PM by Emma286 »

Offline jetson

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2017, 12:26:28 PM »
The forum is actually a place where you literally do not have to respond immediately. This is a central point for those who "get frustrated or angry". A personal "time out" is one of the better tools a member could use in order to avoid lashing out or writing something they might not be so proud of after a later review. This is not a real-time medium!

To the point of the OP, we certainly have no way of forcing members to take this type of advice, but it would not be so bad to suggest in our etiquette verbiage.

I think a time out suggestion is a  good idea! Didn't realise that there was any etiquette verbiage posted on here before. Where abouts is that Jetson?

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Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2017, 02:38:01 PM »
The only medium of expression here is text. Instructions regarding posts are followed by responding in text, which the audience (all, part, or a single member of the forum, for instance) can see for themselves if the instructions were followed. Instructions regarding anything other than how one uses text to communicate here are not enforceable.

For example - at the time of this posting, eh! has still not complied with jaimehlers green text moderator instructions in his most recent topic. It appears that he is not going to respond (perhaps in hopes that everyone forgets about it?) to avoid having to do as instructed. Even something as simple as that can't really be enforced.

Thanks for taking the time to point all that out. I can appreciate where you're coming from. While I do think what you say actually happens to prove my point (in that as the rules/posting guidelines can't be 100% enforced on members that really makes them no different to this suggestion in that instance), I don't see any reason why the list shouldn't be included in a different forum area/have no issue with that.


Which is why I pointed out that you absolutely could put together a list of such ideas and suggestions.
{(***)I was just observing that the forum rules are not particularly restrictive, not making a comparison}

Ah, okay. Thanks for explaining.

Yes. I'm surprised that you weren't, to be honest.

My point is that I - and by extension, I'm assuming others will feel the same - don't want to be responsible for directing members to the deep breathing room, more or less. The Shelter exists as a safe space already, and again, adults should expect to be accountable for their words regardless of where we are.

On that first I can understand why you jumped to that conclusion, given some of what's recently been talked about in the "Community" thread. I also did think others might think that. That's why I mentioned "We're all just human after all. Bound to happen on the odd occasion to just about any of us - staff or members alike." I hoped to prevent confusion by including that, so that it would show that I wasn't referring to just any one specific member.

On that second, thanks for explaining your point.

No doubt. But I don't see how personal circumstances such as those you are suggesting invalidate what I'm saying.

If someone's personal life is that overwhelming, they probably shouldn't be engaging in controversial topics that will lead to them not being able to control themselves.


On that first, I wasn't saying that personal circumstances such as those I was suggesting did. You had the idea that my making this thread was about Junebug when it wasn't, so I was taking the time to explain the actual reason I did.

I guess I really can't argue on that latter point. True enough.

I'm not disputing that everyone has a bad day (week/month/year/life), only that including rules about relaxation techniques or breathing exercises seems like a policy with little purpose.

I guess I needed to make this clearer earlier on. I was thinking of this more in terms of guidelines than rules. Still, again, I've no problem with people not wanting this in the rules section at all. I think so long as this is put in an easy to find/see place then that's the main thing!

Not sure what you're getting at. I'm not arguing against people being calm.

You were saying that all adults here are expected to have the capacity to navigate a discussion. It occured to me that having the ability to stay calm in such discussions helps one to have such a capacity.

Tell one of our more emotional members to "calm down" sometime while s/he is on a rampage. Let me know how that goes for ya. I predict that you will get internet yelled at, at the very least. Even better, try it with an adult who is clearly pissed off in public. But be prepared to run, because unless you're a cop, sometimes those people swing. Sometimes they swing regardless.

I guess it comes down to this. I'm not disagreeing with your overall point, but I don't think that rules and guidelines is the right place for it. Let's be honest - how many of us do more than skim them, or only refer to them again if/when we think we are about to, or someone else just did, violate them.

Fair points.

This website is based on a controversial topic, and as such, people are going to get emotional. Being emotional and being controlled by your emotions are two different things. These suggestions aren't a tool for moderation, they're a tool for individuals to use for themselves when they are worked up. The biggest problem I see is suggesting to someone that they might need to read and use such advice. Once they're frustrated, angry or upset, it's too late - if you bring it up then, you're going to sound condescending, no matter what your intention.

Maybe a sticky?

Fair enough again, and thanks for the sticky suggestion. What kind of forum area do you think would be a better place to include this?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2017, 08:57:06 AM »
I'm with Jag on this - when someone is in an emotional state, angry and "kicking off", telling them to calm down is more likely to get you punched than to have any positive effect.  The more usual methods to calm people down - distraction, removal from the situation, or calm agreement with them and "talking them down" all have problems in a forum environment. 

Distraction only works by completely diverting their attention - next to impossible on a forum where one "voice" can be easily lost in a mass of posts.  Removal can only be done with an immediate jump to moderated status and/or locking the thread.  And talking someone down again is only really practical in a live situation where (a) the interaction can be immediate, and (b) there aren't other people hanging around passing comment.

I see no problem with having a page of suggestions to be added perhaps to the etiquette page, but as has been pointed out, there's no way to force someone to follow the steps - and, in honesty, how many of us can, when "going into one", actually remember the steps needed to calm down?

 But as Jetson says - this is not a live chat room.  There is NO reason to post immediately.  An inability to refrain from an angry and immediate emotional reaction to something someone typed several hours ago, and who will not see your response for maybe several hours more, is an issue that this forum is not in any practical sense going to be able to control or assist with.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Emma286

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Re: For when members get frustrated or angry in discussions
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2017, 11:32:36 AM »
Uh, I did try to explain before that I was taking on board some of what Jag said and was willing to go with her sticky idea/post what I was going to as suggestions in a different section other than the rule section?  :-\

Still, I suppose it doesn't matter really. Frankly, at this stage, because I'm getting the strong impression that, at least for the most part, this idea really isn't going down too well with others here and that, in recent weeks (since my creating this thread), I've been unexpectedly very busy with things offline (and can't see this situation ending any time soon) upon further thought I'm thinking that it's probably best that I forget this idea for now.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 11:34:24 AM by Emma286 »