Suggestions to improve the tone of the discussions on the forum

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#1 Suggestions to improve the tone of the discussions on the forum

Post by rshankar »

In the spirit of debating issues and not personalities, here are some suggestions that might make our discussions more productive and lot more civil:

If we all asked and answered these questions prior to posting anything it will go a long way towards improving the tone of our discussions:

1) Have I understood what’s been said so far? If not, please consider seeking some clarification(s).
2) Which of the point(s) made so far do I disagree with, have another unique POV, or want to rebut?
3) Can I state the point(s) of disagreement OR my unique POV OR my rebuttal clearly? A crisp and bulleted list may help
4) Is the answer to question 2) based on facts, and be referenced ? If it is, please provide the reference (one's own previous post is not a real reference)
5) If the answer to question 4) is no, then, please preface comments with IMO/IMHO/IMNSHO/I feel…/I think…

It is so much better to avoid public judgments of the person whose post we disagree with – there is no need to state that they are brainwashed, Marxist, crazy, biased, ‘one card short of a deck’, or one neuron short of a seizure, or any other disparaging comment.

We are all here to learn and enjoy a civil discussion or two. No one needs to be correct at all times. IMO, if the ability to appreciate Carnatic music is considered to be one of the most highly evolved human traits, then we, as rasikas of Carnatic music should also practice other traits that are hallmarks of evolved humans, e.g., posting only if what we have to say will add value to the discussion in a meaningful way, having the grace to accept that we are wrong, or letting an argument go without forcing the other person to accept our POV.

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#2 Re: Suggestions to improve the tone of the discussions on the forum

Post by Ranganayaki »

Yes. Taken to heart. Thank you for writing this.

Nick H
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#3 Re: Suggestions to improve the tone of the discussions on the forum

Post by Nick H »

Ranganayaki wrote: 15 Sep 2018, 02:04 Yes. Taken to heart. Thank you for writing this.
The people who don't actually need to consider this will be the ones that take it to heart. The ones that do will just carry on being right anyway.

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#4 Re: Suggestions to improve the tone of the discussions on the forum

Post by SrinathK »

I had a humorous take on the various levels of disagreement in the lounge. Hopefully, you can use that to see where most of our discussions are going.

And, I the mods should be a bit stricter against the ranters. If their contribution to CM is just to shout and rage and call names, it's a pity. But no one can be helped who wants to stay that way.
Since we've been having a lot of heated and controversial topics of late, I request you to read the following in good humor (slightly edited). ... sagreement

"...The hierarchy of disagreement is a concept proposed by computer scientist Paul Graham in his 2008 essay How to Disagree. Graham's hierarchy has seven levels, from name calling to "Refuting the central point". According to Graham, most disagreements come on one of seven levels:

Level 7 : Refuting the central point (explicitly refutes the central point). Nothing personal. You see that the original point was wrong, and stand corrected.

Level 6 : Refutation (finds the mistake and explains why it's mistaken using quotes).

Level 5 : Counterargument (contradicts and then backs it up with reasoning and/or supporting evidence).

Level 4 : Contradiction (states the opposing case with little or no supporting evidence).

Level 3 : Responding to tone (criticizes the tone of the writing without addressing the substance of the argument.

Level 2 : Ad Hominem (attacks the characteristics or authority of the writer without addressing the substance of the argument).

Level 1 : Name-calling (sounds something like, "You are an idiot.").

Ad hominem attacks, aka shaming tactics are Level 2 and 1 on the pyramid.

Well, IMHO Graham only covered the part of the iceberg above the water - the logical part. But he forgot about the emotional part. For there are in fact a few more levels in between to consider :

Level 2.5 : Sentimental hurt. Get upset, and demand a takeback or apology, because it hurt your feelings, or was insensitive to the masses.

Now we enter into the depths of human depravity...the various levels below name calling. And they are :

Level -1 : Full Blown Trolling. - Oops, there's already something wrong with you. You're polluting the place...

Level -2 : Wild Animal. Histrionics, emotional hysteria, creating a scene so that your opponent has to yield if only because you're unmanageable. At this point, you might be surprised if you do end up getting treated as a wild animal, but you asked for it...

Level -3 : The trap. Provoke your opponent. Get them mad and then when they retaliate or take action against you, shame them in public, using pressure flips, white lies and victim cards to prove the badness of your opponent as you originally claimed! Stake your claim to victimhood!

Level -4 : Soft power disagreement -- using the news, social media, causing agitation, character assassination, fueling collective rage, rumor mongering, lies, damned lies, statistics, whatsapp, and what not. Throw your opponent in judicial hell, even without any valid reason, just because. Ostracize him from society. Shut him down with democracy and the power of the masses!

Level -5 : Hard power disagreement. Using threats, bullying, dangerous messages, expressing thoughts of hell and torture, getting violent and coming to blows. Or throwing him into prison just because. Ok, it's looking too dangerous...

Level -6 : Ruthless Dictator. By which I mean -- Disagree? Blasphemer! Break his bones! Burn his house! Off with his head! Or be more sneaky and kill him when no one's looking...

Level -7 : Kamikaze. You don't mind blowing yourself up if it means all trace of your opponent is eradicated in the process. It's worth it even if you only managed to scratch him, but who cares, there's only overwhelming RAAAGGEE!

Level -8 : Supernova. You really did it this time. As if you being dead wasn't bad enough, there's a mob outside your front door, in a fight to the death with another mob using everything as a weapon including the kitchen sink. And behind them is a trail of blood, bodies, bullets, fire and destruction, and broken sinks.

Those of you still alive, better call the army, the navy and the airforce, while we still can... And so a new chapter was written, in the Unholy Book of Rage.

Level -9 : Event Horizon. Not sure who you are or how you managed to get all the way here friend, but see, you just set off World War 3...and humanity is doomed. But since we're all dead, at least there won't be any more disagreements... :lol:

From the top of the pyramid, it's a steady slide down into ever decreasing amounts of logic and ever increasing amounts of emotion, all the way down to full blown insanity.

And finally, there are a few special levels that take you outside the elevator of disagreement :

Level X : Agree to Disagree, because a refutation is not possible. To get to level X, step off the elevator at Level 4 and use the nearest exit.

Level L : Your opponents words have really gone too far and have caused real damage. Take him to court with a class action lawsuit! May the law of the land settle this disagreement...

Level 0 : Don't get to a disagreement with the wrong people in the first place. Prevention is always better than cure.

Level _ : What disagreement? You slept through the whole thing and woke up only after it was all over ... :lol:
Congratulations! You are the only one who proved that indeed, ignorance is bliss...

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#5 Re: Suggestions to improve the tone of the discussions on the forum

Post by SrinathK »

But it is good if each person could look in the mirror and honestly ask themselves what is their contribution to the music they love.

1) Did you enrich your knowledge of music and arts, discover new things about it?
2) Did you help yourself become a better rasika of music the next time you go to a concert or hear that song?
3) Have you been deeply moved by music?
4) Did you think about contributing back to music?
5) If yes, have you done anything about it? People here on rasikas have :

hosted artists,
organized concerts and tours, even festivals,
taken CM and musicians to new countries and opportunities,
written significantly about Carnatic Music and revealed so much that wasn't known before,
bring out the achievements of musicians through good reviews,
acquired and preserved valuable recordings,
shared their music collections with the world,
translated songs,
archived lyrics,
composed songs,
authored books,
run magazines,
opened and run sabhas,
started websites,
even served as personal assistants to carry musicians' instruments, get them lunch, drive them from town to town and what not,
attend concerts regularly,
learnt music and taught music to others,
make musical instruments, old and new,
come up with many ideas and innovations for the cause of the music,
and many are also performing artistes and producers. And more.

Have you done more than just rant, rage, troll, get offended, cause noise pollution and earn a ban?

And please, seniority is not an excuse for behaving like this. This may be the internet, but you are still in a public place. As rasikas, we are a valuable part of the music ecosystem. We should respect that role and not make ourselves cheap.

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#6 Re: Suggestions to improve the tone of the discussions on the forum

Post by Ranganayaki »

Srinath, very well said, your points are taken. And I agree a priori. I watch my own reactions and feel upset at myself for not being able to leave a discussion when I know it’s going nowhere, it’s weird of me lately. I never used to participate in such arguments before!! I hope to try harder now in the right direction. I’d made up my mind even before I saw this, but you are right. And for my part in “poisoning the discourse” at another level I apologize.

I think a sort of anger and unwillingness to put up with some things happened to me ever since the MeToo thing happened, and I’m rather impatient now. I stand by my views, but I’m going to stop arguing.. thanks

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