collapse

Author Topic: Gentler with Newbies  (Read 31063 times)

Altair

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: New York, New York
  • Posts: 2846
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 272
  • Fly high and make the world follow
    • View Profile
    • Songs of the Metamythos
  • Religion: tree-hugging pagan
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Gentler with Newbies
« on: June 26, 2014, 11:17:54 am »
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Juni

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 1683
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
    • http://thelittleseawitch.net
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 11:25:15 am »
Quote from: Altair;151156
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.

 
Thank you for saying this, Altair. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Join the Emboatening Crew over on Kiva! Emboatening the boatless since Opet 2013!

The Little Sea Witch - personal/catch-all blog
MistSeeking - religious blog

savveir

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 460
  • Country: 00
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 11:29:51 am »
Quote from: Altair;151156
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.

 
This sounds like a good idea to me. It's hard being new and it's easy to screw up.
"I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."
-Lewis Carroll

Emma Eldritch

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: May 2012
  • Posts: 1265
  • Country: 00
  • Total likes: 67
    • View Profile
    • https://rocknrollwitch.blogspot.ca/
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2014, 11:36:16 am »
Quote from: Altair;151156
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.

 
I think you're right, Altair. While I love the Cauldron and have been on the board for years (many of which were spent just lurking) whenever I recommend it to other people online I do feel I have point out that you need to speak very carefully here.

I'm guilty of being snappish with newbies, and not just here - I've tried over the past few years to be a LOT nicer to people, but I still remember some snide comments I've made over the years and it bugs me. So I'm on board with you in being more mindful.

Lana288

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Apr 2014
  • Posts: 255
  • Country: 00
  • Total likes: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2014, 12:05:25 pm »
Quote from: Altair;151156
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.

 
*nods* I've been wondering about this, actually- particularly since I've noticed that in general, the OP's tend to realize their mistakes quickly and apologize. I think that- unless the user is a troll in disguise- one well written, polite counter argument would do the trick in most cases, without having to rub their faces in it.

Naomi J

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Aug 2012
  • Location: London, UK
  • Posts: 1967
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
    • http://leithincluan.wordpress.com/
  • Religion: Gaelic polytheism, modern druidry, rather attached to Cailleach Bhearra, Narnian heretic...
  • Preferred Pronouns: They or she
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2014, 12:10:49 pm »
Quote from: Altair;151156
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.

I've been feeling this recently. As much as newbies should lurk to understand forum culture, they just won't be able to pick up everything about what is and isn't acceptable here, without starting  to interact. If the response they then get is people jumping all over them, they're going to find that very hard to take. I have a particular person in mind, who I know is wonderful and could contribute interesting things here, but who I'm reluctant to suggest posts here because I know not all of her views are 'exact'  for forum culture, and who would likely be jumped on as 'fluffy', or similar, early on. I also know someone who is great and who found things difficult here and didn't stay, and that's a real shame.

I also think more of us need to start being aware of what actually goes on in wider Pagan culture and what is considered standard and non-controversial there, but which isn't always acceptable here. That doesn't mean changing our opinions or approach, but maybe understanding that almost everyone is going to come here with a standard idea of some things which a lot of us will disagree with. How we communicate that is important.
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
- Doctor Who

Stone Onto Sand

Jack

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Apr 2012
  • Location: Cascadia
  • Posts: 3168
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 90
    • View Profile
    • Jack of Many Trades
  • Religion: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 12:36:22 pm »
Quote from: Altair;151156
But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

In general I agree with you, though I think it's more difficult to make sure people don't feel ganged up on. Being nicer is a lot easier in comparison.
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

Jenett

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3052
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 588
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 12:38:29 pm »
Quote from: Altair;151156

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

 
A couple of things I do, in case they help anyone else:

1) I keep in mind that I'm not just writing to the person I'm directly responding to, but that there are bunch and bunches of other people reading too.

If I can't figure out a way to say something that will be interesting or informative or helpful or something else useful to a reasonable proportion of those other readers, I am probably better off not saying it, or saying it differently.

2) I have been crankier than usual recently (in general terms, not specifically the board) and I try to keep a close eye on whether that's spilling over onto people who do not deserve the cranky (which is, y'know, almost everyone) because the forum shouldn't have to deal with my being cranky for reasons that are not about the forum.

I write stuff and delete it a lot. I peer at a post and leave the tab open for an hour a fair bit. I think about whether I'm the best person to make a particular comment on a particular topic (some things I probably am, but if I think several people might have comment, I try to give it time, and see what happens. Most threads, replies are not urgent.)

3) That said, I am a serious old-school Net geek about the fact that I think reading (lurking) somewhere before you post is a good thing. That doesn't mean you need to read everything ever.

But if someone doesn't read for, say, 2 weeks (or a reasonably equivalent amount of posts in forums of interest) and then posts something that's a recently commented on problem/sore spot/whatever?

That's a choice they make, and it's okay to expect that someone's choice *not* to learn local customs to have some consequences. (Within reason, and board rules, and all that. Again, I'm not saying 'rude and nasty' here, but 'pointed about the fact that it's a problem'. Though again, one person being pointed and seeing what happens, not half a dozen does generally work better, as noted upthread.)

I've been thinking about the hospitality and changing religion discussion elsewhere on the forum, and one of the things that hospitality customs need for them to work is everyone understanding that they're in play.

Someone new comes into a setting, they need to be willing to do some listening and thinking about what the local customs are and what the local history might be, just like people in that space need to be willing to think about how they're welcoming (or not welcoming) new people. Either one without the other is a problem.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

yewberry

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 1775
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 01:15:59 pm »
Quote from: Altair;151156
I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.

 
Or we might end up with an endless fluffy-bunny parade.  Which is something, I feel, to be equally guarded against.  I've seen it take down more than one interesting pagan forum.

You're right, of course.  It's nice to be nice (and I generally am).  But the reason I'm here isn't just to make pleasant conversation.  TC offers a unique opportunity for people to grow and push their comfort zones a little.  I value that service, even when the jibes are pointed my way.

If it's any consolation, I'm like this in person, too.

Brina

8BitLady

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 54
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2014, 01:31:36 pm »
Quote from: Altair;151156
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.


I agree wholeheartedly. I believe that newbies should be cut some slack. If they offend, just say nicely "Hey that offended me a bit, please don't do that particular thing again...".

I like how the internet and typing can give you leeway between reading and responding. I always double-check what I write (usually for grammar/writing errors). Becoming more aware of what I have to say...

So 'see' before you 'send'!

stephyjh

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 1597
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2014, 01:43:28 pm »
Quote from: Altair;151156
Twice in the last few days I've noticed newbies in the Cauldron who departed quickly when they got smacked down for a perceived transgression of widely held opinion. I don't take any issue with the points made to the newbies; they were valid and necessary.

But I'm wondering if maybe we're being a bit too harsh in *how* we react to certain poorly received ideas a newbie may throw out there. Can we say the same things, but less harshly, when a newbie is involved? And in particular, can we not "gang up" on a newbie who blurts out something crummy, and maybe just let one person's counterargument do the job?

I remember I said some stupid things when I was first here; I'm sure many of us have. I'm just afraid that if we don't make allowances for the new, we might end up as an ever shrinking pool of folks talking only to ourselves.

 
Two thoughts on this:

1. The rep system has become a points-scoring system for snark and picking people apart. Instead of rating the usefulness of a comment, it's become a scoreboard for "how well did so-and-so let such-and-such-person have it." That leads to an escalation. People get hurt, and the person doing the hurting is left going, "But I was doing exactly what's expected of me!" Because it's hard to step back and think about what you're saying when you're being told in the background, "YAY SMASH!" It leads to an unhealthy group dynamic. It's how people throw their votes behind a particular side of a controversy, and that's not helpful at all.

2. It used to be that when a thread got too heated, a staff member would step in to say, hey, we need to cool off here. It would be helpful to A. see that more often and B. maybe have a similar way to step in when someone's being piled onto.

I don't think it's just the newbies who are being hurt by the way the group dynamic has gone. I know for myself, I've found myself going way farther than I would otherwise be inclined, because that SMASH is so consistently rewarded. I've hurt people, responding in the way I felt expected to respond. That group dynamic isn't doing any of us any favors.

I'm all about breaking down what's wrong with a problematic post. I don't think that's wrong. But when rep is being given for snark and not for posts of substance, that gives a clear message of what's expected, and I really hope that's not a direction we want to go.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

stephyjh

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 1597
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2014, 01:59:03 pm »
Quote from: 8BitLady;151181
I agree wholeheartedly. I believe that newbies should be cut some slack. If they offend, just say nicely "Hey that offended me a bit, please don't do that particular thing again...".

I like how the internet and typing can give you leeway between reading and responding. I always double-check what I write (usually for grammar/writing errors). Becoming more aware of what I have to say...

So 'see' before you 'send'!

 
And I think part of it is a disconnect between "I find that problematic and have personal experiences to back that up" and "I am personally offended." I mean, "offended" implies an emotional response, and a lot of times that's not what's meant by "hey, that's a problem." So there's this OH NO THEY'RE MAD AT ME, when really it's just, hey, not cool.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

Castus

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Virginia
  • Posts: 795
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 67
    • View Profile
  • Religion: doo-doo-doo-dee-doo
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2014, 02:02:47 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;151182
Two thoughts on this:

1. The rep system has become a points-scoring system for snark and picking people apart. Instead of rating the usefulness of a comment, it's become a scoreboard for "how well did so-and-so let such-and-such-person have it." That leads to an escalation. People get hurt, and the person doing the hurting is left going, "But I was doing exactly what's expected of me!" Because it's hard to step back and think about what you're saying when you're being told in the background, "YAY SMASH!" It leads to an unhealthy group dynamic. It's how people throw their votes behind a particular side of a controversy, and that's not helpful at all.

2. It used to be that when a thread got too heated, a staff member would step in to say, hey, we need to cool off here. It would be helpful to A. see that more often and B. maybe have a similar way to step in when someone's being piled onto.

I don't think it's just the newbies who are being hurt by the way the group dynamic has gone. I know for myself, I've found myself going way farther than I would otherwise be inclined, because that SMASH is so consistently rewarded. I've hurt people, responding in the way I felt expected to respond. That group dynamic isn't doing any of us any favors.

I'm all about breaking down what's wrong with a problematic post. I don't think that's wrong. But when rep is being given for snark and not for posts of substance, that gives a clear message of what's expected, and I really hope that's not a direction we want to go.

 
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to stephyjh again.

^.^

I think Stephy's made a few valid points here. Having frequented many forums for far longer than is healthy; I can say that the rep system here is the first one I've seen and I'm rather fond of it. It is a good idea. But we cannot keep giving people rep-cookies for snark and witticism. I mean, once or twice is fine if something has just really slayed you; but as a whole we need to get better about positive reinforcement of constructive posts rather than "lol you're dumb" "yeah!" "yeah!" "you must spread some Reputation around..." *collective high-five over the battered corpse of the n00b*

yewberry

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 1775
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2014, 02:04:54 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;151184
And I think part of it is a disconnect between "I find that problematic and have personal experiences to back that up" and "I am personally offended." I mean, "offended" implies an emotional response, and a lot of times that's not what's meant by "hey, that's a problem." So there's this OH NO THEY'RE MAD AT ME, when really it's just, hey, not cool.

 
Exactly.  And I like that TC is a place that (culturally) knows the difference.

Brina

baduhmtisss

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Sep 2013
  • Location: Texas
  • Posts: 517
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Undefined
  • Preferred Pronouns: She/Her
Re: Gentler with Newbies
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2014, 08:43:08 pm »
Quote from: stephyjh;151182
Two thoughts on this:

1. The rep system has become a points-scoring system for snark and picking people apart. Instead of rating the usefulness of a comment, it's become a scoreboard for "how well did so-and-so let such-and-such-person have it." That leads to an escalation. People get hurt, and the person doing the hurting is left going, "But I was doing exactly what's expected of me!" Because it's hard to step back and think about what you're saying when you're being told in the background, "YAY SMASH!" It leads to an unhealthy group dynamic. It's how people throw their votes behind a particular side of a controversy, and that's not helpful at all.


^This, so much this. I noticed myself falling into this dynamic a bit, and it is why people have not seen hardly any posts from me. (That, and life got busy). I love the way people can dissect a post and point out the problematic parts. It's far more informative then when nobody points out the problematic, but when people are giving rep for snark? That's not okay to me.

The very few times I've gotten rep, it was mostly for some witty comment I threw out there in anger, and not because I've had anything of use to say. Which, ended up making me feel pretty bad about myself, and also "YAY! I FINALLY GOT SOME REP". It was more mixed feelings. I think, when people get reasonably informed what is and is not okay, we should drop the issue unless people continue with their language. I am sure there are some wonderful beginners who could flourish here, but the immediate jumps and smashes? They don't help.

It's almost like things are turning very... cliquey? If that makes sense at all.
Undefined religion | Parrot Mom | Disaster Reservist

Tags:
 

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 25
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall