Flaming on Libcom

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Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
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Dec 26 2006 21:18
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A little late for you to suddenly take the moral high ground isn't it? I mean, I hate to be personal, but if you don't consider yourself part of the inter-personal dynamic that some claim is so unwelcoming, then we have a problem.

Sorry, Alan. I really don't understand what you're talking about here.

Quote:
I think the sorts of behaviour I've outlined above are far more damaging than the typical whingeing about being called a "cunt". I mean, for fuck's sake, if you can't handle it from an anarchist online, how are you gonna handle it from the loud-mouthed conservative workmate or the union rep who are desperately trying to undermine your activities?

I've heard that one before and it's no excuse. Besides, it's not really about that, Alan. See, I fully expect to be insulted by the loud-mouth conservative, etc, etc. In fact, if they didn't have a go, I'd think I was probably doing something wrong. But I do not see why people who are supposedly comrades should treat each other in this way.

All that aside, how come several people have decided to use this thread to voice their problems with one or two particular posters they've found disagreeable on here? Surely this is missing the point? I don't think the issue is really about the behaviour of a couple of individuals, but more about group tolerance of a general level of hostility that, if we don't challenge it, may possibly end up becoming the Libcom norm. Unfortunately, some non- or ex-Libcom folk already see this as the norm.

arf
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Dec 26 2006 21:31

im just trying to defend myself serge, against what i see as misrepresentation and bullying.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
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Dec 26 2006 21:48

You do see the humour in this though, Arf... there's a thread about flaming, intolerance, playground bullying and misrepresentation, and what to do about it... then suddenly you and Devrim burst into the thread with an argument continued from another thread. You couldn't make this up... though it does remind me a bit of the last few scenes in Blazing Saddles grin

arf
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Dec 26 2006 21:55

i didnt exactly burst in - revol and dev were slagging me off and i thought id defend myself. but yeh, i do see the irony. wink

Serge Forward's picture
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Dec 26 2006 22:03

Anyways Arf, when I said "how come several people have decided to use this thread to voice their problems with one or two particular posters they've found disagreeable..." it wasn't aimed at you but posters earlier on in the thread. You and Devrim were merely the icing on the cake.

arf
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Dec 26 2006 22:04

i think theres several things here that are getting lumped together that arent the same at all

1 - flaming - that is, coming into a thread and chucking around insults and nothing else.

2 - going off topic - which is not always detrimental at all and in fact can lead to positive results

3 - people insulting each other but still making some sort of contribution to the thread.

imo - revol usually does number 3, and i think i probably do too. imo jack usually does 1 - and he's an admin here isnt he? wink

anyway. yes there is too much insulting and not enough respect. but i dont see an easy solution - if a couple of people choose to carry on then everyone else is well within their rights to respond to it. if someone is slagging me off i do have the right to defend myself and launch counterattacks, lol. but i dont think banning revol is going to solve the problem, thats wishful thinking.

Mike Harman
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Dec 26 2006 22:08
Serge Forward wrote:
Sorry, Alan. I really don't understand what you're talking about here.

Unless I'm mistaken, he's talking about guydebordisdead, who's not well known for his politeness or civility.

Quote:
I've heard that one before and it's no excuse. Besides, it's not really about that, Alan. See, I fully expect to be insulted by the loud-mouth conservative, etc, etc. In fact, if they didn't have a go, I'd think I was probably doing something wrong. But I do not see why people who are supposedly comrades should treat each other in this way.

Serge, I don't see every single person who posts on here as a "comrade", some yes, some no. There's long history of polemics and even personal antimony within the anarchist and communist traditions and really don't think it's that out of keeping. That's not that some people don't cross the line, but these forums aren't an organisation or chaired meeting and there is a lot of genuine and even irreconcilable disagreement on here between people, even if the differences are small compared to the rest of society.

arf
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Dec 26 2006 22:40

oh please. so what are you accusing me of jack, holding a gun to all these nice peoples heads, and telling them to complain on my behalf, about all the flaming and such going on here, and the double standards etc? libcom has been seeing these complaints since well before it became libcom, and from so many people that it would be incredibly stupid to try and pin it all on me.

ive barely even commented on the admin or whatever here, as you well know. but it serves you to pretend that its just crazy little me making shit up and stirring the pot. god forbid you take any of them, any of this, seriously.

as for whether im always kicking against the authoritaah - are you suggesting that your own 'authority' is beyond question?

just what exactly do you offer here jack?

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Dec 26 2006 22:53
arf wrote:
just what exactly do you offer here jack?

Un-PC jokes, stripey jumpers and the love of Lily Allen.

Actually, arf, it seems like the Committee of Ten have been taking the recent flaming/banning discussions seriously enough.

Serge Forward's picture
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Dec 27 2006 00:27
Mike Harman wrote:
Serge, I don't see every single person who posts on here as a "comrade", some yes, some no. There's long history of polemics and even personal antimony within the anarchist and communist traditions and really don't think it's that out of keeping. That's not that some people don't cross the line, but these forums aren't an organisation or chaired meeting and there is a lot of genuine and even irreconcilable disagreement on here between people, even if the differences are small compared to the rest of society.

Funnily enough, to a degree I'd go along with this. But the key point is, "the differences are small compared to the rest of society" and we shouldn't forget that.

In libertarian circles outside of these forums, I've noticed a steadily growing antipathy towards Libcom. That antipathy is much because of the reasons I outlined earlier. Now I like Libcom, but believe it would be much better without all the needless argy bargy and stuff that is just plain immature; things that put some comrades (and I mean comrades) off this site.

I'm not suggesting it becomes a forum for over-serious miserable buggers, nor am I suggesting people never say "cunt", "cock" or whatever takes their fancy; but a degree of mutual respect would be nice, in spite of the "small differences"... and it'd be good to see a little less derailing of threads by people settling scores. Look at this thread as a case in point... it's about flaming in general, but before you know it, a few people start to wade in with all sorts of accusations and sniping about each other. What's that all about?!?!

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 27 2006 00:52
Serge Forward wrote:
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A little late for you to suddenly take the moral high ground isn't it? I mean, I hate to be personal, but if you don't consider yourself part of the inter-personal dynamic that some claim is so unwelcoming, then we have a problem.

Sorry, Alan. I really don't understand what you're talking about here.

Yeah I'm talking about Guydebordisfuckingdead.

Quote:
See, I fully expect to be insulted by the loud-mouth conservative, etc, etc. In fact, if they didn't have a go, I'd think I was probably doing something wrong.

So everyone who reads The Sun or votes Tory (or, indeed Labour) should be excluded from the revolution? Is that why our respective organisations have such low memberships? wink

(OK that's tongue in cheek, but you get my point.)

Quote:
But I do not see why people who are supposedly comrades should treat each other in this way.

I'm no fucking comrade of Raw's, lemme make that clear. In fact, the anarchist scene as a whole is largely redundant. If it were to lose 60% of its original participants by way of branching out and becoming accessible to the vast majority who don't consider this kinda shit "fun" or "interesting", it'd be a step in the right direction, unpopular as though such an assertion maybe. It's like Catch says (if he was as bellicose as me, at least), fuck the anarchist movement, let's have a bit of the working class. smile

Quote:
All that aside, how come several people have decided to use this thread to voice their problems with one or two particular posters they've found disagreeable on here?

Cos some people consider themselves immune to criticism and thus able to speak as objective spectators in a situation that they're (to greater or lesser degree) participants? I'm willing to accept that at times I don't behave responsibily on here, and so does Belfast, gawd bless 'im.

Think of it as a pub brawl spilling outside into the street, expect minus the pint glasses.

Dundee_United
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Dec 27 2006 01:57
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I've noticed a steadily growing antipathy towards Libcom.

I have too. It's quite concerning and it's down to the 'efforts' or just a few individuals.

Dundee_United
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Dec 27 2006 02:02
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the vast majority who don't consider this kinda shit "fun" or "interesting"

Precisely!!!! I'm really exasperated about this. Hence all the people who post because it is 'fun' and 'interesting' and not because it has some relevance to their everday lives and is about organising for change should basically just be told where to get off - they're not relevant. They're scenesters.

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Dec 27 2006 02:33
Dundee_United wrote:
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I've noticed a steadily growing antipathy towards Libcom.

I have too. It's quite concerning and it's down to the 'efforts' or just a few individuals.

Yup. Or to be honest one individual and those closest to him. I mean I'm not such a twat as to think libcom is going to create a world wide general strike or anything but it has helped people network and develop a better undertanding of our class and our position within it. It may be in the future a tool of many that could help us to advance anarchist politics within our class and advance towards a betterment of the conditions of our class in general. Which may be able to create a level of working class power that could lead to a social revolution. Which is ultimately what we are after. But in order to make those baby steps towards the libcom forums becoming more than a bulletin board for the exmembers of Anarchist Youth Network and their mates it needs to make some hard choices such as banning revol68.

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Dec 27 2006 03:17

Challenge the behaviour not the person.

The debate needn't be about WHO the problem is, rather WHAT the problem is and the best way to solve it, no?

So let's everybody settle down and remember we were talking about how make the forums as useful as possible.

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georgestapleton
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Dec 27 2006 04:24

But when the problem is the behaviour of a few indivduals then you do need to challenge the individuals and when the individuals refuse to change their behaviour you should exclude them.

I mean I know WHAT the problem is, as oppossed to WHO it is. And indeed I am a part of WHAT it as well. I have said things on libcom that were out of order and have posted in an aggressive and unproductive manner. However, there's no point in self-flagellation - the problem isn't most posters. Most posters are fine only a very small number are problematic and/or abusive. And only one completely refuses to change his behaviour but rather defends it - revol68. The thing is I revol68 isn't a real person it's an internet persona personally I have no problem with the person who posts under revol68 but as long as he posts under revol68 he's always going to be a prick becasue revol68 is a prick necessarily.

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jef costello
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Dec 27 2006 12:30

This is a discussion forum. The aim is not to get people to agree with you, the aim is to share information, experience and to work on practical solutions together. A successful discussion is one that provides a solution to a problem or question. You cannot personally win a discussion.
Try not to use insults, they generally undermine your argument. Try to ignore others' insults, give a little leeway rather than escalating it. That way when you're having a bad day others will excuse you for losing your temper.

Dundee_United
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Dec 27 2006 20:46
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Challenge the behaviour not the person.

Yes but the problem can be attributed largely to one person. If he was dealt with then the general tone of the whole forums would be improved, and there'd be more productive discussions. At the moment his involvement makes it very difficult to progress any discussions beyond thread derailments.

Serge Forward's picture
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Dec 27 2006 23:27

I really wish people would stop laying the problems I'm talking about onto certain individuals. George and Dundee, I've deliberately made a point of not attributing the general atmosphere on Libcom to one person, or even several people. Anybody who thinks the problem is down to a couple of people is making a big mistake. See, it's not about certain posters who offend you, or people you don't like (whatever their merits or crimes). It's about a developing trend for people on here to either participate in or tolerate a general level of uncomradely behaviour. So when others are put off Libcom, it's usually because they see a negative atmosphere which many of us directly or indirectly contribute to (some of us do this a lot of the time, others only occasionally).

Look, I don't ever expect Libcom to be the anarchist version of the Care Bears, with everyone being nice to people they can't stand. There will of course be rows, arguments, flaming, etc from time to time. The point is, all too often it's what new people notice first about this site, and we're not doing ourselves any favours if we continue with this hostile atmosphere.

Refused's picture
Refused
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Dec 27 2006 23:30

Lone Wolf's picture
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Dec 28 2006 02:14
Refused wrote:

grin cool

Lone Wolf's picture
Lone Wolf
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Dec 28 2006 02:20

eek Have you forgiven yourself tho????? (I spose at least it wasn't a cabbage patch doll..they were pretty scary.. eek )

Mike Harman
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Dec 28 2006 02:31
Serge Forward wrote:
I really wish people would stop laying the problems I'm talking about onto certain individuals. George and Dundee, I've deliberately made a point of not attributing the general atmosphere on Libcom to one person, or even several people. Anybody who thinks the problem is down to a couple of people is making a big mistake. See, it's not about certain posters who offend you, or people you don't like (whatever their merits or crimes). It's about a developing trend for people on here to either participate in or tolerate a general level of uncomradely behaviour. So when others are put off Libcom, it's usually because they see a negative atmosphere which many of us directly or indirectly contribute to (some of us do this a lot of the time, others only occasionally).

Look, I don't ever expect Libcom to be the anarchist version of the Care Bears, with everyone being nice to people they can't stand. There will of course be rows, arguments, flaming, etc from time to time. The point is, all too often it's what new people notice first about this site, and we're not doing ourselves any favours if we continue with this hostile atmosphere.

Agree with all this. If you start reading a train crash when it's already reached 100+ posts it's much, much worse than following it as it goes along. Most people new to the site will be reading it (or rather fucking off after a page) when it's already mostly happened.

Since splitting is hard at the moment, one option might be just to move the train crashes into libcommunity en-toto and invite people to restart the serious thread with cut and pastes of anything they want salvaging - would this be worse though?

Catch 22
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Dec 28 2006 09:19

I would agree that libcom isn't viewed very positively outside. The typical response I hear is that "libcom is way negative" or that "everyone is so hostile." I feel like we should try and deal with this in collective manner. No finger pointing at revol or whoever is the week's worst offender. We need to try and enforce some guidelines of common decency. Personally I think ret’s three strikes policy would be good.

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Dec 28 2006 09:25
Catch 22 wrote:
I would agree that libcom isn't viewed very positively outside. The typical response I hear is that "libcom is way negative" or that "everyone is so hostile." I feel like we should try and deal with this in collective manner. No finger pointing at revol or whoever is the week's worst offender. We need to try and enforce some guidelines of common decency. Personally I think ret’s three strikes policy would be good.

I broadly agree and have suggested a method that worked in the past on a new thread http://libcom.org/forums/feedback-and-content/dealing-with-flaming-a-pos...

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Dec 28 2006 09:34

I wondered how long it'd take before someone bunged in a Care Bears pic. You were very quick on the draw grin

Anyway, here's some proposals for the admins...

We have an etiquette page based on my or Ret Marut's suggestions (or a combination of the two). We also have the caption, "Keep it comradely, think before you flame" somewhere near the bit which says "post new comment". So, whenever people type in a response, they get that little reminder.

Sure, this could be a bit annoying, but if it does make people think twice, then it'd be much less annoying than having to trawl through pages of invective while trying to read a possibly interesting thread.

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Dec 29 2006 03:07

Just a small comment. I'm quite new to Libcom (a few months) and I am already giving up on the boards (the forums I mean). In the beginning I posted a bit, but now I am mostly lurking. In the first few threads I did participate in I was subject to lots of shite and flames, people misrepresenting my views and just generally shite etiquette.

The flaming is too fucking much... not a friendly atmosphere whatsoever. There are threads that I want to post to, but now I just can't bother.

Libcom has probably one of the least friendly atmospheres I've seen online... I will probably forget about libcom soon, a shame coz it could be so much better.

arf
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Dec 29 2006 13:30

way to go proving their point revol.

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Khawaga
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Dec 29 2006 20:43
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the only thread i seen you take shit in was the one on homeopathy, which to be honest is only to be expected, no?

well, if u feel it is to be expected then that is a problem. we can still discuss stuff that is controversial without flaming.

what I was thinking of was the white privilge thread where I felt my views were seriously misrepresented by you (and madashell). There were a couple of other threads as well where I got shite, but the posted there wasn't a regualar poster (Spanish guy with BA in Economics from LSE, can't remember his nick and can't be bothered to look up).

It is not the case that I was sitting there crying in front of my laptop, but I just hoped that the forums would be more serious and civil, a place for good discussions. Overall, they are not that now so I do not bother posting at quite a few threads that I find interesting.

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Khawaga
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Dec 29 2006 21:18

well, when I actually spell out that class is the basis of my politics, I was still accused of identity politics. anyway, I am not interested at all in starting that discussion again.

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It's not and never should be the type of board that politely tolerates all sorts of contemptable vomit.

and this is why I really don't feel like posting here any more... you can disagree with me all you like, I don't have a problem with that, but calling something "contemptable vomit" is in my book flaming.

I do still lurk on the boards, and to be honest Revol you are probably the worst flamer (still I am not in favour of you being banned permantently, maybe there should be a Revol macro turning all your flames in hippy-love-speak) of them all and it is off-putting what you do. It is a shame coz a lot of the time I do enjoy reading your posts, find them informative and insightful but your condescension and vitirol is just too much...