Saturday, February 19, 2011

Judgement... the update

So I blogged a bit ago about a facebook thread that unwound itself... Of course I blogged from my perspective of the conversation. Interestingly enough, that post was quite the hot commodity. Turns out the other party didn't see the thread in the same light as I did. I think it would be fair to share her perspective as well... because, well it just is, isn't it? She doesn't dispute that she did type the things that she did, because well she did. But she would like to explain that her first attempt at chiming in the thread was an attempt at a funny... a pun from some commercial that she doesn't need an app for that. She did not realize from my statement that she was misunderstanding my religion that I had taken offense and then pressed on with her bible verse. The statements that came later, by other facebook parties not me, that mentioned "Judge not lest ye be judged." turned her "adult ADD" mind on to that bible verse. It appears she did not realize that the statements were indicating that others found her statements to be judgemental. So despite the thread being started about the sacrement of confession, her continued defense of judgement was about judging fruits not people. She felt that perhaps she hadn't communicated that as well as she could have at the time. I enjoy learning all sides...because well I live out here and don't know that in her head she jumped to another conversation. She said she didn't know until much later in the thread when the sacrement of confession was stated again that confession was still the topic that judgement was being applied to in my brain. I take her on her word on that because well I don't have any reason not to do so, right?

But this whole conversation in addition to another conversation on the Concordia Classical Academy blog about internet folks ripping each other over their personal choices... makes me wonder: Is polite conversation dead on the internet? Remember the days when religion and politics were topics that were off topic for debate amongst folks that you didn't know well? Do the rules still apply? A good friend says that she thinks they do, but that people forget because they don't have to say the things to one another's faces. If you had to look someone in the eye and say what you were going to type would you? And even more importantly, without total communication of words + nonverbal communication, do we need to be more sensitive to others words or more direct? For example in the facebook thread example, I stayed out of the conversation until near the end.. when someone posted about us all just sharing ideas, I volunteered then that I was offended. Was it my responsibility to state earlier in the thread that I thought the rules of polite conversation were broken? Obviously in face to face conversation the raised eye brows would have given the offense away right?

So what do you think - Are the rules of polite conversation dead in the internet age?


Sherrie said...

I don't think they're dead per se, but I don't think they're realized nearly as often as they should be. Your friend is right -- it is easy to hide behind the computer screen or keyboard. However, when face-to-face...most people certainly wouldn't say some of the stuff they type. It's also really easy to misinterpret written words. It's so much easier to deal with it all in person...yes, speaking from experience. :)

Jeanette said...

It's true- my kids (well...*I*) checked out a book from the library on manners. One line out of the book says "Never say anything about a friend you wouldn't say TO a friend."

Some things should be off the table-religion, politics, etc. never know WHAT might get someone riled up. Some offhand comment that I wouldn't think would bother anyone might really hurt someone for whatever reason. In that case-I think it should be chalked up to a misunderstanding and both parties should move forward.

Jennifer said...

I agree, face to face is better because it's whole conversation. You get the raising of eye brows or a shift in someone's stance... little clues that potentially you are in uncomfortable territory.
And you're right Jeanette, it doesn't have to be religion or politics.. I've been in circles that whether your child is forced to sleep in their own bedroom is a major hot topic! Or whether a homeschooler uses any textbooks or curricula.. you just never know what someone's button is.. and when you push it, whatever it is, you have to decide - I've pushed it.. now do I press on or back off. I think polite conversation is back off... unless of course there's something detrimental to a child or something.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's "hiding" behind the screen in all cases. In some cases the person types out what they would have said face to face, but the attitude of the reader is what makes it seem confrontational.

I've been on both sides of the coin. I've been the one offended by what someone wrote and the one who has inadvertently offended someone with what I wrote.

My opinion on it is this... If I am going to be offended by something someone posts, then I don't need to be in a place where I can read it. What I mean is, if posts on Facebook, or a blog, or a forum, or a thread are going to offend me, whether intentional or unintentional, then I have no business being on Facebook, blogs, forums or threads. Everyone knows when they go on a site and read or post or both, there is the risk of being offended.

If they can't deal with that, then they have no business being on there.

Jennifer said...

Anon... I see what you're saying and agree. For example on a message board if I see an anti-Catholic thread, I don't read it because I know already I'm not going to like what it's going to say. I think that facebook has the benefit or trap (you be the judge) of making us think that we are amongst friends. So if someone asks a question we tend to answer with our guard down some. And like my priest says, sometimes you think you're just trying to have a coke & some nice conversation and ya feel like ya got nuked.. then ya think hey what happened there? And really I think it's easy to say if you find this offensive don't read it.. isn't that putting the responsibility on the wrong party? I mean seriously, whether a person chooses to read something that is written or not doesn't alter the content. For example, if someone is using the n-word is that offense on them or the reader? How different are religious and racial offenses and how are either acceptable no matter who is reading? ** Note that the above is used to illustrate the absurdity of blaming the victim as opposed to taking personal responsibility not directed at any person or as an illustration of any event depicted in my blog posts

Anonymous said...

Somewhat akin to someone beginning a sentence with "I don't mean to be rude, but...." or "Don't take this the wrong way, but...."

Jennifer said...