More on this issue about how to discuss things without everyone getting out the flamethrowers, and do we even want to discuss things that way, and is it the right thing to do even if we don’t want to.
I do think it’s better to err on the side of avoiding calling people names, but I have to add that I don’t actually want a Fully Sedate™ discussion. Chris Hallquist explains one reason today.
Furthermore, most of Dan’s suggested alternatives are to a degree academic and there’s a risk of classism in demanding people put their criticisms of others in academic terms. Robin Hanson makes a good point about this:
Lower “working” class cultures tend to talk more overtly. Insults are more direct and cutting, friends and co-workers often tease each other about their weaknesses. Nicknames often express weakness – a fat man might be nicknamed “slim.”
Upper class culture, in contrast, tends more to emphasize politeness and indirect communication. This helps to signal intelligence and social awareness, and distinguishes upper from lower classes.
I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t think cutting insults are a good thing even if they are part of working class culture, but I think there is something to the idea. I know that I don’t want this place to be academic-like.
I’ve read a couple of Fully Sedate™ threads on distant sites lately, and while it’s good that there’s no “hey you’re stupid and ugly,” the trouble is that they were also quite lifeless and boring – even stilted. I don’t want that.
This is no doubt because I’m shallow and lazy and frivolous. I don’t like dryness in writing. Then again I also don’t like too much poppyness – I’m a good deal too fussy.
But there it is. I don’t want ponderousness. Maybe I should, but I don’t. I want lively writing. That doesn’t mean rude or flamey or permananently hostile – but it does mean leaving room for irritation and frustration and exasperation, along with humor.
So not flamethrowers – how about those party favor things that unfurl and toot when you blow on them?