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Thread: The Human Sore

  1. #1 The Human Sore 
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    Before I get going, let me make a couple of things clear.
    1. I chose to post this on thescienceforum due to the fact that there is no one here that fits the description of the title, and I do not want anyone else mentioning specific names either.
    2. The questions I am raising are about me and my behaviour, and possibly the behaviour of others who are like me. Not about attacking any specific people.

    On a couple of other forums, I have encountered people of the kind I am referring to as 'human sores'. They are negative, pessimistic, idiotic, antagonistic, nasty, and generally represent a mind view that is quite different to mine. Yet I find myself arguing with them in an almost obsessive way. These communications are very negative. I know damn well that I am not going to change these 'human sores'. I know they will remain nasty and negative. Yet I find it really hard to let go. It is almost like an addiction to keep arguing with them. Such arguing is stressful and I leave the web feeling quite het up. I know I should drop it, but really have a problem letting go.

    Do other people share this experience? Is it just me? If others share this behaviour, then do you have any idea of why we do it? In other words, my query is psychological. What is it in the human mental make up that drives us to this kind of addictive arguing when the results are perpetually negative and harmful?

    PS> The reason I called them "human sores" is that I can't stop myself picking at them.


    Last edited by skeptic; June 6th, 2014 at 07:45 PM.
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  3. #2  
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    I know the feeling.

    For me it tends to happen with specific topics and particular people. If this kind of person posts/comments on topics I don't normally have a lot of interest in, I can generally dismiss them with a scornful snort, Idiot! being my usual private exclamation, and move on to something/someone else.

    But let one of these clowns start messing around with anti-vax rubbish or reciting climate denialist mantras or dismissing/ridiculing rape and harassment victims and I turn into a relentless internet banshee. There are a few other topics which can set me off depending on how I feel on the day, but those three are near automatic triggers for possibly several hours of SIWOTI.


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  4. #3  
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    Nothing wrong with the internet. I think many people trust it and social media too much. The internet is anonymous for the most part. How easy is it to disguise your true self on the internet? For one thing we all have a username, which may or may not provide us with the only clue as to whom we are conversing with. I would think it is much easier to pretend to be someone else than to be yourself on an internet forum. You can post photos of yourself and it means nothing for most of us as to your identity.

    There is no way to tell if you are actually dealing with a stupid arse or someone highly intelligent. Does it take more intelligence to take on, maintain and support an internet persona than to simply tell us what you know? How about being able to crawl under someone's skin? To some it's a game and we should all be careful. Unintelligent drivel may be only be an intentional play to start an argument, who can be sure? How would you know, as an expert in your field, whether you're being deliberately put to the test or not? Phorum Phishing

    Anonymity brings with it certain properties. It's easy to feed an argument on the internet. It's impossible to be embarrassed here also. No amount of dissing should ever make someone uncomfortable, it just doesn't have the same affect as a face to face encounter in front of a large audience with a reputation at stake. There is absolutely nothing to worry about when posting on a forum. Those inclined to protect the sanctity of it will take umbrage to anything undesirable and if need be, suspend or ban a member. Makes no difference, smart people can figure a way back undetected.

    So is there anything wrong with Skeptic? He's got his own internet persona to protect and he does a great job doing so. Do I feel he gets suckered in at times? Possibly, but who doesn't? Are there people capable of intentionally distributing untruths if only to test the waters or begin an argument? By all means. I think it was Francis Church who said it's easy to be skeptical in a skeptical age? Truth is we are all skeptical about something so I might find his internet persona somewhat difficult to uphold all by oneself. Maybe Skeptic paints himself into a corner, forced to take an unwavering stance on just about anything, or if perceived as a true skeptic he may be an easy target for the troll and misinformation.
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  5. #4  
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    That is a very interesting post zinjanthropos .Not that I necessarily agree with all your points but I was thinking of making a separate thread myself about the dynamics of social interaction on the internet(actually I think I did but I didn't follow it up
    http://www.thescienceforum.com/behavior-psychology/44237-internet.html).

    I tend to disagree that (on this forum at least ) anyone can really get away with the games you mention as I think you are very quickly shot down here if you are not a serious poster and sock puppets are also regularly booted out.

    I also think a username is quite a sufficient identification to be able to get the measure of a poster.Their life history is not important except as far as it adds to the subject they are posting about.

    If you want to you can go back over their earlier posts and discover ,if you need if there is an element of mind games to the subject in hand.

    I am sure there are plenty of forums where mind games are well to the fore but users are free to frequent those venues if they so wish(it would give me the creeps but I am sure it has its place)

    I don't know why but the Monty Python "do you want an argument ?" sketch comes to mind.


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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    I tend to disagree that (on this forum at least ) anyone can really get away with the games you mention as I think you are very quickly shot down here if you are not a serious poster
    Maybe I just did. Emoticon use is a good diversionary tool in some cases. Actually I don't expect people to agree with me.

    I also think a username is quite a sufficient identification to be able to get the measure of a poster.Their life history is not important except as far as it adds to the subject they are posting about
    Well in my experience I have not seen or heard of psychology or psychiatry practiced over the phone.

    I don't know why but the Monty Python "do you want an argument ?" sketch comes to mind.
    I think about that sketch all the time. Paraphrasing...."an argument is a contradiction of terms. No it isn't. Yes it is"......and so on
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  7. #6  
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    [QUOTE=zinjanthropos;572763]
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Well in my experience I have not seen or heard of psychology or psychiatry practiced over the phone.
    Psychotherapists do use Skype (not that I know any more about the subject than that they do) but psychology and psychiatry may be a different ball park.
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    [QUOTE=geordief;572764]
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Well in my experience I have not seen or heard of psychology or psychiatry practiced over the phone.
    Psychotherapists do use Skype (not that I know any more about the subject than that they do) but psychology and psychiatry may be a different ball park.
    Potential suicide victims are advised to call help centres. Psychology does assume some role I would think but the intent is not to diagnose. Anyway we digress. I don't wish to take the thread away from its intended course. Skeptic needs to know if there's a problem with his 'addiction'. Not personally meeting Skeptic makes it difficult to provide an assessment so I suppose we could look for hidden clues in the way people conduct themselves here. Armchair psychology/psychiatry is doable on a forum although it could be placed right alongside astrology. That's it, skeptic is a virgo! Problem solved.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    In astrological terms, Zinj, I am weird. I am actually an aquarius. That should make me etherial, philosophical, mystical etc. Instead, I am a hard nosed skeptic. Does it surprise you that I am very skeptical about astrology?

    I guess in some ways I posted this thread to get some reassurance, that I am not in fact, totally neurotic. I do not find too many people on this forum idiotic, fortunately. Most are smart, meaning educated and intelligent. A few are a bit thin in their scientific knowledge, but I do not have any problem with that, if they are open to learning. Occasionally we get the odd person who is not smart, but thinks he/she is. When such people get opinionated, and fixed in their incorrect opinions, I have to exercise personal restraint.

    Most of us have our quirks, and most of us have the odd opinion that is plain wrong. I am tolerant of such. But some people are wrong all the time, and will not face the possibility that they might not be 100% correct always. Am I wrong to get a bit annoyed about such people?
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    But some people are wrong all the time, and will not face the possibility that they might not be 100% correct always. Am I wrong to get a bit annoyed about such people?
    I think it is much more frustrating on line than in face to face conversation. All you have to go on is what they write and what you write. The frustration comes from the natural urge to educate or to correct wrong statements.

    Even within the family, we'll give and accept correction quite readily - someone says an appointment is on Thursday and someone else speaks up and says, No I think you'll find it's on Wednesday. Checking the calendar notes or the appointment letter/business card or ringing up to check settles the whole issue in very little time and no fuss at all.

    And I'm very patient with students who are obstinately set on doing and saying the wrong thing and, in many cases, arguing that they're right and I or the teacher or the textbook is wrong. I can afford to be patient because we're playing a long game and the student will, given enough time and encouragement, come round to a better approach to learning. It might be weeks, it might be months or years, I might not be the one to see the results, but it will happen. But that's algebra or essay writing for stroppy, pig-headed, discouraged year nines.

    At the keyboard, and when I'm using a nym other than this polite one, there can be a completely different mood for me. Frustration and annoyance can bubble up and boil over in the pure white fire of fury when it's a particular topic and I'm in no mood to tolerate repeated nonsense or, in too many cases, vile nastiness. And. I. will. not. let. anything. go. when that happens.

    You're not wrong to get annoyed. And there are a lot of people who need explanations, references and when they resist those, to be told in plain words what they're getting wrong or doing wrong. It feels like whack a mole when yet another anti-vax, anti-science medical moron pops up, but they should be flattened like an aluminium can under the tyres of a ten tonne truck every time they try persisting with their dangerous nonsense.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    In astrological terms, Zinj, I am weird. I am actually an aquarius. That should make me etherial, philosophical, mystical etc. Instead, I am a hard nosed skeptic. Does it surprise you that I am very skeptical about astrology?

    I guess in some ways I posted this thread to get some reassurance, that I am not in fact, totally neurotic. I do not find too many people on this forum idiotic, fortunately. Most are smart, meaning educated and intelligent. A few are a bit thin in their scientific knowledge, but I do not have any problem with that, if they are open to learning. Occasionally we get the odd person who is not smart, but thinks he/she is. When such people get opinionated, and fixed in their incorrect opinions, I have to exercise personal restraint.

    Most of us have our quirks, and most of us have the odd opinion that is plain wrong. I am tolerant of such. But some people are wrong all the time, and will not face the possibility that they might not be 100% correct always. Am I wrong to get a bit annoyed about such people?
    If anything, your frustration is evident. OK to be annoyed, it's to be expected.

    In astrological terms, Zinj, I am weird. I am actually an aquarius. That should make me etherial, philosophical, mystical etc. Instead, I am a hard nosed skeptic. Does it surprise you that I am very skeptical about astrology?
    Hell, I was just using Virgo as a pun, as in the frustration felt by a person who no longer wishes to be a Virgo and can't fix it, although I didn't mean to say you are one.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    In astrological terms, Zinj, I am weird. I am actually an Aquarius. That should make me etherial, philosophical, mystical etc. Instead, I am a hard nosed skeptic. Does it surprise you that I am very skeptical about astrology?

    I guess in some ways I posted this thread to get some reassurance, that I am not in fact, totally neurotic. I do not find too many people on this forum idiotic, fortunately. Most are smart, meaning educated and intelligent. A few are a bit thin in their scientific knowledge, but I do not have any problem with that, if they are open to learning. Occasionally we get the odd person who is not smart, but thinks he/she is. When such people get opinionated, and fixed in their incorrect opinions, I have to exercise personal restraint.

    Most of us have our quirks, and most of us have the odd opinion that is plain wrong. I am tolerant of such. But some people are wrong all the time, and will not face the possibility that they might not be 100% correct always. Am I wrong to get a bit annoyed about such people?
    I'm not really big on horoscopes but I'm also an Aquarius. I knew there was a reason why I liked you.

    I used to be more like you in letting some posters really get to me. But I absolutely refuse to ever let another poster pull my chain. I will never take part in any emotional display (fighting/arguing) in someone elses topic about things not on topic. As soon as you display any emotion at all when dealing with a troll, they will know how to get to you anytime they want.

    The forum gives you an opportunity to learn how to handle the trolls in your life. Sometimes it's much better to just not respond at all as trolls really hate that more than anything else. And besides, if you can see a problem with someones BS, so can the rest of us, and we will respect you for not allowing yourself to be baited. Personally I think you do quite well most of the time, with a tendency to wanting to get the last word in. Needing to get the last word in can be very costly at times.
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    Me, wanting to get the last word in??? Neeeeever!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Me, wanting to get the last word in??? Neeeeever!
    <<<SMILE>>>
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Before I get going, let me make a couple of things clear.
    1. I chose to post this on thescienceforum due to the fact that there is no one here that fits the description of the title, and I do not want anyone else mentioning specific names either.
    2. The questions I am raising are about me and my behaviour, and possibly the behaviour of others who are like me. Not about attacking any specific people.

    On a couple of other forums, I have encountered people of the kind I am referring to as 'human sores'. They are negative, pessimistic, idiotic, antagonistic, nasty, and generally represent a mind view that is quite different to mine. Yet I find myself arguing with them in an almost obsessive way. These communications are very negative. I know damn well that I am not going to change these 'human sores'. I know they will remain nasty and negative. Yet I find it really hard to let go. It is almost like an addiction to keep arguing with them. Such arguing is stressful and I leave the web feeling quite het up. I know I should drop it, but really have a problem letting go.

    Do other people share this experience? Is it just me? If others share this behaviour, then do you have any idea of why we do it? In other words, my query is psychological. What is it in the human mental make up that drives us to this kind of addictive arguing when the results are perpetually negative and harmful?

    PS> The reason I called them "human sores" is that I can't stop myself picking at them.
    I used to get like that, especially when I would talk about things that I am passionate about. Then, one day, somewhere someone told me this: With some people there just is no winning, bargaining, or compromising. They're going to look at things the way they look at them, and you can't do anything about it. No matter how much it feels, or how much better your view actually is, you cannot sway them.

    I think the reaction you get might be the result of people having opinions that fly in the face of what you consider rational - you want them to look at something from this other perspective, and if you could get them to do it - you "know" they'd see things your way. That just isn't the case sometimes, despite your efforts. Then after a certain point, it probably becomes a little personal and frustration gets the better of you because some jackass with an avatar stands against something you either know or are convinced is the truth. As a result it becomes hostile a exercise in mud-slinging. Can't tell you how to get over it though. I still fall prey to it from time to time, and always have the same knee-jerk reaction. It's all about taking some time to think about how you're going to respond, it's a lot easier to keep your cool that way.

    Usually, if a conversation starts getting to a point where it's going to descend into chaos... I tell the other person that. I say it's obvious we can't get each other change our opinions, and that it's only going to get worse from there on out, which is something you just don't want to get into. I make the first attempt at burying the hatchet. Even if it's all bullshit posturing on my part, I still feel better afterwards because at least we both walk away agreeing that we have a philosophical impasse that renders the conversation to the point where it lacks any practical value. In effect, if you're like me, you want to walk away from the conversation on good terms of some shape or form. Edit: But maybe try to get there in maladaptive ways, or lose sight of how to get there because you're frustrated and the other person is pushing all the right buttons to get a rise out of you.
    Last edited by stander-j; June 13th, 2014 at 10:55 PM.
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    I used to get like that, especially when I would talk about things that I am passionate about. Then, one day, somewhere someone told me this: With some people there just is no winning, bargaining, or compromising. They're going to look at things the way they look at them, and you can't do anything about it. No matter how much it feels, or how much better your view actually is, you cannot sway them.
    OK. "You cannot sway them ..." this time, this day, this interaction. That's true.

    But there are other things to consider. Firstly, we're talking about open discussion in multi-user sites, blogs, forums. When it comes to dangerous nonsense like the anti-vax stuff, it's important to think more about others who are reading the exchange than your own or your opponent's involvement. You should never let counter-factual, dangerous nonsense stand uncontested - if that's what you care about. Otherwise, sites like Respectful Insolence and Science Based Medicine would have shut up shop long ago. The most important issue is the casual readers who aren't brave enough to put a toe in the water but who might be convinced by superficially attractive arguments about the topic. It's a bit harder when it comes to discussions about social and personal issues - but I'll dive in on discussions about feminism or daft evo-psych myths about relationships or violence or rape because these issues are often framed in conventional "common sense" phrasing that can trip up people who've not thought about them seriously before.

    Secondly, the obvious fact that most people who are posting nonsense or nastiness are not going to change their minds on the spot and gratefully thank you for your knowledge, insight and wisdom isn't really a problem. If you keep your eyes on the prize, you'll have done some good anyway. It's very difficult for anyone to acknowledge error and even more difficult to admit openly that they were wrong. In face to face meetings in my job, I was content to "sow seeds" of ideas about various things. The amazing thing was that 6 or 12 or 18 months later, it was more or less taken for granted as the group's position. (I was usually the only woman in such meetings. I never, ever made the mistake of pointing out later to the men in the group that it was me who first mentioned it. That could have killed it stone dead - or at least diminished the commitment or the enthusiasm for the idea.)

    The problem with internet interaction is that you can't see this process happen with the people you're arguing with, much less the people who hold back and don't get involved in the discussion. You just have to be satisfied that one, a few, or several people's thinking has been enriched and guided by what you've said, even if they themselves never remember that the germ of their new approach came from any particular source. The mere fact of you pointing things out, quoting/citing references from reputable research or, not as often as any of us would like, coming up with a novel or clever way of describing something will mean that everything someone reads on the topic thereafter will be coloured or influenced by your contribution.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I used to get like that, especially when I would talk about things that I am passionate about. Then, one day, somewhere someone told me this: With some people there just is no winning, bargaining, or compromising. They're going to look at things the way they look at them, and you can't do anything about it. No matter how much it feels, or how much better your view actually is, you cannot sway them.
    OK. "You cannot sway them ..." this time, this day, this interaction. That's true.

    But there are other things to consider. Firstly, we're talking about open discussion in multi-user sites, blogs, forums. When it comes to dangerous nonsense like the anti-vax stuff, it's important to think more about others who are reading the exchange than your own or your opponent's involvement. You should never let counter-factual, dangerous nonsense stand uncontested - if that's what you care about. Otherwise, sites like Respectful Insolence and Science Based Medicine would have shut up shop long ago. The most important issue is the casual readers who aren't brave enough to put a toe in the water but who might be convinced by superficially attractive arguments about the topic. It's a bit harder when it comes to discussions about social and personal issues - but I'll dive in on discussions about feminism or daft evo-psych myths about relationships or violence or rape because these issues are often framed in conventional "common sense" phrasing that can trip up people who've not thought about them seriously before.

    Secondly, the obvious fact that most people who are posting nonsense or nastiness are not going to change their minds on the spot and gratefully thank you for your knowledge, insight and wisdom isn't really a problem. If you keep your eyes on the prize, you'll have done some good anyway. It's very difficult for anyone to acknowledge error and even more difficult to admit openly that they were wrong. In face to face meetings in my job, I was content to "sow seeds" of ideas about various things. The amazing thing was that 6 or 12 or 18 months later, it was more or less taken for granted as the group's position. (I was usually the only woman in such meetings. I never, ever made the mistake of pointing out later to the men in the group that it was me who first mentioned it. That could have killed it stone dead - or at least diminished the commitment or the enthusiasm for the idea.)

    The problem with internet interaction is that you can't see this process happen with the people you're arguing with, much less the people who hold back and don't get involved in the discussion. You just have to be satisfied that one, a few, or several people's thinking has been enriched and guided by what you've said, even if they themselves never remember that the germ of their new approach came from any particular source. The mere fact of you pointing things out, quoting/citing references from reputable research or, not as often as any of us would like, coming up with a novel or clever way of describing something will mean that everything someone reads on the topic thereafter will be coloured or influenced by your contribution.

    I think we have a philosophical impasse and can't continue this conversation any further

    Nah, you know what? You're absolutely right, didn't think about the gravity or importance of some of the conversations you could be having, and the importance of swaying third-party observers for some of those conversations. So thanks for pointing that out. Sometimes it's more important to carry-on with the discussion, no matter how hopeless, enraging, or meaningless it seems at the time.
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    Of course, I didn't mention the online climate wars or the never-ending millionth round of evolution arguments.

    I've happily done my part as a climate warrior. But I'll also admit that there are some battles, some sites, that I've simply abandoned as being beyond reason. Certainly beyond my capacities for patience or persistence. But even that doesn't matter because you know full well that it's never going away. Some day soon, I'll come across a climate/ evolution/ germ theory denialist in a different environment and I'll be, on that day, ready, willing and able to do it all over again.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I used to get like that, especially when I would talk about things that I am passionate about. Then, one day, somewhere someone told me this: With some people there just is no winning, bargaining, or compromising. They're going to look at things the way they look at them, and you can't do anything about it. No matter how much it feels, or how much better your view actually is, you cannot sway them.
    OK. "You cannot sway them ..." this time, this day, this interaction. That's true.

    But there are other things to consider. Firstly, we're talking about open discussion in multi-user sites, blogs, forums. When it comes to dangerous nonsense like the anti-vax stuff, it's important to think more about others who are reading the exchange than your own or your opponent's involvement. You should never let counter-factual, dangerous nonsense stand uncontested - if that's what you care about. Otherwise, sites like Respectful Insolence and Science Based Medicine would have shut up shop long ago. The most important issue is the casual readers who aren't brave enough to put a toe in the water but who might be convinced by superficially attractive arguments about the topic. It's a bit harder when it comes to discussions about social and personal issues - but I'll dive in on discussions about feminism or daft evo-psych myths about relationships or violence or rape because these issues are often framed in conventional "common sense" phrasing that can trip up people who've not thought about them seriously before.

    Secondly, the obvious fact that most people who are posting nonsense or nastiness are not going to change their minds on the spot and gratefully thank you for your knowledge, insight and wisdom isn't really a problem. If you keep your eyes on the prize, you'll have done some good anyway. It's very difficult for anyone to acknowledge error and even more difficult to admit openly that they were wrong. In face to face meetings in my job, I was content to "sow seeds" of ideas about various things. The amazing thing was that 6 or 12 or 18 months later, it was more or less taken for granted as the group's position. (I was usually the only woman in such meetings. I never, ever made the mistake of pointing out later to the men in the group that it was me who first mentioned it. That could have killed it stone dead - or at least diminished the commitment or the enthusiasm for the idea.)

    The problem with internet interaction is that you can't see this process happen with the people you're arguing with, much less the people who hold back and don't get involved in the discussion. You just have to be satisfied that one, a few, or several people's thinking has been enriched and guided by what you've said, even if they themselves never remember that the germ of their new approach came from any particular source. The mere fact of you pointing things out, quoting/citing references from reputable research or, not as often as any of us would like, coming up with a novel or clever way of describing something will mean that everything someone reads on the topic thereafter will be coloured or influenced by your contribution.
    I feel exactly the same way and I've used the dropped ideas many times. People may not even remember where they got the idea but as long as they could claim credit for it. Well I never minded.

    But you said that better than I've ever heard it said before. I really liked that.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Of course, I didn't mention the online climate wars or the never-ending millionth round of evolution arguments.

    I've happily done my part as a climate warrior. But I'll also admit that there are some battles, some sites, that I've simply abandoned as being beyond reason. Certainly beyond my capacities for patience or persistence. But even that doesn't matter because you know full well that it's never going away. Some day soon, I'll come across a climate/ evolution/ germ theory denialist in a different environment and I'll be, on that day, ready, willing and able to do it all over again.
    Never mind that over time you'll get very much better at expressing your ideas. Practice makes perfect, maybe not, but I'll always settle for better.
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    >> They are negative, pessimistic, idiotic, antagonistic, nasty...

    (That's sounds like me).

    Why can't you relax in the knowledge that you're fighting The Good Fight, and that you're genetically disposed to promoting the power of (your) Light, and that
    you can't stand (or sit) by, while the Powers of Evil Walk the digital Land unopposed. You do the Opposing because you must, and that's alright. Your DNA insists it is.

    Of course, that's what They feel too.
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