On 12/29/11 a member was suspended from our group for the first time. Many of you may be confused about the line he crossed. The last thing we need is unarticulated anxiety that inhibits members from contributing, because they're unsure what Matt Rugar did wrong.
Groups need a safe emotional environment. When a member shares a painful personal experience, doubts, fears, or other personal vulnerabilities, he/she is giving all of us a precious gift. When another member uses that information to insult, ridicule, or attack the giving member, it's not just a betrayal of trust toward the individual. It's an attack on the group itself. If such betrayal goes unanswered, security shatters in the group. Members are reduced to superficialities, with no possibility for mutual validation. It sends a painful message, "nobody is safe here."
Matt Rugar didn't just attack Joan, when he said this, he betrayed the trust of the entire group.
Joan is still whinning about some thing that happened 4 decades ago and attacks who ever does not join her in her pity party. She goes from group to group to be martyerd.
So how does one give negative feedback without betraying trust and making others feel unsafe?
1. Qualify your criticism as your opinion or perception.
Example: (where X is an offending sexist remark)
Instead of saying "You're sexist." say,
"That sounds sexist to me."
"When he said X, I heard a sexist remark."
"To my ears that smacks of sexism." or
"I perceive X as sexist."
By qualifying what we say as our judgment, we show respect for the person. We imply that he/she could do better. We present the behavior as a mistake. We imply that we too make mistakes, from time to time, that we are equal adults. This is called making the person/behavior distinction.
When we label an offender, we imply that this bad behavior is a defining trait, that he/she is not capable of doing better, and that he/she is therefore inferior.
2. Avoid "Mind Reading", i.e. claiming to know the intent of others. Nobody knows what goes on inside the head of other people. In the example above, Matt claimed to know what goes on in Joan's head. Here again, this is easily avoided by qualifying what you say as your interpretation, your reaction, your judgment. You can say you "feel as if", or "get the impression that."
I never suggested we avoid conflict here, only that we conduct ourselves with civility.
People do have a right to express how they feel without being accused of flippancy. Expressing how you feel, "I like meat", isn't "an ignorant response." I take "Get over it" not as flippancy or ignorance but asserting the right to one's values without accepting negative judgments from others. When we say, "We're godless, get over it!" to theists, are we acting ignorant or flippant? That's not my take.
Sometimes people express their disike of a discussion by participating with the shortest possible response. While one could express flippancy with short answers. Not all short answers are flippant. That you take such hurt and offense from a noncommittal short response is not a result of the speaker's intent (which you are guessing), but, in my opinion, entrapment in a hurtful mind game. You appear, to me, to routinely interpret a disinclination to engage with you as a put down. I have much more faith in the good will of our members. We don't hate you, Steven.
You can like bullying, I might not agree, but as long as your language here is civil and not disguised verbal violence, you can be a useful member of our group.
This has never been about "toxic subjects" but dysfunctional modes of discussing subjects that ends up with members being subtly or not so subtly attacked.
...everyone wants to avoid conflict and live in 'a nice safe place'.
Not everyone wants a Honeymoon discourse, where conflict is suppressed. We just want to disagree with civility.
Ruth - Those so-called 'short' answers did not address the thread subject. Therefore, they were flippant and ignorant. I responded with MORE facts and figures and received even more flippant answers that also did not address the thread subject.
Steve, I value your, and others', contributions to this forum; I'm here to learn from others, to grow, to find insights and information which maybe agree and sometime conflict with what I know. But after a long or tough day at work, I want this to be a constructive rather than destructive forum, and my interpretation is that at least some others also want a constructive forum. BTW, I'm pretty much done with eating meat - about 90% of my meals are vegan or vegetarian...still working on cheeses and also sometimes have a bit of meat at family holiday gatherings. So I'm quite sympathetic to your efforts to engage in discussions about animal rights, human treatment of other sentient beings, the role of religion (dominon over the earth...). So please keep participating, but please do so respectfully. Thank you. Greg
Matthew - Your original posting was purely 'personal'. You did not address one single item from the original posting which covered 'Genesis' as the basis Christian's use to back themselves up when doing all manner of evil regarding this 'meat' industry.
You did not address the section in that original posting regarding the gassing, throat cutting, electrocution of animals. In fact, your posting did not address one single item that was presented. It was 'all about you' - your wants - your needs - your feelings. Not a single word regarding the subject matter. the thread was not about YOU Matthew - it was about other beings. Why is that so difficult for you?
It was not you that said: "I eat meat. Period. You don't like it? Take your business elsewhere." A most condescending statement that has even been posted on Friends.
That specific posting was set up by you - and your ignorant response to the subject matter. You were not asked if you 'liked' meat - nor were you asked if you didn't like meat. That was not the thread subject. You just 'went off' because someone brought up a subject you don't like talking about. Why is that? Is it because you simply do not care - or that you don't really know the subject matter?
Certainly most everyone 'likes' meat (prepared to their favor) - but that doesn not address the subject matter regarding the environment and business practices of that industry. You were not sofiscated enough to answer in the manner posted. It's NOT about Matthew Greenberg and his wants. The thread subject was not about any single person....it was about the meat industry - of which you totally and completely 100% glossed over.
Even those lowly Christians answer such question's far superior to you Matthew. The actually engage in a discussion - not set up a personal equasion for everyone to follow like sheep.
Matthew - you also had such little curiosity you never asked one single question about IVAN the endangered silverback gorilla. I suppose if there were gorilla's running around that equaled beef cows - you'd have no problem eating them also. If I asked you to fully explain or 'justify' that you'd certainly take the position it was a personal attack on your eating habits. Get over such thinking Matthew - it's NOT 'all-about Matthew'.
SHAME ON YOU for not addressing the thread subject in a manner that would have supported additional intelligent postings. Your posting of greed and ignorance and refusal to address the subject matter was cheered by additional sheep that also refused to address the questions at hand. Congratulations on taking the 'safe place' attitude.
You are warned, Steven. Language such as that highlighted
SHAME ON YOU for not addressing the thread subject in a manner that would have supported additional intelligent postings. Your posting of greed and ignorance and refusal to address the subject matter was cheered by additional sheep that also refused to address the questions at hand. [emphasis mine]
in NOT acceptable here. If you continue to put members down, I will begin to delete your replies before the two week vote is closed. You keep making the same errors in talking to us. Take the time to reword you replies with a cool head, if you want us to read them. Eliminate blaming and shaming language. Reword criticisms of behaviors as your perception rather than claiming them as matters of fact that insult the people who made the statements you dislike.
Matthew also (first) said 'shame on you' did he also 'get a warning?
Steven, you make an awful lot of assumptions about other people. you misrepresent, turn, and twist words to suit your needs. it's quite clear that you are irrational about this subject. funny thing is, you can't even see it. you are blinded by your passion.
seriously, your "it's NOT all about Matthew" rant above is classic. i made a very simple, and quite reasonable quote about my preference for eating meat. you have extrapolated from there paragraphs of misrepresentations based on factless assumptions. and obviously, as we've suspected the whole time, you're quite judgmental.
"greed and ignorance"? really? you really think you're the only one who is living right, don't you?
finally, i get along with everyone i've come across at A/N. you are the outlier. i'm thinking that there's a reason for that.
Matthew - Everyone has noticed that you still have not stated one single word regarding the original thread topic. That's why it is all about you. Your wants. Your needs.
Not one single question in the original posting asked about YOU. Yet, you continue to protect your 'right' to do whatever you want - and no one has challenged that right. You can eat all the animals you desire - not a single person has challenged your 'legal' right to do such. Go ahead - eat to your heart's desire.
Do not answer or address the primary threads questions. Avoid at all costs.
Matthew, it's not correct you posting you 'get along' with everyone at A/N. You don't get alone with me apparently because you defer to other areas when you address a thread subject. I simply called you out on this and you 'go off'.
I repeat back to you your statements and you get all 'classic' saying you're quite judgemental...as if you're not?
I've never judged anyone regarding their diet preferences. I simply put forth some factual information and hoped for reasonable answers to those facts. Not short one-liners that appeared to me snide - avoidance - and protecting individual turf.
If one reads thru that thread you'll see several really great postings addressing the subject - not personal statements protecting their 'right' to do such and such. Those people are held in high esteem and don't seem to have the same problem as you do with that thread. AND....they all eat meat! Who is really the outsider?
I agree with Matthew's statement to you, Steve.
i made a very simple, and quite reasonable quote about my preference for eating meat. you have extrapolated from there paragraphs of misrepresentations based on factless assumptions. and obviously, as we've suspected the whole time, you're quite judgmental.
I think what he meant when he said you're an outlier here is that your style of communication makes you not get along with others here, by which you put yourself into an outlier position, i.e. in a position far from the norm distribution. By calling everyone else ignorant, for example, you distance yourself. He didn't say you were an outsider. He wasn't using in group/out group language.
In Hang With Friends people have a right to articulate their wants and needs without being being judged as self-centered, "It's all about you.[emphasis mine]" This implied judgment is an example of the behavior matthew described, "...you misrepresent, turn, and twist words to suit your needs." Since you seem unable to understand that this language belilttles matthew, it's time for you to concentrate your participation in Atheist Nexus in other groups. There are groups where in group/out group language is acceptable. Atheist Nexus is a diverse community. I'm sure you'll find a receptive audience elsewhere. Good bye.
Matthew - I could ask the same question substituting 'slavery' for meat.
I could but all I would need to do is take your original posting and substitute 'slavery' for the 'meat' word and you can see how it would appear.
Slavery is also justified by Christians within their holy book. You failed miserably to address the subject matter. Deal with it. I have.
You go eat a nice big ol fat steak Matthew. It appears you feel threatened if anyone brings up such an animal rights subject. You just don't believe in such. We understand. Not a single person ever said you can't - 'have your meat and eat it to'. I suppose you just wanted to make certain everyone knew that. Everyone knows your position. Get over it. I have.
Steven, when someone says ,"Get over it" to you, you take insult. But here you are using "Get over it" to Matthew. This sounds like a double standard to me.
You're obviously correct. It was used against me and I re-stated the words back. My bad.