Moderation discussion

We're doing it wrong...we know
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SED
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Post by SED » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:54 pm

So are you saying we can't be mean to each other, in earnest? I enjoy good natured ribbing, but honestly, I also enjoy beating people up, especially those who can't take it. In my mind, protecting an oversensitive pussy is a far greater danger to public discourse than banning an aggressive asshole. This place is not for the weak.

And AIIZ's avatar is an offense to all, not just to those of us who have to look at it, (although nobody has to look at it), but how about those bastards being tortured and humiliated? Seems to me that a moderator who allows gratutous images of torture on the board is some kind of accessory to it.

I just called you an accessory to torture, Spec. Anyone else done that yet?
It ain't the hanging, it's the drop.

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Post by spectabillis » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:05 pm

nope, thats a new one. but i guess anyone on this board is both an accessory and victim of torture lately.

the avatar may be graphic but i personally dont see a problem with it. the only other time mentioned was in reference from someone who had a personal difference so its obviously difficult to tell how impartial they are vs. just want to take 'em down a notch. and thats the other fucked up thing, you have to judge against the experience that A LOT OF PEOPLE do that. they try and find something at fault with another or twist things to get us to do something against them out of spite and vengance.

as far as beating people up.. i cant believe you tried to justify that to me. *sigh*

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Don Muerto
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Post by Don Muerto » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:20 pm

SED wrote:In my mind, protecting an oversensitive pussy is a far greater danger to public discourse than banning an aggressive asshole. This place is not for the weak.
When I decided that this board and I were not a good match, it was largely for this reason, though I don't think of it in quite the same terms. It seemed (seems) to me that the choices being made were to allow the individual to warp the community through an institutionalized squelching of public censure.

The intent of the censorship was a good one; to elevate the tone of this place above petty squabbles and bickering, but I do not think that the community is best served by protecting the obnoxious few from hearing the honest response to their online personalities.

I believe that when someone acts like an ass, the appropriate response is to let them know it. The basic question being: how can a chronic asshole be expected to learn without accurate social feedback?

Preventing that feedback, i.e. having the moderator enforce "making nice-nice" through censorship, only magnifies the impact of the offender and skews the board away from meaningful interaction.

That's my opinion anyway.

[Edited to Add:]

And, I tested the ignore functionality and found it effective. Given that anyone offended by squabbling among the usual suspects can tune it out with the click of a mouse, I see even less reason to have "tone moderation" on this board.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by spectabillis » Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:27 pm

Don Muerto wrote:I believe that when someone acts like an ass, the appropriate response is to let them know it. The basic question being: how can a chronic asshole be expected to learn without accurate social feedback?
the number of those people fall with accurate social feedback, the number falls even more with feedback provided through moderators. both have an impact, but there are still those that not much works despite various other attempts. its those few that that take most time and effort.

there is increased attention drawn to someone when a moderator starts dealing with them, but it also has to do with the conflict at hand thats hard to separate. there is that strange drama attractor, its contagious and attracts those already prone to conflicts, and then you have those cases where the person intentionally spreads it around openly and across boards to fit an agenda.
And, I tested the ignore functionality and found it effective. Given that anyone offended by squabbling among the usual suspects can tune it out with the click of a mouse, I see even less reason to have "tone moderation" on this board.
what about the ones that wanted it and yet it didnt help them? not sure of the numbers around that, but my instinct tells me most dont find it all that helpful. for a while, a greater number of people tried using it as an excuse "if you dont like what the fuck i call you, just ignore me!" that had a sizeable negative impact with the org's motivation in supporting things here when it was argued so strongly, and yet it didnt help much.


ed: and i am not arguing with don, its been a long time since people mentioned these things. i think it might be good for some people to know the history and the various influences involved. i guess a sort of 'refresher' or more detailed context to see things.

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Post by SED » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:17 am

I don't believe I was trying to justify my brutality; I was just trying to find out if it's okay.

How do you differnetiate between your personal viewpoint and your role as mod? Is there a guide you follow provided by the org? Was that something you published a long time back and I missed? Perhaps it's a good time to repost it, so all these questions about the boundaries of your role can be settled, and we can get back to ranting, bickering and salciousness.
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Post by spectabillis » Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:07 am

finding out if whats ok?

tough question without a more specific example, right? thats a problem the role faces and i will go into it and how that ties into the rest of your questions when i have a larger block of consecutive time.

sorry sed, not trying to be dismissive or evasive, but these discussions take a lot of time away from other functions right now. so in the meantime if you want a better answer - please start reading the various feedback discussions.


ed: dont know when thats going to be right now, going to shuffle my priorities again..

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Post by Don Muerto » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:12 am

spectabillis wrote:the number of those people fall with accurate social feedback, the number falls even more with feedback provided through moderators. both have an impact, but there are still those that not much works despite various other attempts. its those few that that take most time and effort.

there is increased attention drawn to someone when a moderator starts dealing with them, but it also has to do with the conflict at hand thats hard to separate. there is that strange drama attractor, its contagious and attracts those already prone to conflicts, and then you have those cases where the person intentionally spreads it around openly and across boards to fit an agenda.
I agree wholeheartedly that moderator interaction magnifies rather than curbs the drama effect among such people. That is exactly why I favor a self-moderation model. Effort expended is always a choice. In the case of a person impervious to social constraint, simply employ the ignore function rather than expend the effort to reform, reason, shame or change such a person.
spectabillis wrote:what about the ones that wanted it and yet it didnt help them? not sure of the numbers around that, but my instinct tells me most dont find it all that helpful. for a while, a greater number of people tried using it as an excuse "if you dont like what the fuck i call you, just ignore me!" that had a sizeable negative impact with the org's motivation in supporting things here when it was argued so strongly, and yet it didnt help much.
I am a little handicapped on the usefulness of this functionality, -as I stated before I can simply ignore idiocy without the tool. Is there a discussion of how the tool falls short that I can bone up on? I tested it very briefly, and it seemed to remove the target's words entirely. How could that possibly not work for someone who doesn't want to hear someone else?

If it is simply a case of people wishing for a technological solution to subjectively remove content, the simple answer is: "That would be nice, so would being able to fly, breathe water and look great in a tuxedo all at the same time. Ignore them entirely or live with their words. --Don't forget to get on with your life."

As for people using the ignore function to say "well then just ignore me" -why not? This is where you and I are 180 degrees in opposition. This situation illustrates rather neatly that the problem doesn't lie with the person calling the names, but rather with the person being called them.

It is not enough for the target to simply silence the unkind words of the asshole in their *own* ears, the words must be prevented from being spoken and heard by others. Instead of letting the community decide if someone is indeed a "fuckwit" based upon their posting history, the community instead must be protected from the suggestion that someone is a fuckwit entirely.

Prevention of speech is censorship. Censorship prevents strong ties and meaningful interaction. Censorship should *only* be employed in cases of outright spam, and libel or other illegal content. It should never be used as a tool to try and effect a social goal.

Practical examples abound here of people who, IMO, are demonstrably fuckwitted yet we cannot say so because their is some tacit idea out there that to say so is to impugn the fuckwit unfairly.

Argh. I am having trouble with concision. I'll try to be brief.

In a nutshell, I believe that calling someone a fuckwit does not make them one, but preventing a fuckwith from being called one is a sure road to fuckwittery of Biblical proportions.

Online you are not what someone calls you, but rather you are what you post. If your posts say "not a fuckwit," it doesn't matter how vociferously you are called one. If youre posts say "i'm a fuckwit" it doesn't matter how much lipstick you put on that pig.
spectabillis wrote:ed: and i am not arguing with don, its been a long time since people mentioned these things. i think it might be good for some people to know the history and the various influences involved. i guess a sort of 'refresher' or more detailed context to see things.
By now, I should hope you realize I would prefer you to voice your opinion. You needn't worry about hurting my feelings. Disagreement is healthy.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by Don Muerto » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:29 am

SED wrote:Is there a guide you follow provided by the org? Was that something you published a long time back and I missed? Perhaps it's a good time to repost it, so all these questions about the boundaries of your role can be settled, and we can get back to ranting, bickering and salciousness.
There is no such guide as far as I know, -not one so granular as that anyway. This is why moderated enforcement of a "tone" is an impossible proposition.

If you enforce the "spirit" of the rules, then you must be draconian. Top-down. The mod does not agree with your interpretation of the spirit, post is pulled, here's the door.

If you attempt to address the issue by the letter of the rules, then inevitably people will exploit the loopholes, thereby causing a cyle of ever-expanding rules written to address the loopholes. Eventually you come full-circle to enforcing the spirit of the rules top-down instead.

I have formed, moderated and participated in numerous online communities over the last 12 or so years. The consistency of this issue and that of the efficacy of particular approaches is remarkable.

I've learned that I only like self-moderated communities where the user is free to argue, dribble, mock and make an ass of themself to their heart's content. Anything else is false, pallid and without meaning.

Just another long-winded opinion.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by Kinetic IV » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:40 am

I NEVER, EVER thought I'd say this...but after reading and not skimming Don Muerto's post it makes sense. He's right.

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Post by Ron » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:40 am

OK so if I'm reading accurately, it looks like SB's been getting his moderator role on after folk have complained about how they were written to in various online disagreements. Maybe even, after a number of said complaints, getting proactive in trying to eliminate the assholish behavior that contributes to them, and to a generally negative environment. In turn this as lead some of the assholes, and the assholes who love them, to feel overly moderated. Seem accurate?

If so, I'll go ahead and move onto the feedback portion of my observation. Protecting board members from assholes should be beyond the mandate of the moderators in all but cases of threats of bodily harm. Moderating issues of taste/insults leads, inevitably, to both perceptions of abuses of that moderation as well as actual cases of abuses. It's a big world out there and someone calling you names online does not rise to the level of justifying authority involvement, as far as I see the world. My suggestion would be for you, SB, to answer said complaints with a stock reply that says you don't get involved with arguments between board members unless there's a clear violation of the TOS. And being an asshole isn't a violation of the TOS, as I read it. (It's much like how parents deal with fighting kids. "Any blood involved? Well then you don't want to involve me," has been heard around my house. :) )

In terms of promoting a more positive environment I'd suggest being the change you want to see, SB. Instead of promoting a feeling that folk are being threatened by the moderator (a feeling that exists independent of your intentions) by telling folk what they shouldn't do, I'd suggest illustrating what you'd like them to do. Publicly, in the posts you make.

Secondarily a specific admin sock might be useful. Allowing you and AM to participate in the discussion as users and only slip into the moderator sock rarely, when circumstances clearly demanded so. Then if you want to just tell someone you think they suck, you could do so without your, "badge," on and thus reduce the probability of those inaccurate perceptions of admin threats.

And those are my thoughts, worth every penny you paid for them.

Ron

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Post by Kinetic IV » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:43 am

The moderator sock idea sounds good to me because sometimes I get confused on if I'm seeing SB's personal opinion or his moderator opinion being expressed. It's a love hate relationship thing right now.

Edit: besides stepping in for bodily harm issues I asked them to remove personal info that was posted once without consent. I would be amiss if I didn't speak up and say that they should be able to remove stuff like that.
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Post by AntiM » Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:34 am

I've thought about a sock to express personal opinions, I've just shut up and let things go by more than once because a comment would have been inappropriate as a mod, but entirely spot on as just me.

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~

Post by Toolmaker » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:39 pm

When I last ran a BBS (Back in late 80s early 90s) my user accounts posts were never known to be by the admin. I kept the admin activities separate and only a small handful of real life people close to me knew that I ran the board. On a web based board in the late 90s I was a part of, we admins/mods had seperate accounts specifically for public posting in reference to the forums purpose etc. This helped deter the "shoot the messenger" syndrome. As far as the TOS goes I find it plain and straightforward. I see no problem with its guidelines. After all, why are we here? Burningman. I came here to network with like minded folks for participation in what I fell may wind up being our REAL future in the not to distant. We need to concentrate on our survival as individuals. I don't think anyone here wants to be forced into becoming a prole. Teach the proles until there are proles no more. Instead of squabbling about sexual preference, perceptions of differences racial or otherwise, et al ad infinitum lets try to get along. Our diversity is what gives us our greatest strength. I'll babble more another time..


-Dave

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Post by spectabillis » Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:08 am

note to cover:

- tos: why it works, why it doesnt
- mod history and some lessons learned
- mod interactions and logs, open discussions
- tos vs. case by case vs. personal relationships with members

i dont know how much of this i can cover so please continue to discuss even if i dont post much due to time constraints. in the recent past its mostly been me pushing discussions along so its nice to see it still getting activity. dont know how long thats going to last, most discussions die out as interest wanes.

i do want to add the reminder, only issue with ron's topic is being in open discussion. its hard to keep track of where and what is posted so thats why i made that suggestion. if its under feedback, i not only have most of those set to email me when posted but it helps others know where to go if they have issues. the rest of the board i *usually* have a hands off approach in topic manipulations but under feedback i have been much better at keeping other things clear. other places too many people pretty much post wherever and whatever despite any topic structure. part of that is due to newcomers and a lack of a good and accessible overview.

the other quick thing is the anonymous account. i wanted to add i have seen that abused by people who use it when they know they can say and do whatever while being protected from their identity being known. i thought about it a few times, but if its done there is also a loss of the personal touch that i think is really valuable to have admins and mods part of the board community. its why i also have mentioned names behind who does what.. like spanky for the hardcore tech stuff, emily for admin, chai/antim/me for mods.. it just bugs me to think of things being that formal and such with labels. those things can be worked out though, its just a lot more work invovled when things take way too much time as it stands.

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Post by Ron » Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:57 pm

A tip o' the hat to Don for teasing out lost of underling stuff in the topic. And, since I agree, I like it. ;)

SB, I'm sorry but I'm just not tracking your messages. What did you try to say above? I missed it.

One thing I did think I saw was the notion that you've previously rejected the idea of an admin sock because you didn't want the moderators to be unknown folk. Is that accurate? If so I'd note that having an admin sock does not have to led to faceless authority figures. A public list of who went with what admin sock would allow both those who were the object of moderator attention to know when that was the case without doubt, and allow the moderators to post in discussion as members of the community when they didn't have their moderator sock on. You could be SB most of the time, and Sheriff SB when you were acting as a moderator, by way of one example.

And I gotta say, the TOS needs trimming. It does forbid being an asshole and there is no way to consistently enforce such a rhetorical shrub. In the absence of that consistency the feelings of over-moderation, and what I'd guess are your own feelings of being unappreciated and misunderstood, that we've seen here are inevitable. I'd go so far as to say that the TOS are flawed to the point of making the role of moderator much more difficult than it has to be. Assuming the quoted bits are accurate, over there in that other thread. I don't remember actually reading them since I signed up, years ago, and think they may have changed...

Ron, who'd be happy to volunteer to help said trimming, before any of the standard strawmen get built....

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Post by Ron » Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:59 pm

AntiM wrote:I've thought about a sock to express personal opinions, I've just shut up and let things go by more than once because a comment would have been inappropriate as a mod, but entirely spot on as just me.
I've been there too, if not on this board. Kind of an awkward place to be, eh? So what would you think of an admin sock you could put on when you were being the admin, and otherwise just being your own sweet self?

Ron

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Post by AntiM » Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:35 pm

Trouble is, I dislike socks in general. Usually they seem rather pointless but I couls see where this case it may be useful. On the other hand, folks know me as me too, and may react better to "me" rather than to my sock.

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Post by Kinetic IV » Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:46 pm

This one's easy to figure out. Give the moderators the choice. Heck there's nothing to keep them from doing it right now, it's not like they have to have approval from on high. Just post it here or somewhere that they have the option to do so and make it happen. (or not!)
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Post by Ron » Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:52 pm

Wow. I just read/skimmed through this thread from beginning to end. Very informative and a great way to burn a half hour while waiting to pick my kid up from school. Here's that hard fought wisdom, I know you're all just dying for it. ;)

Turns out I do management consulting for a living and see things just like this in the corporate world all the time. Funny that. Right now I'd say that all of the moderators have an impossible job and good folk, when given impossible tasks, will do unpredictable things. Why is the task of being a moderator impossible? Let me count the ways.

What *is* the job? No one really knows when even SB has to refer to this thread in answer to that question. Successful moderation will require, I believe, a public list of responsibilities and authority to achieve those responsibilities. Among other things. Until that gets nailed down, and accepted by the Org and the community, most anyone who accepts the title "moderator," is setting themselves up for heartache, I'd bet.

How do folk get the job? If the community at large is to accept those who inhabit the moderator role (over time) there will have to be a more open, transparent, and rotating method for appointing moderators. It doesn't have to be a vote, but voting does have both it's virtues and problems. In any case moderators shouldn't be permanent (and they won't be anyway, so you might as well plan for it) and there ought to be some way of selecting them so that the folk who become a moderator bring the right tools to the table to achieve the responsibilities identified above.

Where does the job exist, in the larger structure? SB and CG have both posted about their limited authority. What exactly is the relationship between the moderators and those who are actually pushing electrons around to make the eplaya? Forming written and agreed upon answers to those questions would make everyone's life easier. And an associated question is how much authority does the position have. While CG says "no more than anyone else," he goes on to say that folk should PM those moderators with suggestions. There's an inherent contradiction between those two sentiments, eh? And I'm not trying to bust your balls over that, CG, but using you as an example of the institutional confusion that currently exists.

Lots of times folk hate to do/don't have time for/don't know how to do the back ground structural work work that making a position like, "moderator," successful requires and that seems to have been the case here. Then, in the corporate world, they shell out big bucks to folk like me to come in and help them go back to the foundation while trying to hold the house up. But before that they sit in a quaky house and wonder why the wind blows through the walls, blaming each other for the chill. None of that should be take to imply that I think anyone is stupid, willfully making mistakes, or so on. Nothing could be further from the case.

I've learned a lot from this exchange. Thank you!

Ron

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Post by spectabillis » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:14 pm

tos: why it works, why it doesnt

i am rehashing much of what people already mentioned but i will repost it just to ensure that its being understood from my end, and to make a few notes.

it works in the most basic sense, people read it and get a vague idea that there are rules and some things are considered. but anything, any setting of rules is going to naturally run against what seems a time-honored spirit of burningman and its anarchistic spirit. for good or bad, many people dont want to see rules and proceedures and that has to be taken into consideration.

some other problems are what don-m mentions. interpretation of the rules becomes a burdon - users will try to take them and selectively apply to whatever situation they are tying to defend or fight against. people who are supposed to enforce them will do the same. then once you start getting in the habit of making and enforcing them you inevitably have to come up with more rules and restrictions to plug the holes and cutoff loopholes.

case-studies was a good start because it made the attempt to show how things could be realistically applied and why while giving the community a forum to work these things out. the counter to that is the huge ammount of discussion and debate needed, and there is rarely a consensus or agreement. it also gets to be a problem in timing because when issues get discussed, they are usually because of personal conflicts: so the discussion gets sidetracked and polluted by personal agendas other than trying to make progress on the underlying issue.

i used to tell people to read over the various case-studies and other related discussions there is in feedback, its yet another reason i try to keep other postings out because most of it is still there and very valuable. but its not realistic to expect each-and-every user to have motivation and understanding to apply that huge ammount of effort, this is also a board with a considerable number of newcommers who lurk without posting. but that can cause a problem with a developing attitude of veterans who start to enjoy being self-appointed leaders just because they know the history, think they are the voice to apply it, and feel entitled to do so.

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Post by HughMungus » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:48 pm

spectabillis wrote:veterans who start to enjoy being self-appointed leaders just because they know the history, think they are the voice to apply it, and feel entitled to do so.
If not us, who?

Same thing applies to Burning Man in general: someone has to step up and own it.
It's what you make it.

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Post by spectabillis » Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:52 am

its bad when out of that entire post inthis discussion, thats what you choose to pick out to make a point.

ed: nevermind

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Post by the fire elf » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:03 pm

proceedures
what fye foe fum would be the objection to a progressive stave of less "decompression" to facilitate living at a presssure we as a culture are more attuned with???
instantiate vacuous truth

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Post by spectabillis » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:08 pm

personally, i am always more open to a freakshow. cant speak for anyone else though and as things have been progressing for the past year i cant see it being understood or tolerated much by others. kinda sucks.

people say they have open minds, but it seems more a fashion statement than practice.

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Post by the fire elf » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:46 pm

individual entities comprising cellular life forms don't run around willy-nilly

galvanize
instantiate vacuous truth

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Post by Ron » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:30 pm

spectabillis wrote:....people say they have open minds, but it seems more a fashion statement than practice.
The "pro-social effect," that's called. People will say that they don't litter, don't lie, and so on because those are the answers we're trained to value. But we all *act* differently than we say, with some regularity, seems to me.

Ron

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Post by the fire elf » Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:30 am

Ron wrote: we all *act* differently than we say, with some regularity, seems to me.
Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu (bāb-ilû, meaning "Gateway of the god".

In the Old Testament, the name appears as בבל (Babel), interpreted by Genesis 11:9 to mean "confusion", from the verb balal, "to confuse".

In late Babylonian astrology, the goddess Ishtar was related to the planet Venus and was the divine personification of the planet.

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Post by Don Muerto » Sun Oct 29, 2006 11:17 am

Image
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by joel the ornery » Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:16 am


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Post by emily sparkle » Fri Jan 19, 2007 2:17 pm

Joel,

Are you opposed to the thread or to the response by the moderator? Please explain.
:) emily sparkle
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