Dave R. wrote:
For what it's worth I enjoyed Makoto very much and appreciated the effort moderators put in that forum to keep it the way it was. Personally, I don't enjoy the verbal sparring on the Judo Forum but I have to admit it was humorous to see some new poster call Cichorei Kano a "douchebag sensei" all those years ago. If I want that I'll just go to a politics board where my skills as a troll can be seen in all its glory.
Yes, that was funny. I have started collecting douchebags since, and now have a nice collection of them, which I have thought of auctioning off for charity ...
I've also thought of using the following as a new avatar:
Seriously though, for many of us a forum was a new experience. It was for me. I, and we had to learn a number of steps. There are things I have learnt from it, things I would do in a different way. I do not have a short fuse, but looking at some of the recent verbal fights, I also understand some of the mechanisms. There have been times in the past that I called someone an 'idiot'. I tend to avoid that now. Not because I think they are not idiots, but because it may not be relevant and because people just like me and others might still be looking for and struggling for the best ways to express themselves, and because I don't have to say everything I think. I mention this because I saw one thread derail where terms such as bullshit were thrown around. I think one of the problems we need to realize is that when I talk to you, it is like having a personal conversation, just like in an E-mail. In reality that is not true though, since our conversations are public and watched by hundreds of people. So when one calls someone names, and unless it is clearly in a humorous context that is perceived that way and accepted by the other party, one may feel as being insulted in front of hundreds of people. That has consequences. People feel like losing face or being humiliated in public, so you get them being defensive and all kind of reactions that likely would never happen if it truly was just a conversation between two people. Imagine this if in real life or as a child or adult have been the subject of bullying or abuse. Add to that all the intercultural differences as well as sometimes thoroughly wrong perceptions about somebody's character, and things easily derail. We have to try run the business ourselves and give moderators as little work as possible, we have to focus on arguments and try to avoid ad hominems or character assassination. A recent thread about self-defense derailed, and that was not necessary. I stayed out of it, but the thread largely derailed on factual errors in argumentation from all side.
In science when we write or do research, one of the most important things is to consider our limitations and delimitations, but in forum discussions oftentimes the writing starts almost from a point of view that there are no such limitations. In reality, and I have said so many times, the knowledge the judo population has of the whole area of judo honestly is not that good, even in Japan. One may be a great athlete, a champion who can defeat everyone, but that still does not mean one understands anything of judo. Much of the knowledge in the West is built on thoroughly wrong perceptions due to populist books who copied from each other, and through reinvented hagiographies released by the Kodokan. It's a helluva task to do something about it, and it is a helluva task to not step on people's toes, because even if I write this, people may feel offended because it does not require much effort to be offended if one starts from the premise that one has done 40 years of judo but doesn't really know much about some concepts. The only thing one needs to do to feel offended is to hear what you want to hear rather than what is written. I have never suggested that people might not do a tremendous job, and be role models, and give the very best of themselves, but that is without relevance to some of the things I am referring here.
In any case, I would really urge people when we start pissing each other off to simply step back for a second, or perhaps, even PM the author and ask him or her if he or she would be willing to amend their post pointing out its effect. You may reach a lot more and in a much easier way by honestly and without prejudice explaining why it hurts to be referred at like this or that then to see where you can find nuclear arms as quickly as possible. When we converse with each other we don't always need to be wanting to crack a nut with a sledgehammer; it is something different probably when simply referring to judo technique, but even there it can be tricky since commenting on bad technique, if we do not choose our words carefully may unwillingly still be perceived as referring to people. It can be challenging; I have made mistakes in doing so, still make them now and then, but I try to do better, and as long as we are willing to do our best, improve, amend a post we realize could be rewritten in a better way, it works.
I would briefly like to share a story without going in details. Many, many years ago, I think somewhere around 1997 or 1998 I participated in my first forum. That was my first experience where I saw people publicly getting mean at each other. One morning, there was post of the wife of one of the posters who posted something which I have never forgotten to this day. The post said that her husband, who we had been talking with, and who had not been treated so nicely by everyone had committed suicide.
One can argue that the person may not have been completely mentally stable. Very well. We don't know, we can't know, and most of us are psychiatrists or psychologist. However, let's try and look at this from another angle than just coming up with reasons why we should not feel guilty. The point here is ... a human life was lost. A person who is or was somebody's husband, somebody's brother, somebody's son, maybe somebody's father (that I can't remember) no longer was. That person was valuable certainly to those who loved and knew him in real life. No matter how little our role in that, no matter how insignificant, is this what the purpose was or was this an acceptable affect of our behavior ? If so, then what on earth are we doing and have we started considering as normal or acceptable. Not everyone has an elephant skin even though it may look online like they have. I am not suggesting that one should be walking on eggs all the time, but there have now been stories in the news enough with devastating effects in the terms of people suiciding themselves as a consequences of online bullying. Therefore, one thing I would like to suggest that perhaps people individually reflect about this for a second before they decide to go nuclear online just because they don't agree with a view or aren't terribly impressed with the online character which they think the person is. Also, please consider to simply PM the person and politely ask to tone it down a bit if they please.