Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby refracta » 2009-12-28 01:15

Just for the record...if anyone wants to stimulate my behavior I prefer a nice dinner first and a fine smoke afterwards....

...a new way to measure, wonder at, and of course pronounce...

I am waiting for one of those popularity/vote/rank thingys to show up on the board...just what we need....
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby julian67 » 2009-12-28 01:27

refracta wrote:Just for the record...if anyone wants to stimulate my behavior I prefer a nice dinner first and a fine smoke afterwards....

...a new way to measure, wonder at, and of course pronounce...

I am waiting for one of those popularity/vote/rank thingys to show up on the board...just what we need....


On a board I was a member of several years ago one very self satisfied person made a new thread "who on the board don't you like, and why?". I managed to make the first reply and explained to her that she was the person I liked least, one reason being posting crap like that, and other reasons as well, some of which I helpfully itemised......turns out this made her absolutely furious. Who'd have thought it?
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby mdevour » 2009-12-28 02:43

Greetings Joel,

jheaton5 wrote:@mdevour I think it is amazing that you took the time to respond as you did. It must have taken well over an hour.

Maybe 45 minutes, interspersed with other activities.

Given the tone of your reaction, I have to ask if you actually read my entire message? Or are you only responding to my opening remarks?

I think the community here recognized the need for more indepth assistance to beginners and was motivated to create the "Beginners Questions" forum. Oswaldkelso and absentminded are to be commended for their excellent how-to's We also have a "How To" forum that has been around for a long time. The existence of these forums indicates that for the most part the OP's assumptions are flawed.

I also acknowledge the existence of these resources in my post, and site their continued development as a virtue.

How exactly would you define the OP's thesis, such that you can say it is flawed?

My attempt: He seems to think too many posts are unanswered, that this represents a symptom of a systemic problem, and attributes this to both structural aspects of the forum software and to a somehow inadequate attitude among the members, perhaps exemplified by RickH's Real Debian User thread. He proposes two forum software changes that he believes would address these issues.

Would you say it differently?

Beginners helping beginners as is prevalent on the Ubuntu forum is a dangerous practice. I follow the Ubuntu forum frequently and am amazed at the amount of bad information given out there.

A viewpoint that I credit in my post.

The mantra on this forum is "Self Help" Refracta said it best when he said (paraphrase)"asking a question here should be the last resort, after you have done your own research." There are so many times I read a question and in an instant can find thousands of google hits that adddress the issue. People learn more, learn qucker, learn in more depth, when they research for themselves than they do having the answers spoon-fed to them.

Having such a mantra is a fine thing. It is our choices of behavior when that expectation is not being met which determines the quality of experience for the people who we are alleged to be "helping" and to what extent we serve or harm the project as a whole.

This forum is populated by volunteers. We all have other lives besides reading this forum. Most of us are willing to share our knowledge with anyone at any level of expertise. But we are not here all the time and when we are we don't always have experience with the problem at hand.

Agreed on all points.

However, being volunteers does not absolve us of an obligation to behave well and give our best.

I am offended, as many of our collegues will be, that the OP has taken such a sarcastic and condenscending atitude while he generalizes and puts us all into neat little pidgeon holes.

I can think of several instances within the last couple of weeks where people seeking help have been offended by the attitude or behavior of members of this forum and they and a few onlookers have expressed their dissatisfaction with this.

Predictably, no matter how carefully or sincerely these criticisms have been expressed, the almost universal response has been to dismiss such outbursts as the result of the critics' character flaws and pigeonhole them as whiners, leaches, or other undeserving types. Absent in almost all of this is even the briefest consideration that such reactions from people might be justified, or that we could do anything differently to achieve better results.

Again I say "almost," because there have been one or two instances of people considering these criticisms in a constructive way and reflecting on their own behavior.

So the OP's is yet another response to a perceived attitude around here.

In my post I do respond to his suggestions, and quite fairly, I believe. I also anticipate what has begun to seem an inevitable, reflexive response of some people on this board to the slightest hint of criticism.

Yes, the vast majority of the time our members behave well and give generous and good help which is usually willingly accepted and appreciated. The difficulty is in the marginal cases where the simple fact that we are not asked to be polite all the time, at least in dealing with people we don't know well, enables destructive behaviors that detract from the good things we accomplish.

To be helpful. If we can agree on even this as a minimal objective for our community as a whole, we can individually measure our own specific actions against that standard. Then, perhaps, saying things about the people we're trying to help that are likely to insult them can be recognized as "not helping" and thus not useful, desirable, or wise.

But that is my concern, whereas scraze is addressing what he sees as a too-high incidence of unanswered questions in the forum. In either case, it seems easier to deny that there's a problem than address and possibly solve it.

Mike D.
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby julian67 » 2009-12-28 02:46

ooh look a pronouncement!
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby nadir » 2009-12-28 06:12

julian67 wrote:Perhaps those righteous members who routinely dredge this subject up from the muddy depths can please do us all a favour and let it settle back into the murky recesses of their minds where it rightfully belongs? As an aside, how do such fine and kindly people so often and so easily form such low opinions of their peers? Would that be a conundrum?

wow, what a language... i had to say that.
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby nadir » 2009-12-28 06:15

someone else is also thinking of the Widow Douglas, trying to "sivilize", when the subject comes up again?

1815+ , 1900+ , 1950+, is the time up again?
seems so...gimme a shelter.
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby refracta » 2009-12-28 16:55

I could expect the public to act how I want them to act and when they didn't I could run around proclaiming that THEY have a problem.

I think I would be delusional (and more than a little scary) if I could make myself believe that though....scary...
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby Bulkley » 2009-12-28 17:13

The nature of all this typing in a box as a form of communication is fraught with opportunities for misunderstanding. One can comfortably say things face-to-face that don't work in print. Smart retorts can work when the recipient can see your smile but can backfire when he/she can't and only assumes that you are being rude. The little smilies help, but are insufficient. Most of us are not polished authors; we are simply folks who try. Most of the time we succeed but not always. Frequently, we succeed brilliantly; sometimes the rough edges show through.
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby jheaton5 » 2009-12-28 17:26

@mdevour you are certainly entitled to your opinion, which is not mine. I stand by my original statement.
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby refracta » 2009-12-28 18:08

mdevour wrote:I can think of several instances within the last couple of weeks where people seeking help have been offended by the attitude or behavior of members of this forum and they and a few onlookers have expressed their dissatisfaction with this.

Yes, I get the feeling you specifically PM these people and ask something totally neutral regarding the situation like....

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being rude and 10 being overly obnoxious) how would you rate refractas behavior?

:lol:
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby mdevour » 2009-12-28 20:33

refracta wrote:Yes, I get the feeling you specifically PM these people and ask something totally neutral regarding the situation like....

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being rude and 10 being overly obnoxious) how would you rate refractas behavior?

:lol:

Oh no's! You've revealed my nefarious plotz! :lol:

You mentioned in a recent post that you're being a little "nicer." I've noticed. Though you're doubtless not doing it to please me, thanks.

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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby Pick2 » 2009-12-29 01:40

While I don't agree with the OP , siding more with the follow up posters ...
What I DO think would help matters is if "We Regulars" tried to keep most of our humorous comments in Offtopic , and possibly Forum stuff & feedback :D
It is not easy , I'm trying it myself , but a more serious attitude in the small "Help" section we maintain would alleviate most of what the OP is ranting about.

just my 4 cents worth ( 4 cents is minimum for an elitist Debianite :lol: )
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby julian67 » 2009-12-29 02:00

Pick2 wrote:While I don't agree with the OP , siding more with the follow up posters ...
What I DO think would help matters is if "We Regulars" tried to keep most of our humorous comments in Offtopic , and possibly Forum stuff & feedback :D
It is not easy , I'm trying it myself , but a more serious attitude in the small "Help" section we maintain would alleviate most of what the OP is ranting about.

just my 4 cents worth ( 4 cents is minimum for an elitist Debianite :lol: )


Can you please remove that final sentence, it's hardly genteel.

I think the long term solution to all this might be for those people who feel that they exist in an elevated state of piety (and find the rest of us to be coarse, wearisome and inadequate) to form an alternative forum, perhaps the Debian Forums for the Sensitive, the Gracious and the Good. Alternatively they could quit preaching the same old same old sermon and instead get to work answering those zero reply posts that they blame everyone else for not answering. Gosh! Another conundrum! Suddenly a sense of deja vu comes over me, and not for the first time.
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby jheaton5 » 2009-12-29 03:47

They could be the 'Good' and we could be the 'Bad' and the 'Ugly' :)
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Re: Stimulating Prosocial Behavior

Postby refracta » 2009-12-29 16:15

well....I'm too pretty to be ugly so I will just have to be the bad... :wink:

I was going to say that jheaton would be the ugly and I would be the bad but since I am being nice I won't say that. :shock: oops...
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