One of our fellow trees in the forest made what turned out to be a somewhat controversial post regarding the issue of exclusion from a guild based on gender after coming across a recruitment thread that had done just that. In her post she used a certain guild that practices this exclusion as an example. The actual portion of her post that dwells on this is only about two paragraphs long, and she fairly respectfully states something along the lines of “wtf, I can’t believe people do this, I just don’t get it”.
The post in and of itself was fine…and was K, in her own amusing way, addressing an issue she felt was a problem. What was not fine, under any stretch of the imagination were some of the commentaries, many from the guild in question, that did nothing but be flat-out mean for no reason other than to be mean. As I read through them I grew more and more incensed at the audacity of these people to begrudge K for expressing her opinions ON HER OWN BLOG. She was respectful enough to respond to every one of you, no matter how nasty you were to her. Had it been me I would have told you to go fuck yourselves. You know *insert cartman voice* “it’s my blog, I do what I want!”.
Sorry…I digress. *takes a deep breath*
Now, people have every right to dissent when they disagree with something, but for fuck’s sake be respectful about it. There is absolutely NO excuse to EVER:
- Name Call
- Make Sexual innuendos
- Make Racial Slurs
- Make references about personal appearances
Seriously, what do ANY of those things have to do with telling K that she is wrong? What, because she’s an attractive female she must have fluff between her ears and looses the right to form an opinion? Christ.
Do you not realize that all you did was bolster K’s assessment for the majority of her reader base? Quite the opposite effect that I think you wanted to have, no?
Because my small, albeit highly educated, female mind tries to be constructive on occasion, I would like to give people a crash course on how to properly and respectfully construct a dissent. In doing so, keep the following advice from Eleanor Roosevelt in mind: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people”. The goal in making your dissent should always be in the category of “great minds”, no matter how mad someone makes you if you respond poorly it is unlikely what you have to say is going to be heard.
- Develop a constructive counter-argument to what your opponent is offering. In said argument, provide examples and facts that lend weight to your point of view. Present your thoughts in a way that is worth a listener’s effort to hear you.
- Remember that personally attacking someone will always turn your audience off. You need to provide a well thought out argument that relies on facts and experiences, not on the person on the other side of the spectrum from you.
- The best way to dissent is to get your audience to second guess themselves. If they are agreeing with the original presenter’s point of view, you want to stand up your facts in a way that will make them consider what you are saying as an alternative. You want to get them scratching their heads, because even if they don’t leave having changed their minds, if you can plant a seed for thought it is more likely that they will may be more willing to accept your point of view.
- Remember that there is rarely a “right” or “wrong” way to look at things. There are just “different” ways to view them. It is OK. If we all thought the same all the time we’d be a horribly boring race of individuals. It’s important to accept that people may have a different view-point from your own, and that doesn’t make them bad people. It just means they think differently.
- Understand and respect your opponent’s argument. The single best way to knock down someone else’s argument is to think like them and understand where they are coming from. Being so obtuse that you fail to recognize that there are many ways to skin a cat will mean that you will always have hugely one-sided arguments that will never meet their full potential.
When dissenting, be a great mind. Discuss ideas. If that is too much to ask, at least show a little bit of respect. I know that this is the internet and all, and you are anonymous, but I still harbor the false belief that people should be accountable for how they behave.