Let us start over.


We've known each other for nine years and twenty seven weeks now. I think we've forgotten how much we care about each other. Lately it feels like we don't read what the other says. We don't let the other finish their sentence or thought and instead we cut each other off and yell at each other.

I'm hurt. I really am.

I care about you and the way you talk to me hurts. Why are we hurting each other?

Certis[/url]][...] I often find most derailments and personal attacks begin when a poster starts by addressing this imagined "other" they disagree with rather than the people in front of them.

Let's stop being angry at each other. I know we don't agree about X. But please please please, slow down, calm down, lower your voice and talk to me. Talk to me like I am your wife, husband, grandparent, parent or child. Let's stop being mean, spiteful, sarcastic and other words I don't know to each other. Let's remember that when you type a post here, I am another human being. I have feelings, I bleed and it hurts.

I care about you and so I care about what I say to you. I want you to care about finishing the conversation we started and less about proving how wrong I am.

So let's start over, ok?

English is not my first language. I wasn't raised in American culture. I married an American that was raised in the mid-west and on the more liberal west coast. It wasn't until after we got married and lived together (we didn't live together before we got married) we noticed we had problems. Big problems. I thought I was having a conversation with you about something and instead I hurt your feelings. How did that happen?

It's taken almost five years now, but I think we are starting to speak a common language. Neither of us are getting hurt now because of cross cultural differences. We are now clear on what X means and in what context I say it. I never knew the concept of Dialectics until we both realized we had a problem and sought professional help.


The main ingredient in a dialectic between two people is that each holds on to the belief that, "I'm right and you're wrong." Each person pulls to have his or her point of view accepted by the other. Often people think, "How can he be so stupid not to see the logic in my position," or "How can she be so unreasonable," or "What a jerk!"

When it happens, people often find themselves in squabbles that they have a hard time resolving, Sometimes one person will give in for the sake of making the argument go away, but secretly inside might feel like the other person is wrong. It can be painful for both people, and when it happens a lot can make relationships almost unbearable.


Synthesis is about resolving tension in a dialectic. And here resolving means really resolving, not fake-resolving just to make the fight go away. Fake-resolution doesn't work...it leads to resentment, poor self-esteem, further fighting; all in all tough outcomes.

Real resolution involves making a greater truth out of opposing forces in a dialectic. Often resolution of dialectic tension involves the question, "What's being left out here?" When it's between two people, it involves honoring and validating what is true in the other position without abandoning the truth in your point of view.

So instead of thinking, "He's uptight," when he gets upset about the clothes being on the floor, she might say something about what makes that important to him, like,"Since he grew up with a drill sargent for a father, having a neat home makes him feel safe and secure."

And instead of insisting that she is a slob, he might say to himself, "She has to spend so much energy at work keeping organized that when she comes home she just wants to relax, and to her relaxing means not paying attention to where her clothes go."

The idea here is that we can let go of right and wrong, good and bad and just see both sides as they really are. It doesn't mean that he suddenly says it's okay to leave clothes on the floor - remember, the idea is to hold the truth in both points of view simultaneously.


A real synthesis is going to honor both points of view. Synthesis is kind of like dropping an either/or perspective and adopting a both/and perspective; "I like a neat house, AND you like to forget about where your clothes go."

Because feeling safe is a reasonable goal for a person to have in his own home, AND being able to relax is a reasonable goal for a person to have in her own home.

The main idea is making a synthesis is in letting go of the insistence that "I am right and you are wrong," or "things shouldn't be this way." An effective synthesis within oneself means letting go of the "shoulds" and accepting that things are as they are.


Of course this does not mean that a person must like how things are. It really means that to make a greater truth, one has to acknowledge all that is, including both sides of the inner struggle.

[Maple Leaf DBT]

I've noticed a rise in confrontation and aggressive behaviour recently as well. Nothing compared to the rest of the Internet at large, but certainly a downward trend for GWJ.

I have been guilty of reacting on a few occasions as well, recently. I have generally edited my responses or removed them entirely (if not, please point me to any outstanding offences and I will take appopriate action), but the overall lowering of civility affects us all.

Thanks for this thread, Edwin.

Nice post Edwin.

I've noticed a rise in confrontation and aggressive behaviour recently as well. Nothing compared to the rest of the Internet at large, but certainly a downward trend for GWJ.

Nooooooope. P&C now is really very similar to what it's always been. Different players, but the stage is the same. The first year of P&C was basically my moderational Vietnam.

A good approach, Edwin, one we should all keep in mind. And the other principle, which Certis has cited - it takes two to tango.

Love it, Edwin. This needs to, and will be, shared with many more.

Edwin, I think both your quotes and stated personal observations are over-simplifying things quite a bit, even if in good spirits. One would be left to believe that both "leaving clothes on the floor" and "not leaving clothes on the floor" are equivalent options, and it all really comes down just to the personal preference of the parties involved. I believe the difference, however subtle, does exist. Extrapolating to things big and small, I could posit it as purported equivalence between "brushing one's teeth" and "not brushing one's teeth", or maybe "polluting the environment" versus "not polluting the environment" on the other end of spectrum.

On these pages and in real life, in most cases we defend or condemn certain options not because we only imagine the differences, but because the differences are actually tangible, and the outcomes of these options may carry the costs that are quite real. In your example, it will be one person picking up for two, while the other is unwinding, comfortably

Great post Edwin and certainly good principles for not just online posting but also real space relationships.

I recognize that at times I've been nasty in my exchanges and I'm trying to rectify that. In my defense, there have been a number of attacks that seemed to be not only directed at the debate topic but very personal. I recognize that in the Internet world that anything goes short of death threats, and even then nothing besides a ban rarely comes of them. Expect the worst and grab a helmet. But I'll say this - a number of GWJ posters who I've played with have PM'ed me about my conservative chat thread to say that they no longer post in P&C because the atmosphere is so toxic. They even laugh because they see me getting massive amounts of grief despite the fact that they consider me close to center-right.

In my 9 years and 8 weeks of being a civilian in the Peoples Republic of Jobers, I had been banned from P&C twice (thanks Certis!). Now, I hardly ever go in there anymore.

One thing I noticed about my posts in there (and its about me not anyone else) is that when I try to convey a point that is important to me I seem to immediately word it in a confrontational/defensive way. There will always be someone who knows more about a subject than I do but instead of learning or debating it always came down to an argument on a train to Cleveland. Its a shame really because there is such a huge dynamic of people on this board that know so many things about our world. I used to learn so much from ones like Robear but lately its been more of a "I know better than you because of X, Y and Z. Oh, and because Obama/Bush did it, you're WRONG!".

But I think its something that plagues most anonymous social ventures... since you cannot sit across from someone you can't get the full context of what someone is saying. Whether its in jest or sincere dialogue, something is missed in electronic conversation. Including a sense of consequence from exactly how you treat someone...


What a nice post! Totally agree.

Awww, I love you all guys : )

I just learned a lot by Wikipedia'ing Hegel. It seems he didn't use thesis-antithesis-synthesis; you can probably blame Kant or Johann Gottlieb Fichte.

Anyway: I think Edwin nails it. In America, at least, I think the single biggest problem with discussions of public policy and politics (which ought to be the same things in a just world) is that people aren't interested in learning or improving their understanding; they want to win, full stop. This has been unbelievably destructive to our society and our ability to educate and govern ourselves.

It's really gratifying to read something that calls this behavior out so clearly. Thanks, Edwin, and thanks to P&C for supporting this kind of discussion.

In America a lot of people are brought up being told that, if they aren't winners, they're losers. If they don't make some big success out of themselves, their life amounts to nothing. It does so much more than lead to how we behave in discussions. There are people who are surrounded by sources of happiness and contentment, yet they choose to run too fast to enjoy them. They put off the things that make life worth living to chase the promised end of a rainbow, not knowing that those who somehow reach that "end" are usually an even more sorrowful lot who live their lives feeling undeserving, untrusting, and afraid. Those are the lucky ones who didn't sacrifice their own heart on the journey that took them there. For them, at least, the illusion can be seen for what it is.

...they want to win, full stop.

I feel that there are some who believe they are entitled to win. And, like entitled children, behave like little wretches when they perceive they are not winning.

The online temper-tantrums (expressed in [u]BOLD AND UNDERLINED IMPORTANT STATEMENTS[/u]) increase until there's little resembling a viewpoint or thought left. I came to see that I was only wasting my time, exposing myself to such people.

A very good friend recently reminded me, when I was about to post something deeply personal, that I should prepare myself for all the crazy crap the Internet / GWJ would throw my way. As I reflected on that, I realized, there was nothing particularly special about posting the thought here or anywhere else. Rather, I began to see that belonging to such a community had enabled me to interact with people whom I felt safe disclosing such information to.

Meeting people and having fun is how I choose to define the purpose of this online community. When I've allowed myself to lose sight of that definition, I've witnessed and engaged in some pretty ugly behavior. I regret now my actions but I relish the lessons I've learned.

Shawn wrote:

The first year of P&C was basically my moderational Vietnam.

"I seen some things! And I done some stuff! I don't recommend either one."

plavonica wrote:

Marking here for now. Will post when less drunk.

This impulse alone sets you above most of the commenters on the Internet. I'm pretty sure you can't post on Youtube unless you blow a .15.

Apology accepted GWJ community! Love, Norman

NJ Edwin. Now if we could apply these lessons to behavior in certain games, we'd be getting somewhere.

Might be a good idea to have this autoposted to every new P&C thread...

I've recently traveled 8 years in a time machine from 2004. At that time people on this site were also were saying things were getting too heated.

Lawyeron wrote:

I've recently traveled 8 years in a time machine from 2004. At that time people on this site were also were saying things were getting too heated.

I think it's not just coincidence that was also an election year.

Momgamer, perhaps it is not a coincidence and, much like the Dark Knight, I have returned to save the country from O-Bane-A!!

Or maybe it's just a coincidence...

I have been so happy with GWJ for years now but had never even looked at this board until a few days ago. When I posted on a topic I was shocked at how heated it got and how non goojer it got. I really considered leaving this part of the board alone for good, and perhaps still will.

But as for my behavior I will try harder to keep my emotions in check and if things get out of control in a post I am going to steer clear. I hated how I felt the other day after reading one thread. I like this place too much, and valve how much a community we all are. Its so rare to find folks who can be adult and talk about games.

I recently came across the thread I'm about to link, but I've been finding it level-headed and helpful to keep in mind in the interest of fostering better discourse. You might also enjoy it!

Diplomatic Debating 101

"There is a way that I want my universe to be, and you're not conforming to it."

That's conflict, and everyone encounters it. It's how we choose to deal with it that makes a difference.

When it gets ugly, it's usually as a result of seeking control over others or allowing others to take control of you. Neither of those are rooted in reality. It's living in an open space where there is no control over what comes in or goes out.

Respect installs a door. You control what's allowed in, and what you let out.

I've been wanting to ask this for a long time, and this thread might be the place to do so. Edwin/Powers That Be: if you feel my questions are too off-topic let me know and I'll delete them again.

How should I go about posting in a thread on American politics, as a 'foreigner'? Do you mind outsiders chipping in, and under which conditions?

My apologies for needing 3 questions to get my message across

In any case I would like to thank all of you for broadening my views on so many topics. For making me understand the pro-life position better, for opening my eyes to rape culture, for teaching me so much about American politics and economics, to name just a few.

Type in the box, and hit the submit button. Why should there be any more to it?

Robear wrote:

Type in the box, and hit the submit button. Why should there be any more to it? :-)

LOL aye. The mall cops will let you know if you overstepped your bounds or not. And if you really did then our overlord w/ the beard will show up and make you atone for your transgressions!


dejanzie wrote:

How should I go about posting in a thread on American politics, as a 'foreigner'? Do you mind outsiders chipping in, and under which conditions?

Good lord we need more varied perspectives. Please do. Put your fire suit on and don't sweat it.

Remember, Vriend Dejanzie, you just asked about the appropriateness of commenting as a Belgian on American political topics - on a Canadian message board... You can worry too much.

LarryC, for one, has gotten some flak in the past for not taking into account cultural sensitivities. I believe it was mostly because of semantics, as in not understanding or taking into account how loaded certain topics are in the US. Or for not understanding how certain issues are clouded by decades of deliberate partisan politics. And I get that, although I have great respect for LarryC. Also, I find his clinical posts to be most amusing.

And I know I get mad if a Goodjer posts something derogative about European politics as if we're one leftist generic blob somewhere across the ocean. I see this a lot in the thread on the Euro crisis, often by Goodjers I respect a lot. Unfortunately I'm often not eloquent enough to riposte, or I can't find good sources. At least not in English.

edit: I do worry too much, Robear I prefer to err on the side of caution. Thanks all for alleviating my concerns

dejanzie wrote:

Unfortunately I'm often not eloquent enough to riposte, or I can't find good source. At least not in English.

Seriously Dej, your opinions are important so if you have any and want to discuss them please share. As for eloquent, I am about as eloquent as a "Chain Gang going down a mountain inside a hamster ball" is quiet. Hence why I get talked to by our overlord a lot (although I like the attention).

Even with people I completely disagree with on this board I still like to consider them friends as that's what GWJ is supposed to be. Or at least I think that's how it's supposed to be.