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Author Topic: valuable life lessons from xkcd
Strider
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We would all be much happier if when posting we all thought about this instead of the way we act out this.
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FlyingCow
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It used to be very common for people to say that this was the Cards' living room, and to act as though you were guests in their house.

It seems as though that has been lost.

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Strider
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yeah, but that's a dangerous philosophy. I've never been in their living room, so I have no frame of reference with which to determine my behavior based on what goes on in their living room. I've been in plenty of very hostile living rooms before though, and I certainly wouldn't want to emulate the actions of those people. [Wink]
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Kwea
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I never liked that argument, as it was often invoked to quash viewpoints other than their own, or any criticism of OSC writing. This ISN'T their living room. It's a forum set up to discuss many things, including viewpoints they might not agree wiht and differeing opinions on a variety of subjects.


In it's own way it is the same as OSC's news columns, although I hate to make the comparison. He comes into a public forum and speaks his piece on all sorts of topics, yet those words are actually read IN people's ACTUAL living rooms.


However, that being said, it IS a site where OSC PAYS for a web site for us to discuss these things. He has, on occasion, offered his own opinions in some threads, although not recently. He allowed us to grow, and to discuss what we wanted most of the time, in whatever manner we wanted as long as his rules were followed.

I can say for a fact that I dislike most of his recent works, and rarely if ever agree with his political opinions, yet still find his books a god read most of the time. I can also say without reservation that I respect his honesty even while I disagree with his opinions.


I am forever grateful for his funding and sponsoring of this website. I have spent a large part of my time here, have met some of the best people I have ever met because of this site, and learned a lot about debate and other topics here.

I know that in the past I have made some pointed attacks at specific posters here, and most of them I felt were justified. I do think that sometimes, after you have given someone the benefit of the doubt many, many times, that you need to draw a line and say "No further".

But there is a difference between that and saying "Anyone who believes X is a doodyface.".

[Smile]

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Strider
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quote:
yet still find his books a god read most of the time
Have I ever introduced you to my good friend Freud? [Razz]
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Kwea
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This is not likely.

I doubt the scientist would be so willing to admit he even could ask questions well. [Wink]

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
yeah, but that's a dangerous philosophy. I've never been in their living room, so I have no frame of reference with which to determine my behavior based on what goes on in their living room. I've been in plenty of very hostile living rooms before though, and I certainly wouldn't want to emulate the actions of those people. [Wink]

Naked Wednesdays?
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Scott R
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quote:
I never liked that argument, as it was often invoked to quash viewpoints other than their own, or any criticism of OSC writing. This ISN'T their living room. It's a forum set up to discuss many things, including viewpoints they might not agree wiht and differeing opinions on a variety of subjects.
I don't remember it being used to quash other people's viewpoints, Kwea. I can remember OSC breaking the TOS occasionally; but as far as I know, he didn't censor anyone.

I mean, good gravy-- TomDavidson still posts here.

The analogy was used to dissuade people from criticizing OSC's writing, though, IIRC.

I don't have a problem with the analogy of this being the Card's living room. For one thing, they pay for the site; they are inviting us to participate in something on which they've spent money, and which was important enough to them to give it a familiar label. If they want it to have the feel of their living room, then as a guest who doesn't pay anything to be here, I think I should respectfully treat it as such. Whether I believe it *should be* considered so or not isn't the point-- the host says thus, and to be a good guest, I try to act thus.

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FlyingCow
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Maybe it always had more weight for me because I was in the Cards' living room before I was actually on the site.

Even so, there's a modicum of politeness and respect for others that is expected when entering into a stranger's living room, at least in my own experience. I don't generally go into someone's living room and insult other guests, as that's pretty rude. I may disagree strongly with them, but the discussion should stay respectful or be avoided.

If one can't discuss something without being rude or insulting, perhaps it's a discussion topic one should avoid.

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Strider
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I agree with FlyingCow's interpretation of how we're supposed to be viewing the living room analogy. I don't remember it being used to quash other people's viewpoints, but if it was, that was certainly a misinterpretation of the intent of that phrase. Like Scott mentions, I think it was used at times to dissuade posters from criticizing OSC and his writing, but that's not the same thing. Whether that was an appropriate use of the "living room card" is another matter.
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TomDavidson
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The living room analogy lost all meaning for me only once I realized that Card didn't actually mean for it to work both ways.
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FlyingCow
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Well, to be honest, I never felt it was meant to include them. After all, it's their living room. If they decided to get upset and throw us all out and lock the door, that was always their prerogative.

But even so, it was more a matter of who guests interacted with each other, for me, as by the time I came around in summer of 2001, OSC posted only very rarely.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Well, to be honest, I never felt it was meant to include them.
Then it's not a living room. It's a rented hall.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I never liked that argument, as it was often invoked to quash viewpoints other than their own, or any criticism of OSC writing. This ISN'T their living room. It's a forum set up to discuss many things, including viewpoints they might not agree wiht and differeing opinions on a variety of subjects.
I don't remember it being used to quash other people's viewpoints, Kwea. I can remember OSC breaking the TOS occasionally; but as far as I know, he didn't censor anyone.

I mean, good gravy-- TomDavidson still posts here.

The analogy was used to dissuade people from criticizing OSC's writing, though, IIRC.

I don't have a problem with the analogy of this being the Card's living room. For one thing, they pay for the site; they are inviting us to participate in something on which they've spent money, and which was important enough to them to give it a familiar label. If they want it to have the feel of their living room, then as a guest who doesn't pay anything to be here, I think I should respectfully treat it as such. Whether I believe it *should be* considered so or not isn't the point-- the host says thus, and to be a good guest, I try to act thus.

It wasn't used by OSC or the mods to do that, but other posters said things like that all the time when someone would criticize one of his articles, or say they didn't like a specific book of his.

I used to ask people to watch HOW they said something, but to say what they really felt about those things.

To be honest, considering some of those conversations, usually sparked by one of OSC's articles, we are lucky to still have a website at all. But that is as much a fault of the tone of the articles as it was the conversations themselves. You can't be a demagogue without upsetting people, and this IS an open forum for discussion.

It's why I eventually stopped reading his articles at all. The more I read, the less I felt like posting here at his website. Despite the fact that OSC doesn't post here any more, I still felt as if I was supporting his stances by participating on his site.


I finally came to the conclusion that regardless of his views on political and religious issues, I admire a lot of his writing, and thought he was great when I met him face to face.

You CAN like a person without agreeing on anything political, and you CAN be kind and courteous despite your differences. It's a shame that other people here have never learned that lesson.

I use to agree with some of the people posting in anger about his articles, while at the same time hating that I agreed with them because of the rude things they said about (and at times to) OSC. I still remember when Mrs. Card mentioned they would be at the convention in Boston. It was right after one of those painful, angry posts to him, and she honestly wondered if anyone here would still even want to meet him.

I drove 2 hours each way, and spent over $100 just to wait in line and talk to him for a little bit, and to thank him for both his books AND for Hatrack. And he was great, as was his wife. To this day it was one of my best trips to Boston the whole time I lived in MA, even thought I went home later that day.

[ January 05, 2010, 04:59 PM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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FlyingCow
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Even so, if someone were to rent a hall and invite guests, there's a level of decorum to be maintained. Whatever you want to call it, the hosts have mostly left the guests to their own devices - I think it's bad form to smash the china and tag the walls with spraypaint.

If a homeowner wants to smash a glass while I'm a guest in his or her home, that doesn't necessarily mean it's okay for me to smash the rest.

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FlyingCow
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quote:
I used to ask people to watch HOW they said something, but to say what they really felt about those things.
Absolutely. It's not about content, but expression.

For instance, you can tell someone that you don't care for the wine chosen because it is a very dry red and you prefer crisper whites (or that you don't drink alcohol at all)... or you can say their taste in wine sucks while spitting it out (or spilling it) on their shirt and making gagging sounds. While both express displeasure, it's the *way* it's done that's important.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Well, to be honest, I never felt it was meant to include them.
Then it's not a living room. It's a rented hall.
Exactly.
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Verily the Younger
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If OSC set up a message board where he only allowed certain people he already knows to come on and post, sure, that could be called his living room. But this board is completely public. Anyone can sign up and start posting, without paying any charge or passing any screening process. And anyone can come and read what is said without even bothering to sign up, if they choose. This isn't a living room. It's a forum. And I take that word very seriously, and always try to keep in mind the original application of it.

Granted, it is a forum paid for and provided to us specifically by OSC, and I try to keep that in mind as well. I feel no particular obligation to stay light and fluffy here, considering his own sometimes very bellicose style, but I also try not to abuse his hospitality by, say, bashing his religion, or his writings. But I really don't think the living room analogy holds up in light of the public nature of the place.

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FlyingCow
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Perhaps it is because the Cards have been so absent, or because the moderation has been so light, or because of OSC's published articles... but this board has changed. It is no longer the community forum it once was - it has taken on all the negative characteristics of a public forum.

As I said, the "living room" concept has been essentially lost.

Hatrack didn't really start as a public board.

Early on, it was limited in popultion - I mean, it didn't hit 2000 members until well into its second year (and many of those were playful alts). And everyone found it because they were fans of OSC's fiction, or knew the family in some way. When the population started to increase, there was even a period where no new registrations were accepted, and it was a closed community. IRL friends of posters would start during this time by using an alt of a current poster until the doors were again opened. Posters were frequently warned, banned and readmitted, based on conversations with the moderators and the Cards.

The community atmosphere is all but gone.

But in the end, it's still a privately owned, and we are their guests. Whether you want that to be a living room, a rented hall, or whatever... one would expect a level of decorum. This isn't alt.whatever and it isn't a site like facebook that needs posters to make money to survive.

Not abusing the host's hospitality should be more than just not bashing the host, but should extend to not bashing the host's other guests. But at this point, I think it may be too late to unring that bell.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
The living room analogy lost all meaning for me only once I realized that Card didn't actually mean for it to work both ways.

You don't actually get to make this distinction, Tom. That's Card's decision; if you disagree with his vision of how his living room operates, and do not respect his wishes, than you are a bad guest.

It is less about his behavior and more about yours. No, you don't get to act like a jerk just because he acted like a jerk. I *know* that's hypocrisy, and I'm not defending it-- but that is the way things are, when you are the guest in someone's living room.

Egress and ingress are still open; no one is chained to the sofa.

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fugu13
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Scott: By that logic, Tom can act however he wants in OSC's living room, up until the point OSC decides to exercise his right to kick him out.

However, if we're operating under the assumption that this is a living room and people should act like it is a living room (with guests over), then it very much does imply restrictions on how the hosts act.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
No, you don't get to act like a jerk just because he acted like a jerk.
This is not the point.
The "living room" analogy has some power not merely because Card pays for the site and is therefore the "host," but because he presumably thinks of us and treats us as welcome guests. Otherwise, as I pointed out, it's just a rented banquet hall.

Bad behavior does not justify bad behavior. On the other hand, it's pretty ridiculous to pretend that this is Card's "living room" when, quite clearly, he does not think of it as his living room. When the host himself isn't pretending that you are in his house, what justification do you have for pretending that you are?

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Scott R
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quote:
then it very much does imply restrictions on how the hosts act.
Yes, it should-- but when they don't act like good hosts, that doesn't justify guests' bad behavior.

Nor does it cease to be a living room because the host has gotten rowdy. I disagree with Tom's statement that Card *doesn't* think of this as his living room, when there is evidence that he does. (He and Kristine have stated it several times, for example)

To my knowledge, they've never called this a meeting hall. Absent that, I believe my point is justified.

Again-- no one is tied to the sofa. If the discrepancy bothers you enough that you think he's delusional, maybe it's time to find another living room.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If the discrepancy bothers you enough that you think he's delusional, maybe it's time to find another living room.
I don't think he's delusional. I just think he hasn't examined his metaphor sufficiently.
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Scott R
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The question is whether you're going to choose to act like the metaphor is real, whether or not Scott (or KoM, or Lisa, or anyone) chooses the same.

Choosing to act as if this is a living room, in spite of the cafeteria food being slung around, according to the wishes of the person who has provided this space, is the choice that can possibly preserve/heal the community.

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FlyingCow
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Well, seeing as the metaphor has been lost entirely, I think it's beyond the point of examining.

Hatrack has taken on more the atmosphere of a train station terminal, where strangers don't care if they're rude to one another or if they make a mess of the place before leaving for parts unknown.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Choosing to act as if this is a living room, in spite of the cafeteria food being slung around, according to the wishes of the person who has provided this space, is the choice that can possibly preserve/heal the community.
As people can have healthy social interactions in places that aren't living rooms, I'm not sure I concede this point. [Smile] Surely something like "clubhouse" is a more accurate substitute?
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kmbboots
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Scott, how many living rooms do you know of where the host has guests over and then never goes into that room? The living room analogy just doesn't fit? The host has the right to ask us to behave as if it were a living room, but not to ask us to believe it is.
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fugu13
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Scott R: certainly, that would be the case if this were his living room. But given the use of living room is only a useful metaphor insofar as it is sufficiently applied, we quickly return to Tom's point: it was never treated like a living room in the first place, whatever literal statement was made.
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Scott R
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quote:
how many living rooms do you know of where the host has guests over and then never goes into that room? The living room analogy just doesn't fit? The host has the right to ask us to behave as if it were a living room, but not to ask us to believe it is.
I agree-- what matters most is behavior.
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Mucus
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One could consider the living room metaphor valid (in terms of behaviour) in that we get the occasional poster that stages a home invasion in order to confront OSC over one of his articles only to find out that he's not really home [Wink]
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Scott R
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quote:
it was never treated like a living room in the first place, whatever literal statement was made.
I can remember when it was treated like a living room-- so "never" isn't really a valid statement, fugu.
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Drifter
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I can remember when it was a living room too. OSC used to pop in occasionally, but not to defend his writing, just to chat.
I rarely post these days and rarely read this forum. I'm a little sad about that. It used to be a fun place with some interesting... and heated...debates. Now? Just too much teenage angst.

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