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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:27 am 
Nalates wrote:
That seems like an ostridge-head in the sand philosophy... or may be you are referring to a labeling problem...

We could do well without 'poisonous people' but since they exist


Do they? Do they really? Maybe we should set up camps for them...

Yes, it's a labelling problem, and if you think labelling is trivial then please think again. I could certainly come up with a shortish list of "poisonous people" but that is not a game I want to play. People are people. Not poisonous, not whatever the opposite is (invigorating? Probiotic? If you are going to put people in a box the very least you need is two boxes).

Freedom, which is what open source software is supposed to be all about, allows people to make choices. If you don't want to allow for people to make bad ones, then give up on the idea of freedom, rather than darn people with labels that can be taken to apply to the whole person and not something they did in a bad mood last Tuesday. I don't actually care what the label meant in the context of the video--to anyone who hasn't seen the video, and there will be many who never do, the label stands on its own, right there in the title, and it is pernicious. It, indeed, is poisonous.

Freedom demands that we transcend this kind of lazy non-thinking. People's actions need to be dealt with case by case, moment by moment--if they have an agenda then that needs to be dealt with, not by shutting the people out and forgetting they exist, but by addressing the problem and finding a way to resolve it. No, it's not easy, it's not meant to be. Choosing sides--poisonous, non-poisonous--is very, very easy. We've seen too much of that.

I will not watch a video that darn, in its title, a whole class of people I have never met. I will not accept the premise on which it operates. If that makes me an ostrich, then so be it. But be aware that by setting up a category for "people we don't like" you are denying the basis on which open source was conceived. Exclusion negates freedom.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:19 pm 
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You're making assumptions based on the title which is misleading. There's a book titled Poisonous Snakes of Texas and that just grates on my nerves every time I see it because snakes are not poisonous; they're venomous. However, the information contained within the book is well researched and invaluable.

This isn't about labeling, grouping, excluding, discriminating or taking sides. The video is not about people so much as about posts they might make and offers suggestions for recognizing when a post is worthy of a response or debate and when it's just being nitpicky. The whole point is to educate and inform project participants about when to let a topic go and move on so that they don't get bogged down discussing details ad infinitum and never make progress.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:54 pm 
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zander_nyrond wrote:
Nalates wrote:
That seems like an ostridge-head in the sand philosophy... or maybe you are referring to a labeling problem... We could do well without 'poisonous people' but since they exist
Do they? Do they really? Maybe we should set up camps for them...
[…snip…]
whatever the opposite is (invigorating? Probiotic?
[…snip… emphases mine]
I don't actually care what the label meant in the context of the video--to anyone who hasn't seen the video, and there will be many who never do, the label stands on its own, right there in the title, and it is pernicious. It, indeed, is poisonous.

I take it from your comment that you did not even bothered to watch the video or consider what else may have been meant.

‘Poisonous People’ is a harsh term the makers of the video use for a headline to get attention about people engaging in a set of behaviors that affect an online community and/or project. People engage in behaviors that block, slow and sicken online projects and communities. That is fact. The topic and video is about handling those problems.

Probiotic? You think of them as bacteria? …and that is better? :P

Changing from discussing the subject problems to discussing how we describe the people causing them is off topic and fuel for a separate thread. Reacting to the words of a label verses applying the tag seems to be where you missed my point about a labeling problem.

However, since you don’t care about context of the usage just the term on a standalone basis, how about providing a better more descriptive one of those engaging in the subject behaviors so the discussion can move ahead?

Freedom… The people making the video work in open source and are discussing how to protect their efforts and project’s freedom from people that never bother to learn the project history, understand what has been done, understand why things are as they are, adopt the direction of the project, stray off topic, etc. etc. to protect their choices and freedom to advance a project they work on. Claiming to be about freedom and choosing to ignore knowledge of how to promote it is self defeating.

People that want a project like MOOS to move ahead quickly and keep its community healthy need to understand what the video is about, how to recognize the problems and deal with them, which is the point of the video and the thread.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:46 pm 
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Tai'lahr wrote:
The whole point is to educate and inform project participants about when to let a topic go and move on so that they don't get bogged down discussing details ad infinitum and never make progress.

It also serves to demand some introspection so that posts to threads like this don't lead to a morass of willful ignorance and irony by criticizing the label instead of accepting the call to extract one's own poison.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:07 pm 
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Yeah, well, I guess I was trying too hard to be polite and may have skimmed over a few points in the process. :wink:
Nalates & JW explained it much better.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:37 am 
The title of the topic contains the words "poisonous people", without quotes or qualifications or any explanation that the phrase is from the title of a video. Therefore my comment is on topic, since my issue is with the use of that phrase.

And way to prove my point, JWPlatt.

Have fun, people.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:17 pm 
"I will not watch a video that darn, in its title, a whole class of people I have never met. I will not accept the premise on which it operates. If that makes me an ostrich, then so be it. But be aware that by setting up a category for "people we don't like" you are denying the basis on which open source was conceived. Exclusion negates freedom.

This perspective assumes the video darn the people rather than draws attention to a set of behaviors. It rigidly declares an unwillingness to accept a premise emerging from one's own stockpile of memories rather than from anything real.

Fabricating meaning from one's own experience and attempting to force that meaning on the words generated by others without even attempting to understand what those others may be experiencing that would cause them to put out the words they are using only cultivates confusion.

Why would one use both the last sentence and the first one in this quote at the same time?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:57 pm 
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Perhaps we could agree that the video's title was ill-conceived?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:21 pm 
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@ Tai'lahr ... probably not... :lol:
end @ Tai

I think everyone that has watched the video understands intuitively what the title means. I think anyone that has run volunteer projects or tried to manage an online project or community instantly relates to the title. I think it draws its audience and filters out those that bring the behaviors they are discussing. So, it does what a headline is supposed to do.

I would like a better term for the type of behavior being described. I doubt there is a term that would be acceptable to everyone. No matter what terms(s) we use it/they will have a negative connotation as one is describing a negative and destructive set of behaviors. I suspect that will always upset some people, but then I think that is a good thing.

Having to deal with those that insist on -our- being PC and -our- behaving in certain ways because they want the world to be a wonderful place where we all get along perfectly and no one ever is insulted, offended or loses a game is part of life. Freedom is diminished by those demands.

I think the video and those watching it are likely to be clear in being able to differentiate between the behavior being labeled and labeling the people engaging in the behavior, subtle but important. This thread is an interesting ...example... of what the video covers. If I were to find this thread and read it, I might think it was staged...

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:34 pm 
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Nalates wrote:
@ Tai'lahr ... probably not... :lol:
end @ Tai

This thread is an interesting ...example... of what the video covers. If I were to find this thread and read it, I might think it was staged...

Indeed. Perhaps a form of self-fulfilling prophecy?

The truth being that on-line forums are rife with examples of this. It's not simply behavior, but behavior within a given context. The words/actions of a person may be absolutely meritorious in some situations whereas those same actions/words are totally off-base and 'poisonous'(read time wasting, detracts from the focus, does not further the discussion/project) in another. The issue at hand is how to recognize, and how to deal with, that second case. It shouldn't be confused with a fisherman trailing a line behind a slow moving boat nor some mythical creature residing beneath a bridge as a malicious intent is a separate issue.

The skill set that allows a person to organize a picture-perfect wedding can just as easily be anathema to the organization of a casual block party.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:45 pm 
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Teedyo wrote:
Indeed. Perhaps a form of self-fulfilling prophecy?

Possibly. But we have seen similar behavior on Uru related forums for years.

Teedyo wrote:
The truth being that on-line forums are rife with examples of this. It's not simply behavior, but behavior within a given context.

I'll have to disagree. This is not just a behavior we see on forums. While it does tend to be pronounced on forums and in other online communities it appears in most endeavors of human life.

Teedyo wrote:
The issue at hand is how to recognize, and how to deal with, that second case. It shouldn't be confused with a fisherman trailing a line behind a slow moving boat nor some mythical creature residing beneath a bridge as a malicious intent is a separate issue.

The idea in getting people to see the video is to teach people to recognize and provide tools to handle the problems.

Oddly the concept of people being malicious is not something I remember in the video nor had it come up in this thread. The people engaging in the behaviors the video discusses are not usually malicious and engage in these behaviors for various reasons they see as important or beneficial. Understanding when they are subverting, confusing, wasting time or effort and wondering off topic is what allows a group to move forward quickly and cooperate.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:16 am 
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Wow, you must be up too late. The comments you made in reference to my quotes make absolutely no sense. You've commented as if you've read the exact opposite of everything I wrote.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:39 pm 
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<- is a Poisonous People

Anyhow, I'm sure we'll get through this, without too many tushies being kicked. There's a fundamental difference between forums, which are time wasters by nature ( :oops: ), and development where you've eventually got to get to work on something. With Open Source, it's easy: "well, okay, but I'll be working on this, you coming?"


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:21 pm 
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Mkay, I see that everyone would be happy if it was called 'Poisonous Behavior'. Boo hoo.

Come on guys, the title is just an attention grabber. It doesn't even matter to people who actually pay attention to the content anyway, because anyone who decides to make choices on their open source project because they glanced at a title of some guy's presentation and didn't see what it was actually about is dangerous to themself and others- they don't end up in charge of open source projects in the first place.

In other words, the title isn't hurting anyone, nor doing much of anything.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:10 am 
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The speakers in the originally-referenced video presentation do not make any qualifiers about labeling individuals with the term "poisonous people", in fact they are advocating its use.

This is the classic problem of using all-too-convenient generalities rather than looking at specific situations, a trick that nearly every motivational speaker employs: the audience hears a bunch of nice-sounding techniques that fall absolutely flat when put into real-world practice.

Look, we all have known those rare examples of people who take pleasure in bringing every positive effort they encounter to a crashing halt if possible. "Saturday Night Live" had a running skit called "Debbie Downer"...we know such individuals exist. This personality is not what these speakers are referring to, however - they're advocating use of this term for someone they just happen to perceive is not going in the direction they want the project to take.

As an example:
Let's say the project organizers have carefully delineated the project's direction in advance, someone has joined the project agreeing to those terms, and then this someone tries to take the project in an opposite direction from what they'd initially agreed-upon, then one may certainly say that that individual has become poisonous to the project itself.

But if the organizers are shaping the direction of the project on-the-fly, if the participants have not necessarily agreed that they are under the thumb of any given leader, then all participants have equal share, equal voice and the most persuasive voices can sway the project's direction. I've seen some amazing work come out of this exact type of structure, chaotic though it may seem in the making.

You get people involved in any project that have certain passions, maybe an element of the project they are more well-versed in than any other participants. They become obsessed about their field of study, try to apply their forte in the project, and what happens? Following these speakers' guidelines, they are labeled a "POISONOUS PERSON".

The next project that person's involved with (or that they TRY to become involved with!) might have nothing to do with the subtopic of their obsession, so that same individual has no impetus to "flex their muscle". They're simply there to do their job, help out as best they can...but guess what, they're now known in their profession as a "poisonous person", and are excised from involvement. Word gets out that this individual was rejected, and that gets added to the pile of "evidence" against someone that, originally, merely tried to exercise their possibly-deeper knowledge of a topic.

This is how "convenient terms" that "we all understand" have serious real-world implications when used generally rather than specifically.

(no, this has not happened to me.
yes, I have seen it happen to others)


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