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kevbo's avatar

Should Inter-Jelly disputes be conducted within a thread or via PM? Or when should one choose one over the other?

Asked by kevbo (25611points) April 12th, 2010

This question started out being an attempt at a PM apology to a fellow jelly who got an earful from me after tossing out a rather baiting (IMO) comment that pushed my button. For better or worse, I decided I was not so much feeling apologetic as being able to better articulate a difference of opinion in my cooled off state.

The opinion is that I have long favored settling my disputes with other jellies publicly and within a thread. I think it keeps communication honest, minimizes potential for verbally abusive comments, allows for moderation of abusive comments, and, most importantly, allows everyone to assess the credibility of the individual jellies in dispute. I was surprised, then, to find myself trading barbs with someone who more or less thought that I should have had enough sense and decorum to relegate the argument to PM. This person was of the opinion that I should have communicated my problem with them directly.

To add a layer of complexity and disclosure, the above exchange was precipitated by a thread comprised of helpful and unhelpful answers (although they were not unhelpful enough to be removed by moderators). I contributed an unhelpful answer (but also felt there were plenty of helpful answers).

What say you and why?

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41 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have done both – I find that with some people you can solve an issue via PM and with others, they let loose even more hostile and pointless shit via PM – so who knows…I’m still figuring it out and it’s not working all that great.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I definitely think it’s wrong to air one’s dirty laundry out in public. Plus, it’s no one else’s business. A PM is the place for this. Besides, through a PM, there’s a chance that the dispute can be settled & a friendship may even come of it. I’d refuse to engage in a dispute here on a thread.

Dog's avatar

I just wish all answers were helpful.

It is the way it should be. Most people who ask a question are seeking information, not jokes, off topic banter or flames.

So in answer to this great question I agree that Inner Jelly disputes should NOT be on questions.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dog One difficult thing is when someone insults you first – you do NOT want to deal with them via PM and want to answer for yourself on the thread where they think they can do such a thing – that’s why so many of us fall into the negativity trap on a thread.

gemiwing's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I agree that it’s an easy trap.

I’m torn on this. Not all disagreements are unhelpful or not relevant to the topic at hand. I do wish more people would whisper though. It really helps to skip over when needed and find ‘straight’ answers.

Perhaps debate in the thread, whispered, and rebuttal of personal attack (that isn’t supposed to be happening anyway) taken to PM’s?

ucme's avatar

I’ve never had a dispute as yet don’t plan on having any either pointless waste of time & energy.I’ve only ever had positive PM’s thus far so for me it’s all good.As far as disputes in a thread goes i’ve always been of the opinion that particularly if it’s somebody else’s question that it should be conducted privately.Otherwise it’s just impeding a threads momentum if you like,certainly smacks of rudeness but there you go.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@gemiwing Yes, it works sometimes – but to be honest, I don’t want to take it to PMs because I didn’t know I needed to ‘resolve’ anything with a user that just randomly said something offensive to me – for me talking to someone via PM represents that I care to deal with this person, I care enough to ‘fix’ whatever with them – many people…that’s not the case with them, I don’t care enough to spend extra time talking to them via PM.

marinelife's avatar

Since I think that the disagreements should be about the answers (and not personal) then I think they should take place in the thread for precisely the reasons that you laid out.

Berserker's avatar

I’d say it should be kept to PM’ing and so forth if only to keep the thread from going off topic and being filled with crap, as essentially people argue all the time and you can’t do anything about it, especially on teh intrawebz.
However you can’t blame people for defending themselves nor can we diffuse conflicting opinions. I don’t actually see a problem with people arguing, besides having to wad through endless posts that have nothing to do with the actual question, as long as it’s done in a mature way…mere flaming and insult throwing is lame, and it’s really no better in PM than it is in public.
Otherwise, heated but civil arguements can always teach someone something.

Cruiser's avatar

I think any and all disagreements should be handled by PM otherwise it only encourages that kind of activity. You have a problem, it’s your business and if you can’t handle or solve the problem yourself…PM a mod. IMO it’s that simple.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Cruiser I agree. Your comment to contact a mod if things get out of hand is an excellent suggestion.

I read a comment on here a couple weeks ago that someone gets nervous when they see a PM, as they wonder if someone was writing to chew them out for something. Thankfully, I’ve never gotten into it with anyone on here. When I see a PM, I love it, because it’s always from a friend who wants to say something to me personally. I still think a public thread is no place to settle a dispute.

Dog's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yes I totally agree!

Nobody should be insulting anyone at all. That is not productive nor helpful to the asking party.

It would be so awesome if we could all just respectfully discuss important things.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dog Another thing we’re all guilty of is that we give GAs to certain insults because we also dislike that person or they dislike us – it doesn’t help, instead of flagging, it seems like what the user said was good, but it wasn’t, at all. That’s another reason why I’ll respond in the thread because I have no idea (well sometimes I do but again, I’m not wasting my time and energy on them) who else agrees with the original insult.

phillis's avatar

This is an awesome question. With your situation specifically, if you plan on apologizing, then do it, and leave it at that. Don’t muck it up with “I’m sorry for my behavior and here’s what I don’t like about YOU.” An apology should remain in it’s pristine state if you want someone to accept it.

There is a cornucopia of snide, hurtful, mean-spirited, jabbing comments all over the board. No matter what social website I’ve ever seen, this one is the only one where names are allowed to be named publicly DESPITE a moderator saying it isn’t allowed. I don’t have a problem with naming names if I can turn it into something positive. But people are human. If things go unresolved for a long time, resentments build. By the time naming names rolls around, what comes out is not positive, but anger.

PMs are often sent, not in the spirit of change and resolution, as another means of antagonistic behavior. I’ve had four of my friends harrassed through PMs, even though one of them specifically asked never to be PMd again. The person PMd them anyway! You cannot deal with a person who feels they are above respecting other people.

The problem is that we have moderators who do not apply the rules evenly to everyone. Hell, some of them don’t even follow the same rules they enforce! When that happens, people repeatedly feel they have no voice. The next step is PMs. There is nothing in place where two people can “sit down” and resolve it with an unbiased mediator. And, we do have access to chatrooms. So, guess what my suggestion is?

In essence, when you delete a person’s comments, youv’e stripped them of the only power they have. Is it any wonder resentment and anger build? You don’t do that without reaping the consequences. To think otherwise is pure folly. Then, public insults get all kinds of “Lurve” and accompanying comments of encouragement, so what does everybody THINK is going to happen? You don’t support asshole behavior – not even if they are your friend. Pain inflicted on someone else does not deserve kudos.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@phillis You are so right – but you know what really bugs me – when people right a hateful PM and at the end put ‘don’t PM me again’ and expect that their shit will get unaddressed.

gemiwing's avatar

Can’t a PM be reported to a mod? Wouldn’t that solve any ‘behind the scenes’ abuse?
I’m talking in generalities here. I’m not getting in between you two. I’d lose a leg, bleed all over the floor then I’d have to explain to Hubbs why we have to buy a new carpet. no fun for pandas.

Dog's avatar

Abuse via PM should be reported to a Moderator.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dog Can I ask you a question? How long does it take for a moderator to respond to an official report of abuse?

phillis's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Your comment is an excellent illustration of how a person reacts when there is no unbiased outlet for resolution. Beautiful response! At some point, the tide is going to have to change, or this board will remain in hell limbo indefinitely. Running over the same old ground repeatedly happens because people are not being heard. When you squash their voice, what the hell do you think is going to happen? Let’s use a little common sense, here. Everyone can identify with this feeling, so let’s acknowledge it, and deal with it. I’ve already made my suggestion.

wundayatta's avatar

I think that if you have a problem with someone, you should address it to them privately. If you must address the problem publicly, then at least have the grace to name the person or persons you are talking about so everyone else doesn’t wonder who you are talking about.

I will occasionally find myself in gradually escalating conflict with someone. At a certain point, usually when I find myself getting pretty uncomfortable, I try to either just stop, or take it private. If the other person keeps replying in public, then I have to stay public.

Sometimes I’m right on the borderline (at least, to me it seems like the borderline) between something that should go private and something that is appropriately public. I’d like to think I’m pretty sensitive to these things, but I have to admit that sometimes, if I’m pissed at someone, I might put more out in public than I otherwise would. Yes, I’m afraid it is a desire to embarrass someone who is giving me a hard time. I try not to do this, but, your honor, I plead human.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@phillis Common sense – yes, a much needed concept.

kevbo's avatar

I’m trying to stay out of the discussion and refrain from answering my own question, but I feel compelled to add that PMs sometimes get tossed above board when convenient to one party or another, which, to me, is dirty and dishonest. I would add this to my list of reasons above for keeping it public.

gemiwing's avatar

@wundayatta I do the same. I feel the heat start to boil and I now make myself change tabs. I keep a tab of kitties playing with ferrets open for just such an occasion. Sometimes it works…sometimes not so much.

kevbo's avatar

@gemiwing, that settles it. We need a kitties and ferrets time out room. ;-)

Dog's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir We address most issues within a few hours. Regarding PM’s it requires Augustlan to come in and investigate. So your best bet is to contact her via PM.

phillis's avatar

Naming names publicly is considered poor taste for a very good reason. There are other alternatives at fluther’s disposal that would effectively prevent such a scene (such as the one we saw the other day) from ever playing out on the Fluther landscape. BUT – when there is no outlet for expression and resolution, naming names ended up becoming a necessity. People will find a way to be heard, or they will LEAVE. This is why there have been so many people leaving Fluther.

CMaz's avatar

If there is going to be bitch slapping. It will be done in an open forum.

Why deny everyone a good show?

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Leaving fluther has been a hot topic with my friends & me on Facebook. I had a lengthy conversation just last night on there with a popular member here, who like several of us, are fed up. And a phone conversation with one here this afternoon netted the same result. I don’t know what the answer is, but I see more & more dropping out. Some people here are making it increasingly hard for me to stay. But I’m not one to call anyone out. I’ll just keep my disgust to myself.

AstroChuck's avatar

Can’t we all just get along?

dpworkin's avatar

@Dog It is the way it should be. Most people who ask a question are seeking information, not jokes, off topic banter or flames.

That fully ignores the social aspect of Fluther, which is sine qua non. If it were a mere device for asking and answering questions you would not have the participation you have now. Certainly not from me.

kevbo's avatar

… nor from a certain six year old boy who has made a career of being adorably unhelpful.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@dpworkin OMG, how right you are! As I was talking to someone this afternoon, it’s just in my personality that I can’t keep things serious for very long. I love a good laugh & to have a good time. I just feel such friendship with some on here that I just can’t keep from cracking wise at times. I tell you this, my fellow flutherites…..when the time comes that I can’t joke & play on here, I’m SO gone from here that you’ll hear the door to the mansion slam!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dog oh I have, couple of days ago – no response

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

People are going to argue here. You can’t stop it.
At least in threads it’s out in the open.

Do you really want the moderation staff up in your PM’s?

syz's avatar

If a disagreement has a direct bearing on the question, then having an informed debate seems appropriate to me, especially if you can back up your opinions or claims. If having a disagreement means calling each other names, personal insults, questioning the other person’s intelligence, soliciting allies, and merely repeating the same arguments over and over, then quite spewing your crap all over everyone else (who have no interest in seeing it) and keep it private.

“You’re” being a generalization, not specific to the questioner.

Moderators have absolutely no interest in your PMs and believe me, we’d much rather that people act like mature, reasonable beings and not get us involved in their private messages. The ONLY time anyone would possibly look at them would be if asked by one of the parties involved, and then only if there seems to be a credible claim of harassment or abuse. I can promise you that I’ve got better things to do (even if I was capable – which I’m not. The owners and the manager are the only ones with that capability).

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy the only way the mods will go into the PM’s is if they’re told of abuse & ASKED to go into one. Other than that, they stay out of them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dog I did get my response today – and it’s perfect

Violet's avatar

@phillis have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do!

phillis's avatar

@Violet Yer my doll baby, baby :)

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