- Feb 8, 2007
That's a little bit specious though, if you'll forgive me for saying so, GF.And in reality it's just some daft little picture on a web page. Does it really matter?
The logical conclusion of that argument could be that punching someone in the face is merely the molecules of one person's hand making contact with the molecules of someone's face, which is a pretty absurd thing to say.
It's not about the outcome, it's about the intent behind it. Again, we return to the question of respect - my question would be is it respectful to treat what someone says in that kind of fashion? OK, so this is an internet forum, but does that mean that expectating a basic level of respect and decency should be suspended...?
To my mind, it's not respectful or decent to cast aspersions on a conversation without contributing to it. It's also unfeasible to expect a conversation to stick rigidly to a specific topic, and certainly not to judge one post as Spam while another just as off-topic is allowed to pass just because the Spammer happens to find it funny.
I defy anyone to be able to point to an informal face-to-face conversation that sticks rigidly to the point being discussed, without any kind of tangent, joke, or analysis of minor points. I also defy anyone to be able to sit around a table with a group of people having a conversation and then to tolerate others not involved in that conversation to pass (snide) judgement on it.
And yet we see the absurdity of people noticing a long post, not reading it, but yet taking the time to make a snide comment about it. And then people agreeing with that as if the original poster has transgressed some unwritten law.
Banter is fine. A little tongue-in-cheek poke is fine - great, in fact. Tangents are good. All these things bring colour and flavour to a conversation. They're not sins or transgressions to be treated such. Treating someone's words like garbage is not decent. Would you accept that treatment face-to-face? Would anyone?
Those who share your view, GF, may well think that it's something easily thrown off and that's fair enough, of course - it's your opinion. But equally, others feel differently. Some are affected by it. Onions, yes? I'm sure there are things you feel strongly about that others couldn't care a jot about. Does that make your view or opinion on it less worthy of a basic level of respect? I would never dream of treating you with such disrespect as to say that what you wrote was worthless. I may not be interested in it, I may not agree with it, but that's my prerogative; judging it worthless categorically isn't.
It's about emotional intelligence and empathy - treating others as we would expect to be treated: with respect and decency. Throwing around Spam ratings is disrespectful, believing that every post should abide by an arbitrary standard set in isolation is unrealistic at best and ludicrous at worst. Throwing things that don't then meet that standard back in someone's face is the height of disrespect. (Just to clarify, I'm not accusing you of that, I'm speaking generally).
I take pride in what I write. I enjoy it and I try to craft it, even if it's a post on an internet forum. For someone to be throwaway about it rankles. And I treat others the same way. I don't pass judgement on what is an expression of their thoughts and feelings, no matter how short, long, serious, flippant, relevant or irrelevant - it is about being decent towards people. It's a matter of principle and a principle isn't simply discarded just because the circumstance isn't important.