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  1. eilf
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  3. Sunday, 08 March 2015
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I have a suggestion, it is due to a discussion that has just restarted and, as it keeps happening, and happens a good deal to posters who are new to the site and don’t realize that they might step in it, I wonder if we can make it happen less. I don’t in any way mean for the people in the current discussion to take it that I am talking about them, I am not, this is a general thought (and not nearly as well written as the first version was, which I lost as it was posting *cries*).

I want to suggest that we consider stopping referring to other peoples’ opinions as ‘negative opinions’.

I remember when the idea of ‘bitterness’ threads was introduced some people were offended that their opinions should be ousted to a corner and labeled as ‘bitter’ (and I have come to see their point to an extent since I have seen people use the existence of these threads as a weapon against others), however a person might be inclined to agree that they are feeling bitter, if they are. On the other hand nobody is going to be happy about their opinion being described as ‘negative’ and why should they?

Peoples’ opinions are not positive opinions or negative opinions, they are ‘opinions’. Opinions can be insightful, playful, mischievous, serious, lighthearted, funny, polite, aggressive, out-there, muckraking, accidentally muckraking, metaphysical, incoherent, religious, bleak, neverending, blunt ... but they shouldn’t be categorized as negative or positive because that just doesn’t mean anything. The only person who could be described as having a ‘negative opinion’ is someone who doesn’t at all believe what they are saying and is only posting to deliberately annoy other people – there is a word for people like that (begins with T) and I don’t believe that anyone who posts on here (regularly) thinks that way.

For example ‘I feel that Sam is being ignored by the show’ / I think that nobody understands Dean’s pain’ are opinions. ‘Sam is selfish’ / ‘Dean is a dick’ are insults, and those are unwelcome, untrue and banned by the site rules anyway. It is unfair on commenters who have an opinion to have both of these types of commentary grouped under the umbrella of ‘negative opinions’ since they result in people with valid points being marked as troublemakers, and as such unwelcome on the site, with the use of what may seem to some to be a pretty innocuous term.
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Alice
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I'm sorry eilf, I've been so slow in going through these threads and offering replies. I do appreciate you starting this thread.

Perhaps it is time to re-write the rules. As a moderator, I struggle for a term when someone has an angry, bitter, biting opinion with no respect for what others have to say. Someone who is constantly argumentative and shouts down people who don’t agree with them. Sometimes I use the vague term of “negative opinions” so not to offend. I’m not referring to negative opinions about the show when I say that, just poisonous ones. The words “insufferable bitch” tend to be a bit more harsh. :)

Anyway, I do welcome all opinions on this site and always have. I do believe that’s in the rules. What I hate is when people get into virtual shouting matches and try to one up each other in their points. That’s the hardest for me to moderate and usually I end up making at least one person, if not everyone completely pissed off. It’s driven people away from the site too. But so many people get worked up over one word or phrase rather than the overall tone of the message. It drives me crazy that sort of nitpicking.

The overall issue is one of proper behavior, not censorship. I don’t wish to censor anyone. But we have a lot of posters on this site, discussions that free flow at a rapid rate and one moderator who often fails to keep up because real life gets in the way. I do expect people to behave like respectful adults, no matter what the opinion. That’s been increasingly hard as this fandom grows more divided and gets younger. It’s strange, it wasn’t a problem we had when started. Everyone got our conversational tone and respected what we we’re all about. But that’s because when we first started, we were merely a discussion site. As we grew somehow we morphed into a fan site, and that invited a whole new crowd and mentality.

Sorry, I’m rambling again. I’ll take everything said on this thread into consideration, but it’s clearly time to update the rules a bit.

Thanks for taking on this topic!
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eilf
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Part of discussion is differing points of view and people supporting that view or opposing that view.


This is precisely what I have been saying all along, I don't understand why you are throwing it at me like an accusation after a line accusing me of wanting censorship.

I am saying that if a person has an opinion the premise of the opinion should be argued, not dismiss it (and the person making it) by sticking it in a category. That was why I started with 'that is your opinion and you are entitled to it'. I believe that people are allowed to have an opinion and they not be discouraged from making it because of an arbitrary decision by a group that it is 'negative'.

An aspect of my original point, which is getting missed, is that nobody is even remotely obliged to AGREE with someone elses opinion. I am not saying, and have not said, they are. If you think that is what I am saying then you have also misunderstood that completely.

I am saying people should be allowed state their opinions, whether I LIKE their opinion or not is irrelevant to my point here. That is where the discussion comes in. If their opinion breaks the rules of the site that is an entirely different matter and not any part of the point I was trying to make. If their point is made too often then that is what moderating is for. You appear to be saying that people whose opinions don't fit into your view of what is 'positive' should not be allowed to make a point. Also whether a person's individual post at any given time is critical or unhappy should not have that PERSON dismissed entirely as being 'negative'.

My original post and everything I have said since has been couched in terms of suggestions with clarifications as to what has happened on the site to make me make my proposal in the first place. Since you are choosing to introduce the idea that I am looking for censorship and this has resulted in the twisting around of what I am trying to say to make me look like I am making a demand instead of trying to have a discussion, I don't think you and I are going to get much further with this.
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Prix68
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It is you who is trying to stifle or shut down another's opinion. Why would you object to someone saying a post is negative and they wish it was different or are surprised that you feel that way? I have seen comments that are similiar about positive posts. Example: "I'm glad you see this as a good thing but I disagree because........." That is all opinion.

What you are really wanting here is censorship of anyone who doesn't agree with the opinions of people who are unhappy with the show. Part of discussion is differing points of view and people supporting that view or opposing that view. I could argue that constant negative posts are stirring up trouble since these posters become insensed by any post that doesn't share that view. Commenters who like the way the show is this season and like the brother dynamics this season are regularly challenged on that opinion as well. It works both ways.

Yes, this IS my opinion and I am entitled to it. It just isn't the same as yours. We're all passionate about the show or why else would we even bother to discuss it. If someone isn't following the rules then I guess the administrator has to address that on a site like this.
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eilf
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Well of course that is your opinion and you are entitled to it! :) The issue for me is I don't see who gets to be in charge of arbitrating what constitutes a positive or negative opinion, I don't want the job, and I don't know anyone else who I would put in charge of it either - definitely not the sort of people who would really like to be the ones doing the judging. Therefore not using the words at all seems to me to be a good idea.

There isn't a definitive meaning for 'positive' and 'negative' in the context of an opinion.

What is 'positive'? 'Yay, Character X is the only character the show focuses on, and that character is the only one I like, so I would like things to stay this way. The writer who writes this is excellent because he only writes for this character and I love him so much. I would like this episode to be repeated every week because it is just great!' is full of entirely 'positive' points. I am sure the writer would be delighted! But has that person commenting anything else to say? Since their opinion is 'positive' should everyone else just pack up and go home? I consider the above commentary to be bad, and therefore isn't it 'negative'?

Also you have missed out a category of posters in your example - those who mostly, or entirely, post complaining about what they see as other posters negativity.

My point is talk about what you want to talk about - about the SHOW. Don't agree with another poster? Discuss, contradict, ignore, report if necessary. And yes, it is true, a degree of staying on the topic of the article would not go amiss, can't argue with that.

I want the show to be the best it can be, I am deeply invested in it (for reasons that pass my understanding), everyone else who posts who is unhappy is like that too. It isn't the best it can be at the moment, how is talking about that negative? A lot of things get discussed, a LOT, a good deal of it is unhappiness but out of that comes a lot of complexity, metaphysics, alternate storylines, fanfics, videos, artwork. People are involving themselves in really the only way left to them. The show isn't giving them what they want but they still want the show, the one they fell in love with, and this is basically the only way it still exists for some. It isn't 'negative' it's passionate.

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way".

The phrase 'negative opinion' has been used as a way of trying to shut people down without engaging with their actual point on a regular basis to the extent now that when people who don't mean any harm use it it causes annoyance. This starts issues that need never have started. If some of us posters should know better and give new posters some leeway (until it is clear whether they are deliberately stirring up trouble at least) then also some of the rest of us could not unnecessarily use phrasing - that they know will be taken up, not incorrectly, but in EXACTLY the way it was intended - as a way of stifling other posters.
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Prix68
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I'm sorry but with all due respect there are definitely negative and positive opinions. If commenters are unhappy about the show or how their character is portrayed and they are focused on what they feel is bad or lacking and criticize an episode before it has even aired expecting the worst possible outcome from the episode, then that is negative. I myself, have made negative posts about things I found lacking or made me unhappy about an episode or the show in general. Having a negative opinion or someone saying you have one isn't necessarily an insult, just an observation or maybe a comment that it makes them feel bad or puzzled.
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eilf
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I am not saying that people should be allowed say whatever they want and defend it merely as 'my opinion' I am saying that if a poster doesn't like a person's opinion argue with/discuss the opinion, try not to start a discussion by invalidating the other person.

I am not talking about site rules.

ETA: Well we posted at the same time so I hadn't seen and I do accept your PS ;) , and that it was not intended, and I will change my comment in response: I did actually find the implication of having site rules quoted at me somewhat insulting to be honest. I do my level best not to break the ones on this site and as far as I can recall in the 3 or so years I have been posting on here I have never been moderated for any of the things on the list.

So back to my point:

I don't feel that the result of not calling people's opinions 'positive' or 'negative' is that people will use their opinions to do all the things you have listed. I think it might reduce the number of knee-jerk responses though.

Regarding your last point. An I am talking generally here and not about any specific instance. Yes people get argued with on occasion, yes it goes too far on occasion, yes sometimes several people have the same opinion and maybe all of them shouldn't respond to one person. Absolutely, people who are new to the site should be given a good deal of leeway, and sometimes things go too far and generally people who feel they have overreacted make good. But all sides of the discussion do it (not 'everyone' but all sides) - just usually for different reasons. There are also other forms of trouble-making...

And none of the above paragraph has anything to do with my original point.

My point is that an opinion is an opinion, it is not positive or negative. It would seem more reasonable to argue the opinion (or ignore it) instead of dismissing the person's POV. If made sincerely, it is valid.
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PS. This was only opinion about the idea and how I like us all to get a long. The rule list are how I myself try to behave etc. Anyway, I tried not to sound attacking just comment the idea in general and not in anyway the person who post it. I hope it came out that way. :)
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I won't write long but I just want to say that although the idea is good it also needs to go both ways. As an opposite point of view also "positive" has the similar effect on the comments. In the long run the positive has meant: Doesn't like this character so we jump on them. Likes the show so it's their fault. Jump on them. And sometimes this has been literal and sometimes it goes on and on through a feeling that grows on people. For my part I only now stick on commenting only on articles or people I know won't go on to these:

No attacking other commenters.
No rudeness.
No angry rants.
No character hate.
No writer hate.
No actor hate.
No Sam v Dean wars
No Jared v Jensen wars

These are rules on the another site I visit. They are pretty strict but I have no trouble with that. Eilf, you know I have no trouble with different opinions, but the list I live by is above and if the opinions go over those lines it is not the opinions that are the trouble. I can say many examples where the discussion is just not comfortable and the reason is that list. And jumping a new commentor by three people or more if they write something wrong is not right either and those that have been longer here should show example and have patience. New people don't know how things work.

I hope all to discuss peacefully and it is a group effort or it will not work at all.

My two cents. It bothers me too.
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