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Dear all,

I do not check this forum as often as many of you and perhaps that is why I have noticed a recent slide into pettiness and general fight picking.

The main instances revolve around Adrian Dingle. I may not like all of this man's views and have argued against him in several debates, but I do not feel the need to pick a personal fight with him just because I see his name.

I have also read several instances of effective 'name calling' by experienced members that have not been picked up on and yet have at times put me off contributing.

It seems to be the case at present that if certain people even say 'hello' they are jumped up and down on, and yet others are allowed to be downright rude and because of who they are they get away with it.

Could we all please refocus on the issues and not just use this as an opportunity to bash someone because we've had a bad day!?

Take care,

Rowena

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We have some very clear Board Guidelines. Complaints (which have been happily very rare) are dealt with fairly and swiftly.

Such complaints should be specific, based on an interpretation of the Board Guidelines, and made through the report a post facility

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Andy,

I am not refering to incidences of racism or sexual harassment, merely to the way people conduct themselves and the level of respect they show for each other and each others views.

For example, I would not expect someone to describe my views as ‘ridiculous’, ‘poppy-cock’ or anything else of that nature. It is enough to say ‘I disagree’.

We could also all do to avoid stereotyping based on contributors countries of origin or residence. Not everyone in the UK loves Tony Blair, so why assume that those in America adore George 'Dubya' Bush?

Whilst I appreciate that there are processes in place in order to report postings of a defamatory or indecent nature this merely protects users against what is said, not how it is said.

I have contacts who organise a children’s parliament and one of the rules of the parliament is to treat each other with respect. However, as one of the children pointed out, why don’t members of the ‘real’ parliament behave in the same way?

I myself have not been ‘heckled’ on this forum, but I do feel uncomfortable for those who have,

Sincerely,

Rowena

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There has been a bit of a spat between JFKers over the last few days which resulted in me banning someone who was using the sort of language (and worse) you describe to discredit anothers opinion, and I agree with you it is inappropriate and shouldn't appear on this forum. I am dependant on others using Report a post however as I can't possibly read everything everyday.

I am not ware of "heckling" on other areas of the forum, although perhaps at this time of year we could all do with lightening up a little :D;)

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Guest Adrian Dingle

Rowena

I hope you are not implying that I have been anything other than firm but courteous in expressing my views. I believe that every single one of my posts to date has been within the realms of civilized discourse and not once have I stepped outside the Board guidelines. I have certainly never been asked to retract anything by the moderator(s). Care to clarify? - Your original posting (with my name in it) seems somewhat ambiguous to me.

Edited by Adrian Dingle

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Hi Adrian,

the incidences I'm refering to involve people 'bashing' you rather than the other way round.

The main instances revolve around Adrian Dingle. I may not like all of this man's views and have argued against him in several debates, but I do not feel the need to pick a personal fight with him just because I see his name.

I hope that is less ambiguous,

Rowena

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Guest Adrian Dingle

Thanks for the support, much appreciated!

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Thanks for the support, much appreciated!

Nobody means to "bash you" Adrian :)

I for one like hearing the views of someone who appears poles apart from my own outlook. It would be boring if we all agreed

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I am not refering to incidences of racism or sexual harassment, merely to the way people conduct themselves and the level of respect they show for each other and each others views.

For example, I would not expect someone to describe my views as ‘ridiculous’, ‘poppy-cock’ or anything else of that nature. It is enough to say ‘I disagree’.

Rowena, thank you very much for your postings here. I couldn't agree more.

I have also noticed that especially in the Politics and Governments section aand the thread "Political debates" many postings do not take the original subject into consideration (Democracy in India now should better be called Democracy in the USA). I think a bit more discipline might be helpful here and not every posting should be used to "bash" the USA and her constitution: other democracies do have as many flaws as the American one.

The main reason for me to join the forum was to exchange views on good, democratic etc. teaching of my subjects: history and politics/citizenship. When I check the forums now I often find debates on a very general level and sometimes I have the feelings that especially the male heavy-weights of this forum use it to show their own political opinion and that they are/belive to be political, educational heavy-weights. Often an English saying then comes to my mind: Jack of all trades - master of none." Sorry, I know this is rude.

I myself have noticed that I am no longer as interested in the debates as I used to be and as a consequence and due to a lack of time the number of my postings has gone down considerably.

I would like to see the debates go back to issues concentrating on educational matters.

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I am beginning to find this thread a little hard to fathom. There is a clear commitment to free speech, friendly debate and discussion, good manners etc. on this board. I intervene in discussion with the other admins as soon as a break down of this occurs.

However people are free to express opinions within these parameters whether they are popular or approved by others or not. For people to start to say they are going to stop posting in debates because they don't like or agree with what they are reading is frankly rather defeatist.

As a member of the schoolhistory forum I witnessed a similar process last year when certain posters sought to control what was being said without recourse to debating the issues. To his credit the administrator of that forum did not allow that to happen but ended up restructuring the whole forum - I am beginning to feel more than a passing sympathy for him :(

Ulrike's comments about "heavyweights" can surely only refer to my waistline :eat:lol:

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Hi Andy,

The reason that I originally made a post on this particular forum was to raise awareness of the lack of politeness in certain postings. And that was it. I wanted people to know that some regular posters such as myself consider it important to behave in a mature and pleasant way when conducting debates even when being in complete disagreement with other forum members.

The point that Ulrike has brought up I also happen to agree with though I wouldn't have said it relates to this particular thread... more the JFK one. That said, for most of us who just skim read the postings and topics its not so easy to identify where exactly our posting should go. For example, I made a posting realting to Obesity in Schools only to find that it had been discussed already!

Certain topics and points of view do dominate the forum largely due to the amount of time that these people have. A similar thing has occurred in my own group website for returned teachers from Rwanda where the majority of the postings are my own and whilst I strive to make them as relevant as possible to other members, at times I am way off and get complaints. As a result I post a poll and ask forum members to vote on whether to include certain things and invariably my postings get removed or that topic avoided in future.

In short, it is very difficult to please everyone and when you are trying your hardest its easy to get offended when people think you are way off, but its essential to step back and ask who the forum is for. If it if for you, then continue as before. If it is a public forum then its a good idea to listen to the public!

I don't think anyone is trying to take control of the forum out of anyone elses hands we are simply expressing our opinions as politely as possible in the hope that they will be taken into account.

I still check this forum as often as I have time to but I do get frustrated when topics such as Obesity in school are concluded in the space of 6 posts, whilst JFK goes on for ever! They are both VERY important issues but I would say that one has a closer link to education than the other.

That said I enjoy most of the political debates and wouldn't want to see them go but I have to agree with Ulrike and say that what satrts off as an interesting general debate often ends up with a very narrow ( and anti certain americans) focus. It is not that these views should not be expressed, more that the people expressing them need to take into account that they post more frequently than others so their views do tend to take over a bit (like mine in my own forum). Sometimes its good to sit back a bit and listen to others and if postings slow down then add something to spice it up a little!

That said, these views are purely my own and I am more than happy for you to disagree with me, politely!

Rowena

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I still check this forum as often as I have time to but I do get frustrated when topics such as Obesity in school are concluded in the space of 6 posts, whilst JFK goes on for ever! They are both VERY important issues but I would say that one has a closer link to education than the other.

That said I enjoy most of the political debates and wouldn't want to see them go but I have to agree with Ulrike and say that what satrts off as an interesting general debate often ends up with a very narrow ( and anti certain americans) focus. It is not that these views should not be expressed, more that the people expressing them need to take into account that they post more frequently than others so their views do tend to take over a bit (like mine in my own forum). Sometimes its good to sit back a bit and listen to others and if postings slow down then add something to spice it up a little!

That said, these views are purely my own and I am more than happy for you to disagree with me, politely!

Rowena

I would like it very much if there was more activity in all areas of the forum, but it is really beyound my control whether certain discussions are going to take off or not. I try to contribute to as many as possible in the effort to get them started. I also try and post in as many subject areas to try and enliven them a bit.

I am certainly very critical of current American foreign policy in some of the more overtly political threads, however to suggest or interpret that anything posted by anyone is

anti certain Americans
is surely mistaken?

Regular posters by definition are going to be heard more than "lurkers" (for want of a better phrase).

I do indeed "listen to the public" and am in discussion with my fellow administrators over the issues that have been raised over the last few days, but I most certainly will not be offering members the opportunity to vote off posters or topics. The solution to seeing more of what you'd like is perhaps to post more widely and more frequently. And I urge everyone to do this.

You misunderstand if you think I have taken offence about anything posted in this thread.

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Guest brinn

A fascinating thread for the A Language teacher. A definite one for debate for Language and Technology (and Language and Power).

How far has our use, to communicate with each other, of 'instant-distant' communication affected social etiquette on the net (great term: netiquette)?

I am not trivialising the issue, but may I point out that 'people is people is people'. We are a rude - yet also hardy species.

Spats seem to be a feature of internet posting. Thus we need both thick skins (yet, thankfully not thick heads since we cannot actually be physically assaulted) and persons willing to remind us that we are, after all, people with feelings too!

Just a point R - politeness is also 'loaded' and context-dependent too. It isn't just bad manners which gets away with murder because it's the internet. If you saw ten stereotypical youths blocking your way into a local train on your way home from work, smoking and joking among themselves, would you be so quick to talk about manners to them as you are to the distant perpetrators of 'bad manners' here?

I suspect not - just as I also suspect the rudeness that you quite rightly point out is creeping into certain posts here would not actually happen in RL (real life).

Sorry - I feel like a real 'agent provocateur' now! :blink:

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I don't take offence easily - but I am a good mixer and don't spend all of my time talking to other teachers. I visit my local pub at least three times a week, which is frequented by a wide range of people, from bricklayers and road sweepers to accountants and lawyers. We have very lively discussions, where the level of debate often descends into "Come off it, you're talking a load of b*ll*cks!" After a few exchanges of a similar nature we usually end up buying one another pints. How about inventing the "virtual pint"? It sounds like a great idea :blink:

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After a few exchanges of a similar nature we usually end up buying one another pints. How about inventing the "virtual pint"? It sounds like a great idea  ;)

I'd much prefer a real one :cheers

I too have a thick skin (the jury is out on the density of my head).

I would encourage members to consider the context of how a message is received by another member. No body language, tone of voice, friendly smile etc. to take the edge off the message, just bald type.

The smilies might help a bit in this context, but it is perhaps a medium then lends itself to misunderstandings and fallings out if you are not careful :(

Now please :blink: the lot of you and get on with the debates :D;)

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