No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

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binocular
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No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by binocular » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:39 pm

Greetings.

From the ToS:
2. Speech

Any subject matter that may be off-topic or is intended to cause disruption or harm may be removed without notice. This includes, but is not restricted to:
/.../
e. Disruptive meta-discussion (i.e. discussion about discussion, including in-topic complaints about the existence of discussions that don't suit your preferences)
Ruling out meta-discussion, including ruling out arguing against the person, can open the door widely to propaganda and to irresponsible behavior, and to everything that comes with them.

If no meta-discussion is allowed, then people can promote views they don't hold, criticize others for not holding those views -- and nothing can be done against that according to the ToS.

Note that not every ad hominem is automatically fallacious:
Non-fallacious reasoning
When a statement is challenged by making an ad hominem attack on its author, it is important to draw a distinction between whether the statement in question was an argument or a statement of fact (testimony). In the latter case the issues of the credibility of the person making the statement may be crucial.[10]

Criticism as a fallacy
Doug Walton, Canadian academic and author, has argued that ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, and that in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue,[11] as when it directly involves hypocrisy, or actions contradicting the subject's words.

The philosopher Charles Taylor has argued that ad hominem reasoning (discussing facts about the speaker or author relative to the value of his statements) is essential to understanding certain moral issues due to the connection between individual persons and morality (or moral claims), and contrasts this sort of reasoning with the apodictic reasoning (involving facts beyond dispute or clearly established) of philosophical naturalism.[12]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
This becomes especially relevant when it comes to moral issues discussed in religious/spiritual circles. Ruling out all arguing against the person means that people can promote moral views they don't actually hold, and they get to criticize and even severely judge others for not holding those views -- and they can do so with impunity.

So someone, for example, can be a warrior for compassion and tolerance, yet exhibit none themselves when in actual conversations with others.

And we're supposed to just okay this?

Do you really want to support this??
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:04 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:39 pm

If no meta-discussion is allowed, then people can promote views they don't hold, criticize others for not holding those views -- and nothing can be done against that according to the ToS.
People can still promote views they don't hold, and criticise others for not holding those views, if we allowed meta-discussion.
Note that not every ad hominem is automatically fallacious
The ban is less to do with the eradication of fallacy, and more to do with the prevention of pointless provocation and abusive speech.
Ruling out all arguing against the person means that people can promote moral views they don't actually hold
Again, they could do that whatever rules we have on here. More importantly, I'm more interested in whether the views that people express are useful in terms of doctrine and practice, and not interested in whether their expression is hypocritical.
they get to criticize and even severely judge others for not holding those views -- and they can do so with impunity.
No, they can't. That would be itself an ad hominem criticism or judgement, which is not allowed. They can of course criticise or judge the views of others, providing they stay within the ToS.
So someone, for example, can be a warrior for compassion and tolerance, yet exhibit none themselves when in actual conversations with others.

And we're supposed to just okay this?
I don't have an issue with it. Whether or not their views are hypocritical, I can still judge those views as views, rather than expressions of someone's integrity and intellectual coherence. In fact, even if I find their integrity and intellectual coherence to be lacking, I can still tolerate that.

SunWuKong
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:06 pm

Who is we Kimo-Sabi ? Please address to whom your remarks are intended ? I for one have no input into TOS, nor would I want it, so the point is moot

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:00 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:39 pm
If no meta-discussion is allowed, then people can promote views they don't hold, criticize others for not holding those views -- and nothing can be done against that according to the ToS.
Criticizing others for holding or not holding views would violate TOS: "f. Personal attacks, including the vilification of individuals based on any attributes - whether related to their personal attributes (e.g. gender, nationality, sexuality, race, age) or their approach to the Dhamma (e.g. their practices, level of experience, or chosen tradition)."
binocular wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:39 pm
This becomes especially relevant when it comes to moral issues discussed in religious/spiritual circles. Ruling out all arguing against the person means that people can promote moral views they don't actually hold, and they get to criticize and even severely judge others for not holding those views -- and they can do so with impunity.
I believe that we are free to politely argue against the content of a post, but not the person - there is a big difference. For example, I could say that the Buddha taught reincarnation because of x,y,z, but I could not say that someone's view is wrong because they believe differently, nor could I say this thread is stupid, shouldn't be here, etc.

As far as "being O.K. with this," we expressed our agreement when we joined the forum and agreed to abide by the TOS.

In my opinion . . .

DS
"Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,"

~ From the Karaniya Metta Sutta (Sn 1.8)

binocular
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:47 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Criticizing others for holding or not holding views would violate TOS: "f. Personal attacks, including the vilification of individuals based on any attributes - whether related to their personal attributes (e.g. gender, nationality, sexuality, race, age) or their approach to the Dhamma (e.g. their practices, level of experience, or chosen tradition)."

I believe that we are free to politely argue against the content of a post, but not the person - there is a big difference. For example, I could say that the Buddha taught reincarnation because of x,y,z, but I could not say that someone's view is wrong because they believe differently, nor could I say this thread is stupid, shouldn't be here, etc.
For one, if you're in a position of power, then that's precisely what you can say, and it stands, as The Truth, and the person below you has to accept it or leave.

For two, ordinary people can sometimes say such things at the forums, and nothing happens.
As far as "being O.K. with this," we expressed our agreement when we joined the forum and agreed to abide by the TOS.
Which are subject to change:
Subject: TERMS OF SERVICE (please read first)
DNS wrote:
Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:47 pm
6. Like the Vinaya, the TOS may be added to over time

The Sangha didn't need many rules to start with. More were created over time as issues arose within the community. We reserve the right to add, amend or delete rules as deemed necessary.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:48 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:04 pm
I don't have an issue with it. Whether or not their views are hypocritical, I can still judge those views as views, rather than expressions of someone's integrity and intellectual coherence. In fact, even if I find their integrity and intellectual coherence to be lacking, I can still tolerate that.
In short, you're okay with hypocrisy, in a Buddhist venue?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:54 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:00 pm
I believe that we are free to politely argue against the content of a post, but not the person - there is a big difference.
And you believe that all ad personams/ad hominems are always fallacious, despite the arguments against such a generalization presented in the OP?

Do you believe that in a religious/spiritual setting, people can make claims as to what The Truth is and what is moral and what isn't, but their integrity or lack thereof should never be considered?

So that, for example, a person can exhort others that they should not steal and criticize them for stealing, but the fact that he himself is a known thief should be disregarded?

Based on what reasoning?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:26 am

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:48 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:04 pm
I don't have an issue with it. Whether or not their views are hypocritical, I can still judge those views as views, rather than expressions of someone's integrity and intellectual coherence. In fact, even if I find their integrity and intellectual coherence to be lacking, I can still tolerate that.
In short, you're okay with hypocrisy, in a Buddhist venue?
If someone wants to be hypocritical, or indeed demonstrate any unwholesome qualities, then that's up to them. I'm not here to police morality. I'm here to discuss dhamma. In terms of moderation, I'm here to help ensure that the ToS are adhered to.

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mikenz66
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:52 am

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:54 am
Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:00 pm
I believe that we are free to politely argue against the content of a post, but not the person - there is a big difference.
And you believe that all ad personams/ad hominems are always fallacious, despite the arguments against such a generalization presented in the OP?
Of course not. It's clearly unrealistic to examine every single argument of every person purely on it's own merits. That would take an inordinate amount of time, so we all develop filtering systems where we ignore input from people we feel have demonstrated themselves to be unreliable, or people who we feel don't have the expertise that they are claiming. In doing so, we might occasionally overlook useful input, but the gains far outweigh the very small losses...

And you're quite right. Someone who promotes something that they don't appear to be practising themselves doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. Sadly, some people who are vocal about compassion, tolerance, and, particularly, equanimity, use it as a tool in their overall passive-aggressive arsenal. ["If you were more equanimous then my rude behaviour wouldn't upset you..."]

The current ToS attempt to minimise annoying and disruptive behaviour without making judgements about how sensible the arguments members make are. This approach relies on other members providing counter arguments. Clearly, this system isn't perfect - it can lead to a war-of-attrition scenario. However, it does minimise the need for moderators to make value judgements.

Other approaches are, of course, possible, and have been tried on other similar forums, past and present.

:heart:
Mike

binocular
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:29 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:52 am
And you're quite right. Someone who promotes something that they don't appear to be practising themselves doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.
It's not just that. Allowing for an atmosphere of "Do as I say, not as a do" appears to lead to general mistrust, cynicism, jadedness.

The current ToS attempt to minimise annoying and disruptive behaviour without making judgements about how sensible the arguments members make are. This approach relies on other members providing counter arguments.

But is this in line with the Dhamma?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:38 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:26 am
If someone wants to be hypocritical, or indeed demonstrate any unwholesome qualities, then that's up to them. I'm not here to police morality. I'm here to discuss dhamma. In terms of moderation, I'm here to help ensure that the ToS are adhered to.
Then you appear to be the kind of Dhamma practitioner who practices himself, but who (at least in his formal position as a moderator) doesn't encourage others to practice.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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mikenz66
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:39 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:29 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:52 am
And you're quite right. Someone who promotes something that they don't appear to be practising themselves doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.
It's not just that. Allowing for an atmosphere of "Do as I say, not as a do" appears to lead to general mistrust, cynicism, jadedness.
Yes, that's often a problem that on-line forums always struggle with. I
binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:29 pm
The current ToS attempt to minimise annoying and disruptive behaviour without making judgements about how sensible the arguments members make are. This approach relies on other members providing counter arguments.

But is this in line with the Dhamma?
This is a discussion forum, not a real-life dhamma group. Some members and posts are very insightful. Some are not.

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Mike

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Sam Vara
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:52 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:38 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:26 am
If someone wants to be hypocritical, or indeed demonstrate any unwholesome qualities, then that's up to them. I'm not here to police morality. I'm here to discuss dhamma. In terms of moderation, I'm here to help ensure that the ToS are adhered to.
Then you appear to be the kind of Dhamma practitioner who practices himself, but who (at least in his formal position as a moderator) doesn't encourage others to practice.
The formal position of moderator does not include the requirement that members are to be encouraged to practice. I'm happy with that, as I have plenty of other opportunities to encourage others.

dharmacorps
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by dharmacorps » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:07 am

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:29 pm
But is this in line with the Dhamma?
I believe so, yes.

Asking people to abide by general terms of conduct to minimize annoying and disruptive behavior is not asking a lot and seems quite reasonable from a dhammic perspective. The Buddha frequently encouraged his followers to abide by local laws and customs unless it broke precepts.

If a forum member is having trouble acting in observation of those parameters, the problem could be the parameters themselves, sure.... but there is also another possibility. It could be the forum member themselves with the issue. That is to say, they are not being mindful of their speech, or aware of how they are being received.

Plus, by using this forum, we are all agreeing to abide by the terms of service so its a moot point. If we truly disagree with the ToS, we should leave the forum.

binocular
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Re: No meta-discussion opens the door to propaganda and irresponsible behavior

Post by binocular » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:56 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:07 am
Plus, by using this forum, we are all agreeing to abide by the terms of service so its a moot point. If we truly disagree with the ToS, we should leave the forum.
By agreeing to the ToS (which include a clause about ToS being subject to change) we're not signing a deed of indenture.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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