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  #61  
Old 28 August 2016, 01:39 AM
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Graham2001 Graham2001 is offline
 
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My own view on this is that 'Trigger Warnings' and 'Safe Spaces' can actually be quite devisive things in their own right. I've heard all kinds of anecdotes, from the students who decided that their campus should have racially segregated dorms so that the Black students would have a 'Safe Space' (Most of the versions I heard of this one claimed that it was the Black students who initiated the idea.) to claims that if a student refuses to take part in a class because they were 'triggered' by the content they get an automatic passing grade.

More recently a town council in Australia has decided to ban Australia Day fireworks because Aboriginal Australians would be 'offended'. One of the major critics of this move, somewhat ironically turned out to be an Aborignal politician who called the move 'devisive':

Quote:
“The (relationship) between Aboriginal people and Aust Day is profound. Cancelling fireworks a facile response and likely to cause more division,” he said.

“Cancelling popular events in the name of reconciliation does not advance the cause.

“If its because of cost, then call it cost.”
http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/west...3d2-1472347490
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  #62  
Old 28 August 2016, 02:04 AM
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If the term "trigger warning" was replaced with something generic like "content advisory," would people still consider it coddling?
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  #63  
Old 28 August 2016, 02:40 AM
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Perhaps. Perhaps not. I would personally prefer "content advisory" for the reasons stated in the article I posted. You don't have to be triggered to get distracted by surprising/shocking things.

Case in point: I was in no way triggered by the many, many slides of diseased male genitalia showed to me in a class I had as a sophomore. However, I was unprepared for being shown such material, and as such I was so distracted by it that I remember almost nothing about the stuff I was supposed to learn. If I'd been told ahead of time, "Next class I will show slides of diseased male genitalia," then maybe I would have been prepared and taken it more in stride.

It was appropriate to show such things in the class I took, but at the same time, it seemed to come out of the blue. But this professor liked to do things for shock value; she is the same one who, on--not just regarding, on--September 11, 2001, remarked that she "loved the symbolism of the whole thing," and thought the terrorists were brilliant. "I mean, American Airlines and United! It's so perfect!"

She was justifiably reported for making those comments to the shell shocked students who had managed to show up for that lecture.
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  #64  
Old 28 August 2016, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
One thing I've seen in this thread, though, is a personal attack that bothers me. I tell plenty of anecdotes, and rarely do I get challenged to provide the identity of the person about whom I am speaking. In this thread, one poster put up an anecdote and someone blew her off as telling a "FOAF" story and another poster jumped in mocking the original poster claiming that the only thing worse is "a guy in a bar story".
Neither of those is an example of a personal attack. Nor was either a request for personal information.

That being said, Sue provided absolutely no reason for us to believe the friend. Let's assume that we believe 100% that this person did indeed tell her that. Ok, that is cool and all, but why should I believe that person? Do they have anything to do with the occurrence in question? Do they have any direct knowledge? Or are they repeating something told to them, which would indeed make it a FOAF.

This is a fact checking website. Why would that make anyone think that "trust me, it's true" is an acceptable cite, and to basically get offended if someone does not automatically do so. This wasn't a personal experience Sue was relaying, it was some thing she heard. So she is expecting us to not only believe her without question, but also to believe this unnamed individual. I doubt many people here have that sort of mindset to trust a twice removed (at the very least) source, that is why we all frequent this site.
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  #65  
Old 28 August 2016, 11:55 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Since it was an incident in the news and there have been lots of FOAFs going around about it and the surrounding events, I would say it's just about the most reasonable place to ask who said it and where they got that information. Hard to see that as a personal attack at all.
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  #66  
Old 28 August 2016, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderwoman View Post
Let me just clarify that nothing I post, EVER, is a request for ANYONE'S personal contact information, and I don't understand how it could be interpreted that way. I was looking for context. There was no context provided, and it was, indeed, a FOAF statement, and there is no reason whatsoever that I should just assume that whoever Sue talked to has any particular expertise in this topic. I was just looking for context. That is all. I will back out of this thread and believe me, I wish I had not posted anything.
wanderwoman, if you're still reading the thread, please come back. It seems to me that you asked a perfectly reasonable question, at worst in a somewhat abrupt form. I wouldn't have taken it as a request to provide name and contact info, but as one asking what the general relationship was of the person with the students being referred to.

Thread's getting long, let me quote what Sue said again so people don't have to hunt it up:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
I was told that the students who screamed profanities into the face of the Yale professor that they disagreed with were perfectly justified in this behavior and that it was only through actions like that that real change would ever be effected.
My problem with this statement isn't any doubt about whether someone did indeed say that to Sue. My problem is that, unless there's some reason to think that the person who said it was an agreed-upon spokesperson for the students in question, it isn't evidence of anything other than that yes, there are some people in the world who will say things like this; there are some people in the world who will say just about anything. I hadn't thought that was in dispute in this thread, but that the question was whether this is a common attitude among a group of people who can reasonably be categorized together under the term "social justice warriors" and/or whether it's reasonable to assume that most people who say they're fighting for "social justice", or who are requesting trigger warnings and/or safe spaces, agree with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
Establish the common definitions and concepts so we all debate the same topic, and go from there.
That would be a very good thing for basic principles of holding discussions on all sorts of topics. But it's astonishingly hard to do.

Not only have I discovered that in all sorts of discussions asking people to please stop and define their terms usually results in all of them getting annoyed at me and refusing to do so (one of the reasons I like these boards is that this rarely happens here); but very often the underlying problem is that people genuinely mean different things by the same word or phrase and have different understandings of what's meant by the overall concepts -- and/or haven't thought through themselves what they mean by any of them.

It seems to me that most of this discussion is indeed about trying to establish common definitions and concepts. The problem may be that there is not a common defiintion, and there is disagreement about both the meaning and the context of the concepts being discussed.

This is IMO a reason to discuss them, rather than a reason not to. Maybe we can at least come to a clearer understanding of where we actually disagree; and perhaps clarify our own minds on the subject in the process.


ETA: let me also take apart a bit the statement made to Sue, because it seems to me that it says three different things:
1) that change is not effected unless people are willing to stop being polite
2) that screaming profanities at the professor in that specific instance was useful towards effecting change
3) that screaming profanities at the professor in that specific instance was therefore overall justified.

I would agree with the first one. While people who are being polite are also useful in making major societal changes, such changes rarely if ever seem to happen if everyone trying to accomplish them is being polite.

I would disagree with the second one. All that seems to have been accomplished in that specific instance was causing people to discuss the profanities instead of the cause.

I would therefore also disagree with the third one. I don't know enough about the details of the situation to know whether I would disagree with the third one for additional reasons -- I don't know, for instance, exactly what the professor had said immediately beforehand and in what tone of voice; or what if anything the prior relationship had been between the particular student that the particular professor; or for that matter whether the professor was in the habit of screaming profanities at other people; or a whole lot of other things that might affect my judgement of whether I thought that was a good or bad or not great but understandable thing to do aside from the question of whether it was useful.

Last edited by thorny locust; 28 August 2016 at 12:47 PM.
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  #67  
Old 28 August 2016, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post



My problem with this statement isn't any doubt about whether someone did indeed say that to Sue. My problem is that, unless there's some reason to think that the person who said it was an agreed-upon spokesperson for the students in question, it isn't evidence of anything other than that yes, there are some people in the world who will say things like this; there are some people in the world who will say just about anything.
And? Every anecdote we share here has to meet some standard that you (and apparently a few others posting here) seem to share and if it doesn't then it's ok to accuse someone of lying? I expect better here.

Last edited by Sue; 28 August 2016 at 02:21 PM.
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  #68  
Old 28 August 2016, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geminilee View Post
This wasn't a personal experience Sue was relaying, it was some thing she heard. So she is expecting us to not only believe her without question, but also to believe this unnamed individual. I doubt many people here have that sort of mindset to trust a twice removed (at the very least) source, that is why we all frequent this site.
It was indeed a personal experience which if you have actually read the post in question you would have known. Could I have worded it differently? No doubt. Should I have to? I don't think so. Further if we now are expected to provide cites when we relate a personal anecdote I trust you too will be holding yourself to this high and lofty standard.

I expect an apology from you and from Wanderwoman. I won't get it I know. But that is my own high and lofty expectation.
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  #69  
Old 28 August 2016, 02:29 PM
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It was a claim that those involved in shouting at the professor had said it was necessary to achieve change. Unless you were personally one of those cursing, it is not a personal experience. That you were told that may be, but why should we believe the person who told you? You have provided no reason for anyone to.

You could simply say "this person was one of those doing the cursing" to establish their knowledge on the subject. Instead, you expect everyone to believe the statement (not just that someone random made the statement to you) based on nothing. I am sorry, I do not do that. If I were the type to do that, I would not be likely to hang out here.
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  #70  
Old 28 August 2016, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
And? Every anecdote we share here has to meet some standard that you (and apparently a few others posting here) seem to share and if it doesn't then it's ok to accuse someone of lying? I expect better here.
Who has accused you of lying?

Certainly not me. Certainly not wanderwoman. I don't think even geminilee has done so, though I can see how one could wrench geminilee's most recent post around to read that into it. [ETA: no longer the most recent post; geminilee posted again while I was typing. I meant post #64.]

I don't see how you can reasonably expect an apology for something no one has said.
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  #71  
Old 28 August 2016, 03:03 PM
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"Who said that to you?" is really not an unreasonable question.
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  #72  
Old 28 August 2016, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham2001 View Post
My own view on this is that 'Trigger Warnings' and 'Safe Spaces' can actually be quite devisive things in their own right. I've heard all kinds of anecdotes, from the students who decided that their campus should have racially segregated dorms so that the Black students would have a 'Safe Space' (Most of the versions I heard of this one claimed that it was the Black students who initiated the idea.) to claims that if a student refuses to take part in a class because they were 'triggered' by the content they get an automatic passing grade.
And I once heard a story about an atheist professor who was showed up by a Christian student when a piece of chalk didn't break. That doesn't make it something that actually happened.
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  #73  
Old 28 August 2016, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
wanderwoman, if you're still reading the thread, please come back. It seems to me that you asked a perfectly reasonable question, at worst in a somewhat abrupt form. I wouldn't have taken it as a request to provide name and contact info, but as one asking what the general relationship was of the person with the students being referred to.
Thank you, thorny locust. That is indeed how I meant it. Ironically, it was abrupt because I wanted to find out the context of the statement before forming an opinion about it. I was flabbergasted by the response. I was beginning to feel like I had ventured through the looking glass! I appreciate those here who have affirmed that it was not an unreasonable question.
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  #74  
Old 28 August 2016, 04:30 PM
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In context, I read Sue's comment as "some people think this behavior is okay," and "someone said this to me" is a reasonable thing to add. I'm not sure what she was expected to cite.

Sue's response to this request was a bit snarky. But I can't imagine how she could have provided a citation for a personal conversation. In academia, one can cite personal conversations, though obviously it is not the only support for a position. So if I'd been asked for a cite, I would have said something like,

"[Name redacted], personal conversation, ca. 2016."

Which is clearly not what was being asked for a citation, as is evidenced by the curious reference to FOAF-dom.

I don't know if it was a reasonable question because I still can't figure out what you wanted to know. Did you want her to provide evidence that other people also think that it's okay to scream at faculty? Or that Yale students effected change? Or that people think screaming is okay if it brings change?
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  #75  
Old 28 August 2016, 04:41 PM
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wanderwoman-
For what it's worth, I also read your comment as questioning the context or relevancy to the discussion.

I don't think questioning anecdotes regarding their relevance are high and lofty expectations. I think it happens pretty often around here.
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  #76  
Old 28 August 2016, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Sue's response to this request was a bit snarky. But I can't imagine how she could have provided a citation for a personal conversation.
In hindsight I regret losing my temper. That does not, however, change the reaction to what was IMO a post that was worded no differently than hundreds of other posts that have appeared on this board. If we are now going to be expected to provide proof that conversations that we are discussing have actually taken place this board is going to die even sooner than it already appears to be. Which is something the few of us still posting here would, I think, prefer not to happen.
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  #77  
Old 28 August 2016, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
If we are now going to be expected to provide proof that conversations that we are discussing have actually taken place .
I don't see where anyone asked you for that either.

Asking for further context about the conversation, and/or about the degree of knowledge about the issue that the person who said something to you has, is not the same thing as asking you whether you had the conversation. I really don't see how you get that out of what anyone has said.

And Avril, I don't see the original request as asking for a formal cite, either. In fact, I agree that that would be inappropriate in that case, as the other party to the conversation has presumably not agreed to be named and quoted in this context. Also, wanderwoman has explicitly stated that that wasn't what was meant; and the request was not framed in the terms in which we ordinarily ask for cites.
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  #78  
Old 28 August 2016, 05:04 PM
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Avril, you are way overthinking it. At any event, rest assured that from here on out, that individual will not be the subject or recipient of any question or comment from me.
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  #79  
Old 28 August 2016, 05:23 PM
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Overthinking stuff is why we're on snopes.

I've re-read the exchange and I think my impressions have been mostly colored by subsequent comments, i.e., the FOAF reference.

Back to trigger warnings, I also find this article pertinent.

Quote:
I have honored every request for a trigger or content warning that a student has ever given me, and I go out of my way to tag any potentially upsetting material with trigger warnings. I don’t do this because I am a beaten-down, scared shitless academic with no intellectual freedom. My students have not backed me into a corner and demanded that I keep thought-provoking content at bay. Students who disagree with me politically or philosophically (of which there are many) do not try to silence me under a deluge of TW requests. My universities have not twisted my arms, pinned me down, and affixed black TW duct tape across my mouth. That’s not how TW’s work.
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  #80  
Old 29 August 2016, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
You're still using this lamergate diss, apparently completely unironically. For someone who's supposedly no SJW, you sure do whinge and moan a lot about minor social issues - especially ones that don't even seem to concern you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
That would be a kind of reasonable definition but that's not how it's used. It's not a new word but it's been usurped by certain factions to mean any person who advocates for the things the gamergate people don't approve of, primarily feminism and, well, being considerate human beings rather than trolls.
Your personal attacks aside, are you are still talking out gamergate? Not that you'll believe me but it's been over for about a year now except for a few diehards who it has literally become their only reason for existing.

Social justice might have achieved something once. But like all movement more or less existing on social media it has a big, glaring problem. The inability to distance the movement from the fringe.

Every new movement attracts nut-jobs, it's pretty much a law. People with extreme ideologies flock to every new popular movement, thinking they can use it as a mouthpiece for their ideas. And of course those extremists are the people who 'shout' the loudest. I'd say for every ten or twenty people tweeting or posting something you would expect from the 'normal range' of the mental and political spectrum, you have at least one idiot demanding to #KillAllX - tweeting it dozens of times a day. These are the messages people tend to notice.

You need some ability to reign in or excommunicate the worst people in the group, otherwise you give the public impression that they speak for you, and that you tacitly agree with them. In the pre-social media days you could denounce these people publicly, make it known that they didn't represent the cause, and kick them out. It's much harder to do that now though. How exactly do you stop someone from flying a hashtag? There comes the point where 'normal' people are so alienated with the entire thing, they just step away from it, leaving the stage to the nutjobs.

What I think is happening is social justice is shrinking as the sane people are driven out by the loud nutjobs now directing the movement for not being committed enough, or being part of a group that is suddenly considered privileged *cough*gay men*cough*. This has led to an increasingly radical remnant that only purges itself even faster. It's falling into the same trap as the fringe left and right movements before it, believing that ideological purity will somehow mean greater political power even as they divide themselves into oblivion. I won't be surprised if one day the people on this board most committed to social justice are denounced as "privileged" and cast out with the rest of us.

In addition to these internal purges their selfish attitudes, need to display the corpses of their enemies, and hypocrisy has allowed them to wane over the years. They really don't offer much of a solution other than throwing people out or getting them fired for disagreeing with them, and when those in charge of a site or University or company realizes that they're just losing customers to please a tiny, loud minority, they stop caving in.
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