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Topic ClosedIt never ends, does it?

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Alkiviades View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: It never ends, does it?
    Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 10:00

To paraphrase Good ole Will, there is something rotten in the Kingdom of All empires.

Would you agree?

Symptoms:

- almost each and every serious topic, devolves into flame wars, namecalling fests, nationalistic propaganda, ill-manners showcase

- Mods have to close down topic after topic because of the above symptoms

- Each and every anthropological and linguist topic is filled with nationalism, bigotry, "racial" hate, plain hate, historical rivalries and superiority syndromes, complexes, theories. Not even one single serious discussion has survived unscathed the barbarian invasion of the panturkists, panslavists, paniranists, panwhatevers

- Bad manners is not the exception or confined to a few rotten apples, it's the norm. People behave very, very badly to other people. I understand that we come from different cultures and what is perceived as highly respectfull attitude in Azerbaijan might be considered extremely bad manners in my neighbourhood... shouldn't people, especially the younger ones who got the hottest blood, at least try to behave?

- There are several topics most forumeers seem completely unable to even touch without resorting to cheap shots, hate-filled diatribes, namecalling and similar disorderly stuff. Why is that? Why can't we discuss, debate and keep it bloody formal?

Just some thoughts... A question: is it always like that here, or did I come at a bad time?

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Cywr View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 10:10
is it always like that here, or did I come at a bad time?


Both really. Its always been heer, but appears to go through cycles, sort of like hurricane season or something

Call me a pessimist, but i take it for granted that a history forum attracts these sorts. That AE has managed to attract a wide variety from all over is surely a sign of success from a certain perspective. A scary thought.
Arrrgh!!"
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 10:25
I think that you should qualify your statements. There are many threads that go through their life-cycle running into a few or no problems.

Most problems stems from a minority of trouble-makers whose main intentions coming here is to pick up fights.

Another source of problem is that people from conflict areas will bring their national fights with them to the forum. So the completely rational and cool-headed member in one forum will turn into a rage-aholic flamer in another, when provoked.

In reality, this occurs in real life. I noticed the same behavior with students at Berkeley. The most easy going Palestinians and Isrealis would almost get into fist fights when discussing some issue on the schools public square.

Something that people here will find amusing: the same happened with Turks, Armenians, Greeks, Albanians, and Serbs when they interacted in the public square as well.

These problems are cyclical, and they hit specific forums at a time.

The good thing is that you all can make help bringing the level of discussions up. Demand respectful interactions, rational arguments, and sources.

And refuse to be baited by trolls. If someone makes an outrageous statement with little supporting evidence, it is most likely a provocation.

Of course, if you all want to avoid these people, you can always focus your participation on helping building the site. This will keep you away from the flame wars and closer to the true lovers of history.


Edited by hugoestr
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 10:38

Hugo makes a great point.  People troll for trouble.  They betray themselves pretty quickly...pasting propaganda, etc.

Ignoring trolls can contol them.



Edited by pikeshot1600
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Alkiviades View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 10:53

Originally posted by hugoestr

Of course, if you all want to avoid these people, you can always focus your participation on helping building the site. This will keep you away from the flame wars and closer to the true lovers of history.

Working on it lad, working on it. Soon you'll hear from me.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 10:53

I agree with Hugo, as well. Some issues are just hard to put aside, especially among people who come from a really passionate region. As a matter of fact this kind of debates is even taken on a level where serious historians are gathered to provide a general overview of a historical period. The truth is some themes should be judged with extreme caution because a single sparkle can take over and turn into a massive fire. Though, in time one should learn to avoid it . As an example I'll point out the numerous attempts to bring marxist (or twisted bolshevick) ideology into the general perception of history - a struggle between "progressive and reactive classes" is everything we should know about history ?!? Even today it's just hard to separate history from politics.

 

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising everytime we fall."
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Alkiviades View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 10:56
Hmm...I think giani is trolling...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 11:33

Of course when these sort of incidents occur, it is usually the fault of the people who start them. but you have to remember that this is not always true. there are just some topics that people discuss that are very sensitive. things like whether the german people are to blame for the allowing of the holocaust. or whether the killing of Jesus was the fault of the jews. people natuarlly get sensitive and are quick to anger when it comes to topics like these. sometimes abusive confrontation is inevitable.

people are the emotions of other people


(im not albino..or pale!)

.....or an alien..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 11:57

Originally posted by Alkiviades

Hmm...I think giani is trolling...

You got me!

Well, it's a part of me, I hope sometime the medicine is advances enough to amputate this itch.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising everytime we fall."
Confucius
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 12:54

 Flame wars are always going to exist, sometimes they are isolated incidents confined to 1 or 2 topics and then things are dealt with and it dies down, the problem is here on AE I think is that flame wars are spilling over onto topics right throughout the entire forum. Often onto topics that have absolutely nothing to do with it.

 Its always the same stupid points being made, the same agendas being pushed the same juvenile hostilities between nationalities being brought up again and again.

 I'm sure its just a bad time right about now, it will probably die down eventually, but it'll always get sparked up again when new members join to push agendas, inevitably old arguments and clashes of opinion will be brought back to the surface and another cycle of stupidity will begin.



Edited by Heraclius
A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 13:34
I couldnt agree more with Alkiviades, who identified AEs main problem so eloquently, or with hugoestr., who offered a solution for it.

The preliminary findings of the feedback poll thats running at the moment, makes clear on what a tight rope a forum as AE is walking.
On one side, many people regard it as AEs strongest point that we have a truly international membership, on the other it is seen as AEs weakest point, that such a diverse background brings also members with a nationalist agenda , who abuse AE as a platform for nationalist propaganda.
On the one hand, AE should facilitate as free and unrestricted a discussion as possible, on the other hand AE must avoid that nationalist flame wars scare and drive away, as it certainly has happened, members who come to AE to exactly do that, what it was originally was conceived for, namely the discussion of history.
Its not that easy to find the middle way here. Im not pretending that there will ever be solution for this particular problem, the very nature of the net will make sure that nationalist flame wars will break out with the same regularity as annual flu epidemics, but as hugoestr. has rightly pointed out, there are some simple measures with which we can try to contain those outbreaks.
If you look in the Warning and Ban Announcement forum, you will see that the number of warnings and bans issued has risen over the last months, demonstrating the effort that is undertaken by AEs moderators to restrict flame wars. But all this will only have a limited effect, if AEs members dont contribute as well, in as much as hugo has outlined, by not responding to open provocations,by ignoring and avoiding them,... and by initiating debates that are concerned with AEs core matter, namely history.
At the moments efforts are made, to enlarge and improve AEs main site, amongst other reasons in order to attract people who actually interested in history, and not in spreading nationalist drivel on audience that is forced, but not really willing, to listen.
AE is a community that stands and falls with its membership, with the quality of its members contributions to both, its debates intellectual standards and the manner in which these debates are conducted.
If you are annoyed with how AE is going, dont just rely on its Moderators, do also something yourselves about it.
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gcle2003 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 15:31

History happens to be one of the things people get angry and fight about. It's not mathematics or relativity theory or even geography.

Running into flame wars is probably an occupational hazard for historians. Personally I find flame wars that I'm not involved in rather interesting. Isn't conflict in all its guises the very stuff of history?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 17:34

Maybe it is because I am very young, but personally speaking, I enjoy flame wars.  At least I used to.  Nowadays, I still do like watching flame wars, but I feel rather depressing to go after a flame war involving me in the front line.

The point is that people do learn from flame wars.  It just takes time for people to realize the pointlessness of insulting somebody else.  Take out the extremes who would never learn, and yeah, soon or later, those immature forummers will assimilate into a more civilized etiquette.

Grrr..
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Alkiviades View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 17:47
This is a rather unlikely progression, I fear. At least when so much hatred and nationalistic agendas are involved.

Yes, I can understand when one is young and blood is boiling, a good ole brawl might look like the best idea to let some steam go.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy a "heated debate" as much as the next guy. But I can't stand rudeness, nationalistic propaganda, agenda-pushers, namecalling, pointless fights with under-the-belt strikes and especially hate-filled posts. I find all that stuff tiresome and silly. It's not just me (otherwise we wouldn't have this conversation) but seems there is another side as well.

One more thought: Komnenos, you identify the causes neatly and with great accuracy. And I rather tend to believe that preserving the multi-culturality of this bord is a more pressing matter than taming the wild dogs. A fine balance might be needed in the pursuit of these (sometimes contradictory) two tasks.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Oct-2005 at 20:34

The only certain way to avoid flame wars in AE would be to ensure all our members were totally homogenous in every aspect, the elimination of all personal differences will lead to the elimination of all arguments. Clearly this is not desireable. We are lucky to have very diverse membership, the result of which is a wide variety of perspectives and explanations of history. The problem arises when a disagreement is not processed in a civil fashion using logic, reason and evidence and people start getting childish. As a mod I don't mind people disagreeing and arguing, it will mean I may encounter some new view points. But when it gets uncivilized we must take the punitive measures that you have cited and hope in good faith that people will eventually learn how futile being childish is. Argue and debate my fellow AE members, just do it properly.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Oct-2005 at 20:53

I second what Constantine XI covers. If a member's intention is to disrupt the flow of debating by use of sarcasm or trolling then eventually the dialogue gets too emotionally charged. Another problem is the desire to 'prove' one's arguement at the cost of disrespecting another person or monopolizing the thread.  

Its also helpfull to have different perspectives cover the same issue. But with diverse variations comes a true lesson in patience.

A good contribution comes from those who can taper intensity with a decent sense of integrity and respect for others.    

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Oct-2005 at 00:02

Moderators do really have a hard job in keeping things smooth on this forum. It is really hard to imagine the forum going with no flamable wars, especially that we are all from different parts of the world and it is just a great opportunity we can face those we call "the other" even in an internet forum.

I just have to applaude those moderators who are on top of their forum section. We just had an example last night (in my time lol) of a very contraversial nationalistic and hating topic that appeared and even before I post my response to it, the thread was deleted and a warning has been issued and posted. putting out little sparkles of fire in their begining is the correct way to avoid a messy bigotted thread that will end up being closed too.

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Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.
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