Discussion culture

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The Lounge What is on Your Mind? Discussion culture
# 1  
Discussion culture

I want to start a small thread about discussion culture. From the past experience in different fora, I have little hope that any will come out of it. But I'll try it anyway, hoping to contributing to an improvement on the topic.

I do not want to discuss a specific technical question, but only the underlying mindsets and motives.

My personal basic philosophy is that every different person is like the word says: different. Different life experience, different opinions, different priority in values and needs, ... And this is a very good thing. Every different being contributes his life experience, his unique point of view into a discussion. Having said that, for me it's fundamental that there is - most of the time - no such thing that is right meaning all other points of view are wrong.

In fora I regularly notice there are things where there is a broader consent of opinons. That's ok. What I do not appreciate, that someone or some group claims this or that opinion is the only right one.

I'll try my best, to not do that myself, but I fail here sometimes to even notice I done it. So a - for me - successful way of communicating is when there is a place for every ones opinion. And to listen or reading without response is not the same as agreeing. It's just acknowledging having heard the others perspective as insight to his personal point of view.

The reason I write this, is that I just got a comment here about a thing that is really right and all the discussions perceived as fight for who's right.

What do you think?

Last edited by stomp; 11-07-2019 at 07:14 AM..
# 2  
I agree with you. It takes all sorts to make a world, as they say. Some people are happy to say what they think, give the benefit of their experience, and be quite happy to be told that they are wrong. Others however, are full of their own ego and can never be wrong. I think that everyone mellows with age, experience and wisdom, eventually not really caring what others think, say or do. These are the best people to have a level headed discussion with.

There are some sad people who's main mission in life is to prove that they are the greatest and never wrong. These people have significant issues with their family and/or social life.
# 3  
People on the Internet had behind anonymity to post their hatred, strong beliefs, emotional problems and more. You cannot "wish" this problem to go away. It is human nature. This is precisely why Mark Zuckerberg (and other tech billionaires), and their naive view of the world, have contributed to the divisiveness, instability , destabilization and hateful speech in our world. The more people are fighting and hating each other, the more conflict there is, the more people will click and the more money these companies make.

People blame this on "corporate greed" but this greed occurs because of investors, for the most part, who demand more and more profits. On the Internet people post anything and the more conflict there is, the more money tech providers make.

It takes a lot of courage and determination to run a tech site where "goodness" and "doing the right thing" ranks above profit and greed. There is a very old saying in English, which goes something like this:

"It is very expensive to stand on your principles."
I am paraphrasing, but standing for what is good and what is right in the world, is not profitable, generally speaking.

We have a long standing culture here (unix.com) that no one can bully others and I founded these forums on that principle and it will never change. I have zero respect for people who bully others; and I have seen this over and over with people of all walks of life. If someone cannot "win" on the merits of the facts, attack the person. This will never happen here. Facts matter. Bullies are considered "low life" and will be banned.

On "discussion culture", I have been planning to revise the rules for 2020, and I hope to put a stop to this habit by some people here of writing code for people who put zero effort into their own solution and do not post their system details or what problem whey wish to solve (in words and code). It used to be that when someone asked a question and did not give any details, our leadership teams here tried to have more of a discussion, asked the poster what system they were using, the details of the problem they are trying to solve, etc. Over the past few years, I see some people just write some line of code without encouraging any discussion, getting the poster to discuss their actual requirements, system details, etc.

Anyway, I have plans to revive the rules later this year to try to encourage more discussion and less "here is your code candy" , something like (have not really thought about this because have been busy on other projects):

"UNIX.com exists to teach people about how to solve their own problems. You must post your system details and write in words and in code what you are trying to accomplish. Questions will be answered in code unless posters provide the system details and what they are trying to actually accomplish". (Have not really thought about this yet)
Today, I often seem people post code in response to terse questions without any real discussion or encouraging users to discuss what they are trying to do.

For me, "Discussion Culture" means we should be encouraging people to discuss their problems and learn to solve their small tech issues themselves not just writing a few lines of code for them. However, I am not really encouraged over what I have seen lately, where a number of people over the last few years seem to cut off discussion by posting code solutions before a poster has even shared any system details or discussed what they are trying to "really" do.

That's about all I have to say on this for now, as I'm just busy with myriad other projects, so I have not addressed this. However, I do believe our long standing rules need to be updated for 2020.

PS: People are getting very sophisticated in posting homework as "work related". This is one reason we want people to discuss what systems they are working on and what real-world problems they are facing.
# 4  
Originally Posted by Neo
Over the past few years, I see some people just write some line of code without encouraging any discussion, getting the poster to discuss their actual requirements, system details, etc
Yes. Very frustrating.

I'm already thinking about that. My thoughts on that:

What is the motivation of answering without encouraging ?

Possibly positive feedback from the Requester and a positive feeling having fulfilled a task.

Does it really work that way ?

This topic often occuring in different fora. And it's always the same. Even if there are some people that help in this way, there's often at least one single person, that's directly posting resolution code.

Not sure about a good way to go here... I'm not fond of(very mildly expressed) Carrot and Stick approach(badges, bits and infraction points) either. One interesting concept i read of is the creation of positive memories. If one experiences the situation that a requester really had been helped into independence that might be such a strong experience.

Such experiences can either happen negatively(example: "All I did here is completely in vain.") or positively(example: "I really feel competent now, since I had the power to finish that challenging task") and are in terms of effect on oneself a thousand times stronger than just thoughts("positive thinking").

Last edited by stomp; 11-07-2019 at 08:38 AM..
# 5  
Hi stomp...
Such experiences can either happen negatively(example: "All I did here is completely in vain.") or positively(example: "I really feel competent now, since I had the power to finish that challenging task") and are in terms of effect on oneself a thousand times stronger than just thoughts("positive thinking").
I do feel very competent now as I have set some, (possibly seriously), difficult challenges and overcome them in the shell scripting world. ;o)
However back to your OP, I find it difficult to discuss issues, usually political these days, with those that disagree with my position even when they are confronted with outright factual content.
I just facepalm nowadays and bow out gracefully.
There has been many a time when I have wanted to shout, but 'Oscar Wilde wit' overcomes me resulting in me ejecting myself gracefully from a discussion to _regroup_ ready for the barrage of ad-hominem attacks that could occur, would occur and do occur. Sadly ad-hominem attacks do happen very often these days.
In forums like these here on UNIX.COM events like this are really unheard of but places like FB bring out the worst in people. Semi-literates proliferate in huge quantities making sensible debates impossible. This goes for all sides of the spectrum of discussion.
AFAIAC, fortunately for this site, we are free of these traits. In fact there are some particularly polite people on here compared to some places.
I was once a member of a Python ML, and was treated with so much disdain by a few of the Python big guns that within 6 months I unsubscribed and will never rejoin there again.
Since the birth of the _smartphone_ the art of conversation, discussion and debate has died...
# 6  

I agree with all that has been written here so far, and to a certain extent explains why I have so little posts here for the time spent... I used to help by trying to get people involved in finding ( maybe together...) a solution, as in my opinion a solution you found, even if helped has far greater value, the sweat you put into finding your solution, you will always remember... anything given to you you have not past some time in brainstorming, thinking and most important understand, will not bring you anything, 4 months past you will ask the same question again... That is why I used to reply to un-replied but there doing so very often my attempt to help through asking the other party to invest some time and work ended stupidly by someone giving a solution and so I felt like a fool... It can be very frustrating when one wants to solve something in UNIX ( I understand using what UNIX offers without having to use a specific language, that means with commands and the power of the shell ) and someone comes along with a solution in awk, sed or Perl...
In other words, we all agree here on what we expected only we are not all the users.... and we have to accept others are very happy with any shortcuts that avoid them thinking and get them out of trouble, only you see next posts from the same asking why he tried to apply or modify for another server, or different apps etc... and it fails, and ask again help, only this time he can put some code, the given previously...
Unless the thread owner takes his responsibilities and replies to the shortcut offer, he is not interested because he wants to learn and mostly understand what he is doing, there is not much we can do to get people more verbous and accept to communicate and truly share...
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