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Thread: In the words of Rodney King...

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    In the words of Rodney King...

    "People, I just want to say, can we all get along?"

    Internet communities are interesting institutions. I could pass ALL of you on the street and pass right by, yet I've shared many aspects of my life with you and you with me. Our only means of communication are words--no body language, no eye contact, no nuance behind intonation, no silence in each other's presence.

    So it's not unusual that sometimes people may "say" something that on the surface looks unfriendly, or even hostile. And it's not unusual for the recipient of those words to take offense or even feel attacked. Those other mitigating factors of community--a touch, body language, nuance--are not available to assuage the incendiary words.

    If anyone is compelled to deprive ALL of us of your virtual company, words of wisdom and friendship because of one hurtful post, please, please reconsider. Please consider that you may be reacting to one person, and not even just one person, that one person's one post. But if you react by going away, it's your whole "family" here that's going to suffer a little by your absence.

    It's not like I don't have any social life and depend on this forum for human interaction, but it's certainly true that I count you as friends, virtual or not. The other day I was talking to a colleague who mentioned she grew up in New Mexico, and I said, "Oh, I have a friend in Madrid!" Or I'll say to fellow Master Gardeners, "Oh, I have a friend who's an expert in irises." Or, when I was looking for a place in Vermont, I remember telling my realtor, "Oh, a good friend of mine found this house online and suggested it."

    Unlike in real life, if you guys go away, you're "dead to me" in the sense that I can't continue the relationship. Despite being "friends" with some of you for up to 20 years, I don't even know your real names! I have no emails, phone numbers, addresses, nothing. And so when you get mad and decide to leave, I grieve a little, truth be known. I've lost a friend.

    Interesting times we've found ourselves in, when our friends are "Senior Members" only known to us by a facade of up to thousands of posts, and nothing more. But the personalities behind those posts have added to my life, and I anticipate will continue to do so.

    So, before you get pissed off, or annoyed, or hurt and decide to close your account because of one post, please think of the rest of us.

    And as for the rest of us, let's be careful about checking our words for their likelihood to hurt or offend.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  2. #2
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    Catherine, I totally agree. In fact that’s why a month or so ago I apologized for being a asshat.

  3. #3
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    Catherine, You've said it well. I miss those who left. Thanks for the reminder to watch our words.

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    Catherine, I assume my post to Williamsmith is the impetus of your post. Here is what I just added to the original thread, to clarify.

    "Okay, due to Alan and Catherine's assessment of my post to Williamsmith, I am formally apologizing to Williamsmith. I was wrong to say anything in response to your posts, which as you point out, was made in jest, in a historical context, and I chose to find it offensive to my friends and family members.
    Please do not voluntarily exile yourself from this community, as you mean a great deal to it.

    My original post seems to have violated the community terms of discourse. I removed it ten minutes after I wrote it for fear that I would hurt you or make you uncomfortable.

    Please return, Williamsmith, as you mean too much to this community to absent yourself."

    I understand that Williamsmith's writings are eloquent and his Daily Bread column is really treasured. I in no means meant to hurt or offend him or drive him away.



  5. #5
    Senior Member Sad Eyed Lady's Avatar
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    catherine, very, very well said.
    "Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in the midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free." Leonard Cohen

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Thanks, Tybee, yes, I reacted to seeing Williamsmith's status changed to "guest." But that was just the straw that broke the camel's back--we've lost a few people who seemingly reacted to just one post and left us. I still miss seeing posts from Ultralight. Shoot, I still miss Mrs. Mizerly!

    Hopefully WS will see your clarification and apology.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Let's hope; I feel terrible he chose to absent himself. I will happily leave if it will make him safe to be here. I can't apologize more than I have, and I did remove the original post that offended him, four hours prior to him posting. I was wrong to interpret his post that way and wrong to say anything.

    Again, I am happy to go if that will make you happy to come back, if you are reading williamsmith. Your posts mean so much to everyone.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    LI will happily leave if it will make him safe to be here.
    Hmm.. personally I'm not in favor of "swapping hostages." . There's room for everyone here.

    You are right--it is his choice to come or go. We hope he comes back. You've apologized--stop beating yourself up!
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  9. #9
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    Thanks for again reminding us, Catherine.

    I, too, consider each of these members as my community of "friends" and make reference often of you all in some way.

    I chose to view your post as a generic message to all, and am going to ignore the personal. (No offense to anyone, please!)

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lmerullo View Post

    I chose to view your post as a generic message to all, and am going to ignore the personal. (No offense to anyone, please!)
    Yes, that's really how it should be. Thanks, lmerullo.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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