Is Epiphanies underused?

RicardusRicardus Shipmate
Executive summary: Shouldn't the threads on racial issues be in Epiphanies? I'm thinking of the Unconscious Bias thread and possibly the Royals thread once it became an argument about how far people's reactions to the Duchess of Sussex are influenced by racial issues.

From the 'Welcoming' (or not) thread in Purgatory:
Bullfrog wrote:
Seeing how Gwai referred to our conversation, I think what I'd add to her thought is that ISTM that a certain kind of dry "academic" discussion becomes a "safe space" for a certain kind of white guy.

And I have no shame in calling out that kind of white guy because I AM exactly that kind of white guy. I'm highly educated, reasonably progressive, and if not for city living and being rather aggressively exposed to "woke" stuff, I'd probably be similarly confused by all of this apparently annoyance at what is, to me, an academic discussion.

Of course, if you're queer, or PoC, neurodivergent, or any number of sensitive populations (probably include disabled folks as well, though they're more obvious and in some regards more sensitive)...it's akin to watching someone have a dry, academic talk about your personal family trauma.

And while you can be a fucking nice about it as you please, that kinda hurts. It is going to hurt. And it makes the conversation *hard.*
Ricardus wrote:
I wonder if this comes down to the fact that Epiphanies is underused, and some Purg threads should really be down there?

AIUI, the distinction was supposed to be that Epiphanies was for questions that impacted people in a deeply personal way, leaving Purg clear for questions that *can* be debated with dry academic detachment.

In practice that doesn't seem to be happening, and all the racial arguments are still happening in Purg.
Gwai wrote:
To respond briefly and completely unofficially:

I love Epiphanies. I love what we are doing there, and I want more discussions to happen there. That said What doesn't touch on personal feelings? If I talk about Stacey Abrams* in a belittling way, maybe I'm being ignorant, maybe I'm being racist, or maybe I am being reasonable, very possibly all three. If I discuss prison abolition it's not a topic I personally have any feelings on. But some here have been criminally wronged and some probably have wronged people criminally. How can we possibly keep all discussions that will affect people out of Purgatory?

*Black politician, in my opinion a brilliant one

Re Stacey Abrams: isn't that a problem the Ship has always had, just extended to racial issues? E.g. Peter Mandelson (UK politician) would seem to be a topic for Purgatory, but if the discussion for some reason turned towards his homosexuality, it could become a Dead Horse instead.

Re everything affecting people personally: AIUI the distinction drawn for Epiphanies was things that affected people's sense of identity; I don't think many people would say they 'identify' as a criminal or a victim of crime. I'd agree that the line between what is identity and what isn't is a bit fuzzy and arbitrary, but I'd have thought race would always be on the 'Yes' side of that line.
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Comments

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Has a thread ever been re-directed to Epiphanies? I see it happen regularly with other boards.
  • The "tax returns" thread started in Purgatory.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    edited May 12
    Yes that happened recently.

    I loved where we were originally heading with Epiphanies and think we can still do great things with it but personally, I've been a bit worried about asking for threads to be transferred on very sensitive matters like race, and reluctant to push for thread moves after what happened with Colin Martin on abortion/euthanasia thread which practically killed the board for ages. So I've not really been promoting it as I should, but was waiting, hoping that some changes would be made.

    It has ticked up a bit recently but the vulnerability to crashingly awful stuff from people who feel entitled to say what they like to whom they like is still there.

    My own feeling is that if we ask people to post and share about sensitive, potentially very hurtful things then they need some better protections - rather than that after someone has caused a very great deal of havoc and pain we might just be able to get them removed, but only if the hosts plead enough. There's a school of thought on the Ship which regards my opinion as heresy - and thinks women and people from minorities being exposed to privilege red in tooth and claw (as if they don't get enough in daily life), is somehow 'bracing' and exciting and you can't have useful or deep debate without that and it's not just the overprivileged who hold those opinions. Some people who aren't the proverbial white cis het middle class male or female, really are quite happy with it all because they enjoy the status quo and if other people from the same groups don't dare post or are turned off or quickly silenced - well Devil take the hindmost...

    So anyway yes threads can be moved there and some might really do better but also a cautionary note - it's not a cure-all for the kind of problems you get in Purgatory when you discuss issues around racism, sexism, ableism anti-LGBT+ etc. because of the way it's set up at the moment. And it's also a good question whether our main debate board should be the kind of space it is at the moment, where it's so unpleasant to discuss these issues.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Louise wrote: »
    I loved where we were originally heading with Epiphanies and think we can still do great things with it but personally, I've been a bit worried about asking for threads to be transferred on very sensitive matters like race, and reluctant to push for thread moves after what happened with Colin Martin on abortion/euthanasia thread which practically killed the board for ages. So I've not really been promoting it as I should, but was waiting, hoping that some changes would be made.

    It has ticked up a bit recently but the vulnerability to crashingly awful stuff from people who feel entitled to say what they like to whom they like is still there.

    I missed the Colin Martin stuff.

    I can't help thinking - and this is easy for me to say as someone who's not volunteered to host it - that if something is considered too sensitive for Epiphanies, then Epiphanies isn't really working.

    Is the risk basically that people who are restrained in Purgatory might think, 'Wayhay, we're in the "nothing off-limits" board now, I can say what I really think about the lesser races?' [Or not necessarily something that extreme but definitely outside the normal Overton window for Purgatory.]
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I thought that Epiphanies was heavily moderated? How is it that people are apparently shitting all over others in that board of all boards? very confused here.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    No it's my personal opinion that I don't think it's right to encourage people to think that we'll do something about racism when in fact our hands are tied by 'all widely held views' being allowed on the board no matter how 'offensive'. Colin Martin wanted to talk about euthanising infants with disabilities to the great distress of people with children and babies in their families who had disabilities. It took the hosts several days to be allowed to stop him.

    And here's Lambchopped who was one of the cheerleaders in the Styx in the Colin Martin affair for 'freedom of speech' to allow the Colins of this world to do this, and now claiming not to know what I'm talking about.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    Anyway there's an illustration of what I'm talking about. If someone who was affected in Purgatory by eg. racism, ableism or by outright claims that sexual abuse victims were lying moved to posting in Epiphanies, I'd have a limited number of ways of holding back the same people who did that to them in Purgatory from continuing in Epiphanies, and if I acted strongly it would likely go the Styx where the attacks on that person would then be defended as healthy 'free speech' - subjecting them to insult upon injury.

    I don't think what happened to the families whose children Colin thought could be euthanised was right and I'd hate to see others subjected to similar but there is a strong contingent who think I'm wrong.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Frankly, I don't.

    I don't recall EVER saying that someone ought to be allowed to kill off disabled children. Can you point to a place where I did?

    Secondary question: Did this kick off in Epiphanies? Because if it did, I might have been wholly unaware of it. I gave up reading that board for about a year because I thought I'd better leave it to lilbuddha and stop being an incitement to her everywhere I showed my face.

    So if Colin did THAT in Epiphanies, and the issue wound up in Styx without an explicit link, .... you know, I'd still like to see it. Because baby killing really isn't my thing. Link, please?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited May 12
    LC you didn’t say that, and Louise did not say you did - you made the free speech argument that CM ought to be able to make the argument and be argued against. The dispute thread is still in Styx, and the statements by CM are in the Euthanasia and Abortion threads in Ephiphanies.

    This is somewhat burned into my brain because I nearly left the ship permenantly over the issue.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited May 12
    I think I've just turned up the thread. If so, I made exactly three posts on a three page thread--which makes it odd to find myself identified as a ringleader, but whatever--and absolutely zero of those posts were in support of Colin (Smith, right?) being allowed to shit everywhere. I suggested we take him out back (= to Hell) and clobber the fuck out of him. Which is precisely what we did with that fellow, Merlin the Mad was it? who was advocating pedophilia on the Old Ship.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    Yes it was Colin Smith.
  • We know that there exist a range of opinions on all these topics that some shipmates have a strong emotional investment in. I don't think there exists such a topic where some of the widely-held opinions aren't viewed as highly offensive and personally distressing by some shipmates.

    As I recall, the Colin Smith affair grew out of the abortion discussion, where he wanted to view "post-birth abortion" as logically similar to a termination late in pregnancy. And it was clear that his views were offensive and distressing to a number of shipmates, and that there was no possible way that he could express them without causing this distress. It wasn't that he was expressing himself in a particularly crude or unfeeling way - it was the content of his opinion that caused the distress.

    Although I am reminded that the legal status quo, at least in England and Wales, allows for the termination, up to birth, of a foetus with any kind of "serious disability", and that fact too is distressing to many people who have loved ones with those disabilities.

    And in that context, I'd find the idea that advocating for the current legal position should be outside the pale to be a difficult one to support.

    There are plenty of states in the US, for example, that have recently passed laws to try to prevent trans girls from competing as girls in school sport. Should it be OK for a shipmate to speak in support of these bans?
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I'm not trying to revive any of these nasty things, and I'd really prefer we didn't reopen them on this thread, either, if you know what I mean. My goal was simply to argue that we could get rid of them just as thoroughly by kicking the shit out of the poster in Hell--in short, social control. As opposed to turning the whole Ship into a playpen with padded walls.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    Apologies for a memory glitch substituting surnames. Colin Smith.
    It wasn't that he was expressing himself in a particularly crude or unfeeling way - it was the content of his opinion that caused the distress

    I did think the way he expressed himself was unfeeling and his posting was relentless - it swamped the threads he was on but the key thing here is that the content of the opinion caused distress and all 'widely held opinions' are explicitly allowed in Epiphanies however 'offensive'. It's not a solution to tell people who're posting in Epiphanies because they want a less 'privilege red in tooth claw' space to take it to Hell which is the 'privilege red in tooth and claw space' par excellence.

    We could, if the admins and purg hosts were up for it take more of the racism threads and see how it goes (I would like to hear my fellow Epiphanies hosts opinions on that though) but people would need to be aware that it's not a proper anti racist space. The welcome mat is out for 'widely held' offensive opinions and host attempts to tackle that would likely get Styxed.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Maybe all widely held opinions should not be allowed in Epiphanies?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    I'm not trying to revive any of these nasty things, and I'd really prefer we didn't reopen them on this thread, either, if you know what I mean. My goal was simply to argue that we could get rid of them just as thoroughly by kicking the shit out of the poster in Hell--in short, social control. As opposed to turning the whole Ship into a playpen with padded walls.

    At which point people will complain about dog piling on people with unwelcome opinions.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Certainly. It seems that those are the two options. Pity.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    I'm not trying to revive any of these nasty things, and I'd really prefer we didn't reopen them on this thread, either, if you know what I mean. My goal was simply to argue that we could get rid of them just as thoroughly by kicking the shit out of the poster in Hell--in short, social control. As opposed to turning the whole Ship into a playpen with padded walls.

    One reason I looked forward to seeing more threads in Epiphanies is that we might be able to address the careless use of violent or abusive language by posters on the Ship. It's fine to say it's just metaphor and language has no real significance, but for some of us that isn't the case.

    I've had the shit kicked out of me in a South African police cell and I find careless sloppy language infuriating. You're overreaching here @Lamb Chopped and I don't know why. There's no need to infantilise Shipmates by saying they are asking for ' a playpen with padded walls'. Show some respect and a little verbal restraint.
  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    Yes it was Colin Smith.

    And yes, he also said to me in that context that he believed "That child" referring to my grandson who was brain-damaged by hospital error at birth should have been euthanised. He did clarify that he did not think such an action should be obligatory but available. I tried to challenge him on referring to my grandson as that child in an effort to get him to understand that how he was communicating had the capacity to be hurtful but to no avail.
    As I said yesterday on the thread about welcoming people- it's all about dealing with the whole person in front of you and not just the debate if you are trying to have these conversations within a community setting (real or virtual) rather than in a debating chamber.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    it's all about dealing with the whole person in front of you and not just the debate if you are trying to have these conversations within a community setting (real or virtual) rather than in a debating chamber

    This is absolutely key for me and what I feel we have to get right.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited May 13
    Caissa wrote: »
    Maybe all widely held opinions should not be allowed in Epiphanies?

    There's two ways of doing that. The first is for the ship to decide that opinions that are widely held, but also viewed as offensive by a segment of society, are forbidden. So the Ship could ban, for example, any expression of any idea that could be read as vaguely transphobic.

    The second is to permit those opinions on the wider Ship, but not in Epiphanies. The practical consequence of doing that is that you have to permit those topics to be discussed in Purg (if you say that you can't make any statement that isn't fully trans-affirming in Epiphanies, and also say that all trans topics have to go to Epiphanies, you've effectively made ship-wide ban). And if you permit Purg discussion of Epiphanies topics, then you break the entire purpose of Epiphanies.
  • Marvin the MartianMarvin the Martian Admin Emeritus
    Louise wrote: »
    it's all about dealing with the whole person in front of you and not just the debate if you are trying to have these conversations within a community setting (real or virtual) rather than in a debating chamber

    This is absolutely key for me and what I feel we have to get right.

    Can we do both, perhaps? One board for discussion within a community setting and one for discussion within a debating chamber setting?
  • Can we do both, perhaps? One board for discussion within a community setting and one for discussion within a debating chamber setting?

    We used to have a trend for having parallel threads running in Purg and Hell, on the same subject. It never compartmentalized well. I suspect that this proposal would compartmentalize even less well.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    I'm not trying to revive any of these nasty things, and I'd really prefer we didn't reopen them on this thread, either, if you know what I mean. My goal was simply to argue that we could get rid of them just as thoroughly by kicking the shit out of the poster in Hell--in short, social control. As opposed to turning the whole Ship into a playpen with padded walls.

    One reason I looked forward to seeing more threads in Epiphanies is that we might be able to address the careless use of violent or abusive language by posters on the Ship. It's fine to say it's just metaphor and language has no real significance, but for some of us that isn't the case.

    I've had the shit kicked out of me in a South African police cell and I find careless sloppy language infuriating. You're overreaching here @Lamb Chopped and I don't know why. There's no need to infantilise Shipmates by saying they are asking for ' a playpen with padded walls'. Show some respect and a little verbal restraint.

    All right.

    You're infuriated.

    I'm thinking of quitting the Ship.

    There is no reason on God's good earth why you should be censored in what you say to me. You're angry, you want to express that, and you're going to yank in your personal experience with real-world violence to .... something something about rhetorical violence. And now I feel like shit, and very much as if I have been tarred with the brush of having actually physically attacked you, and I get to deal with that on top of my own real-world issues which I'm just not going to drag in here.

    You are not responsible for how I'm feeling now.

    I am writing this because I am feeling very much like pulling the exact same rhetorical move you did in order to make you feel massive amounts of guilty for what is within your right as a Shipmate.

    You may call me to Hell.

    You may take my wholly metaphorical and impossible-to-execute-on-the-Internet idiomatic American phrase as if it were in fact a physical attack.

    You may ignore the fact that I was attempting to illustrate my belief that social control via Shipmate reaction is sufficiently strong that mandate from on high (Admins) is unnecessary.

    You may even ignore the fact that I had already been associated with defense of a poster who apparently wanted to euthanize babies.

    All this is in your right. But you've just proved my point for me, that one post from a Shipmate can do far more toward preventing obnoxious posting than a mandate from on high ever could do.

    And now I will go and consider my future.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I think it is fair to see that Epiphanies as it is currently constructed has been underutilized. It has just over 30 threads and only 4 have been started in 2021. I think the low number of threads is because it is hard to distinguish between the rough and tumble nature of Purgatory and how Epiphanies differs. If nothing changes I expect it will continue to see little usage. If there is no will to transform Epiphanies into a safe space for serious discussion on a permanent basis, might it be possible to have a 3-6 month experiment in making Epiphanies a safe space for serious discussion?
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited May 13
    I started to post this in the Purg thread but then decided it was more of a Styx question, because it may just prove that my idea of Epiphanies is a complete misconception.
    Louise wrote: »
    'Am I potentially retraumatising someone?' is the kind of question I would ask. It's not the same as talking about making someone 'sad' or 'upset.

    In my head, the idea of Epiphanies was that traumatic topics would be taken off Purgatory, so that someone with trauma could post in Purgatory without the risk of being retraumatised, and if they did choose to post in Epiphanies, then as long as the nature of the board is made clear to them, they could be considered to have accepted the risk of being retraumatised, and to have consented to that risk.

    Of course this doesn't justify being an arse, but it does mean that any post in Epiphanies has a built-in trigger warning that isn't present in Purgatory. Which makes me surprised that topics that are potentially triggering are being kept back from Epiphanies.

    I'm not sure if my second paragraph describes what the Ship intended, though, or if it's how people actually work in real life.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    In my head, the idea of Epiphanies was that traumatic topics would be taken off Purgatory, so that someone with trauma could post in Purgatory without the risk of being retraumatised, and if they did choose to post in Epiphanies, then as long as the nature of the board is made clear to them, they could be considered to have accepted the risk of being retraumatised, and to have consented to that risk.

    And I have almost the opposite impression - that we corral the personal identity type discussions in Epiphanies so that it can be made clear to people that they need to take extra care with what they say, and not just wade in with their size 12s trampling over someone's raw nerve endings.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    edited May 14
    Way back when in the middle of the Transgender thread mess we had a discussion about whether the thread should be moved to Dead Horses, and one of the rationales behind this suggestion was to move potentially traumatizing/triggering threads to a less prominent place on the Ship. Ultimately AIUI what happened is that the H&A decided to go one step further and make Epiphanies a more closely hosted board in the hope that the more problematic aspects of the Purg Transgender thread could be avoided altogether with a more interventionist approach to hosting.

    That said, it is a feature of having the Epiphanies board that people who are affected by these issues can more easily avoid these discussions if they want while still participating as much as they want in the Ship’s other boards.

    I know there has always been an aspirational side to Epiphanies in the sense that the H&A were trying to accomplish more than just ending the Transgender thread dysfunction that triggered this change. AIUI, there was a hope that a different style of hosting would not just address the negative features of the existing thread but also promote a better understanding of the topics the threads were about. I don’t really have a good sense of the extent to which people feel this has actually happened.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited May 14
    Pick
    Ricardus wrote: »
    In my head, the idea of Epiphanies was that traumatic topics would be taken off Purgatory, so that someone with trauma could post in Purgatory without the risk of being retraumatised, and if they did choose to post in Epiphanies, then as long as the nature of the board is made clear to them, they could be considered to have accepted the risk of being retraumatised, and to have consented to that risk.

    And I have almost the opposite impression - that we corral the personal identity type discussions in Epiphanies so that it can be made clear to people that they need to take extra care with what they say, and not just wade in with their size 12s trampling over someone's raw nerve endings.

    Some truth in both points of view.

    Epiphanies was born out of a recognition of a particular set of "raw nerve endings" and the Transgender thread produced some more general recognitions about issues of personal identity. It remains a work in progress.

    Epiphanies was born out of a desire to provide a rather more controlled environment for those whose raw nerve endings and sensitivities over issues of personal identity arose through membership of minorities subject to various kinds of prejudice or persecution. But I don't think we can create, structurally, a safe environment for discussions, particularly on a website with the historical ethos of providing an environment for expressions of Christian unrest.

    Much depends on the extent to which any of us recognises in discussions that we are wearing a pair of size 12s , often without realising it. "Don't offend easily, don't be easily offended" provides a kind of rough road map. But what some may perceive as "easily offended" may actually illustrate an underestimate of the impact of the words they have used. And what others perceive as "offending easily" may mistake the conclusions from different life experiences as inbuilt prejudice or oppressive intentions. In general, where personal identity is concerned, we do better to ask questions and listen to answers, rather than rush to assert opinions. We may still end up disagreeing profoundly, but at least we will be clearer about why.

    And of course all of us have scars and raw nerve endings because of life experiences. That ought to help us appreciate that other folks may have the same or different scars and raw nerve endings.

  • Marvin the MartianMarvin the Martian Admin Emeritus
    Can we do both, perhaps? One board for discussion within a community setting and one for discussion within a debating chamber setting?

    We used to have a trend for having parallel threads running in Purg and Hell, on the same subject. It never compartmentalized well. I suspect that this proposal would compartmentalize even less well.

    You may be right. In which case what else can we do but pick one “setting” and not the other, and just accept that people are going to leave either way? Is all this discussion just about which people we care about keeping on the boards and which people we don’t?
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Can we do both, perhaps? One board for discussion within a community setting and one for discussion within a debating chamber setting?

    We used to have a trend for having parallel threads running in Purg and Hell, on the same subject. It never compartmentalized well. I suspect that this proposal would compartmentalize even less well.

    You may be right. In which case what else can we do but pick one “setting” and not the other, and just accept that people are going to leave either way? Is all this discussion just about which people we care about keeping on the boards and which people we don’t?

    Would we know who they were?

    Purg already expects robust discussion, so leave that just as it is and beef up Epiphanies to make it a safer place.

  • Marvin the MartianMarvin the Martian Admin Emeritus
    Boogie wrote: »
    Can we do both, perhaps? One board for discussion within a community setting and one for discussion within a debating chamber setting?

    We used to have a trend for having parallel threads running in Purg and Hell, on the same subject. It never compartmentalized well. I suspect that this proposal would compartmentalize even less well.

    You may be right. In which case what else can we do but pick one “setting” and not the other, and just accept that people are going to leave either way? Is all this discussion just about which people we care about keeping on the boards and which people we don’t?

    Would we know who they were?

    Purg already expects robust discussion, so leave that just as it is and beef up Epiphanies to make it a safer place.

    That’s just the “two boards” solution I proposed at first, and to which LC was objecting.
  • Boogie wrote: »
    Purg already expects robust discussion, so leave that just as it is and beef up Epiphanies to make it a safer place.

    The rules as they stand split topics between Purg and Epiphanies. It is not OK for a shipmate to decide they want a "robust discussion" about transgender issues, for example, and have it in Purg. As @Barnabas62 pointed out, that's the problem that we were trying to avoid. Telling a shipmate who has a personal connection to any of the identity topics "just don't go in Purgatory - people are shits in there" doesn't seem like a good solution.

    But the Ship is a discussion forum and not a support club. We want to be able to discuss these sensitive issues with people who will have a wide range of experiences and opinions. But some of those widely-held opinions are just fundamentally offensive to some shipmates, and some of the ways that people express themselves are (usually not maliciously) hurtful.

    We can ask people to take more care in how they express themselves, and avoid a lot of the latter. Whether or not we can and/or should do anything about the former is a more challenging question.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited May 14
    [<snip> Is all this discussion just about which people we care about keeping on the boards and which people we don’t?

    I suspect the Ship is already in that situation - those who are still involved mainly comprise an almost monochrome group of people with similar interests, with many of those who had their feelings trampled on already gone or managing their Ship experience by limiting their interactions to Heaven, The Circus and All Saints. How many people are you still in contact with who you met on the Ship now no longer posting? Because I am sure for me it's more outside than in.

    I think the question we should probably be asking is how the Ship can broaden its appeal to survive into the future. Yes, it's already survived for 20 odd years, but currently, from the active posts, there's a steadily decreasing footfall and active core of members, with people steadily drifting away or dying off, and very few new people managing to join.

    I also think that some of the USP (unique selling point) of serious wide ranging discussion from a Christian viewpoint has been lost as too many of those still active* enjoy the one-liner smartarse jokes or their little feuds rather than engaging in discussions with any intellectual rigour and that's encouraging in more of the same. I do accept that level of serious engagement takes time because evidencing your arguments requires some research, but for me, that's something I've learned so much from. In fact, the research for a reply to Barnabas64 on the Hartlepool Election thread informed the planning meeting I attended yesterday.

    And if Purgatory is struggling, what hope for Epiphanies?

    * not everyone, this isn't a dig at everyone, as there is still serious conversation possible
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited May 14
    Boogie wrote: »
    Purg already expects robust discussion, so leave that just as it is and beef up Epiphanies to make it a safer place.

    The rules as they stand split topics between Purg and Epiphanies. It is not OK for a shipmate to decide they want a "robust discussion" about transgender issues, for example, and have it in Purg. As @Barnabas62 pointed out, that's the problem that we were trying to avoid. Telling a shipmate who has a personal connection to any of the identity topics "just don't go in Purgatory - people are shits in there" doesn't seem like a good solution.

    That’s not what I said at all.

    It’s topics which are taken to Epiphanies - not people.

    We already choose which boards to go to.

    When I’m feeling fragile I keep away from Purg and Hell. But I know Heaven and All Saints are safe places. Why not make sure Epiphanies is just as safe?


  • Marvin the MartianMarvin the Martian Admin Emeritus
    But the Ship is a discussion forum and not a support club. We want to be able to discuss these sensitive issues with people who will have a wide range of experiences and opinions.

    I don’t think this is still true for a lot of people. I think a lot of people want it to become an advocacy site where those sensitive issues have a definite Right and Wrong side, and the Wrong side is not to be defended or promoted in any way.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    But the Ship is a discussion forum and not a support club. We want to be able to discuss these sensitive issues with people who will have a wide range of experiences and opinions.

    I don’t think this is still true for a lot of people. I think a lot of people want it to become an advocacy site where those sensitive issues have a definite Right and Wrong side, and the Wrong side is not to be defended or promoted in any way.

    I think the problem (and I may be putting words into people's mouths) is:

    If we have a civilised discussion about Mars, and both human beings and Martians are participating, then each side will be able to contribute to the other's understanding, and thus both sides will come closer to what is True and Right.

    If, however, we have a discussion about Mars, but for some reason the Martians don't want to get involved, then in practice what we have is a bunch of human beings speculating about Mars - which could end up getting further away from what is True and Right than if the discussion didn't take place at all.

    IOW, there isn't necessarily a dichotomy between searching for Truth and keeping people happy.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    In fact, the research for a reply to Barnabas64 on the Hartlepool Election thread informed the planning meeting I attended yesterday.

    Pleased to hear it. It was very good. A classic illustration of the value of a facts-based response when there were a lot of opinions flying around.

    At their best, any of the serious discussion forums can still be both informative and clarifying. But they will never be at their best without serious and open minded engagement with the discussion. When folks just come to assert (which they are perfectly entitled to) discussion often degenerates into opinion ping pong.
  • Boogie wrote: »
    When I’m feeling fragile I keep away from Purg and Hell. But I know Heaven and All Saints are safe places. Why not make sure Epiphanies is just as safe?

    That's what I addressed in my second paragraph, which you snipped.

    You're right - Heaven and All Saints are "safe" spaces where support is offered, but serious discussion doesn't happen. And they're not separated by topic - they're separated by the intent of the poster. If you want support about your medical condition, you can post in All Saints. If you want a serious discussion about how people with your medical condition are disadvantaged by society, you can post in Purg, and if you want to rant about how much your medical condition sucks, Hell is there for you.

    If you make Epiphanies (which is separated by topic, and not by the poster's intent) into a "safe" space like All Saints, then you're saying "we can't have a serious discussion about this topic". Which we can do. I don't believe the ship is going to entertain, for example, a serious discussion about whether paedophilia is OK, regardless of how polite the people wanting to discuss it are, and I'm fine with that. It's a bit more awkward to exclude viewpoints that are widely-held from discussion, though.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    It's a bit more awkward to exclude viewpoints that are widely-held from discussion, though.

    A classic example of this is Roman Catholic teaching on sexuality. It's abominable in its sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. It's also the official stance of the biggest group of Christians in the world.
  • amyboamybo Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    When I’m feeling fragile I keep away from Purg and Hell. But I know Heaven and All Saints are safe places. Why not make sure Epiphanies is just as safe?

    That's what I addressed in my second paragraph, which you snipped.

    You're right - Heaven and All Saints are "safe" spaces where support is offered, but serious discussion doesn't happen. And they're not separated by topic - they're separated by the intent of the poster. If you want support about your medical condition, you can post in All Saints. If you want a serious discussion about how people with your medical condition are disadvantaged by society, you can post in Purg, and if you want to rant about how much your medical condition sucks, Hell is there for you.

    If you make Epiphanies (which is separated by topic, and not by the poster's intent) into a "safe" space like All Saints, then you're saying "we can't have a serious discussion about this topic". Which we can do. I don't believe the ship is going to entertain, for example, a serious discussion about whether paedophilia is OK, regardless of how polite the people wanting to discuss it are, and I'm fine with that. It's a bit more awkward to exclude viewpoints that are widely-held from discussion, though.

    I've had serious discussion in Epiphanies. It's discussions with an ounce of compassion and learning from one another's perspectives, rather than what is often rudeness masquerading as "logic" in Purgatory.
  • amybo wrote: »
    I've had serious discussion in Epiphanies. It's discussions with an ounce of compassion and learning from one another's perspectives, rather than what is often rudeness masquerading as "logic" in Purgatory.

    I agree - but @Boogie was proposing altering the Epiphanies rules to make it an actual 'safe space' rather than the 'have some concern for people's feelings' space that it currently is. Current Epiphanies rules don't prevent serious discussion on any aspect of Epiphanies topics.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited May 14
    amybo wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    When I’m feeling fragile I keep away from Purg and Hell. But I know Heaven and All Saints are safe places. Why not make sure Epiphanies is just as safe?

    That's what I addressed in my second paragraph, which you snipped.

    You're right - Heaven and All Saints are "safe" spaces where support is offered, but serious discussion doesn't happen. And they're not separated by topic - they're separated by the intent of the poster. If you want support about your medical condition, you can post in All Saints. If you want a serious discussion about how people with your medical condition are disadvantaged by society, you can post in Purg, and if you want to rant about how much your medical condition sucks, Hell is there for you.

    If you make Epiphanies (which is separated by topic, and not by the poster's intent) into a "safe" space like All Saints, then you're saying "we can't have a serious discussion about this topic". Which we can do. I don't believe the ship is going to entertain, for example, a serious discussion about whether paedophilia is OK, regardless of how polite the people wanting to discuss it are, and I'm fine with that. It's a bit more awkward to exclude viewpoints that are widely-held from discussion, though.

    I've had serious discussion in Epiphanies. It's discussions with an ounce of compassion and learning from one another's perspectives, rather than what is often rudeness masquerading as "logic" in Purgatory.
    This.
    amybo wrote: »

    I agree - but @Boogie was proposing altering the Epiphanies rules to make it an actual 'safe space' rather than the 'have some concern for people's feelings' space that it currently is. Current Epiphanies rules don't prevent serious discussion on any aspect of Epiphanies topics.

    A safe space and serious discussion are in no way mutually exclusive. You can do both. And I think we should.

  • amyboamybo Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    amybo wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    When I’m feeling fragile I keep away from Purg and Hell. But I know Heaven and All Saints are safe places. Why not make sure Epiphanies is just as safe?

    That's what I addressed in my second paragraph, which you snipped.

    You're right - Heaven and All Saints are "safe" spaces where support is offered, but serious discussion doesn't happen. And they're not separated by topic - they're separated by the intent of the poster. If you want support about your medical condition, you can post in All Saints. If you want a serious discussion about how people with your medical condition are disadvantaged by society, you can post in Purg, and if you want to rant about how much your medical condition sucks, Hell is there for you.

    If you make Epiphanies (which is separated by topic, and not by the poster's intent) into a "safe" space like All Saints, then you're saying "we can't have a serious discussion about this topic". Which we can do. I don't believe the ship is going to entertain, for example, a serious discussion about whether paedophilia is OK, regardless of how polite the people wanting to discuss it are, and I'm fine with that. It's a bit more awkward to exclude viewpoints that are widely-held from discussion, though.

    I've had serious discussion in Epiphanies. It's discussions with an ounce of compassion and learning from one another's perspectives, rather than what is often rudeness masquerading as "logic" in Purgatory.
    This.
    amybo wrote: »

    I agree - but @Boogie was proposing altering the Epiphanies rules to make it an actual 'safe space' rather than the 'have some concern for people's feelings' space that it currently is. Current Epiphanies rules don't prevent serious discussion on any aspect of Epiphanies topics.

    A safe space and serious discussion are in no way mutually exclusive. You can do both. And I think we should.

    agreed! :-)
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    What is wrong with Commandment 3 then?

    Attack the issue, not the person.

    It is the key distinction we draw. If any of us posts opinions on or facts related to issues then these are open to vigorous criticism. It may hurt our feelings to have these criticised because we are wedded to them. But that is not personal criticism.

    Purgatory can be an uncomfortable place, as can Epiphanies, if you find having your opinions challenged uncomfortable. But that is in the nature of vigorous discussion. It is not about collusion or glad-handing.

    Now of course it is true that discovering that a number of Shipmates disagree and do so by criticising an opinion can make us feel isolated and not properly understood or heard. I've been there. I addressed the counter arguments, conceded any faults, and stood my ground, for about 60 posts. I felt my Shipmates were fully entitled to criticise my views and if they had won the argument I would have conceded. But I didn't think they did that so I stuck to my guns. The majority is not always right.

    In Purgatory, I think that is a price any of us may pay for engagement. In Epiphanies the cost is lessened because Hosts may judge that the form of attack may not be directly personal but it does represent an attack on a group identity. That does not defend a bad or illogical argument. Criticism of these is still very possible and may still sting.

    I think when we talk about safe we had better consider seriously what we mean. If we mean ensuring that people's feelings don't get hurt I think that is incompatible with serious discussion.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    I don’t think you can ensure that people’s feelings aren’t hurt ( either in or outside the context of “ serious”discussion); individuals may of course keep their hurt feelings to themselves and simply withdraw without further comment.

    I can’t agree that “serious” discussion is incompatible with some care for people’s feelings. There is a risk that one poster’s blazing honesty and sincerity can kill a discussion.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    edited May 15
    To disagree slightly for a bit with my esteemed colleague, I addressed this a bit in a post in Purgatory, but I think there is a difference in degree between 'feelings getting hurt' and being subjected to racism, sexism, callousness etc.

    Racism, sexism and LGBT+ persecution are forms of injustice where people get dehumanised and treated as lesser beings. Reducing the trauma and humiliation of that just to 'feelings being hurt' as if someone said someone's cooking sucked or told them they were tactless to me isn't the same thing as being treated as a lesser or inferior or expendable class of human being, and facing real dangers of harm in the non-online world for that. It just seems to me to be a matter of equality that the people most subject to these harms get enough protection from them to enjoy the bulletin boards in the same way as those who are generally not navigating the online or offline world under these adverse conditions.

    I think the same thing goes for people talking about traumatic experiences like eg. losing a child or watching someone die. Their feelings and experiences are important and we're talking about deeper things than 'upset' 'hurt feelings' 'emoting' 'being offended'.

    I guess that for me people sharing these deep visceral experiences is something that verges on the sacred and I feel fiercely protective that these are not trivial things.

    Again it's a personal opinion and I admit it, but I would like to see a statement at least on one board that when we say in Commandment 1 - which we all signed up to - that we are against jerkish behaviour including 'racism, sexism (and all the other negative -isms') that we really mean it. But that's just my personal opinion.
  • Marvin the MartianMarvin the Martian Admin Emeritus
    Question: if sexism was completely banned then would that mean nobody would be allowed to defend or argue in favour of the Catholic/Orthodox doctrine that only men can be priests?
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    No because if you choose your words carefully then you can argue the matter with reference to Tradition, Scripture and doctrine. Just don’t say the “s” word.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    I have questions too, like why shouldn't women enjoy that same freedom from the presumption of divinely ordained inferiority as a sex that men have?

    What if treating women as inferior wasn't necessary for people's online enjoyment and fulfillment after all? What if we've been wrong all along to think it's a vital ingredient? What if people had to think very hard about how they framed things to avoid treating women as a lesser or inferior or expendable class of human being?

    What if we did this for other posters commonly subjected to presumed inferiority as humans too?
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