Fall of Western Civilization, Was Has Windows Version 3 Been Scrapped?

Well… the tenor of “communications” has degraded over the years on my most favored forum… This one. It used to be that we could discuss ANYTHING without anyone saying much more than “I disagree, and here’s why” then we’d go drink virtual libations to each other’s ability to make a cogent, if disagreed, argument (yes, a cogent argument can still be viewed as wrong). These days most threads seem to degrade to name calling and the disparaging of ones mental capacity within a few pages. And NO ONE even talks politics here.

If a group of well educated (excepting me of course), self-professed “good with words” people can not carry on a discussion without temper-tantrums, name calling, and reporting each other to Kewms, is there any point in participating in ANY social media? Even the forums here?

I miss the days when folks like Devin and I could be in “violent disagreement” and, when I mention it, Devin is surprised. Not surprised that I disagreed, but that I was “holding a grudge” about the disagreement. His surprise was that I never said anything to him about it. I never said anything because Devin, and everyone else on the internet deserves the same level of respect that I want. I want to be respected as a person that has a RIGHT TO AN OPINION NO MATTER HOW MUCH ANYONE DISAGREES WITH IT.

To have that right, we must extended it UNCONDITIONALLY to everyone around us.
Irrespective of the offense or distaste their opinion creates in our OPINION.

Everyone has the right to an opinion, no matter how wrong is it.

This is a cornerstone of civilized, modern society. Yet it is missing in most conversations. Read back through this thread and tell me I’m wrong. Look at it objectively. I think you will see what so many find frustrating.

For the record, I’m not pointing at you Lunk. Or you Devin. Or anyone else. It is a collective disease we all seem to have on occasion. And it is spreading much faster than Covid :slight_smile:

I agree! :smiley:
The thing that has surprised me the most lately is that people seem to get offended by questions. To me, questions can have two purposes: either enlighten me about something I don’t understand or try to make the “opponent” see the subject matter from a different angle. But lately, people seem to react to questions as if they are meant as a personal offense in disguise. Weird…

But maybe I am prejudiced by many years in an academic, scientific environment.

You and I were taught the Socratic method of debate and discovery. Mainly that questions are posed to assist in the process of mutually agreed or disagreed facts. and from that basis of agreed facts one then builds a cause.

I’m not sure how people are basing the thought processes for logic today, but it appears to an exclusive method vs the inclusive methods we tend to employ.

Long winded way of saying my dusty philosophy and logic systems are no longer welcome in the young world of the internet. hence my thoughts of meandering to the virtual door and showing myself out.

Jaysen & Lunk,

I too was taught formal debate and occasional teachers and professors used the Socratic method at me.

I was never comfortable with it. Looking back, I now believe it reminded me far too much of the verbal abuse I received as a child. Growing up, a question (especially a “why” question) was almost never a simple request for information in my family; it was more often a preliminary to a sneering put-down, to be followed by physical abuse if I didn’t immediately display the attitude the abusing parent wanted. In this atmosphere I learned that simply professing ignorance (“I dunno”) skipped the preliminaries and went straight to the verbal abuse, often bypassing physical punishment.

I was never invited to my school debate teams, which suited me well. I could not produce a rebuttal—I was paralysed by fear. This was one of the factors that led me out of academia—me? Defend a thesis? Not happening.

I’ve spent the last decade and a half exorcising these ghosts from my personal relationships. I now submit to abuse or commit it much less often. I’ve (almost :wink:) stopped posting in these controversial threads. Which leads me to my point:

I avoid two things in my posts which are often weapons of both debate and verbal abuse: sarcasm/irony and “why” questions.

Sarcasm or irony comes across poorly in posts. It’s often seen where not intended anyway. If a luminary like Neil Gaiman avoids it in his blog, who am I to think I can wield this double-edged sword without cutting myself? I avoid the stuff completely now.

“Why” questions in verbal abuse are often used to get the victim to state a position which the abuser then derides with sarcasm and personal attacks. Former victims of abuse are particularly sensitive to that word. If I need to ask questions of someone I’m trying to help on the forums, I avoid “why” and try to make clear that I need more information in order to offer useful suggestions.

It seems to me that folks who post on the forums are more and more sensitive to potential abuse, and are likely to pre-emptively (counter)attack if they detect it. Yes, this is counter to the spirit of academic debate and the Socratic method. Yes, they are taking things personally that aren’t intended that way. Myself, I’m more than happy to drop both debate and Socrates by the wayside.

FWIW, academic and scientific environments can be toxic, too. Questions can be used in the spirit of free inquiry, to understand potential assumptions, but can also be used to belittle and dismiss while wrapping the questioner in a mantle of “scientific objectivity.”

Forums generally (the internet generally!) can be pretty toxic, even for people who don’t have unhappy life histories. Which of course leads to more toxicity, as people who are primed to expect abusive behavior are likely to be “jumpy” and reactive even when a question is offered in good faith. That seems to be a fairly common pattern in these threads in particular. Responding to “what’s the status of Windows 3?” with “why do you care?” is neither friendly nor helpful, and is pretty much guaranteed to get an angry response. Long time forum members have seen the pattern play out often enough to know better.


When I ask why it is usually in the spirit of Toyota’s ”ask ’why?’ three times”. I am curious by nature, like a cat.
But Silverdragon’s post makes sense. I never experienced that kind of verbal abuse as child but I can understand what you are describing.

I’ll try to ask in another way next time, to avoid being seen as hostile.
Thanks for the post Silverdragon.

You’re welcome, Lunk!

Well…I didn’t want to say that, but yes. I experienced some of that, too.

An excellent point, which explains why I seem to find this sort of thing more and more often on forums and social media. Even more reason to practice my recently-learned non-abuse skills!

I agree with that, apart from it being a cornerstone of modern society any longer.

We have ‘hate speech’ laws in the UK. We may no longer express an opinion freely. It is endemic in our supposedly civilised society that ‘being offended’ is now regarded as the basis for criminal charges against the offender.

Sorry. Just an issue that really gets me annoyed.

Everyone has the right to an opinion, no matter how wrong it is. :mrgreen:

I was not intending to say “this is how it is today” as much as “this is what MUST BE”. When a society or government limits the RIGHT of the people to hold and express an opinion freely, it become a tyranny. These tyrannies end in either decades of oppression or in rebellion.

Or; If we do not study history, we are doomed to repeat it.

This thread is contentious enough when it confines itself to Scrivener. Please take discussions of the decline and fall of Western civilization elsewhere.


Katherine is right, of course. Jaysen, Teriodin, SilverDragon, Lunk, and others, if there’s a general-off-topic-whatnot venue in these forums where this could be continued, I’d be interested in joining in.

We’re here in “And Now For That Latte”, DavidR. Please express your opinions freely! (Almost) anything goes, here…

And I’ll start off by saying, as a part of the aforementioned process of exorcising abusive ghosts, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t afford to decide that any opinion is “wrong.” I may think it’s narrow; I may think it doesn’t take into account factors that I personally find important… but wrong? If I start there, I’m halfway back to my old abuse-cycle ways.

This is a tricky one, and one in which ’opinion’ is often confused with ’fact’.

(Yes, I know, there are no facts, strictly speaking, just the currently dominating hypotheses aming scientists; I know, I’m one of them)

Opinions are mostly based on how we value things, and that’s a personal choice. Like “Me and my family having decent leaving conditions is more important to me than the existence of some obscure insect, so I won’tvsupport scrapping western society to save that bug”. But then we have all thióse cases where the opnion is based on false facts, and where the person refuses to accept that the facts are wrong.

Some opinions are sufficiently misguided that I’ll put a good bit of effort into avoiding people who hold them. Right/wrong in an absolute sense is less important to me than worth my time/not.


I happen to agree, with a recent example of leaving one support group for another that is more community-minded. But I left, not because the first group’s effective leader was wrong, but because I was tempted to try to convince her that I was right. I have died on that hill too many times in a Groundhog Day-like fashion. To quote the immortal Robert A. Heinlein. “Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” (perhaps not original with him, but nonetheless to be found on p. 31 of Time Enough for Love, Ace edition 1988.)

I might add that it annoys the voice instructor, too.

There’s an awful lot of pig voice lessons on the internet…

Exactly. Everyone does have the right to their opinions. That doesn’t mean that the free expression of an opinion is always harm-free to society. Societies are a balancing act between individual good and greater good, and there are some opinions out there that are toxic in the amount of others’ time they eat up and the harm they do.

Speaking is an action, and not all actions can be allowed for the greater good.

I’m not sure how much I’ll have to contribute here, but I do want to say a couple of things. First, thank you SilverDragon, for your willingness to be vulnerable about your own history. I know it has take a lot of work to get to a healthy place.

WRT free expression of opinions, I think Devin makes a good point. Things look different in different societies with different histories, of course. Here in the USA, racist language and racist opinions have a unique and convoluted history–including opinions about what exactly is racist. An insult is not simply an opinion; an intentional lie is not an opinion; a statement meant to do personal or social harm ought not to have the same protections as a simple opinion. In my opinion! In high school (a very long time ago) I was taught that there is a legal principle according to which one person’s right to extend their arm ends where another person’s nose begins (sources traced here: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/10/15/liberty-fist-nose/). And we all know that words can and do have real effects; otherwise, why write?

Part of the difficulty is that arm-extenders often profess not to have realized that there was even a nose out there. If we truly mean no harm or offense when expressing an opinion, or making any kind of a statement, then we have an obligation to genuinely listen to those who claim to find it hurtful. We may learn something.

None of this is meant to apply specifically to anyone here or to anything said here. Just a rumination. Which I guess makes me a ruminant, and we know what ruminants express: from one end “Moo”; from the other… :laughing:

Even in the US, there are limits to freedom of speech. Like the old test in Schenk vs. US that you can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater. Private individuals and organizations have no compunction to support your freedom of speech either. I think a lot of times the notion of free speech is being confused with the notion that every opinion is equally valuable and beneficial to society. (Clearly, it isn’t.)

Should organizations like the KKK exist? One could argue that they fail the test in Schenk vs. US, that they present a threat to a part of the population. Note, I’m not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on TV. I, personally, think that the KKK is repugnant, and they aren’t welcome in my home. (Which is my right as a private owner, or renter.) Should they be made illegal? The government doesn’t think so. (I think public pressure and societal shunning is sometimes more effective than legal pressure. LIke your racist uncle will get the hint faster, if he doesn’t get a Christmas invite for being an asshole.)