I Hereby Declare the Peter (Robinson) Principle

 

peter_robinsonEditor’s Note: When we say Ricochet is the home of smart and civil conversation on the web, we mean it. So please join us today and get a free month on us. See you in the comments.

Friends, this election season has seemed …. interminable. The highs, the lows, the lower lows … a lot has happened, and it’s only just beginning. I realize that a situation like this arouses passions and you’ll find no more argumentative or stubborn person on Ricochet than myself.

Lately there have been more fissures within our little community here at Ricochet than usual. And that’s fine. It’s more than fine, it’s a good thing. I happen to think that Ricochet is boring when we all agree with each other.

However, a problem comes when these fissures are accompanied by acrimony. And there’s been lots of acrimony lately. Despite all our differences, it’s important to remember that we’re all on the same team. Not the Republican team, or the conservative team, or even the center-right team. We’re all on the Ricochet team. We’re all members of the same community. (And to anyone who doesn’t know yet, yes, this is most certainly a community.)

So we’re clear: I’m not telling anyone to not express their unpopular opinions. I welcome controversial posts (it’s a lot more interesting than Hillary Outrage #4069). But it’s important that when we disagree with each other, we do so respectfully.

To wit, I’d like to offer a useful guideline.

Our beloved founder Peter Robinson is a gentle and decent person. The English language has many colorful synonyms for the human posterior, but if were you to use anything stronger than the word “hiney” in his presence, there is a non-zero probability that the man would plotz. (And I don’t mean to ridicule the man. He is a light of decency in an indecent world. Would that I were able to be so.)

My suggestion is this: When you’re arguing with someone, it helps if you pretend the person you’re arguing with is Peter Robinson. (And the bigger the disagreement, the more inflamed the passions, the more you should apply this rule.) It’s not just about not cursing someone else, it’s about assuming good faith on their part.

And it’s entirely possible Peter Robinson is reading what you say. Do you want him to read you saying something unpleasant to someone else? And it’s not just Peter, lots of impressive people read Ricochet. (Trust me, I know!) Do you want to have said certain things in front of them?

And know that, if you seek to persuade, your target audience isn’t just the person you’re disagreeing with, it’s everyone else who is reading what you say. Before commenting, ask if you want to represent your side the way you’re about to.

If you, individually, maintain that level of civility and dignity, in both your argument and your prose, then nobody will be able to flag anything you say. And if we all did that, then … wow.

Now, I realize that 99% of Ricochet members never get flagged for violating the Code of Conduct. But many of us have been tempted, from time to time, to say things we shouldn’t. The Peter Principle isn’t meant as a condemnation or a scold, just as an entirely voluntary guideline to help make things even more civil around here.

And while we don’t always agree, we should at least be friends. And barring that, we should at least be civil to one another. Because that’s the whole point, right? That’s why we’re here. This isn’t supposed to be a sewer. Let everywhere else be the sewer, this is Ricochet. We’re better than that.

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  1. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Thanks Dad.

    • #1
  2. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    I wouldn’t have changed a word, well said Fred.

    • #2
  3. Herbert Inactive
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Fred Cole: My suggestion is this: When you’re arguing with someone, it helps if you pretend the person you’re arguing with is Peter Robinson.

    sans clothing or not?

    • #3
  4. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Herbert:

    Fred Cole: My suggestion is this: When you’re arguing with someone, it helps if you pretend the person you’re arguing with is Peter Robinson.

    sans clothing or not?

    Peter would be embarrassed if he were sitting there arguing with you au naturel.  Do you want that?

    • #4
  5. Herbert Inactive
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    TG:

    Herbert:

    Fred Cole: My suggestion is this: When you’re arguing with someone, it helps if you pretend the person you’re arguing with is Peter Robinson.

    sans clothing or not?

    Peter would be embarrassed if he were sitting there arguing with you au naturel. Do you want that?

    Probably my only shot at winning an argument with him is to keep his laughter at a maximum.

    • #5
  6. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Herbert:

    Fred Cole: My suggestion is this: When you’re arguing with someone, it helps if you pretend the person you’re arguing with is Peter Robinson.

    sans clothing or not?

    [Insert obligatory knotted sweater joke here.]

    • #6
  7. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    FYI, I have an acquaintance who practices Scientology (don’t ask- I’m just a curious person) at the HQ for mind control in L.A. I’m forwarding this post to her as I think she would appreciate your technique, Fred.

    • #7
  8. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    EThompson:FYI, I have an acquaintance who practices Scientology (don’t ask- I’m just a curious person) at the HQ for mind control in L.A. I’m forwarding this post to her as I think she would appreciate your technique, Fred.

    I’m sorry.  I’m not sure I catch your meaning.

    • #8
  9. Gil Reich Inactive
    Gil Reich
    @GilReich

    Over the next few months we’ll have a better idea whether Ricochet is civil mostly because we’re good people or mostly because we’re on the same side on most core issues.

    Though even here, I think most of us agree on the basics. We have two people who should not be president and we’re arguing about what course of action is least horrible.

    • #9
  10. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Herbert:

    TG:

    Herbert:

    Fred Cole: My suggestion is this: When you’re arguing with someone, it helps if you pretend the person you’re arguing with is Peter Robinson.

    sans clothing or not?

    Peter would be embarrassed if he were sitting there arguing with you au naturel. Do you want that?

    Probably my only shot at winning an argument with him is to keep his laughter at a maximum.

    Well, there’s that.

    • #10
  11. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    However, a problem comes when these fissures are accompanies by acrimony. And there’s been lots of acrimony lately. Despite all our differences, it’s important to remember that we’re all on the same team. Not the Republican team, or the conservative team, or even the center-right team. We’re all on the Ricochet team. We’re all members of the same community.

    Just slightly creepy. I mean, what’s wrong with a little acrimony?

    • #11
  12. Herbert Inactive
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    TG:

    Herbert:

    TG:

    Herbert:

    Fred Cole: My suggestion is this: When you’re arguing with someone, it helps if you pretend the person you’re arguing with is Peter Robinson.

    sans clothing or not?

    Peter would be embarrassed if he were sitting there arguing with you au naturel. Do you want that?

    Probably my only shot at winning an argument with him is to keep his laughter at a maximum.

    Well, there’s that.

    I’ve also been told that it’s the little things that can make a difference.

    Tormund: They think you’re a God
    Jon Snow: I’m no God
    T: I know Ive seen your pecker. What God would have a pecker that small?

    • #12
  13. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    EThompson: Just slightly creepy. I mean, what’s wrong with a little acrimony?

    Nothing.  But I didn’t say there was a little acrimony.  I said there was lots of acrimony.

    there’s been lots of acrimony lately.

    • #13
  14. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    Acrimony is totally over-rated… In my humble opinion, of course.

    • #14
  15. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: Just slightly creepy. I mean, what’s wrong with a little acrimony?

    Nothing. But I didn’t say there was a little acrimony. I said there was lots of acrimony.

    there’s been lots of acrimony lately.

    A lot of that has to do with a generational gap that the site is currently experiencing.

    • #15
  16. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Fred Cole: This isn’t supposed to be a sewer. Let everywhere else be the sewer, this is Ricochet.

    I love this line.  And it’s true, you can find insults at a million other sites.  This is supposed to be the place where we can argue without insulting one another.

    • #16
  17. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Randy Weivoda:

    Fred Cole: This isn’t supposed to be a sewer. Let everywhere else be the sewer, this is Ricochet.

    I love this line. And it’s true, you can find insults at a million other sites. This is supposed to be the place where we can argue without insulting one another.

    You’re no fun.

    • #17
  18. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Is “butt” higher or lower on the Fundament Scale than “hiney”?

    gbutt

    • #18
  19. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    My only remark here is more a warning – I’m all for keeping a civil tone here and AVOIDING ALL CAPS just because you disagree with someone, but…  It does bear pointing out that many a prior post calling for civility has descended into anything but.  This has been such a frequent occurrence that there is even a name for the phenomenon – Skipsul’s law.

    • #19
  20. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    @#19 : I consistently agree with Skip and I hope this doesn’t ruin his reputation.

    • #20
  21. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Randy Weivoda:

    Fred Cole: This isn’t supposed to be a sewer. Let everywhere else be the sewer, this is Ricochet.

    I love this line. And it’s true, you can find insults at a million other sites. This is supposed to be the place where we can argue without insulting one another.

    And when we do insult one another, our insults should be more erudite and/or clever. 

    [and … Beat.  and … Cheese-eating Grin.]

    • #21
  22. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    the-wit-and-wisdom-of-dale-gribble-is-unmatched-35-photos-15

    • #22
  23. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    We’re testing Ricochet the way airplanes were tested in the early 1930s: Point the nose straight at the ground and then at the very last second, yank the control column towards you as hard as you can. If the wings don’t rip off, you’ve got a keeper.

    • #23
  24. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    Thanks Fred, excellent and timely post.  I particularly liked the way you highlighted the difference between disagreement and disagreement plus acrimony.

    I don’t want any bad blood around here….or the only kind we should have is this awesome arrangement of the song Bad Blood

    Peter might even like it…

    (Sorry, not successful at embedding the video….and I am a little bitter about it.)

    http://www.northpointonline.tv/posts/bad-blood-with-chris-cauley

    • #24
  25. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    PsychLynne:Thanks Fred, excellent and timely post. I particularly liked the way you highlighted the difference between disagreement and disagreement plus acrimony.

    I don’t want any bad blood around here….or the only kind we should have is this awesome arrangement of the song Bad Blood

    Peter might even like it…

    (Sorry, not successful at embedding the video….and I am a little bitter about it.)

    http://www.northpointonline.tv/posts/bad-blood-with-chris-cauley

    works fine.

    • #25
  26. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    I’m sure that there are people on here that will say I have a pretty good stubborn streak myself.

    • #26
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Gary McVey:We’re testing Ricochet they way airplanes were tested in the early 1930s: Point the nose straight at the ground and then at the very last second, yank the control column towards you as hard as you can. If the wings don’t rip off, you’ve got a keeper.

    That’s the only laugh I’ve had all day.

    :) :)

    It’s so true. :) :)

    • #27
  28. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: Just slightly creepy. I mean, what’s wrong with a little acrimony?

    Nothing. But I didn’t say there was a little acrimony. I said there was lots of acrimony.

    there’s been lots of acrimony lately.

    Too right. There’s tons of it growing in my garden.

    Oh, wait, that’s Agrimony.

    Also known as Tall Hairy Grooveburr.

    Sorry.

    • #28
  29. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    whew, lucky I got my post up before this one showed.

    • #29
  30. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    I prefer the technique of descending to Yo Momma jokes when things get too heated.

    • #30

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