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. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

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

    There’s a generational gap?  Between who and who?

    • #31
  2. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Fred Cole:

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

    There’s a generational gap? Between who and who?

    Millennials and Boomers. Duh.

    • #32
  3. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

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

    c6045510517eca7efd866e7572efa5f84c6af5438eaf9b16cf7ea24c78d86d7d_1

    • #33
  4. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Not many millennials, much to the despair of Ricochet Long Range Marketing. Plenty of Boomers, yes, but plenty of X-ers, probably a plurality. Like Rob.

    • #34
  5. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole:

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

    There’s a generational gap? Between who and who?

    Millennials and Boomers. Duh.

    See, I’m not either of those.  In fact, there’s a whole cohort of us who aren’t Boomers or Millennials.

    • #35
  6. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole:

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

    There’s a generational gap? Between who and who?

    Millennials and Boomers. Duh.

    See, I’m not either of those. In fact, there’s a whole cohort of us who aren’t Boomers or Millennials.

    I’d be interested in knowing the age and gender breakdown of members. Just for fun.

    Max??

    • #36
  7. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    EThompson: I’d be interested in knowing the age and gender breakdown of members. Just for fun.

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    • #37
  8. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: I’d be interested in knowing the age and gender breakdown of members. Just for fun.

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    You first.

    • #38
  9. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: I’d be interested in knowing the age and gender breakdown of members. Just for fun.

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    And which is the group that enjoys extensive acrimony?

    • #39
  10. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Randy Weivoda:

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: I’d be interested in knowing the age and gender breakdown of members. Just for fun.

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    And which is the group that enjoys extensive acrimony?

    Hipsters.  Always Hipsters.

    • #40
  11. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    You first.

    I don’t see any generational gap.

    • #41
  12. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    You first.

    I don’t see any generational gap.

    I do. I’m a Boomer and you must self-identify before I cross swords. I always like to know with whom I’m dealing.

    • #42
  13. Rick B. Member
    Rick B.
    @

    I am Gen X.  I have not noticed a generational gap, but that may be because I do not know the generation of many of the people here.

    • #43
  14. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    EThompson:I do. I’m a Boomer and you must self-identify before I cross swords. I always like to know with whom I’m dealing.

    Actually, I’m curious to hear your observations without you know.  Your observations should be independent of how old you think I am.

    • #44
  15. Dick from Brooklyn Thatcher
    Dick from Brooklyn
    @DickfromBrooklyn

    skipsul:

    Randy Weivoda:

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: I’d be interested in knowing the age and gender breakdown of members. Just for fun.

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    And which is the group that enjoys extensive acrimony?

    Hipsters. Always Hipsters.

    Recovering hipster jackasses. Guilty as charged.

    • #45
  16. Dick from Brooklyn Thatcher
    Dick from Brooklyn
    @DickfromBrooklyn

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole

    I’m curious about the generational gap you perceive and the differences you see between Boomers and others.

    You first.

    I don’t see any generational gap.

    I do. I’m a Boomer and you must self-identify before I cross swords. I always like to know with whom I’m dealing.

    No. Way.

    • #46
  17. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    I have just posted a method of resolving these disputes outside of the flagging mechanism. No need to thank me.

    • #47
  18. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Fred Cole: lots of impressive people read Ricochet. (Trust me, I know!)

    It’s true. I do read Ricochet.

    Often even before commenting.

    • #48
  19. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    I’ll do my part if those pointy-headed twits will.

    • #49
  20. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Fred Cole:

    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.

    I thought the meaning was clear.

    • #50
  21. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

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

    • #51
  22. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Now, I realize that 99% of Ricochet members never get flagged for violating the Code of Conduct.

    That’s because some of us belong to Spectre.

    • #52
  23. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    And if we all did that, then …

    The fall of man would be reversed and all thing would be made new.

    • #53
  24. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Pseudodionysius:

    And if we all did that, then …

    The fall of man would be reversed and all thing would be made new.

    Yay! Free Fresh Apples!

    • #54
  25. She Member
    She
    @She

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

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

    [DELETED EMBEDDED YO MAMMA VIDEO CLIP WHICH MESSES UP FORMATTING]

    Oh, I am having a really hard time with this thread.  First, I got “acrimony” and “agrimony” all mixed up, then I saw these comments, and couldn’t understand why I didn’t think they were at all funny.

    Eventually, I realized it was because you weren’t talking about a world-renowned cellist.

    • #55
  26. Archie Campbell Member
    Archie Campbell
    @ArchieCampbell

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

    Ooh, playing the dozens on Ricochet. That’s intriguing.

    • #56
  27. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    If you were going to use an old monochrome picture of Peter to illustrate this post you should have chosen the one on Wikipedia.Peter_Robinson_(speechwriter)_1986_37

    I guess if you’re going to be remembered for what you did in the Reagan White House, the world should see you in the Reagan White House.

    He is also, by Google’s reckoning, a real person.

    Person

    • #57
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    But Fred, I pretend the people I am arguing with are you. Wearing a sun dress.

    Lovely yellow print, by the way. Really sets off your eyes.

    • #58
  29. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Gil Reich: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.

    You are so wrong.  “most of us” may well be a smaller minority than you would like to imagine.  Even Peggy Noonan has woken up.

    My excuse for this, my latest outrage, is that I’ve been at the beach for four days and have lost all perspective.

    • #59
  30. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Percival:But Fred, I pretend the people I am arguing with are you. Wearing a sun dress.

    Lovely yellow print, by the way. Really sets off your eyes.

    Ugh, you and the yellow dress again!

    • #60
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