The Ricochet I Love

 

As an official Ricochet Moderator,™ some days I despair for the grand experiment in civil, right-wing community building that is Ricochet. So much of my energy on the site is spent dealing with sniping and griping that I start to wonder if anyone actually wants to have a conversation.

Too many times it feels like members are here to repeat the same arguments like a Groundhog Day from Hell, burn acres of strawmen, gloat over the fellow Ricochetti they consider their enemies, and bring up every less-than-complimentary thing anyone has ever said to them as justification for their own bad behavior, like a half of a couple that wants a divorce but wants to force the other party to be the one who actually files. Two things have happened in the last few days though that have rekindled hope that this community can actually work as intended.

The first is so simple it should hardly need to be mentioned. Brian Watt created a post on “ecosexuality.” iWe put up a disagreeing post that mentioned that it was in reaction to Brian’s. iWe didn’t hijack the thread to make himself the center of conversation; Brian didn’t complain about being embarrassed by having a fellow member disagree with him. It’s a beautiful model of how Ricochet as a good faith conversation should work.

The second is also a wonderful example of mature behavior. In GrannyDude’s recent post “The Mystery of Male Armies: Redux,” there was a flap over language. One party attempted to make a joke which due to the nature of text fell flat, and the recipient felt offended. The recipient admitted to hurt feelings and requested an apology, which was then given and accepted. Neither party went off-thread to complain about “that insulting jerk” or “that humorless scold.” Neither used knowledge of the other’s personal life to exacerbate the fight or poison the possibility of reconciliation. Neither appear to be holding a grudge that will be remembered for months or years. The thread has returned to being a pleasant conversation.

I realize that not every problem can be solved so easily, that we all have sore spots and wounds from our lives in general and previous conversations on Ricochet. I know that we all have those positions on which no compromise is able to be made. But civility can exist among adults who work to create it, and I’m happy that we still have many of those people at Ricochet.

There are 131 comments.

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  1. Saint Augustine Member

    Amy Schley:

    Too many times it feels like members are here repeat the same arguments like a Groundhog Day from Hell, burn acres of strawmen, gloat over the fellow Ricochetti they consider their enemies, and bring up every less-than-complimentary thing anyone has ever said to them as justification for their own bad behavior, like a half of a couple that wants a divorce but wants to force the other party to be the one who actually files.

    And yet, compared to the rest of the internet, . . . .

    • #1
    • August 23, 2018, at 5:12 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  2. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    Agreed, Amy. There are a lot of examples of people who disagree and do it amiably, and we shouldn’t despair over the few exceptions. To a large extent, Ricochet is still a very civil place.

    • #2
    • August 23, 2018, at 5:24 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  3. PHCheese Member

    If I agreed with everyone here, I wouldn’t be here.

    • #3
    • August 23, 2018, at 5:32 AM PDT
    • 21 likes
  4. Saint Augustine Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Agreed, Amy. There are a lot of examples of people who disagree and do it amiably, and we shouldn’t despair over the few exceptions. To a large extent, Ricochet is still a very civil place.

    Ricochet forced me to invent the word friendmesis.

    • #4
    • August 23, 2018, at 5:36 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    As the humorless scold, I want to thank Amy for this post.

    And iWe for being my friend.

    • #5
    • August 23, 2018, at 6:01 AM PDT
    • 21 likes
  6. Quake Voter Inactive

    Amy, I didn’t read iWe’s post as a disagreement with Brian.

    The two posts and the comment threads comprised the best one-tw0 punch combination I’ve read anywhere recently.

    First the mockery and some laugh-out-loud satire (still chuckling at Doug’s cactus crack).

    Then iWe gave the argument philosophical depth, groundedness and some real heart.

    I agree that iWe’s timing was impeccable. He let the laughter die down and then said “But there’s a very serious point here…”

    • #6
    • August 23, 2018, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  7. Douglas Pratt Member

    Well said, and thanks for saying it. An important part of a moderator’s job is to pat heads when we do something right, as important as kicking tails when we do something wrong.

    I spent 10 years moderating Forums on CompuServe, back when the earth was still cooling and the tectonic plates moving around. I always pictured the job as being like a bartender. Your purpose is to create and maintain a place where people enjoy spending time, feeling safe and comfortable. If someone busts up the furniture you act, up to and including kicking them through the swinging doors.

    The CompuServe Forums had two features in common with Ricochet that I felt were essential to their success. First, they were moderated, with rules set and enforced by the Sysops. Second, people paid to be there.

    One of my rules in the 9 Forums I eventually wound up running was that we used real names (or pseudonyms that at least sounded like real names…there was no way to check). I felt and feel that anonymity brings out the worst in human nature. We had interesting discussions about this in the Comics and Animation Forum, an audience that has considered the consequences of donning a mask.

    • #7
    • August 23, 2018, at 6:45 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    Amy, I didn’t read iWe’s post as a disagreement with Brian.

    The two posts and the comment threads comprised the best one-tw0 punch combination I’ve read anywhere recently.

    First the mockery and some laugh-out-loud satire (still chuckling at Doug’s cactus crack).

    Then iWe gave the argument philosophical depth, groundedness and some real heart.

    I agree that iWe’s timing was impeccable. He let the laughter die down and then said “But there’s a very serious point here…”

    Quite right, Quake Voter. I am still reading through the comments on iWe’s brillant post. 

     

    • #8
    • August 23, 2018, at 6:47 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Stad Thatcher

    One thing I’ve noticed at Meetups is I even like the people I disagree with once I meet them in person. Sometimes the use of a keyboard and monitor makes us forget we’re interacting with real people.

    • #9
    • August 23, 2018, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  10. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley Post author

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    Well said, and thanks for saying it. An important part of a moderator’s job is to pat heads when we do something right, as important as kicking tails when we do something wrong.

    Exactly. Anyone who’s ever used operant conditioning knows you can’t just punish bad behavior; you have to reward the good. Doesn’t matter if you’re working with dogs, horses, kids, or adults. 

    • #10
    • August 23, 2018, at 7:10 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    One thing I’ve noticed at Meetups is I even like the people I disagree with once I meet them in person. Sometimes the use of a keyboard and monitor makes us forget we’re interacting with real people.

    I’ve also found that meeting them helps you learn a person’s mannerisms and speech patterns, which helps you fill in what’s missing when you only read their words. 

    • #11
    • August 23, 2018, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  12. Dr. Bastiat Member

    I’m sitting here chuckling, thinking about what a horrible moderator I would be. Oh, my goodness. There would be no [redacted]. There would be YOU’RE AN IDIOT!!! SHUT THE [email protected]%# UP!!!

    Thank you for the work you do. That job is not for everybody.

    • #12
    • August 23, 2018, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  13. Percival Thatcher

    Hooboy … a civility thread. You know what that means …

    • #13
    • August 23, 2018, at 7:50 AM PDT
    • 18 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Ricochet is the only “blog” I’ve ever visited, although now and then I look in at sites that are called blogs. This place is special, because people come here to share ideas and to learn, not just take shots at people. I rarely have people respond poorly towards me, and I try to maintain that kind of dialogue, because it just makes sense to me! And I definitely feel a greater rapport with those I’ve met–Stad, Boss Mongo, Patti, Barkha, GldIII, Kevin, Rush Babe and Ray, and some of their spouses. (Forgive me for forgetting some of you.) Those meet-ups make this site not only function well, but helps to make it a community, and I am proud to be affiliated with it.

    • #14
    • August 23, 2018, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  15. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley Post author

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I’m sitting here chuckling, thinking about what a horrible moderator I would be.

    The first thing a moderator must moderate is her own commentary. Luckily on the internet, no one has to know what your first reaction was. 

    • #15
    • August 23, 2018, at 7:57 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  16. Brian Watt Member

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    Well said, and thanks for saying it. An important part of a moderator’s job is to pat heads when we do something right, as important as kicking tails when we do something wrong.

    Exactly. Anyone who’s ever used operant conditioning knows you can’t just punish bad behavior; you have to reward the good. Doesn’t matter if you’re working with dogs, horses, kids, or adults.

    In the words of a famous cricket: “Well! Ho-ho-ho! My, my! Mmm! Say, that’s pretty swell! Gee, thanks. But, uh, don’t I get a badge or something?”

    • #16
    • August 23, 2018, at 8:07 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. The Great Adventure! Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    One of my rules in the 9 Forums I eventually wound up running was that we used real names (or pseudonyms that at least sounded like real names…there was no way to check). I felt and feel that anonymity brings out the worst in human nature. We had interesting discussions about this in the Comics and Animation Forum, an audience that has considered the consequences of donning a mask.

    I can state unequivocally that if I had to use my real name I would leave Ricochet immediately. I work with a wide range of clients all over N America and for a company that has employees worldwide. Some clients and some co-workers definitely fall into the Loony Left realm to the point where if they heard where I stand on some hot button issues it would (not could, would) cause irreparable harm to the working relationships. I’ve become quite adept at avoiding conversations about political topics in my work sphere.

    So let’s say someone puts up a post in the Member Feed on abortion and I put up a response that is strongly pro-life. It gets promoted to the Main Feed along the way. In less than a second I can think of at least 6 people who would either end our working relationship or would feel it necessary to harangue me for the rest of my life about their “rights”.

    It’s not the People of Ricochet I’m concerned about.

    • #17
    • August 23, 2018, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 27 likes
  18. Guruforhire Member

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    One of my rules in the 9 Forums I eventually wound up running was that we used real names (or pseudonyms that at least sounded like real names…there was no way to check). I felt and feel that anonymity brings out the worst in human nature. We had interesting discussions about this in the Comics and Animation Forum, an audience that has considered the consequences of donning a mask.

    I can state unequivocally that if I had to use my real name I would leave Ricochet immediately. I work with a wide range of clients all over N America and for a company that has employees worldwide. Some clients and some co-workers definitely fall into the Loony Left realm to the point where if they heard where I stand on some hot button issues it would (not could, would) cause irreparable harm to the working relationships. I’ve become quite adept at avoiding conversations about political topics in my work sphere.

    So let’s say someone puts up a post in the Member Feed on abortion and I put up a response that is strongly pro-life. It gets promoted to the Main Feed along the way. In less than a second I can think of at least 6 people who would either end our working relationship or would feel it necessary to harangue me for the rest of my life about their “rights”.

    It’s not the People of Ricochet I’m concerned about.

    This. I had to worry about violence and vandalism during the Iraq War when I was working in nondescript places in the basement of the pentagon, and I don’t want to invite that for my home, especially since its only gotten worse.

    • #18
    • August 23, 2018, at 8:51 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  19. DonG Coolidge

    I like Ricochet, because Godwin’s Law rarely occurs. Nice job everyone.

    • #19
    • August 23, 2018, at 9:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Front Seat Cat Member

    As long as free speech and public opinion is still with us, we have to deal with it – and the moderators are much appreciated – they have a tough job.

    • #20
    • August 23, 2018, at 9:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Curt North Inactive

    I’m not trying to start something here (honest!), but about the grumbling, insults, and all that other negative stuff? I don’t believe it’s a matter of civility, after all the vast majority of us are probably decent ladies and gentlemen. Yet wouldn’t we be sticking our collective heads in the sand if we didn’t admit what we all pretty much know is the issue – President Trump. The conflicts on Rico seem to have started, or gotten much worse, with the rise of Trump. The OP is glaringly absent the man himself, perhaps in an effort to avoid yet another battle in the comments thread. And when we see some of the things that now draw warnings or are redacted by mods, is it any wonder some of us feel the need to go “off thread” to be able to even say words and phrases that used to be common sense? We’ve reached a point where both Trump supporters and detractors are both on the same side saying “Wait, now we can’t say that word either?”

    Family gatherings are nice and all, and civility is appreciated, but there’s nothing wrong with a sharp elbow now and then either.

    • #21
    • August 23, 2018, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Ricochet is the only “blog” I’ve ever visited, although now and then I look in at sites that are called blogs. This place is special, because people come here to share ideas and to learn, not just take shots at people. I rarely have people respond poorly towards me, and I try to maintain that kind of dialogue, because it just makes sense to me! And I definitely feel a greater rapport with those I’ve met–Stad, Boss Mongo, Patti, Barkha, GldIII, Kevin, Rush Babe and Ray, and some of their spouses. (Forgive me for forgetting some of you.) Those meet-ups make this site not only function well, but helps to make it a community, and I am proud to be affiliated with it.

    Like I tell my non-online friends, Ricochet is my social media . . .

    • #22
    • August 23, 2018, at 9:47 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Douglas Pratt Member

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    I can state unequivocally that if I had to use my real name I would leave Ricochet immediately. I work with a wide range of clients all over N America and for a company that has employees worldwide. Some clients and some co-workers definitely fall into the Loony Left realm to the point where if they heard where I stand on some hot button issues it would (not could, would) cause irreparable harm to the working relationships. I’ve become quite adept at avoiding conversations about political topics in my work sphere.

    Point well taken. My Sysop years were in the Eighties, when HR departments didn’t routinely scan social media and the risk was about equivalent with having a letter to the editor published. Times are different today, sadly.

     

    • #23
    • August 23, 2018, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Douglas Pratt Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    This. I had to worry about violence and vandalism during the Iraq War when I was working in nondescript places in the basement of the pentagon, and I don’t want to invite that for my home, especially since its only gotten worse.

    Of course. I wasn’t recommending such a policy for Ricochet. I would probably consider a pseudonym if I didn’t have my real name on audiobooks and my hobby business. Times have changed. For example, when I start teaching NRA classes again (once my NY pistol permit comes through) I am taking out extra insurance to cover doxxing and swatting, even though I live in a rural area where people are cool with open carry.

    • #24
    • August 23, 2018, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  25. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley Post author

    Curt North (View Comment):
    The OP is glaringly absent the man himself, perhaps in an effort to avoid yet another battle in the comments thread.

    I rather thought I covered that with: 

    Amy Schley: it feels like members are here to repeat the same arguments like a Groundhog Day from Hell, burn acres of strawmen, gloat over the fellow Ricochetti they consider their enemies …

    When was the last time a conversation about the president was actually a civil exchange of novel ideas? All I ever see on those posts are the same dozen or so members making the same comments they’ve been making for the last two years, to the point where I think I could make a boiler plate template with blanks to fill in the breaking gossip of the day. 

    I would love a day — a whole week would make me positively giddy — where everyone looks around their lives and finds something else to talk about. What’s everyone’s city council or state legislature up to? What are they doing in their community? What self- improvement goals are people working on? What books, fiction or non-fiction, are people reading and what things are they learning about? 

    The best way to keep anyone — whether Trump, his fans, or his detractors — from living rent free in one’s head is to fill one’s head with something else. 

    • #25
    • August 23, 2018, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  26. SkipSul Moderator

    Curt North (View Comment):
    Yet wouldn’t we be sticking our collective heads in the sand if we didn’t admit what we all pretty much know is the issue – President Trump.

    Sadly, yes. He’s a guy who not only elicits strong opinions, but voicing those opinions is, all too often, construed as a moral issue by those of opposite opinions.

    Curt North (View Comment):
    And when we see some of the things that now draw warnings or are redacted by mods, is it any wonder some of us feel the need to go “off thread” to be able to even say words and phrases that used to be common sense? We’ve reached a point where both Trump supporters and detractors are both on the same side saying “Wait, now we can’t say that word either?”

    The problems have largely been down to where things devolve into personal insults, applying broad, and sometimes rather mean labels to the groups of one’s opponents, outright mockery of one’s opponents, or attempts to shout down or shut down discussions.

    A good recent example was last week’s series of arguments over the alleged tape of Trump saying a racial epithet. People on both sides of that were taking the argument to extremes, responding to even mild pro or con arguments with absolute moral condemnation.

    Rather reminded me of an argument I witnessed between a relative and his mother over his statement that someday he wished to purchase a motorcycle. It went somewhat as follows.

    Son: I’m going to buy a motorcycle as soon as I move out of here.
    Mom: I won’t let you. No son of mine is going to get one of those! They’re death on wheels.
    Son: How will you stop me? I won’t be living here!
    Mom: I’ll know where you live. I’ll put sugar in the gas tank.
    (by this time they’re both screaming at each other)
    Son: I’ll have you arrested! Why are you trying to ruin my life!
    Mom: Your death would ruin my life! Why are you being so selfish!
    Son: I’ll put a lock on the gascap then!
    Mom: I’ll slash your tires!

    All this over a bike that was, let’s be honest, entirely theoretical. And yet neither wanted to back down. Each was dead convinced that the other was trying to ruin their life.

    Sadly for many, they feel that any attack or defense of Trump means war, and in war you’re either an ally, and enemy, or a traitor.

    • #26
    • August 23, 2018, at 10:30 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  27. Curt North Inactive

    I agree with both comments above. I was just pointing out that we are after all, a blog site founded on politics and it’s difficult to talk about politics without mentioning the President. I don’t think he really dominates this place as much as some might think, I see posts once or twice a day maybe, and the ones where the comments hit 100+ and the insults start are maybe a couple a week. And yes it’s almost always the same group of us throwing punches, but frankly neither side is willing to cede the field and I don’t see that changing no matter how much CoC policies are enforced or not.

    I’m not going to get into a list of Rico good and bad, not the place. Let’s just say that all us yard brawlers, both anti and pro, well we give you all some job security now don’t we? :)

    • #27
    • August 23, 2018, at 10:51 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Curt North (View Comment):
    Let’s just say that all us yard brawlers, both anti and pro

    Not all of us, @curtnorth! ;-)

    • #28
    • August 23, 2018, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    Curt North (View Comment):
    Let’s just say that all us yard brawlers, both anti and pro, well we give you all some job security now don’t we? :)

    You do know that moderators are not paid, right? The only reason we are doing this is out of love for Ricochet. I’m a slacker but some moderators put in dozens of hours a week trying to keep the peace. 

    If you decide to volunteer to pick up the trash in your local park, it’s really not “job security” when people litter. You’d really rather just enjoy the park. 

    • #29
    • August 23, 2018, at 11:00 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  30. TomCo9 Coolidge

    Can’t imagine how difficult it is. No one wants to be disagreed with, no one wants to be wrong. It’s some kind of tribal, I-Demand-to-Be-at-the-Top-Who-the-Hell-Do-You-Think-You-Are human problem that we can’t just listen, consider, and accept dissent. True maturity means pushing aside those “feelings” and engaging cordially, thoughtfully, and without veering into the mud.

    My family had a family party years ago. Two members on opposite sides of the political spectrum got into a disagreement (I think it was over the Arizona “immigration papers” thing) and of course it was the progressive that took things too far (or maybe that’s just my bias), screaming at the other. It was inappropriate and uncomfortable. Emotions are a hell of a thing.

    So if anyone figures out how to control human nature, barring chemical manipulation, let me know because Ricochet is as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned.

    • #30
    • August 23, 2018, at 11:07 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
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