When I first came to Stack, it was a terrifying place (much akin to NYC in the late 1970's;) So I think the mandate to "be nice" (kindness, charity, patience) has been enormously beneficial.

It's not that most people come to Stack to be nice, but the brutality of old culture was eventually understood to be dis-incentivizing, potentially running the risk of diminishing the core mission, which is sharing of information, the core purpose of the internet (along with surviving nuclear war;)

Now we're experiencing another transformation, where the issue of identity, and how we refer to one another, is causing disharmony and strife.

A little while ago I joined Twitter, part of what is referred to as "the internet of evil aka the internet", and it very quickly forced me to be a better person. The level of raw anger unleashed on a daily basis on Twitter could probably power all bitcoin mining for year. I quickly found dispassion to be the only viable strategy.

Stack began as a true geek forum, focused on computer science and demonstrating strong utility. These are our founders. We now have a robust hard-science kernel in addition to a wide array of humanities stacks, and even hobbies.

It occurs to me that a principle of scientific inquiry could be a useful complement to "be nice", here the idea that, as analyzers of knowledge (and potentially even truth;) it is incumbent on us to also "be dispassionate", here in the sense of impartiality and a certain degree of detachment.

I mean this most specifically in regard to formal Q&A which, in their highest purpose, serve as public resources.

(I think a little passion on chat can sometimes be a good thing, such as when a user is dressing me down for a perceived lapse in moderation, and I give them points for their passion because it means they care deeply and I should give the issue fair review.)

As we're evolving and working through shifts in culture and potentially charged topics, I think striving for a level of impartiality and detachment would greatly serve the community.

I mean this proposal in the sense of an ideal as opposed to a hard rule.

  • 7
    It's called "being level-headed".
    – user102937
    Oct 21 '19 at 4:05
  • 5
    So, are you proposing that we should all try to be (more) emotion-less? (sorry, I'm having a hard time understanding your post and what your point is). Oct 21 '19 at 6:03
  • 4
    @BelovedFool dispassionate means to be detached, to be cool and objective.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 21 '19 at 6:28
  • @Mari-LouA I know what it means but it doesn't really answer my question. What is this post actually proposing? (I don't see a question in the main body, having one would really help understand what the OP wish us to do). Oct 21 '19 at 6:47
  • Might have been better as an answer to one of several questions.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 21 '19 at 6:57
  • 1
    I wouldn't want to be a robot. I guess there will be real ones soon and I still think that politeness and showing respect should be sufficient for any civil communication.
    – Trilarion
    Oct 21 '19 at 7:05
  • 5
    'When I first came to Stack, it was a terrifying place (much akin to NYC in the late 1970's;)' - How so?
    – Script47
    Oct 21 '19 at 8:53
  • @Script47 just that there was a high degree of flame--a new, unsuspecting OP could ask and earnest question and be roundly lambasted, if not viciously attacked. Many users were not happy about this condition, and eventually there arose a "be nice" mandate, which made Stack a somewhat friendlier place. :)
    – DukeZhou
    Oct 21 '19 at 18:29

"Dispassionate" can be interpreted as being "impersonal".

The way I see things, we are generally wanting to treat users as people, as humans.

If we're going to be truly dispassionate in the way we deal with users, then this makes the SE network little more than a QA ticketing system and we may as well dispense with user names, avatars, user bios, and anything else that gives us the ability to show personality, empathy, and respect.

SE is a QA ticketing system a large extent, but I'd rather treat users as people, and therefore deserving of politeness and respect.

  • 5
    It's difficult. I, personally, don't want to treat users as people. I usually don't want to be concerned with "users" or "people" at all. I want interesting questions and clear, helpful answers. That's what stack overflow once stood for.
    – Marco13
    Oct 21 '19 at 10:27
  • 2
    I'd say "we may as well dispense with user names, avatars, user bios, and anything else that gives us the ability to show personality, empathy, and respect" would not be a bad idea at all.
    – DK Bose
    Oct 21 '19 at 10:30
  • 1
    On the contrary, dispassion does not in any way imply disrespect, but not dealing with things on a personal level, especially when there is so much passion on both sides, is a good approach. (i.e. we can discuss difficult issues without getting angry, and, in this way, not let anger, or other emotions, cloud our judgement.)
    – DukeZhou
    Oct 21 '19 at 18:25
  • 2
    @AGirlHasNoName A user on a site is basically a virtual persona, and not a human being. Not being able to distinguish between them is bound to generate an unbearable emotional burden (and maybe the behavior of some people can adequately be explained by that). At least, I try to not argue too much with some users ;-) On the other hand, "emotional coldness" is sometimes considered as a symptom of other issues - see meta.stackexchange.com/q/335743
    – Marco13
    Oct 21 '19 at 18:47

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