Tuesday, May 24, 2005

On Civility In Our Online Communication/Discussion

Either as a result of acting like a fly on the wall in my countless online travels, or maybe because of having read that book on Internet Psychology, I sense that in group interaction whether in blogs or similar venues, as in most normal interaction, we invariably fall into a tendency to put everything in neat boxes or categorizing everything we read and write based on our own preconceived beliefs/attitudes. And we act and respond accordingly. This is to be expected, I guess, since this is how we humans act and react. But the realities of human thinking are not that cut and dried. Having differing ideas and opinions is more the rule than the exception.

In the past, social scientists advanced the idea of brainstorming sessions to allow the freest collation of ideas on a subject by allowing liberal encouragement to every participant to contribute ideas, unfettered by inhibitions and other pressures that might cause participation bottlenecks. But now they are saying that collected data would seem to suggest that the touted benefits of brainstorming have not really been realized as a result of the dynamics of certain pressures that continue to hinder its effectiveness.

What this suggests to me is that maybe we really have to go through the exacting gauntlet of finding out exactly, or at least reliably, where an idea proponent is coming from beyond the words that he/she uses to flesh out his ideas.

Knowing this, I believe our replies or responses would not only be more responsive but kinder and more civil, and thus engender and court more exchanges from other sources. I know that it is difficult but I think it makes for better and wider participation. if we each make an honest and diligent effort to do so.

Goes to show it is still easier to attract flies with sugar, than with vinegar.

1 comment:

Welcome. Your comments are appreciated.