Friday, February 11, 2005


Last night in chat I came up against a process in my thinking, and the way I view the world, that might seem odd to others. The conversation was about rss feeds and whether or not a person should ask permission to put someone else's feed on their journal.

I said it would be polite and you should.

Someone else said no, if they are on the Internet it's expected. He agreed that it would be polite to ask if you want, but it wasn't necessary. (Not in those words, but it came down to that advice.)

And there was the basic difference in views.

I think politeness should always be followed to whatever degree it's possible. Politeness in general should be the automatic response, and not considered just an extra bit of work if you feel like it. Emailing a person and asking if you can add an rss feed or a link isn't necessary, but it is polite and all it costs you is a few keystrokes and a little more time.

And this carries over to other things. I think this might be why people don't 'get' the Writing Only room, and why I'm getting emails complaining about misuse of it. It's a 'we don't have to move to another room, even though it would be polite to do so' attitude. Even though all it would take is a few keystrokes. I don't like to be in the position where I have to enforce such basic, simple politeness, but it's become apparent that unless a moderator is in the room, some people will purposely misuse it.

I have to admit that I just don't get the 'be polite only if you want to' attitude. I know it's fairly common, and most people are polite to some degree -- but when they don't feel like it, they simply drop the idea. I think it's the Seinfeld/Soup Nazi influence, as I mentioned in reference to another bit of impoliteness we're discussing on the site.

I am beginning to think that we're just too used to this attitude in our lives, and people really have begun to think of politeness as an optional clause in acting civilized. The unthinking rudeness is rampant in real life. People just don't care, and it shows in bass-blasting cars at two in the morning and screaming kids in public places while their parents blithely ignore them.

Yes, people used to be more polite in the past.

Oh, and if I email you and say there was an incident in chat that some people thought impolite, and here are a few pointers to avoid that kind of reaction again, don't email me back ranting about how you were never impolite -- and then name the people whom you think emailed me. That kind of gives it away, guy.

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