Well, since I contributed in starting this I'll respond. But I'm going to try to restrain myself to this, not because I want to have the last word and end the discussion, but because I really do want to try to keep the topic from devolving into ego clashes. If you'd like to respond to me that's fine, but I'm going to do my best not to reply if it means I'm just going to repeat myself.
By which, from the post to which you responded, i took it to mean that "they" were likely to remain ignorant. (Although there was no "they," but rather i was responding to a specific post of David's.)
I was speaking both about David and Hawkeye. In David's case I think the dispassionate stuff was getting through to him, and in Hawkeye's case I think that by going over the top on him (stuff like calling him "rapist boy") he gets to pretend to be reasonable in the face of illogical passion. I don't think being reasonable would make much difference in his case except to deny him this bit of posturing of being assailed by an angry mob. It just plays into his man apart complex and my qualm has nothing to do with him being insulted so much as thinking it plays into his style very well.
"It" may have come with no judgment, but judgment is implicit in that post. There is no vitriol in asking if the intent were to suggest that child sexual abuse of boys can only take place if there is anal sodomy. There is no vitriol in stating that that is a stupid position to take. There is no vitriol in stating that that is indicative of ignorance. There were no insults in what i had posted.
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on what constitutes vitriol. I don't think it was that bad at all, and I wasn't condemning you for it. I mean that sincerely. I have been being rude to you, trying to make the point that you don't like how you treat others. I should take my own advice here, and try a more emotionally intelligent tactic. That was my aim. I was trying to appeal to your reason and sympathy instead of getting pissy with you to make a point through trying to be as caustic.
I can't really say that one method is superior to another except in that I think one method works a lot better than the other if your goal is to change hearts and minds. Others are perfectly in their own right to find this to be a silly objective and have other motivations. I can't say that one is morally superior to another, I just think one works a lot better for the objective that I have. Which is, by the way, to change this kind of thinking as much as possible.
If i had said that David were stupid, that would be an insult. I did not.
I get what you are saying, and used to live by it quite a bit on a2k. I would be very
scathing in my attacks on an idea, and feel above those who attacked the person. From a logical perspective there's a lot of merit to the distinction. But I wasn't arguing about logic so much as emotional intelligence, both can be uncivil even if logically sound. I think David responds very well to an archaic style of civility and becomes quite stubborn when people are caustic with him (regardless of the distinction of attacking him versus the idea).
There are times I'm frustrated with his social views, and my mind boggled by how much information is missing on some of these issues but instead of focusing on the paucity of the knowledge my goal is to try to get him to absorb it instead of reject it. I think he's been open-minded here when spoken to civilly. I think he's been mind-numbingly stubborn when not spoken to civilly.
I could argue that speaking to him abusively snapped him out of his smug assumptions about the proliferation of images of child sexual abuse on the internet. Once again, though, neither you nor i know if he actually took the matter to heart, or was simply attempting to mollify his critics.
In regard to the former, I hadn't seen such a thing. I saw the "angry mob" being something that he felt justified his position. His nature is such that a lot of people are going to be viscerally oppose things about himself that he may not be able to change. What I saw was him spinning this anger into thinking that society is just not as accepting of his kind in a similar way to how they weren't about homosexuals. I didn't see the vitriol get through to him myself, but I did see logic get through to him. Perhaps you might have had logic he was able to recognize despite vitriol but I don't know exactly what you are talking about so I can't comment much on it.
As to the latter, I don't think he cared about mollifying his critics myself, I think he relished the anonymity that allowed him to be polemic. But yes, we can't tell to what degree those things really sank in, but if he's saying yes I was wrong I think that most of the time we can't do anything but take it at face value. No matter what anyone says there's the possibility that they are misrepresenting their opinions.
In fact, i've been making an effort for the last several months to avoid flame wars, whether you have recognized it or not, or whether you agree with that statement or not. But to say that someone is being insulting for calling an expressed opinion, or the inferential conclusions of an expressed opinion stupid is simply false, and reminds me of Fox and others who just start shouting "ad hom, ad hom" whenever someone tells them that they have posted something stupid.
Here I deliberately tried to avoid it. And I am not pulling an ad hominem
card on you. I think you know me well enough to know that I understand what it means very well. An ad hominem just doesn't mean an insult. It doesn't even mean to attack the messenger. It means something a lot more specific in logic. It means to attack an argument on the basis of the messenger.
So even if you were to directly insult someone it wouldn't be an ad hominem if it weren't being used as an argument that the person's stated position is wrong.
In short, I'm not pulling an ad hominem card on you at all and as to Foxfyre I almost never see her posts (they all seem to be on a couple of threads that I don't visit) so I can't comment on those exchanges myself.
At another board at which i have posted since before this board existed, the rule, very frequently stated by members there, is that one can attack the post, but not the person.
Well here that used to be my stock and store and what I used to justify what I now see as my emotionally unintelligent methods of debate (and I might add that I'm still prone to such things and will likely be guilty of it in the future), but I'm not trying to assert any rule is being violated here. I think you are perfectly within your rights as far as the site rules are concerned.
Saying that something David implied is stupid may be unpleasant, but it does not constitute a personal attack, and it only constitutes an insult to someone who never wishes to be disagreed with.
If your point was that it wasn't the logical fallacy of an ad hominem I agree completely. My point was that it can still be unpleasant, and still be a less than optimal way of speaking to him if your goals are to change his mind.
I'm not saying that you weren't within your right to say that. I'm not saying that you insulted David the person (but I do note that if you think my comment had "implicit" judgment then I think you might consider the same in this case). And I'm not saying that one way is morally superior to another. I think you said what a lot of people would instinctively think. It was surprising that what was explained even had to be explained.
All I am saying is that I think that being more pleasant makes for more fruitful discussions. We'd get less side tracked on ego and bickering, and do more thinking about the actual issue.
Now I get that me incessantly talking about this is annoying. I feel like a self-righteous twit myself often. But if we aren't going to censor the site like we did in the past it is up to us to try to maintain its standards. What I'm doing is trying to advocate better discussions. I'm not very good at it, and I'm sure a lot of times it's just annoying but that's my fundamental motivation. It's not dislike for you, it's dislike for shitty internet discussions.
Anywho, I'm going to try to make an effort to be more civil in my own appeals to civility. I think I could have taken my own advice a lot of times. Sometimes I get like a dog with a bone about things and won't let go. I feel I've said more than enough about it here so would like to get off my soap box and try to get out of the way of the discussion now (and again, I'm not trying to have the last word, feel free to respond if you'd like. I'm just going to try not to repeat myself any further if I can help it).