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Protecting your A2K "Image"

 
 
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 07:23 am
I got this post on another thread where I was involved in a trivial debate.

Quote:

You've spent way to long in political threads. This is not a political thread. Hammering on a minor point like this does nothing for the thread, and does nothing to enhance your image at this site.

Rather than spam that thread with a side discussion, I thought I'd start a new one.

I started posting here to help people with science and math problems and I still do that most of the time. I don't really care about my "image" here. I state my opinions, help those who find my assistance valuable and read the debates where I think people make interesting arguments. I have changed some of my opinions by what I've read here, I'd like to think I've changed someone else's on occasion but have no evidence of that nor is it really required. Occasionally someone I've helped on a math or science question will say thanks, but it is not required to make me answer the next one. Other than trying to tone down the flames on occasion, I really don't censor my opinions to protect my "image". Does anyone really self censor to protect their A2K reputation? I would think the advantage of an anonymous forum would be the opposite, that you could reply honestly and tell everyone where to go if they don't like it.
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 08:06 am
@engineer,
Huh. People digress and argue about the digression here all the time. It's mostly not minded unless it completely swamps the original thread for pages and pages.
Buttermilk
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 08:06 am
@engineer,
I for one personally do not care about my image here or "reputation" because I believe in "keeping it real" in the sense that if the intent of any discussion forum is to share ideas then I think its best to be up front, blunt and simply honest. However rude and crass one may come across I think its a benefit that someone does not conduct self-censorship for the purpose of maintaining an image. we are all nothing but avatars and words and outside the forum we'd probably never know who each of us are, so I think it's best to take the positive and negative here without the censorship.
timur
 
  3  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 08:13 am
@engineer,
I really see what you mean.

Time and time again I say to myself that I should confront people who post a lot of crap, despite the damage it can occasionally do to one's image.

If often I don't do, it's not because of self censorship but because it's too much of a burden.

It's not worth the effort...
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 08:20 am
@Buttermilk,
I agree.

I do think people have ideas of how they wish to behave (always courteous? rattle the cages? scholarly debater? straightforward, no word mincing? never veer from opening post subject?). It's a wide world site, and the differences in styles and points of view can be enlivening. People mostly say what they think, one way or another.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 08:28 am
@ossobuco,
If I think someone is full of it, I often pull those comments because I don't see it as helpful to go all ad hominem, but I think all content is fair game.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 08:35 am
@ossobuco,
Replying to myself in that first post - I should have added that long digression from the original post subject is sometimes not minded either. We have conversations, and often in life conversations circle around.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 09:01 am
I do back off on some topics or threads, because I don't want to get in the mire. The threads that argue Israel/Palestine will get you labeled as a racist or whatever, no matter which side you take. I will vote according to my conscience, for people who I hope will share at least some of my values. But I will not wrangle over it here. There are other examples I could dredge up, but I think I have made my point.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  5  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 09:25 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
I would think the advantage of an anonymous forum would be the opposite, that you could reply honestly and tell everyone where to go if they don't like it.


I've met (or talked on the phone) with too many people on the forum to feel anonymous.

but ... I only self-censor in one direction and that's my dad. There are some things I'm just not comfortable with him knowing about me Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 09:26 am
@engineer,
I'm with everyone else, where I'd (usually) just rather not make a scene and derail a discussion. IDK the poster you're referring to, but I'm guessing the individual either meant what I and others here are saying, or is projecting their own desire to maintain an image here.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 09:59 am
@engineer,
To yourself be true, and to hell with the consequences.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  5  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2014 02:45 pm
@engineer,
I don't post anything to protect my online image, but I often enough self censor to the extent of not replying to posts I completely disagree with, depending on exactly who made the posts. Also, there are posts I'm in agreement with that I simply will not express agreement with because of the way they are presented.

I stand in awe of your technical answers. So far as social and political, I'm at least willing to listen. Who knows? Maybe some day I'll actually change an opinion.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 07:47 pm
@engineer,
I'm with you. Beth's point about knowing a lot of the other members doesn't apply to me and is one of the reasons why I haven't attended any of the A2K Get-Togethers.

There are a few people who frequent this forum that I would actually like to meet in the "real world," but I don't know that they attend the gatherings. Besides, if I really want to meet them (and they me) we can arrange it out-of-forum. The rest of the folks break into three groups relative to the possibility that I might somehow run into them and discover they are an A2K member:

1) A fairly large number with whom I'm sure I would get a kick out of sharing conversation and a few drinks, like someone you meet for an hour or two in an airport bar on a plane.

2) Another fairly large number who I might exchange pleasantries with for a few minutes and then move on.

3) A very small number of people who are so unpleasant, so stupid, or so crazy that I not only have no desire to meet them, I would avoid them if I could. The pleasure of telling the nasty ones what I thought of them would be miniscule and not at all worth it.

I've toned down my rhetoric over the last few months, but this has nothing to do with preserving or protecting an image. I'm sure, like everyone else, I have a general image which everyone will agree upon, and more specific and different images that people who generally think alike will tend to agree upon. It really doesn't matter though, because since I am truly anonymous to everyone, I have no reason to care about an "image," and that's why I appreciate and maintain my anonymity.

I have spent decades in a career where I couldn't always say what I've wanted to, and I like to come to a place where I can, literally, say whatever I want. If I piss someone off I usually don't care. There are certainly no ramifications to it beyond some nasty words, a thumbs down and perhaps being put on "ignore." Big deal.

Early in my career I spoke more freely. In part because I thought everyone did, and in part because of arrogance. I spoke my mind enough that I developed a reputation for it. At certain times and in certain places this wasn't a problem, but I soon learned that it was more a matter of luck than my ability to judge people, or my ability to employ tact that determined the results. I found that there were a lot of co-workers who relied upon me to say what they would not. At first I took it as a compliment when they would say "You'll say the things that need to be said, but that no one will," but then I realized that while some of these folks might have actually admired my "courage," most of them really just wanted to use me to get something out on the table, and with zero risk for themselves. When you're a coward, it's very helpful to have someone around who will be "brave," and take the shrapnel.

I worked hard and was very good at what I did, and I was lucky that not all bosses like sycophants, but as I climbed the ladder I discovered a type of person that can be very successful too, and avoid the blow-back from shooting straight: The passive/aggressive personality. Early on I thought that when someone, who I knew disagreed with me, kept silent during meetings on how to proceed in some area, that they had been rhetorically defeated by my superior and more forceful argument. That was the arrogance. What I learned was that while they had been "defeated" in the meeting room battle, they hadn't given up the war, and that there was a whole other way to successfully fight that war; a way I found distasteful and was no good at. Saying what's on your mind, in the presence of such people is often providing them with the weapon they need to hurt you.

So, I had a choice, adapt or die. I adapted. I still was more willing to say what was on my mind then others but I applied it far more strategically and with much greater care so that it was always an asset and never a weapon for my enemies.

Now I own my own business and the opportunity to say what's on my mind is greater than ever, but it doesn't take any real skill or courage to do so with the people who work for you, as employees or suppliers, and as most business owners eventually discover, there is always someone with whom you have to watch what you say; to keep your opinion to yourself, and resist the urge to tell them that their idea is the stupidest thing you've ever heard. They're called clients.

I remember a meeting I had with a lawyer with whom I had worked for years, and with whom I had struck up a personal friendship. That day he brought with him his new associate, a very bright kid right out of law school. During the meeting he told some of my people in no uncertain terms that what they had done and wanted to do was, for lack of a better term, stupid. He was right, of course, but that's not the way lawyers deal with clients, and especially young associates who are supposed to attend the meeting to take notes and keep quiet. The partner and I had a good laugh about it and he obviously agreed when I told him he needed to take young J.P. aside and straighten him out: He was right out of school and making close to what my experienced guys made, the price for that success was to never tell the client when he has been stupid. Years later, J.P. made partner, not only because he was so bright, but because he learned the lesson my friend gave him after that meeting, and he learned it well.

In any case, there are no such considerations here. You are free to act as you feel on any given day and for any reason you have. You have to be awfully, awfully ignorant, obnoxious, crazy or cruel to have the only punishment available in this forum meted out to you: total ignoring by everyone, and I don't think that sentence has ever been carried out in all the years I've been here. Even some of the people I would like to have ignore me won't.

So there remain reasons to "watch what you say" here but I create them, and no one else. That's a unique place to be.

Besides, you’re one of the last people in this forum who should worry about “image.”
0 Replies
 
George
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 09:31 am
> Does anyone really self censor to protect their A2K reputation?
> I would think the advantage of an anonymous forum would be the
> opposite, that you could reply honestly and tell everyone where to
> go if they don't like it.


Interesting question. I think I do self-censor to protect my reputation.
This is true on A2K and also in "real life".

On the other hand, I try to be honest in my replies. I'm not inclined to
tell people where to go, but that does happen from time to time. This
is also true on A2K and in "real life".

That's my take on it, and if you don't like it, you can go to hell.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 10:00 am
I have a rep (and I can't trash it) because A2K is on my resume. But others' behaviors don't or shouldn't reflect poorly (or well, for that matter) on my own. I think Hiring Managers are beginning to see that peer behavior shouldn't be used as a consideration when evaluating a person. E. g. it's behavior that is key, but the circumstances might not be quite so key.

But then there's the case of Stacy Snyder.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 10:12 am
@jespah,
Nice article, thanks for posting it.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2014 11:03 am
@jespah,
A related article I just read yesterday -

Annals of Law
The Solace of Oblivion
In Europe, the right to be forgotten trumps the Internet

by Jeffrey Toobin

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/solace-oblivion
0 Replies
 
 

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