I generally take a dim view of people hurling insults at each other. I find that mostly it is just childish and counterproductive. But I’m a big fan of free speech… so…
I think communities should have a right to create their own standards of behaviour, whether it is gamers or freethoughtbloggers. The more democratic and less ideological, the better, in my view. But that’s me.
We should be adults… or something.
If you think someone is being a jerk, then just spell out in specifics what you object to and the point will be made in a substantive and constructive way, rather than just in an emotional one. I don’t want to clamp down on all criticism. I want to make it substantive and constructive.
Seems reasonable. (Not likely to work with actual human beings… but reasonable in an ideal sense.)
Not everyone agrees, of course…this means war… respectfully.
The general public needs to hear what passionate scientists really think of these IDiots. The best way to do that is to fight fire with fire. The idea is to plant in the public’s mind the notion that these creationists are crazies and kooks, not respectable scientists with a different, but scientifically valid, opinion. We tried treating them politely for several decades and what did it get us? It got us leaders and politicians in many countries who think it’s perfectly respectable to believe that evolution is false.
Now, I’m not unsympathetic to the ‘fighting fire with fire’ thing. Even though I feel reasonable accommodations for gays, feminists, religious folk…etc.. should be made, I don’t think any group should get to dictate terms to others. Accommodation is a two way street. It should always be about compromise.
Some people, however, want a wild west show, they thrive on it. And, hurling insults can be useful if you want to show how clever you are, or intimidate or enrage your enemy, and it can be useful when rallying the troops to your cause. But let’s face facts, most people do it because it’s fun, and it makes us feel powerful and in control, in situations where we likely are not.
Flyting or fliting is a contest consisting of the exchange of insults, often conducted in verse, between two parties.
It’s a common part of the trickster tradition which exists in many cultures, as well as part of the warrior(competitor) culture of many others.
It can be very formal, socially conscious, and even rational, as in the battle of wits…
The term “gadfly” was used by Plato in the Apology to describe Socrates’ relationship of uncomfortable goad to the Athenian political scene, which he compared to a slow and dimwitted horse.
But it can also lead to logical fallacy.
It can be metaphorical, physical, or well… literal… as in the classic Pissing Contest
A pissing contest, or pissing match, is a game in which participants compete to see who can urinate the highest, the farthest, or the most accurately. Although the practice is often associated with adolescent boys, women have been known to play the game, and there are literary depictions of adults competing in it. Since the 1940s the term has been used as a slang idiomatic phrase describing contests that are “futile or purposeless”, especially if waged in a “conspicuously aggressive manner”. As a metaphor it is used figuratively to characterise ego-driven battling in a pejorative or facetious manner that is often considered vulgar.
There are different traditions…
Usually two participants engage in banter, but always in front of others, who instigate the participants to continue the game by making the insults worse. Frequently used topics among players who “play the Dozens” or are “put in the Dozens” are one’s opponent’s lack of intelligence, ugliness, alleged homosexuality, alleged incest, cowardice, poor hygiene, and exaggerations of physical defects, such as crossed eyes.
And famous participants…
‘Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head.’
‘I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing. And the shadow won.’
‘I’ll beat him so bad, he’ll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.’
‘Why, chump, I bet you scare yourself to death just starin’ in the mirror. You ugly bear! You ain’t never fought nobody but tramps and has beens. You call yourself a world champion? You’re too old and slow to be champion!’
In a freestyle battle, each competitor’s goal is to “diss” their opponent through clever lyrics and wordplay, with heavy emphasis being placed upon the rapper’s improvisational ability. Its considered dishonorable or shameful to recite pre-written or memorized raps during a freestyle battle, because it shows the rapper to be incapable of “spitting” spur-of-the-moment lyrics. A live audience is key, as a large part of “winning” a battle is how an audience responds to each rapper. Appointed judges may be used in formal contests, but in most cases the rapper who receives the largest audience response is viewed as the victor.
Often there are unwritten rules, defined over a long period of time, by a community of individuals with similar interests or backgrounds. And often what is acceptable in these communities will seem strange or even offensive to those not part of the community. This also means that newcomers who object to the rules will be seen as ‘ruining the game’, or simply not understanding it. Change is often slow, and if someone objects to the essential nature of the tradition, they are likely to feel the full wrath of those who are well-practiced at expressing… well… wrath.
I should note, I’m not justifying abuse here, either physical or psychological, or saying that since it exists, it should therefore exist. I’m saying people have a right to form their own communities. A boxing match is not the same as someone getting assaulted, and even the most nasty trolling isn’t always about hate. And as always, context is everything: don’t feed the trolls.