[Awa] Signal-to-Noise Ratio; Social Challenges of Y2K - Now, here.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

As the world gets more turbulent, I think we are going to see more bad news, more traumatic events, and more upset people. That includes us, people we know, and even people on this forum. It's going to get harder to keep one's peace of mind.

As Y2K gets closer and people even more desperately good info, succinctly, fast, the growing "noise" (off topics, trash, trolls, etc.) in forums like this are going to be even worse, making their problem even harder than it already is.

The recent overt harrassment of Christians is a case in point. I would not agree to anybody slandering or harrassing any other person over their race, religion, or anything else like that, so there is no reason to abide it here. I hope anybody who posts that kind of crap will be either studiously ignored by, or spammed to death by, forum members in response. Have opinions all you want but here, talk about Y2K, good grief. With over 93,000 messages currently in this forum I think we can justify nailing people who want to waste bandwidth insulting people without purpose.

This kind of behavior in many cases is hardly accidental, and even official organizations sometimes sponsor this (literally paying people to do this kind of thing). If we buy into it, we let ourselves be divided by that. That is the kind of thing that actually forces people to become cliquish, exclusionary, and dangerous. Is insulting them so they feel the need to band together for protection against everybody 'different.' I hope the christians posting on this forum won't let that kind of troll bait get to them, and get into any painful debates about theology on our Y2K board that "divide and conquer" those persons who converse well, who provide thoughtful discussion and useful information here.

This is only a tidbit of what's likely to come. So I think recognizing that now and making a point to act not REact would be healthy for everyone.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 21, 1999


Hmmmm...."spamming to death" as a response from a "Christian". Maybe this is why Christians get such a bad rap...

-- Daniel Buchner (buchner@excite.com), April 21, 1999.

I'm not a christian. In other words, you have nothing intelligent to say except that my suggestion that one way or another, people who are bigoted and outright flaming toward one group of people be discouraged, is wrong and mean. What IS it with people acting like Christians are some kind of evil in this forum? Is this like the anti-christian forum? I am so offended by this stuff I can't believe it. I am TRYING to get some reasonable discussion and thought about it now, while it's only obnoxious but still in moderation, so that hopefully if it gets out of hand we'll be better prepared to deal with it and still maintain decent relationships online with each other, and contributions to this forum -- the archives of which are a worthy cause for those who follow in our footsteps, with a lot less time.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 21, 1999.

Maybe I haven't had enough java yet this morning, but I'm having a hard time following you. I don't mean to sound insulting, I'm just trying to figure out where your frustration is coming from...

-- Daniel Buchner (buchner@excite.com), April 21, 1999.

It's coming from reading (for example) messages about children dying in Colorado and having people say they wonder if the killer-kids were 'right wing christians.' I know it's just troll bait. But I spent HOURS reading this entire board last night, and I have seen all kinds of negative references to christians on it. The christians themselves, now and then, have a nice thread. Very touching, very interesting, well expressed. The other perspective unfortunately only seems to be found in pointed jabs. To the degree that I'm seriously beginning to wonder what the heck is going on. If I saw 1/10th that many negative references to jews for example, I would be appalled, I think everyone would, at the obvious bigotry. So why is it okay for people to pick on Christians?

But I'm sorry.... this was NOT my only issue. it was just a good example. My main point was that the signal to noise ratio on this board is getting worse by the day and that will probably continue.... and I hope a lot of valuable people posting ideas and thoughts and info here will look beyond that, suffer it and continue to contribute to a good thing.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 21, 1999.


"If I saw 1/10th that many negative references to jews for example, I would be appalled, I think everyone would, at the obvious bigotry. So why is it okay for people to pick on Christians?"

It is PC OK to attack Christians, list your reasons. It is not PC to attack or disagree with the "poor Jews" because they were persecuted by Hitler, etc.

Don't let it worry you. I asked a certain group of non christians a question once and they threatened to do me great bodily harm, I only asked a question.

However, Christians would do well to stop sending everyone to hell fire, and damnation. I've been sent there a few times by pastors unwilling to listen to anything but the hardline, "you're going to burn if you don't do it my way." attitude.

Just for fun, did you know that most Christians give the Adversary the power of the "consuming fire". It you search for the facts you will find that God is the "consuming fire" and that only to burn the lie out of your life and replace it with truth, Freedom. Go figure!

-- freeman (freeman@cali.com), April 21, 1999.


Perhaps, it is just sloppiness when a regular pokes at a liberal, a conservative, a christian, an atheist, one who voted for Clinton, one who lives in the inner city, etc. Obviously, there is a flavorful diversity of persons represented by their posts on this forum and a diversity of opinions about the causes of a number of problems in our society. Certainly, we need to be wary of trolls who will exploit obvious and deep differences of opinion. But we may want to gently make new comers aware that our sloppiness is something that happens by accident and that, generally, we have some basic agreements that allow us all to contribute to the ongoing discussions in a meaningful way.

Meta-discussions like this are also meaningful. They give us a chance to reflect on what's expected of us a members of this forum and what we should expect of forum members. PJs post also reminds us to try to be better people. And trying to be better people is not a bad thing. Nor is it unrelated to Y2K preps. IMHO, Y2K preps should also include our trying to better ourselves; improving upon the content of our character. On the other side of the rollover (whatever happens), there will be just as much need for people of high moral character as there is today-- if not more so.

I believe that many of the qualities which define the person of high moral character will be recognized and admired universally. Courage and prudence, for example, are virtues that most folks can recognize as perfections to be sought and exercised in human action. Granted, some may not be able to act courageously and/or prudently, but we can admire such virtues when we see it in action... and imitate them at every opportunity. In this way, we shall steadily and progressively improve upon the content of our own character.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), April 21, 1999.


I like your post. There are many Christians out there who don't know how to socialize or approach things just like there are non Christians who say and do things the wrong way too. Not as many people flame those people. Both ways can be offensive. We all need to learn how to get along and accept each other for what they are. That does not mean to compromise eithers beliefs. There is a time to be nice and a time to confront anybody with any type of TRUTH. One must be wise enough to know the difference and have enough courage to do what is right. That applies to y2k or anything.

You are on the right track though. I will stand up for what I believe it and tell you as a Christian what I believe is right..and give you reasons ...But I know that doesn't mean that other people will accept what I say. Just like y2k...in the end, we will all know who was right and wrong. :> In the meantime, can't we all just agree to disagree. We can express things as "opinions". There is nothing wrong with an opinion. Everyone is entitled to one with no spaming involved.

However, if Christians would act like they are suppose to maybe there wouldn't be so many people hostile to the faith. Do as one says and not as one does it not a good testimony.

sorry, you hit a button this morning!:>

-- Moore Dinty moore (not@thistime.com), April 21, 1999.

Hi PJ,

Good post. Perhaps there are two elements here that contribute to the current situation vis a vis harassment of Christians.

First off y2k preparers on this board constitute a broad cross section of the United States, with regular contributions also coming from Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and various other points around the world. Because this is such a cross-cultural board, in many instances people who deal only within their own subculture in the real world are being forced to interact with other subcultures in the cyberworld. Such forced interaction will inevitably cause friction, as we've seen - and not just between Christians and nonChristians, though that's been the most obvious visible example recently.

Secondly, as the stress levels increase toward the rollover date, we see more and more folks who are having to look at their own basic value set to determine if it is, in fact, sufficient to meet the demands which may be placed upon them. Because of this, the apparent self-confidence (though actually it's confidence in God) of those of us who are Christians is probably somewhat disconcerting to some folks.

just my 2 cents' worth, Arlin

-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), April 21, 1999.

Arlin said, "Because this is such a cross-cultural board..." Are you kidding? 99% middle-class Western Anglo is cross-cultural? Other than our personal estimation of the severity of Y2K effects, politics and religion are our biggest differences here. As compared to the rest of the world, not a big difference, as I see it.

PJ Said, "they wonder if the killer-kids were 'right wing christians.'" I saw that too. It looked as thought that was a direct inversion of a statement by another poster (KoFe?) wondering if they were left-wing atheists. I have an eye for irony, I guess.

It might be because things are a little dead on the Y2K news-front. Could be because Christians are so outspoken around here---contrary to my experience in the "real" world. Maybe it's because they appear to be so humorless that noodging them seems fair sport.

I, for one, would like to hear the perspective of a devout Jew, a practicing Buddhist or even a backsliding Rastapharian. And certainly from people of color, many of whose plight in nine months will be too depressing to even consider right now.


"Invest yourself in the quality of the discourse, but not the outcome."---Richard Reese

-- Hallyx (Hallyx@aol.com), April 21, 1999.

As I understand this thread, it is really about Diversity. Diversity is at once our strength AND our weakness. [IDIC]

It is clear that diversity training is low in the scheme of things in the world, although we would prefer to argue that it is not.

As has been mentioned before in this forum, there is a noteable lack of care in spelling and puctuation to the postings. I myself, though I try to be careful, have seen errors in my posts. Some errors are minor and do not require a new post to correct them, but some do.

Many disagreements have been waged here because one person was not quite clear, either by word or spelling. One letter can change the whole meaning of what is said. Also, the omission of one word or phrase can have disastrous effect. The same goes for punctuation.

Some people write in a manner that, if they were actually speaking, the meaning and message would be clear to all who heard. Or at least clearer! But to read it, without the emphasis being apparent, can lead to confusion, and battle can and usually will ensue.

This is true everywhere. Not just in this forum.

were i to type without care for spelling or punchuachon git meaneee

It must be understood that, we are diverse individuals, we are from diverse locales, we have diverse views, and we express ourselves in diverse manners.

Since I am a newbie to this forum, I would not dare to jump into a thread and flame a previous poster over trivial errors in spelling or punctuation. I would, however, post a request for clarification if a point was unclear to me. Isn't that the idea here? Discussion by diverse individuals?

Let's try to remember our diversity when reading the posts, and let's try to remember our diversity when replying to posts.

And remember this, the language being used here is English, and not everyone has a complete grasp of it, in speech or written form. Here as well as the rest of the world.

Once anger is allowed in, rationality is one of the first to leave, usually arm in arm with politeness.

IDIC = Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), April 21, 1999.

Hi Hal,

no, I wasn't kidding, though I should have been more precise - it presents a major cross section of American society (which is 90+% western). If there's one thing that y2k will prove conclusively it is that the 'think globally' concept accomplishes nothing...one must concentrate on local issues and resolve them, else one's society *will* collapse, and there wont be any need to worry about what's happening elsewhere in the world in any case.

infinite diversity = infinite chaos


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), April 21, 1999.

Stan, I truly enjoy your posts. You made some points in your post above that I agree with in principle, however I don't like the odds of the following coming to fruition:

"PJs post also reminds us to try to be better people." "Y2K preps should also include our trying to better ourselves; improving upon the content of our character."

I try to work every day to better myself spiritually. To open my heart to all, thereby letting love flow in & out. To think, speak, act from the heart. Introspection is a great tool for self- improvement, as well.

My life experience of 30+ years has lead me to conclude that the people I've known, for the most part, -

1. Are not interested in bettering themselves by improving upon the content of their character;

2. Are unable to exercise compassion. "Compassion has no place in this dog-eat-dog world" would be a typical response;

3. Exude apparent self-confidence (Arlin's words) which, when combined with #2, becomes cold-hearted, self-absorbed condescension;

4. Show a distinct lack of curiosity which goes hand-in-hand with an inability to think outside the box.

I could go on but I'll spare you all the darkness which I see, feel, intuit every day. Now, I've met a few folks who live life as if they think their thoughts & actions may indeed matter at the end of this life. This is a VERY small percentage of the whole.

We each have decisions to make every second of every day - am I going to think & act with compassion? With love? With intelligence? Or will I cast these tools aside?

When I stay focused on the big picture (think globally - Arlin again) I tend to make right decisions. Compassion in action (Dannion).

Please choose carefully!

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), April 21, 1999.

On religion and this board: Actually one of the most interesting things for me on this forum has been the simply mind boggling number of christians. I thought it was just the region but then I realized that this is an international (well, mostly just US national) forum. Most of my friends are highly "spiritual" but that is not to say "religious" which I consider something related but entirely different.... most are some version of buddhist or jewish or christian or catholic but all are mystics or metaphysicists or what have you. Moving to Texas was kind of strange for me, there's churches everywhere but they're all traditional protestant with a fairly rigid doctrine.

On religion and Y2K: Hard to separate when it comes to telling people about it. As an article I read recently said, and I had thought of this myself prior, Y2K and religion seem almost related. I don't mean the whole prophecy or armageddon thing. I mean they are both belief systems that have a somewhat either/or result. If you talk to someone about Y2K requiring serious preparation, you're not discussing some philosophy that doesn't touch him. He's in a position of either agreeing with you or realizing that if he doesn't and you're right, he's doomed. It probably feels rather invasive and threatening to people. Many evangelistic religions come off the same way. The people doing the talking are frustrated that others don't "get it" and the people doing the listening are frustrated that the talkers think THEIR beliefs should be stuffed down the throat of others who really don't care about it or want to deal with it.

On conversation and Y2K: It's valuable in a big way. I think many of us have really re-thought our lives, what we want to do with them and how we want to live them, as a result of this preparation and learning about a lot of aspect of "real life" we'd never made time for before. This is actually a good state of mind to meet friends in, when we are realizing the need for community.

I've been on the internet since '93 and I've been in discussion groups since then. I've flown all over the country meeting people I met via email. I met my husband in a forum on compuserve (I think we were talking about prophetic dreams). Some of my best friends I have never physically met but would die for. All my "offline" friends and family (even grandmas) I seldom see but do talk to via email. It's been my experience that the most interesting part of any subject is the people. I have met people in the most unlikely conversations, who have become very good friends over time. But then, "diversity" is probably a big part of me. My family includes just about every race on the planet. My friends as well, and ditto for culture, and different age groups and economic groups and religious groups.

On "diversity" of Y2K Yourdonites: If anything, the Y2K subject is one of the most oddly COMMON groupings of people I've found -- there are more of what I would guess are lower-to-upper middle class white protestants in this group than any online group I've ever found myself in. Of course you don't really KNOW if you don't see people, that's just my impression. That's not good or bad, it just "is."

I hope that the many rational and interesting people who are on this board will make every effort to not let the various trolls get to them, and also, that we don't let the many issues, some hot-point issues (like religion), divide us or conquer or ability to be a "virtual community" by choice.

Give it 2-3 months. A wave of desperate, frantic, terrified people who feel *just like we did* at "getting it" are going to have way, way less time and money than we had, and already many items not available and prices high and so forth, and they are going to hit this forum like locusts. This is my prediction. And they are not going to have time to read 93000+ posts to glean tidbits from the archives. There might be a lot of chaos. But we've been through this learning curve ourselves, with people, with the topic, with preparation, and so maybe we can keep this a civil place of worth, we've been there, done that, and we can give advice for preparation methods and focus.

Like being a club, family, or church, people will judge the subject matter at least somewhat by how those involved behave, and that goes for Y2K. If we do well as posters here, even in the face of increasing chaos and tough subjects, it might have more effect than just refusing media hacks easy quotes. It might, somewhere and with somebody, save a life.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 22, 1999.

I have certainly enjoyed reading all the responses to PJ's thread. And one struck me as especially relevant. J-- (Jart5) brought up the difference between spoken and written language. Usually there are more misunderstandings from the spoken than the written word, but I do think we should consider that not everyone has had a first rate education, not everyone grew up speaking English and not everyone, myself included, has the time to write and rewrite before they hit submit.

I do quite a bit of writing, but I'm sometimes amazed at the errors I make. Also, many sites have a "preview" step that allows you to correct mistakes on something more than this little square. This is especially helpful for those of us who are almost legally blind.

Concerning Christians, I simply get weary of hearing "we are the only true religion." But I have to tell you that one of the people I've loved most in my life was a Christian, and I never felt he was trying to change me to a Christian, or tell me I was a sinner, or wrong headed. He was my dad.

But everytime I decide to be more tolerant, something happens that makes me wonder why bother. Here's an example. I've talked to three of my nearest neighbors about Y2K. One, a young couple, caught it immediately and began preparing. They are nonchristians, they are a joy to be around, and I couldn't ask for better neighbors.

My neighbor of 30+ years said they couldn't afford to prepare and would just take their lumps. They have multiple physical problems, are raising a teenage grandson, and they are Christians; we haven't had a cross word ever, and they never bring up religion, nor do I. I fully intend to have enough supplies to help them out. We went to school together and they know I'm a nonchristian, and they don't care.

When I told my third neighbors, also Christians, my thoughts on preparing for y2k, this was what I heard. "We're not worried about it. If you were a Christian, instead of an atheist (which I'm not) you wouldn't have to worry about it either. If you would accept Jesus this y2k thing wouldn't bother you at all."

Yes some Christians do have lots of confidence in God. And some bring out the worst in nonchristians. PJ, Christians are not the only people who are harrassed, insulted and ultimately discounted.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), April 23, 1999.

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