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Haruhiismus

Noli Esse Buddy Bear, Philippe!

"Noli Esse Buddy Bear!"
"Don't Be a Buddy Bear, Phil!"

So, Phil has posted more about people's responses to his Don't Be a Dick talk:

Don’t Be a Dick, Part 2: links

After my "Don’t Be a Dick" talk at TAM 8 — and even during it, thanks to Twitter — people were talking about it. I found a lot of the people were grossly misinterpreting what I was saying, and that was coming from people who weren’t actually at the talk, but felt they could still render an opinion on it. Most of that elicited a wry chuckle from me.

He also posted links to blogs and sites that agree with him, disagree with him, or are neutral on the subject.

He even links to my friend Joé McKen!

Phil Plait’s TAM8 “Don’t Be A Dick” speech

I made a post about this subject a few weeks ago:

Argumentum ad Mentulam

It's great that PZ is calling out this "dick" thing out and calling it what it is: a strawman.

You know, I don't know of many skeptic "dicks" who are dicks for the sake of being dicks. PZ may be a self-acknowledged, self-deprecating jerk (and I still like him!), but I do not think that his main goal is to be as rude as possible!

As I mentioned before, you can close people off by pissing them off, but on the other hand, they can just as easily close themselves off by your coddling them.

At any rate, I especially love Matt's post about this.

The New Dick strawman slapped around all day long, but while "coming off as mean and dickish" isn't going to win someone converts all the time, and there may be something to the argument that it is not the ideal way to win those converts, the truth is that it does win one converts.

From what I have seen and read, I cannot help but think that the New Dick strawman is overall still an exaggeration. It is all too easy, I think, to dismiss those who are not within the not-too-coddling crowd into the "coming off as mean and dickish," even when they are winning converts, and yet referring to it as such as "being a dick" seems dismissive, since being a dick as one's main shtick -- being a dick for the sake of being a dick -- hardly seems typical outside of trolldom. Not all behaviors that has been labeled as examples of "being a dick" are the same, and not all of it is anything like "being a troll."

The problem with saying Don't Be a Dick, and presenting it the way Phil does in his talk, is that it conflates behaviors that can be labeled as "being a dick" with those that rightly should be called "being a troll."

While Phil can tell us Don't Be a Dick, I might as well just say Don't Be a Buddy Bear:



And, of course, the problem with saying Don't Be a Buddy Bear, and presenting it as a counter-New-Dick strawman, is that it conflates behaviors that can be labeled as "being too coddling" with those that rightly should be called "being a troll who seeks harmony, whether it be phony or genuine."

Comments

I don’t think Phil was making a strawman when he depicted his idea of “dickishness”; I think he just went a little hyperbolic, which wasn’t perhaps best for accuracy. But nonetheless, I think his overall point – to try and convince and reach out to people, rather than just mock and dismiss them as idiots who’ll never learn (and thus effectively ensuring that they’ll never learn) – was straight on.
The strawman is the postulated "New Dick" (a good a term as any for an agent of that rising vitriol and venom), which derives from that hyperbole, and as PZ pointed out, there is not anyone who fits that description in the skeptical movement (outside of trolldom, I should add). Why? Because to be a "New Dick" of that type is, frankly, not to be a skeptic.

"I think his overall point – to try and convince and reach out to people, rather than just mock and dismiss them as idiots who’ll never learn (and thus effectively ensuring that they’ll never learn) – was straight on."

That is because it is good advice for non-trolls in general.
Sailor Saturn/Hotaru Tomoe

November 2013

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