PDA

View Full Version : Free Speech vs Respecting Others - What's your opinion?



Myst
September 7th, 2001, 12:47 AM
Ok, this topic keeps coming up lately, so why don't we discuss it?

Do you feel that you should hold your opinions when you disagree so as not to hurt someone's feelings?

Do you feel that people should just "take it" when someone disagrees?

When does someone sharing their opinion cross the line to harassing others or forcing beliefs?

Who should be held liable (or not liable) when someone is harassed?

Do you feel when someone shares their beliefs it's ok if they have proof or something to back it up? If so, who gets to decide when it's ok?

Do you think it's ok to share opinions on certain people or beliefs, and not others, and if so, how do we decide what's ok?

Do you believe that wording communicates the difference between forcing belief and offering opinion (ie. "I think this belief is wrong" vs "You are wrong!")?

What do you think of the legal and ethical issues at hand?

Swanspirit
September 7th, 2001, 01:25 AM
Willow ....... ooops OT sowwie.
great questions too .......... but I am too tired tonight to take these on and do them justice ..............
so later
Love and light
Swannie

Tigerwallah
September 7th, 2001, 08:33 AM
Many of us have strong opinions, and why shouldn't we? Where I think we have to police ourselves is when we get frustrated and resort to personal attacks.

When we are disputing an idea or theory, it is fair, and an exercise of free speech. Hey, wouldn't this place be pretty boring if we all agreed? And if we did all agree, or if no one argued a different side, wouldn't that be only part of the picture?

Lately, I think we've been doing our own "witch hunts" because we don't like someone's opinion or the way that they present it. I completely believe that they have the right to say what they wish, as long as they do not break the community's rules. I also believe that I have the right to not respond, or not even read an opinion that I find offensive. As difficult topics arise (ie: patriarcy vs. matriarcy, Satanism, politics of any kind) there are going to be strong opinions on each side. Should we avoid the topics al together? There would be little substance to this community if we avoided the contraversial topics and only focused on fluff.

I have gotten into some intense arguments with several other members. I'm a big girl. I can take it, and I expect the same of the person I am debating with.

Just my two cents.

Myst
September 7th, 2001, 09:54 AM
In such an open forum as this people are going to disagree and disagree STRONGLY. It'd be pretty boring if some of us didn't wouldn't it?

When I have an opinion, I share it, period. I don't apologize for that, and I don't feel the need to place 10 smilies in my post to be nice. Some people get upset and/or take that as a personal attack, when it's not. Some people are convinced I'm angry just because I've taken a strong stance against their opinion. Some people take that as an opportunity to go OT in a thread to tell me I have mental problems... :) A good thing to look out for are sentences that start with "you" - if it starts with "You" I've said you've done something, if it starts with "I" or "This" then I'm not talking about you, but the subject or my feelings on it, so for heaven's sake take it as such!

People are all too ready to take a disagreeing opinion as a personal attack and respond. A good suggestion for this is if you read a post and it upsets you, you should probably ignore it for a few hours to be sure that you're responding with your opinion, not your anger.

I think the line between disagreeing and harassing is crossed when people using namecalling or resorting to anger instead of sharing why they disagree, start threatening eachother or physically hurting eachother. Wording is important too, "I think that belief is stupid because.." is far different from "You are stupid". I suggest if you're not sure you read really carefully and not reply until you're sure you're responding with your opinions and beliefs, not anger.

Myst
September 7th, 2001, 01:14 PM
Hey over 20 people have viewed this - I know you have opinions, come on, share!

Danustouch
September 7th, 2001, 01:18 PM
LOL. Not today. Really wouldn't be prudent, at this juncture. Too easily irritated today. So I'm just taking a backseat, and watching everyyyyyyyyyyyything float bye. Vicodin makes that possible. Thank you Vicodin!!!!!!!!

Myst
September 7th, 2001, 03:00 PM
hehe D, I can totally understand that. Brightest blessings. :)

Dria El
September 7th, 2001, 03:38 PM
I've been thinking about this subject alot in regards to this site in the last month or two and there are a few things that just have me stumped. And I guess the main one is...

I just don't 'get' why everyone gets so upset about things that people here (or anywhere online really) say. 9 times out of 10 you don't know them, will probably never know them, and most likely never meet them (let alone become something more than casual chat buddies). So, I just don't understand why what someone like that says would upset someone so. <shrugs> Maybe I'm just nieve. I don't know.

Myst
September 7th, 2001, 04:29 PM
I think it's a natural defence to be upset or have your back go up, even when it's someone online. Just like that strange guy on the street would probably annoy you if he told you you were going to hell. Even tho you don't know him, I think there's just a primal, immediate response. You know, human defences and all. I dunno, sometimes I wonder why too. But then again, it happens whether we know why or not *shrugs*

Dria El
September 7th, 2001, 04:44 PM
See, that's just the thing. I don't get upset about those things. I don't know him and he doesn't know me. Therefore, what he says means less than 0 to me. I don't hate them or anything cus that's giving them too much power (and dedicating too much of my precious personal energy). They just don't 'exist' for me. I just 'swat' away the negativity like I'd swat away a fly. <shrugs> But that's just me I guess.

Lavender
September 7th, 2001, 11:04 PM
Not a heck of a lot bothers me. Most of the time, I'm not in the heat of things. That's not to say I don't have strong opinions. I do. It's just that someone else usually beats me to posting them. No point a billion people saying "me too." I believe that people should be able to ask questions & voice their opinions no matter how contrsversial AND people should be also able to say I disagree with your opinion without others jumping down their throats. Unfortunately, I find that a lot of times when someone asks for my opinion, they're really looking for someone to agree with them.

Dria El
September 7th, 2001, 11:23 PM
Originally posted by Wildchild
Not a heck of a lot bothers me. Most of the time, I'm not in the heat of things. That's not to say I don't have strong opinions. I do. It's just that someone else usually beats me to posting them. No point a billion people saying "me too." I believe that people should be able to ask questions & voice their opinions no matter how contrsversial AND people should be also able to say I disagree with your opinion without others jumping down their throats. Unfortunately, I find that a lot of times when someone asks for my opinion, they're really looking for someone to agree with them.

Exactly!

Dria El
September 7th, 2001, 11:27 PM
Another of my problems with posting on message boards and the like is that I have an entirely different view on language and vocabulary than everyone else (it seems). So I either have to use 'their' type of language or vocabulary (meaning, temper my opinion), post away and be ready to be flamed, or not post at all. And since online anything really doesn't matter I generally tend to post less than most (ie. do alot of watching and hope someone shares my opinion for me).

Tigerwallah
September 8th, 2001, 02:42 AM
Free Speech Rocks!!! 'Cause so far we all have the same opinion. :cutie:

So, my question is where is everyone who disagrees? I sure see a lot of discord and complaining about others excercising their right to speek their minds. This would be a good place to express their opinions.

Myst
September 8th, 2001, 02:49 AM
Dria and Wild, you've both made excellent points.

I try to not get upset as well, and try to respond quickly, clearly, and succinctly to get the argument out of the way so we can get back on topic (in the forum). People tend to see that short, blunt response as me "becoming upset", or "needing to calm down". I come online to relax, so if I really was getting mental problems from people on here (which some people seem think I am lately, and have let me know as much) I wouldn't come on anymore! Frankly, as much as seeing other's opinions doesn't bug me, seeing people tell me I need to "calm down" or I'm on a "hair trigger" et cetera drives me nuts. To me those statements mean "you're upset, you have no right to be, I don't care why you are, just be quiet and be nice because I said you're supposed to". Why when someone else disagrees they are sharing their opinion, but when I respond I'm being "not nice", and why should I have to live by anyone else's moral standards but my own? Free speech has done a lot for our country and many others, it's an important right! I don't think anyone has the right to suggest I shouldn't use it, and what does make me angry is people who think they can tell me not to!

Tiger, excellent point. If everyone's so upset why are we the only ones sharing opinions here? Where are the people telling us why we should censor ourselves? Hm I was sure there were at least a few of them ;)

Don't you think out of the 65 times people have viewed this thread, more people would discuss censoring oneself?

Tigerwallah
September 8th, 2001, 03:08 AM
If your posts are too long. They think you're angry if your posts are only a sentence or two. There's no winning.

Nyx
September 8th, 2001, 03:12 AM
I look at things this way; I don't like feeling insulted or angry anymore than then next person, however, that doesn't mean i can deny someone the right to make me feel that way. The First Amendment is there so that we can be insulted! We have the right to be angry, to disagree, to argue. It's important that we be challenged in that way at times because it makes us take a hard look at other beliefs and see why we believe what we do. Sometimes, you discover that something the other person said made sense to you, and you make adjustments to your beliefs accordingly. Sometimes, we get mad, because we feel personally attacked, and we don't look at where the other person may be coming from. There's nothing wrong with either reaction, it's part of human nature. People should be allowed to speak their minds, they should be allowed to react, and learn from those experiences.
However, I also feel that there is a point where one can go to far. When langauge is used expressly to insult and to cause pain, then, it has overstepped the bounds of free speech, and gone into a darker area.

Just my 6 cents on the subject ^_-

~~Nyx~~

Myst
September 8th, 2001, 03:12 AM
Also, I think part of having free speech is having free speech to say "I'm angry, this is why" no matter who's speaking or for what reason. I think in all honesty, upon reflection, that until people break set laws then they should be able to exercise free speech (ie. they can argue but it's against the law to harass or assault so they can't be following the person around screaming or beat someone, or here people can disagree just as long as they follow the rules of MW).

I think otherwise, it's free territory.

Nyx - welcome to MysticWicks and thanks for your brilliant and thought provoking response. If you go over and introduce yourself in the "Just Talk" forum I'm sure many people will take a moment to also welcome you here. Brightest blessings!

Dria El
September 8th, 2001, 03:43 AM
Welcome to Mystic Wicks Nyx!!! So glad you decided to join us!

:)

loopy
September 8th, 2001, 03:56 AM
Wow, so many good answers that it seems kind of pointless to just say "I agree" but nonetheless...

"I agree."

And welcome to MW, Nyx! :D:D

sarhea
September 9th, 2001, 12:35 AM
I've only read about half the replies but I'm needing to answer before I forget where I"m going(it happens lol)

I think this is a fantastic topic and interesting to have it brought up....
In my life(since I don't have any experience with anyone elses, thank gods), I am a pretty blunt person. But I'm also a firm believer in the old " a time and place for everything". So, there are times when I hold my tongue, not necessarily out of respect for the person I'm wanting to say it to, but usually out of respect for the simple fact that I"m not the only human being within earshot. In my own life, it's all about keeping my life comfy, and safe, and if sometimes I choose to not tell someone to....be great somewhere far, far away, then *shrug*. I do think some people(and again, this is my opinion, and I'm certainly not a trained professional hehe), tend to use free speech as a way to feed the evergrowing chip on their shoulder. But again, as long as one doesn't come at me or mine with said chip, they're welcome to it:)
Although,it does scare me a great deal, since for a pagan, free speech is such a tenuous thing anyway, that some seem willing to toss it away for the sake of being the center of attention.
And in closing, I'd just like to say that we were asked for our opinions and I gave mine. I'm not attacking anyone(I like almost everyone here:)), and I would like to add, in closing, that I love debates, but grow weary of posturing and I'm glad I see very little here, it's one of the things I love about this community.
~Sar

Xois
September 9th, 2001, 06:45 AM
disagreeing is totally fine, acting like total jerk is not

:D

I believe that the way you phrased the question "free speech vs. respecting others" is not correct because it implies that you must choose one or the other. Really, the two ideas are not mutually exclusive!

:)

Myst
September 9th, 2001, 06:52 AM
Hm, interesting point, Xois. I didn't intend for the "vs" to indicate one is mutually exclusive but I see your point. I tried to change it but I can't. :)

Xois
September 9th, 2001, 06:59 AM
:D

Myst
September 9th, 2001, 07:03 AM
Ok, I have a question. What is a jerk, how do you define one? And in a discussion; who gets to define who's being a jerk and by what standards?

Like, if I don't think I'm being a jerk but the other person does, how can I know how to stop being a jerk, or what I'm doing that makes me seem like a jerk?

Tigerwallah
September 9th, 2001, 09:03 AM
Originally posted by Willow Raven
Like, if I don't think I'm being a jerk but the other person does, how can I know how to stop being a jerk, or what I'm doing that makes me seem like a jerk?

Now that's the question, isn't it? Wish I had the answers. Of course, I'm not about to change anything about me for someone who misinterprets me. Because, again, I think that becomes their problem. Not mine. I realize that perception is reality, but you just can't please everyone.

Spirahl
September 9th, 2001, 01:23 PM
Fighting/arguements happen, ...
problems occur when one does not fight FAIR.
"FAIR" is rather hard to define, ...
but in my opinion it is when someone fights to WIN AT ALL COSTS instead of fighting to RESOLVE the issue. And if it can't be resolved, agreeing to disagree is okay.
In my opinion, fighting fair does not include resorting to insults or being so stubborn that you cannot ever concede a point, ...
or admit that you were misinformed,
or uninformed,
or simply had not looked at the issue from a different angle due to personal biases.

Try to walk away from an arguement understanding the issue or the other person, or yourself better,...
then all is not lost.

I think most people who frequent this community do a good job of this most of the time. We aren't perfect, we never will be...

Myst
September 9th, 2001, 05:42 PM
Some good food for thought, Tiger and Spirahl. :)

EasternPriest
September 9th, 2001, 08:43 PM
Originally posted by Danustouch
LOL. Not today. Really wouldn't be prudent, at this juncture. Too easily irritated today. So I'm just taking a backseat, and watching everyyyyyyyyyyyything float bye. Vicodin makes that possible. Thank you Vicodin!!!!!!!!


LOL.....hmmmm, wasn't that one of the Norse gods?:p

Myst
September 9th, 2001, 09:10 PM
hehe EP :)

Ok, here's some of my thoughts;


Should we try to respect others and not cause personal arguments? I think so, but then again, I'm not going to impose that belief on anyone else
Should we be absolutely free to share our opinions, even if someone strongly disagrees? Yup, I think so
Should we be held responsible when someone misinterprets what we've said and gets personally offended, even if we've tried to clarify and only made them more upset? I don't think so.
Should we each take the initiative to take responsibility for our own responses or interpretations, even if that means dropping an argument or putting the person on ignore? Heck, yeah! (IMHO)
Should we understand, before encouraging a personal or off topic argument, that we may not have all the facts or understand the situation fully or see all sides of the story? Yup! (IMHO)


This is ALL IMHO, and what I believe. Does someone want to agree/disagree/amend to that?

zhowlingwolf
September 9th, 2001, 09:31 PM
I always believed in our feedom of speech. However,if I have a contrary oppinion, I may state, but not at the expense of anothers feelings. Sometimes I ponder my thoughts and find a more appropriate time and situation after a situation has lessened. I also remind myself we are all interconnected, and if I hurt another I am hurting myself and all those I love.
Blessed be!

Illuminatus
September 10th, 2001, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by Danustouch
LOL. Not today. Really wouldn't be prudent, at this juncture. Too easily irritated today. So I'm just taking a backseat, and watching everyyyyyyyyyyyything float bye. Vicodin makes that possible. Thank you Vicodin!!!!!!!!

Danustouch,

What is this Vicodin, and would you be willing to part with some of it? I could really use some but unforunately my doctor is "sensible" and "intelligent" and doesn't perscribe everything I ask him for. :( : ( :(

Kyrnnid Tyhn
September 11th, 2001, 12:13 AM
of course free speech rocks. this country has to have at least one good thing left about it.

everybody's opinion on what's the best words to use so as not to cause anger, and what have you, is different. when you make a statement the person you are arguing with might think you are angry because of the way you word your statements. the reason is Everyone's Perspective Is Different. you can scream all you want about, 'if i word it this way, it means i'm not talking about you and if i word it the other way, i'm not.' that's how YOU see it. no matter how YOU think your points are being delievered, they are not always taken how you intended.

so not only do people have differing views, but their views on how other's word their statements is different too! how confusing! take this statement: 'i think the remark you just made is ridiculous.' some people would take offense to that. some would not.

i agree that i am definitely not going to be placing a bunch of smileys on my posts so as to show that i'm not angry or being mean. but i do care about others feelings and i do care how people take my statements. if i notice that someone has taken offense to my statements, i'll reassure them. i feel it's a decent thing to do because if people are taking time to read my statements, i can be decent enough to be sure they are received the way i intended. i'm not one to think that if others get offended by the way i deliver my disagreement, then that's THEIR problem and i have no apologies. because, again, everyone perceives EVERYTHING differently, including the way we word things. if you have time to disagree with somebody, you should have time to be sure your disagreements are received well.

when people take your statements the 'wrong' way, it's not always THEM who need to adjust.
just my thoughts.

Myst
September 11th, 2001, 12:18 AM
Good point, Kyrnnid. Very true. However, sometimes I find even when you do try to explain yourself or clarify the person gets even more mad or misinterprets even more (*cough*cough* boy have I been there, done that!).

For example, if I say something that is misinterpreted, even though I thought I was being clear and succinct, then I often try to explain myself again. I could make 5 points of what I really meant and saying what I didn't mean to communicate in what I consider a polite way, and another person might pick out 1 and scream at me for it, ignoring the rest. Sometimes people just won't listen, no matter how well you think you're wording things. That's why I'm glad I have an ignore feature here at MW... :)

Yes, I think people should make an effort to be polite and respectful (tho, again, that's my belief, and I can't expect anyone else to adhere to that value of trying to be polite), but it's true that sometimes no matter what you say it can be taken wrong.

Kyrnnid Tyhn
September 11th, 2001, 12:26 AM
i do agree with that too. some people will continue to get angry. but i have noticed just by browsing here and at the other forum i visit, that some people who are in the middle of arguements just continue to disregard that the other's perspectives are different. soon, each person involved is focusing on 'i'm trying to be nice and he just doesn't get what i'm saying.' if both people in an arguement are thinking that, nothing gets resolved! if both think they are 'being nice and the other doesn't get it,' how can you resolve that? i guess everyone in the arguement just ends up hating each other.

Myst
September 11th, 2001, 12:28 AM
Hm. I donno if they end up hating eachother. I know, when it's happened to me, that I end putting the person on ignore for awhile and write them off as someone who maybe I can't communicate properly with. Perhaps we should try harder to focus on the topic at hand instead of eachother, while trying to keep in mind that misinterpretations happen. I think Wyrdsister's signature is very pertinent here - read it and I think it makes exactly the point I think you and I are both discussing.

Kyrnnid Tyhn
September 11th, 2001, 12:36 AM
sorry it took me a while. i couldn't find her posts anywhere.

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I ment."

yeah that is very pertinent to this discussion.

i guess we also do have to consider that there will be people who clash. even people who think they can get along with anyone and everyone can actually find that one person who they just can't mesh with. it's happened to me a couple times before anyway.

Armitage
September 11th, 2001, 11:55 PM
I personally believe free speech should be just that. There is saying your beliefs freely and then there's shoving them down another's throat. That should be considered propaganda and proselytizing, which can be confused with something that would be included with free speech, but in fact takes away another persons freedom by insinuating other beliefs or whatever on theirs.
The free speech movement is getting a bad rep because people have no idea how to state their beliefs, or to believe in them with tact and courtesy. Tact is stating when asked, or when a need arises, not posting literature wherever possible telling people to join in your views, or yelling in their faces.

Yvonne Belisle
March 25th, 2004, 05:42 PM
Excellent questions worthy of resurection. So how do you feel about this topic? Is it something that affects your everyday life or something that only brushes the edges from time to time?

Ben Trismegistus
March 25th, 2004, 05:46 PM
Am I the only one who thinks it's incredibly creepy that the most recent post on this thread was 9-11-2001?

Yvonne Belisle
March 25th, 2004, 06:49 PM
A lot of good threads were ignored then in the aftermath most of these issues seemed really trivial

Tzhebee
March 25th, 2004, 07:26 PM
Ok, this topic keeps coming up lately, so why don't we discuss it?

Do you feel that you should hold your opinions when you disagree so as not to hurt someone's feelings?
Quite honestly, it depends on how sensitive the person is, whether or not I know them IRL and how strongly I feel about the topic.
Do you feel that people should just "take it" when someone disagrees?
Absolutely-IF it's just a disagreement. I don't expect or want everyone to agree with me. Half the time I take the opposite opinion just to debate-even when it's not what I believe. But once the disagreement comes down to personal attacks, then you should not just take that.
When does someone sharing their opinion cross the line to harassing others or forcing beliefs?
I think that once a person says something like "lets agree to disagree" and you *still* don't drop it. Or perhaps when you have gotten to the point where you are continually repeating yourself with no real point other than to argue. But again, it must be taken in context of how strongly a person feels for something and how well you know that person.
Who should be held liable (or not liable) when someone is harassed?
If someone is harassed, and has reported it and/or asked that it stop and it doesn't then the person doing the harassing should be held liable. (Liable is a relative term) However, if a person "harasses" you for months or years and you never said or did anything about it; then tough, you put up with, it's your problem.
Do you feel when someone shares their beliefs it's ok if they have proof or something to back it up? If so, who gets to decide when it's ok?
It's OK to have proof, but that doesn't mean I'm going to believe it. I can "prove" that 1+1=3 using advanced mathmatics. Who gets to decide when it's OK? Whomever the proof is being shown to. If someone was attempting to prove to me that the Ark existing, then I get to determine if it's OK - with what I believe. I cannot determine the opinion of "OK" for someone else, but I can for myself.
Do you think it's ok to share opinions on certain people or beliefs, and not others, and if so, how do we decide what's ok?
Good question. I think it boils down to who you are talking to and why you are talking with that particular person. Also, as a courtesy, a bit of "tact" should be in play. It would be OK to share my opinion of Jesus on a christian board (assuming it is a possitive belief), but probably not so prudent to talk about Diana as a Goddess. Some people are not willing or able to hear or debate rationally about beliefs. Those are the people I would decide it is not OK.
Do you believe that wording communicates the difference between forcing belief and offering opinion (ie. "I think this belief is wrong" vs "You are wrong!")?
Yes. But even more so in a virtual world. It is very easy to take each word typed as literal, and very few ways to show that one is being sarcastic. The simple spelling mistake of Did vs Didn't can change the entire meaning of your post. If we were having a civil debate and I said "I think your previous statement was rude and uncalled for", then we could probably keep our debate civil. However, if I said "What kind of idiot are you? I can't believe you were so rude and crase as to say XXX", then I would have crossed over the line of debate and begun a direct attack on you. So, in a virtual world, where there is no ability to see or hear emotions, then the words say it all for us.
What do you think of the legal and ethical issues at hand?

I purposely left that last one unanswered, as I don't think I could be civil in my answer. :strike: