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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

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Old 10-12-05, 03:22 PM   #1
Daily Commute
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We need to learn how to disagree more civilly. There are about a dozen or so of us who contribute regularly to the advocacy forums, and the debates have gotten a little testy recently. I know some of my posts have crossed the line, so I am not playing holier-than-thou.

Here are a few ideas. I welcome other ideas or constructive criticisms of these ideas. I only ask that we avoid turning this thread into another debate about VC, bike lanes, sidewalk riding, etc.

First, if someone inadvertently brings up a hotly contested idea in a thread that really isn't about the hotly contested, don't commit a thread jack. Instead, add a post that mentions that the thread raises, say, bike lane issues, and then provide a link to the bike lane thread or to a specific response in the bike lane thread.

Second, read your post. If all you do is call the other person names without adding anything substantive, don't post. This also applies to responses to name calling (perhaps my biggest weakness). If you must respond, explain why you think the name is appropriate or why you think the idea was wrong.

Third, ignore obnoxious posts you disagree with, but criticize obnoxious posts when you generally agree with the point the author was making. Anti-VC'ers will be far more effective criticizing each other. Same with VC'ers. But the insult wars persuade no one. And nothing is more punishing than being ignored.

Fourth, attack the idea, not the person.

Fifth, if your post aggressively makes your idea, think about re-writing it to make the same point less aggressively. The aggressive posts don't persuade anyone anyway, so you'll be doing yourself a favor.

Six, think of alternative solutions. The No-'VC-er's-Please thread is a good idea (although I thought the title adds to the negative tone of this forum) because the thread encourages people to come up with solutions.

Finally, keep a sense of humor.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 10-12-05 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 10-12-05, 03:29 PM   #2
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You're preaching to the choir. It's the internet. For every civil netizen there are a dozen trolls waiting to pounce. They will only scoff at your ideas.
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Old 10-12-05, 03:29 PM   #3
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I agree with everything you have said here, DC. I enjoy a spirited debate, but when things turn nasty, these threads can be a real bummer. As someone who was the target of some pretty nasty stuff myself once or twice, I can say that it is VERY hard to disengage once the insults start flying. Further, once that point is reached, there is no further real exchange of ideas, only a flame war...
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Old 10-12-05, 03:35 PM   #4
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You're preaching to the choir. It's the internet. For every civil netizen there are a dozen trolls waiting to pounce. They will only scoff at your ideas.
That's fine. But I think the regulars set the tone. If we can get our act together, the forum will attract fewer trolls, and those trolls who manage to slip through will be less disruptive. Also, if we can be more civil, I think the forum will attract more people who like constructive debate.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 10-12-05 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 10-12-05, 03:39 PM   #5
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Finally, keep a sense of humor.

A skeleton walks into a bar.

Whatlyouhave, says the bartender.

A pitcher of beer, and a mop, says the skeleton.
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Old 10-12-05, 03:49 PM   #6
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Disagreements do get heated and too personal on occasion.

But I've also observed on a regular cycle a love fest of agreement and happy thoughts about how close we really are in our thoughts and much we would all probably enjoy cycling together.

Al
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Old 10-12-05, 05:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
I know some of my posts have crossed the line
You're from Columbus, tis to be expected. Look at the bright side, you could be in Cleveland! Come on now, keep your chin up, smile, and join us all for a nice warm shower and singing Kumbya.
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Old 10-12-05, 06:30 PM   #8
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I welcome other ideas or constructive criticisms of these ideas.
--- Please add to your list an axiom that most undergraduates learn in college: CITE your SOURCES.

For example, if I wanted to make a case that bike lanes were safe, I would post thus:
Here is an excerpt of an official study by the Department of Cambridge entitled "Safety Benefits of Bike Lanes":
"In 1996, over 2000 League of American Bicyclist members were surveyed about the crashes (accidents) they were involved in over the course of the previous year. From the information, a relative danger index was calculated which shows that streets with bike lanes were the safest places to ride, having a significantly lower crash rate then either major or minor streets without any bicycle facilities; moreover, they are safer than trails and sidewalks as well."
Then I should cite the source: http://www.cambridgema.gov/~CDD/et/b...ke_safety.html
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Old 10-12-05, 06:42 PM   #9
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I think most of us would agree that we are merely trying to follow the truth, wherever that quest may lead. I am eager to read diverse points of view, and I do not expect to concur with every opinion I encounter.

I don't have all of the answers, but I think I do have at least some ...
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