Some Thoughts, Part Nine – Questions
Posted by BigWords on April 16, 2010
I’m good with questions, mostly because I ask a lot of questions.
People who don’t ask many questions, bumbling their way through problems (or, if you like, opportunities) will probably be unaware of the joy in finding a nugget of hitherto unknown information which answers more than the immediate question. I like those answers. The kind which expands the universe, whether intended or not. In the grand scheme of things these following questions aren’t big. They’re not the kind of questions which are required to fundamentally change the way we think, but they have been playing on my mind for a while, and they will inform my next post (half-prepared and awaiting some tinkering) as the answers I have been playing with aren’t the ones I want. I’m not good at answering my own questions, and many people reading this will probably also know how the answers we provide for ourselves aren’t always the best.
The group mind is more powerful than the individual in many regards, though (as I will soon come to show) there are troubling difficulties in halting movement when an inappropriate shift in direction is indicated. Here, because the questions are direct and – mostly – of common acceptance, I should be able to see that the puzzles which have been halting movement of any degree are unfounded. Maybe I will uncover aspects of the situation which has been hidden. I may have a revelation or two, or see clear what has been clouded by insecurity, doubt and self-awareness. They are the kind of questions which you are probably asking yourself from time to time, and by highlighting them I hope to see the places where answers can be pulled and twisted into a rough groundwork for something which is needed. It won’t take long to read through, and you don’t need to answer any (or all) of the questions. Pick one and run with it. You don’t need to answer at all if you don’t want.
- When do you consider a post, comment, thread, tweet or article to be bullying in nature?
- Where do you believe is the appropriate place to make your concerns about online bullying?
- Have you ever felt intimidated, or have you intimidated anyone else online, and how do you feel about that?
- Have you ever felt that a point has been made against an individual which wasn’t necessary?
- How have you intervened in a situation where you weren’t directly involved, and had no stake?
- What preventative measures for online bullying do you want to see implemented?
- Where are the connections between online bullying and real life consequences for you?
I was going to lead into the anti-bullying thoughts with something else, but the questions have been ticking away in the back of my mind. It’s hard to concentrate as it is, but with the preceding questions scratching at the inside of my skull any attempt at a cohesive line of thought gets derailed in circles of logic, the kind which were employed in the destruction of super-intelligent computers in hokey old SF television shows. The online behavior etiquette which most of us half-adhere to doesn’t always tie neatly withing the framework of respect, or hold up to what we would do in personal interactions. There’s a strange “not me” mentality when a lot of people go online, and statements which would, in any other media, be considered abhorrent are somehow underpowered to a state where they can be used freely. There’s enough unbidden vitriol running through the web to last an eternity, so we need to work out ways to stem the hostilities.
But that isn’t enough. Not while I’m on the subject of online behavior, because there are other things involved in respect for our fellow netizens – and I have to point out, right now, that I hate that word. We need better Life 2.0 terminologies. Back to the subject, and there are so many places where there aren’t clear-cut guidelines that it can be daunting to know which of the actions I see are appropriate, which are borderline, and which are inappropriate, and we’re forced to examine the rise of web conventions here. The numerous websites, blogs, articles, and forums which specialize leads to a major dilemma – is there now a line between specialist subject non-fiction books and online material? Should we shy away from certain things because it is a disservice to an author who may return to a work for a revised copy, or can we run with online updates, and the interactivity which digital data provides?
This, I must admit, is a very personal conundrum. For the past few years I have been thinking of ways to improve knowledge of certain topics, and that has led me to the (very few) titles already published on the subject. There is the possibility of the author returning to the work for an update (unlikely, but possible) so I have held off working on it. And the related problem of online databases crippling the publishing possibilities of other titles is a problem which I have pondered. Is this an aspect of respect we have to consider in addition to the other, more obvious, abuses. Providing for free that which others wish to sell… Seems like there’s an ethical debate inside that problem, though I will refrain from adding further words here. Questions are, by their nature, unfinished things. I like the unfinished, the almost, the not-quite-there-yet… These questions, and more, fill the air as we wander through new multimedia puzzles, asking, probing, questioning… We will not find all the answers right away, and some answers will probably linger on.
But I like questions, so I’ll be happy regardless of the presence of answers.
My post on good and bad online behavior is pending…