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-   -   Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20698)

akiy 01-11-2012 11:42 AM

Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Folks,

I seem to have to step into a great number of threads these days asking for people's consideration for respectful, civilized discourse here on AikiWeb.

More and more, I see posters directing posts towards the person behind the discussions rather than towards the topics being raised. More and more, I see posters using such words as "liars" and "clueless" to describe one another. More and more, I see posters using broad brushes to paint a certain way of training or a certain organization to be this or that. More and more, I see rudeness, disrespect, and a blatant lack of civility in what I read here on AikiWeb.
None of these kinds of rhetoric are necessary. And, none of these are welcome here on AikiWeb.
Why is it that some people here seem to view each other as enemies? Why is it that some people here seem to feel the need to tear down each other's characters to try to make a point regarding a discussion? Why is it that some people here seem to need to point fingers towards others without moderating one's own behavior and actions?

I don't know. I really don't, folks.

I don't want to have to step into discussions to ask people to be more civil and respectful. I don't want to have to send moderation actions like warning people or imposing posting restrictions due to their behavior that I witness. I don't want to have to write posts like this very one here. No, really -- I don't.

What I would like to do is be able to trust that everyone here will behave in a mature, civil, and open manner while maintaining your passion about your beliefs and experiences within your discussions. As I recently read in an article, "[Being civil] does not preclude one from being passionate, forceful, or tough. It does preclude one from being rude, callous, or mean" (C. Dahnke, Institute for Civility in Government).
This is a request for each and every one of you to conduct yourself with civility and respect for others as being of the utmost importance when you engage in discussions here.
I'll close with another quote from Dahnke:

"[Civility] is claiming and caring for one's identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else's in the process. We aren't expecting people to always agree, nor would we want them to be anything less than passionate about their positions. But a person should not have to resort to rudeness, hostility and/or falsehood to make a reasoned point."

Thank you,

-- Jun

aikishihan 01-11-2012 02:25 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Thank you once again, Jun Akiyama san, for coming forth and ably providing reasoned, compassionate and visionary leadership for all of us, and for your flagship, Aiki Web.

We must do much better in policing ourselves, not out of fear of sanctions, but because it is the right thing to do, the Aiki thing to do, and, at the end of the day, what we all profess should always be the right thing to do.

We will have a shining example of what a responsible and responsive online forum on genuine Aikido and Aiki Principles we all deserve to have, when we collectively resolve to work with one another to ensure that this happens.

Love Is High Maintenance. If we Love the concept, and the continued existence of a vibrant and exciting Aiki Web, then we must pay due diligence, and whatever fair and reasonable Price to Maintain it on a daily basis.

Happy New Year to all, and to all, a kinder, more genuine, Aiki Web for 2012 and beyond!

In oneness,

francis y takahashi

George S. Ledyard 01-11-2012 02:41 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I have to say that I have found myself increasingly staying away from the forums. The level of vituperation just makes me tense... it isn't enjoyable nor is it educational. Looking at the forums as a staging ground for a battle of opinions really detracts from the whole experience. I find myself less and less interested in participating.

What we all post here are opinions... some may be better founded than others, but the fact is that they are just opinions. The idea that any set of opinions needs to win out over any other set is not only not true, it couldn't possibly happen in a community as diverse as the Aikido community. There are folks practicing Aikido who want absolutely opposite thing from their practice. There are styles of practice that almost seem to be from different arts when seen side by side yet they qualify as Aikido. There will never be general agreement about any aspect of the art I don't think.

So what is the point of fighting over it all? It's really just the same, albeit less physically violent, than the way people will slaughter each other over whether a "Hidden Imam" will come in the future or whether salvation comes through grace or requires an intermediary. Folks will murder each other for hundreds of years over these things.

We are almost all Aikido practitioners here. And the folks who are not, are martial artists. That puts the entire group of us in a less tham 1% community within our society. 99% of the population has little or no interest in training in the martial arts. We have far more in common with each other than we do with our fellows citizens. Yet the constant battle to have ones ideas better accepted than someone else's, the belittling, the judgemental tone, the whole sense that you are somehow less as a person if I think your ideas about our art are wrong, that's crazy thinking. It shows a seriously blown up sense of ones own importance, one that I am sure the universe will not support.

The old saying about opinions... that they are like assholes, everybody has one, is really true. Everybody has one. I may think mine is worth more than yours but given the fact that not a one of us has a window on the truth, that, to my knowledge no Enlightened Beings post here (I haven't seen any posts from the Dalai Lama for instance), not a single one of our opinions is worth fighting over. The notion that we would actually do verbal, emotional damage to another person over some unverifiable opinion of whether one person or the other understood Sensei "X" or the Founder better than some other, especially when neither one actually had one iota of first hand knowledge on which to base their opinions, well, that is just getting way to self important, I think.

Jun is right. We need to get our acts together about how we interact. As far as I am concerend, the best way to get past the constant bickering is to simply present ones ideas about a given subject and then walk away. Other folks can supply their thoughts and opinions and the readership can decide forthemselves what they believe. Sure, if you think someone didn't understand what you had meant, then add some clarification. If you genuinely think the other person has had some misinformation, then by all means, make your knowledge available to the readership. None of this requires a battle, none of is about acheiving victory as opposed to being defeated. It's a discussion not a fight. Certainly, nothing needs to get personal. You don't need to take it some personal challenge when someoe disagrees. You don't need to feel the need to lay waste when an idea seems ill founded.

I think we really run the risk of having our host simply take his ball and go home. What does Jun need all this aggravation for? So we can act like a bunch of indulgent children? I think folks should remember how much we owe Jun and that we are his guests here on the website. Maybe we should all start acting like guests would elsewhere and behave.

kewms 01-11-2012 03:45 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Once upon a time, the internet was its own little world. You could say whatever you wanted, be whoever you wanted, and be reasonably confident that your online life could remain separate from your real world life.

That is no longer true. Just about everyone is on the internet now, and most people are reasonably sophisticated about connecting online personae to actual people.

The aikido community in particular is fairly small. There's a very good chance that anyone you meet online has some sort of connection to your dojo, your teacher, his teacher, or someone else whose opinion matters to you. Saying things online that you would be unwilling to say to a person's face is probably not a great strategy.

Katherine

Chuck Clark 01-11-2012 04:13 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I'm with Jun on this subject. I'm another long-time participant of this forum that hasn't spent much time here for quite some time for the same reasons that George Ledyard mentioned in his post above. There's been a lot of good information and friendships formed on this site for a long time. I'd like to see that continue.

- C. Clark

SeiserL 01-11-2012 04:30 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
IMHO, requesting civil and respectful conduct from people who are civil and respectful is easy and will always continue.

Those who are not are making a statement about who they are and are only a temporary inconvenience.

While I don't waste my time reading or responding to the few, I am active with the many.

NagaBaba 01-12-2012 12:19 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Hi Jun,
I think your present approach as a moderator is not resulting in expected behavior of some users. This situation lasts too long already. Quality of forum almost disappeared and no sincere technical discussion is possible anymore. I'd suggest banning, (first temporary for 3 months and if he repeats bad behavior permanently) anyone who don't clearly understand that Budo practice starts and ends with respect and appropriate etiquette (discussion on the forum included).
I used this strategy and it immediately healed users' discussions.

Conrad Gus 01-12-2012 05:06 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I became so tired of seeing these "unpleasant" discussions that I started blocking people. Now if I go into a thread and there are a bunch of blocked posts, I just back out and don't waste my time. Blocking a couple of people has flagged most of the unpleasant posts. The rest are from people who are normally great to read but somehow got sucked into a flame war.

I believe there are just a few people that are jumping into many threads and affecting the overall tone. They are VERY active (thousands of words per week) and have a high influence on the forums overall.

The perceived shift on the forums is the result of the activities of a small number of individuals.

Basia Halliop 01-13-2012 10:57 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I too love the ignore button. It can totally change your reading experience.

But also to some extent I agree with Szczepan. Politely asking people to be respectful, over and over again with little results, is pretty ineffective on people who aren't strongly intrinsically motivated to be respectful (i.e., it mainly works on people for whom not being respectful is a rare aberration anyway). And lots and lots of gentle reminders and warnings that rarely lead to actual consequences just seem to teach people to ignore 90% of what the person asking them to be nice says to them.

Basia Halliop 01-13-2012 11:00 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Quote:

What I would like to do is be able to trust that everyone here will behave in a mature, civil, and open manner while maintaining your passion about your beliefs and experiences within your discussions.
IMO, trust is earned. There are a lot of people where there is simply no evidence or justification for trusting them to act this way.

PhillyKiAikido 01-13-2012 11:36 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
IMHO, Verbal Aiki is also part of Aikido training. I noticed that some high-ranking Shihans I've met are very humble and respectful, even when they talk to beginners. Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, as well as others, is a good example. They're those I respect and would like to study from. They deserve to be called "Shihan" (teacher and role model).

Hanna B 01-13-2012 11:54 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I am convinced that Jun's approach brings out the best in most people.

But there's a small minority who function the way Basia Halliop describes.

rachmass 01-14-2012 05:02 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Thank you for posting this topic and for the thoughtful responses. Hopefully this will have impact. Happy New Year to all!

mathewjgano 01-14-2012 10:07 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I've started and restarted this post a few times now and nothing has sounded good enough to post so I'll just add I'd also like people to put more effort into getting along. It's not a cop-out on the truth to put polite rhetoric ahead of what you actually feel or know to be true. Anyone can tell people how they feel...we see it expressed every day in various public arenas. It takes considerably more discipline to ignore your own feelings for the sake of the conversation (or to not operate on the same base level we perceive others to be operating on) so that we might arrive at understanding instead of preaching to the pelicans.
Not that I think I have some inside track on communication, but these have always seemed to work for me (#1 in particular).
My personal rules of discourse:
1. Kill 'em with kindness; always show some respect, especially when it's more difficult to do so.
2. Acknowledge the difference between fact and opinion, no matter how likely your opinion might also be a fact. Most of what we discuss here exists partly in the realm of speculation and there always seem to be exceptions to any rule: qualify qualify qualify...(:D generally speaking).
3. Allow the other guy to be wrong (you don't have any say in the matter anyway); understanding doesn't come from hearing the truth, it comes after processing it and that often happens in its own time...and it won't usually happen any quicker if you keep pressing the issue since people tend to entrench themselves when they feel pressed.
I'd just like to add I have a great deal of respect for the people here. Despite my lack of recent training I still talk to you guys because I enjoy the passion and discipline that tends to accompany martial artists. With that in mind, perhaps the disagreements are partly a sign of how diverse we are as a group. If that is so, it presents us with a real challenge, but one which is invaluable to our growth as individuals and martial artists.
My tupence.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
Matt

Janet Rosen 01-14-2012 11:37 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I consider Aikiweb a place for me to work on improving myself, just like the dojo. So I work on my thinking and writing skills. How can I convey factual information consisely? How can I convey personal opinion while being respectful of others? If I do feel it is time for criticism, what words and tone make it most likely to be read without generating a knee-jerk reaction? And sometimes, if I make a conscious decision it is time for sarcasm or righteous anger, am I in control of my emotions enough to be in control of the words and nuances I choose?

ToddDJones 01-14-2012 03:25 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Pardon my intrusion brothers and sisters, but recent postings have compelled me to weigh in. One of the reasons that I have not been more participatory in the forums is the frequent lack of civility and professionalism. Everything posted affects how we are perceived as a group, and frankly, it’s not altogether flattering. My peers in other arts regularly ask me, “How and where does the art of Harmony manifest itself among its practitioners?” It’s noteworthy that more harmony seems to exist in the competitive arts.

Bear with me: it’s human nature to be competitive, it’s in our DNA. Everyone wants, even needs to feel correct. Correctness can be expressed in many ways, including acceptance (i.e. agreement) and winning. When folks don’t feel “correct,” they may experience unpleasant emotional reactions; the most potent of these is fear. Fear-based reactions (i.e. uncivil behavior) result when an individual’s core beliefs are challenged. Fear is commonly expressed as anger. Rudeness is a form of fear.

Some say that the only thing an individual can truly control is how they choose to respond to the environmental stimuli encountered in life (karma). If true, then every moment of every day provides each individual with almost infinite choices in thought and action (free will). If that’s true, then it’s up to each of us to choose how to respond, how to come together… harmoniously, or not. Some of us are going to execute on this better than others; to expect otherwise ignores the learning curve.

This is why self-discipline is a core tenet in martial arts training. An inability to control one’s thoughts, words, and actions inevitably leads to disaster. Self-discipline is the root skill requisite to learning (if you can’t shut up and sit still, the only lessons learned will be painful ones).

The reason that civility is paramount in martial arts training is safety, both physical and psychological. The tribal origins of martial arts across the planet employed “tough love” in training beloved family members to protect or further the clan. Elders demanded discipline, effort, and sacrifice so that life preserving skills could be transferred. Gradually, as abilities progressed the training became tougher and tougher both physically and psychologically. Today, it seems that most martial artists don’t train with this attitude, and that explains a lot.

Aikido’s global reach spans many cultures with differing languages and core beliefs. Add to that overlapping social strata, and the complexities of human interaction are fraught with opportunities for miscommunication; especially when virtual interaction is global and instantaneous. No doubt some are misunderstanding my message even as they read this. Let’s not forget that over 90% of in-person human communication is non-verbal. So, as wonderful as the AikiWeb and Aikido Journal websites are, participants are not even getting the cues that come with verbal communication. Is it any wonder that misunderstandings abound?

In aikido, we have a shared context and lexicon of sorts, but there are so many accepted expressions of the art that neither is consistent across the spectrum; this also fosters misunderstandings. None of this should be construed as excusing rude behavior. There is no excuse. Angry disagreements over historical facts and implications, even when proffered as well intentioned education, undermine the effort. If some choose to live in ignorance, isn’t that their choice with its own ramifications? We’ve all been perpetrators at some point; most have regrets, but it’s not enough to just “take the high road” and hope others will follow.

Tolerance is seen in many cultures, and the law, as acceptance. How much one should tolerate is a soft beach. We owe it to each other to coach one another when someone crosses the proverbial line. If a member of our clan is unwilling, or unable, to exercise self-discipline, is it not incumbent upon those of us in the leadership to address the issue? To argue that it’s “not your business” is to ignore personal responsibility to the family. If the offender can’t be rehabilitated, they must be banished. Ultimately, choices, both good and bad, have inevitable consequences. If we follow the great teacher’s central tenet and “love one another,” fear will diminish and misunderstandings will be minimized.

We should revel in our differences! If everyone was the same, we’d have nothing to discuss, and life would be very boring. If all you were allowed to eat, ever, your favorite dish would grow old quickly. As sensei, until we let go of our fears and risk exploring, interacting, and possibly patiently embracing other perspectives and approaches, we are limiting our own ability to grow.

In the end, there is no one true way, except the one you create for yourself.

With all due respect,

Todd Jones
Chairman
American Butokukan
www.butokukan.com

Chuck Clark 01-14-2012 10:33 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Janet, I like this post! Budo practice in cyber space... what a concept! ;- ) This is a keeper.

OwlMatt 03-16-2012 11:23 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
What I am seeing lately, in internet slang, is a lot of troll-feeding. Any internet message board with enough members attracts a few people whose goal in posting is to garner attention for themselves rather than to contribute to good conversation. I'm not going to give names, but I'm sure regular posters can think of one or two chronic "trolls" who've been pretty obnoxious lately, posting ignorant or inflammatory assertions and then basking in the attention they get from the ensuing conflict.

A lot of the malice and rudeness this thread is talking about, I think, is a knee-jerk response to "troll" behavior. A lot of AikiWeb members (a) care deeply about aikido and so are very offended when people bring this kind of behavior to aikido discussions, and (b) aren't used to dealing with this kind of behavior because AikiWeb is the only message board they frequent.

The way to deal with people like this is to ignore them. Take Conrad's advice: use the ignore list. Don't feed the trolls.

MM 03-17-2012 09:49 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 305784)

The way to deal with people like this is to ignore them. Take Conrad's advice: use the ignore list. Don't feed the trolls.

that is wrong. If one is surrounded by a gang intent on harming you, does ignoring them solve your problem? Do you ignore the fire consuming your house at night and go back to sleep? Do you ignore the bully pushing you around? Do you ignore all your troubles? How does that work out? If Everyone had ignored those people saying the world was round, we'd still be living in a flat world. All that is required for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

"[Civility] is claiming and caring for one's identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else's in the process. We aren't expecting people to always agree, nor would we want them to be anything less than passionate about their positions. But a person should not have to resort to rudeness, hostility and/or falsehood to make a reasoned point."

So, when a child rapist comes on here and starts talking about how he used aikido to subdue a 5 year old girl, we should not only not degrade this person, but accept that all opinions are valid, and just ignore the graphic and explicit posts of the rapists account of his/her exploits? Are these truly the principles you want to be known for? Would you stand before the parents of a 5 year old victim and tell them these are the kinds of principles you encourage? Your stance that all opinions are valid, to ignore those people who are "trolls", and to not degrade them?

Principles should hold true no matter the degree. Wrong is wrong. Trollish behavior should not be ignored nor tolerated, no matter if outright or passive-aggressive.

Mark

Dave de Vos 03-17-2012 10:28 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
I think there is a difference in the required response to people making inflammatory assertions and child rapists.
Inflammatory assertions may only be percieved as such by some people. Others may even agree with the assertions. I don't think there is a law or even a forum rule against making inflammatory assertions (as long as it does not break other forum rules). It's merely a person exercising his/her freedom of speech. You can try to "correct" that person's views, but if that doesn't work, I think ignoring is reasonable way to deal with it.

Kevin Leavitt 03-17-2012 11:32 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Sometimes I ignore, sometimes, I respond. I tend to agree with Mark that ignoring things that are being said is not always the way to go. I have found some very good discussion points by not ignoring. However, I think that at some point it is best to let it go.

I believe as in most things there is middle ground. But to let people say stuff that simply is ignorant or wrong is not correct. In some cases silence is consent.

In all cases you can respond without personal attacks or stooping down to a low level of conversation.

akiy 03-17-2012 03:17 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Hi folks,

A few thoughts here before I go for a quick run...

As far as "ignoring" people, that's an active choice that people have the right to choose to do -- an active a choice as engaging with someone, in my mind. Everyone has that right. I do hope, of course, that people understand the consequences and responsibility of that choice -- just as I imagine they would in the case of speaking up.

I don't think anyone has said we all need to accept all opinions as valid. As Dahnke was quoted in my original post in this thread above, "we aren't expecting people to always agree." Let there be disagreements! And let those disagreements be passionate! And, at the same time, let the discussions about those disagreements take place with respect, civility, and maturity.

In closing, I sure hope that all who participate here read/re-read my initial post in this thread (found here). I still stand by what I wrote. And, thanks for the support both in the subsequent thread (above) as well as in private correspondence. I have no doubt we can continue to have vigorous and fruitful discussions here on AikiWeb and I look forward to everyone's participation.

Thanks,

-- Jun

OwlMatt 04-05-2012 10:16 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 305820)
that is wrong. If one is surrounded by a gang intent on harming you, does ignoring them solve your problem? Do you ignore the fire consuming your house at night and go back to sleep? Do you ignore the bully pushing you around? Do you ignore all your troubles? How does that work out? If Everyone had ignored those people saying the world was round, we'd still be living in a flat world. All that is required for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.

"[Civility] is claiming and caring for one's identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else's in the process. We aren't expecting people to always agree, nor would we want them to be anything less than passionate about their positions. But a person should not have to resort to rudeness, hostility and/or falsehood to make a reasoned point."

So, when a child rapist comes on here and starts talking about how he used aikido to subdue a 5 year old girl, we should not only not degrade this person, but accept that all opinions are valid, and just ignore the graphic and explicit posts of the rapists account of his/her exploits? Are these truly the principles you want to be known for? Would you stand before the parents of a 5 year old victim and tell them these are the kinds of principles you encourage? Your stance that all opinions are valid, to ignore those people who are "trolls", and to not degrade them?

Principles should hold true no matter the degree. Wrong is wrong. Trollish behavior should not be ignored nor tolerated, no matter if outright or passive-aggressive.

Mark

Trollish behavior is a play for attention. Attention is its fuel. Trying to silence trolls by arguing with them is like trying to quench a fire with gasoline. You put out the fire by denying it fuel.

This isn't just good advice on the internet; in real life, when people try to stir us up, we defeat them by staying centered and not gratifying them with rash reactions.

I work at a school with a particularly difficult third grader. This afternoon, as the class was packing up to go home, he got angry and decided to try and stir things up by screaming repeatedly at the top of his lungs. His teachers told him to stop, his classmates begged him to stop, but this only egged him on. At this point, I could hear him from down the hallway, so I came over and invited everyone in the class except him to come sit in my room. I took away his audience. The screaming stopped, and he has a date with the principal tomorrow. I could have joined the chorus of voices telling him that he was being rude and breaking rules, but what would that have done? He can certainly out-scream me. I beat him by denying him the attention he sought.

Aikibu 04-05-2012 10:59 PM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
Well all I can say is I took a long break from here because of trolls and upon my return the forums seem much better. :)

William Hazen

dps 04-20-2012 08:28 AM

Re: Request for Civil and Respectful Conduct
 
The below article applies to Aikiweb as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikiped...make_them_true

Wikipedia:Shouting things loudly does not make them true
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia......

Wikipedia discussions are supposed to be a place for intelligent, rational discourse, with due consideration given to all opinions, dissenting or otherwise. As adults we often assume this type of behavior comes naturally, rather than remembering the lessons on discussion and proper communication we learned as children.

If any of us thinks back we can remember a time as children when we (or at least some other child) simply took a toy or trinket which we wanted, even though it was not ours. When this act was discovered by a parent or authority figure we might have initially responded with a basic, relatively simple explanation.

ME: I found it.
When this statement was questioned, a more complex statement might be furnished in the hopes of improving the believability of the first statement.

ME: found it under the swing set in the backyard.
However, once questioned with evidence refuting our statements,

AUTHORITY FIGURE: billy's mother said she saw you take it from his sandbox
our replies would start to get less explanatory,

ME:Nuh-uh, she's lying
less well-reasoned,

ME:billy told her to say that
and derivative.

ME:He's lying.
Eventually any questions would have been met with the same statement,

ME:He's lying, it's mine!
until, inevitably, our side of the discussion turned into the following:

ME:It's mine. It's mine! It's mine!! It's MINE!!! IT'S MINE!!! IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE!!!!!!!!!!
While we may look back on these memories with bemusement, we often fail to realize that the discussions we get into as adults can turn into exactly the same sequence of arguments. It is the statement of rationale, the explanation of opinion, and most importantly the consideration we show towards others involved that separates our arguments from those of children. Descending into the childish, simplistic statements of, "I'm right, you're wrong," do nothing to further constructive discourse or the weight of our position. The only thing these types of behaviors can earn us is the same thing they did as children: a time-out.

dps


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