Thursday, March 27, 2008

where oh where did the nice people go

I had an interesting email exchange today with a person who was protesting a statement I made elsewhere. She had very reasonable points, is considerably more knowledgable in that field than I am and I was happy to hear her input. So I wrote back, thanked her, discussed my views a bit more, took hers on board and all was good and happy.

But what really struck me was that she responded to my response with a thank you for being gracious. Which made me think - do we really expect all answers to our critiques to be rude? Did she really think I was going to snap at her for daring to point out that I may be wrong?

Actually, yes she did. The internet and it's supposed anonymity has allowed people to be rude and snide and nasty. But it's perhaps unfair to blame it entirely on the internet. Most of us have trouble accepting when we're wrong, or when we've been heavily criticised. But even if it's tough to swallow, sometimes you've gotta take it, and take it well. I would have thought that was part of being a grown-up.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

An unfortunate side-effect of today's abundant cyber-communication is a spike in rudeness. And simple politeness is therefore often greeted with surprise.

I had a similar experience about a year ago. A chat about a common hobby developed into a political argument. But I kept my focus on the issues without attacking the person. As did my opponent. Afterward he emailed to thank me for arguing fairly. I don't think either of us changed our respective positions but we kept the gloves on, and maybe understand each other a bit better now.