June 6th, 2011

wood cat

WisCon: Discussion Methods & Modes Set (1/4): Vigorous Debate, or Verbal Harassment?

I was going to post about three panels together, but even though I hate splitting discussions it would have been just unreadably long. But they are all a set and I strongly encourage reading all three panel reports; the other two are The Body Language of Online Interaction and FAIL!. The fourth post of this set is for my general thoughts and for comments spanning more than one panel; you can of course leave comments specific to one panel on the report for that panel.

This is a panel I was on, which means that I have notes for what I was planning to say and a couple of scrawled notes from during the panel on things I wanted to return to. What follows behind the cut is therefore a reconstruction of what I said and some things I remembered other people saying. (Which nevertheless turned out ridiculously long, even after considerable editing. Sheesh.) Please do add your own recollections, correct mine, or request clarification.

Panel description:

One of the strengths of the SF community is that it's almost always open for discussion and debate. Unfortunately, when discussions get intense, the line between "vigorous debate" and "verbal harassment" can go from blurry to invisible. How can we tell when a discussion has crossed that line? What do we do if we're the one who's crossed it? How can we step in to call back a friend who's crossed it? Let's discuss how to recognize verbal harassment and brainstorm strategies for addressing it within a community where everyone is a friend of a friend.
M: Jess Adams. Andy Best, Kate Nepveu, Maevele Straw

(I was convinced that this had been changed to leave out the "Verbal" in the panel title as well, but the online schedule doesn't reflect that.)

First, I'm going to excerpt from the updated version of a post I wrote last year, How to Discuss Race and Racism Without Acting Like a Complete Jerk. That post was in two parts, steps to take and things to consider; the steps to take are quoted below because I referenced them during the panel.

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I was pretty happy with this panel, not that I thought we'd solved the problems of the world or anything, because obviously we hadn't, but it seemed that people were listening and interested and that we were able to get a good amount of discussion across in a fruitful way. However, I am aware that I talked a lot, and though at the time it seemed not excessive, I would genuinely welcome feedback and constructive criticism as to my conduct. Seriously: no-one wants me to be that person, least of all me.

Note: after I had finished this and moved on to the other three panels in this set, I saw [personal profile] bcholmes's writeup, which contains a number of things I had forgotten; please do take a look.

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wood cat

WisCon: Discussion Methods & Modes Set (2/4): The Body Language of Online Interaction

This panel report is the second of a set; the first panel report was Vigorous Debate, or Verbal Harassment?, and the third is FAIL! There is also a fourth post for my general thoughts and for comments spanning more than one panel.

This is a panel I attended, so the notes that follow were taken on a netbook and should be close paraphrases unless otherwise noted, either by quotation marks which indicates that I believe I am reporting verbatim, or by a qualifying statement. Corrections, additions, and requests for clarification are welcome. For the reasons stated in my first panel writeup, I will refer to panelists by their first names after the initial mention.

Description:

Contrary to received wisdom, it's possible to convey emotional information in text. In addition to the widely scorned emoticons, there's an evolving body language expressed through sentence length, word choice, timing, as well as purely typographic means. Every online community has its own nuances, and it can bewilder those hoping to join. This paraverbal information is used to maintain the boundaries between the cool kids and newcomers. Learn how to identify the body language in use to become a more confident net citizen.
M: Jaymee Goh. Lisa C. Freitag, Debbie Notkin, Heidi Waterhouse

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wood cat

WisCon: Discussion Methods & Modes Set (3/4): FAIL!

This panel report is the third of a set; the first panel report was Vigorous Debate, or Verbal Harassment?, and the second was The Body Language of Online Interaction. There is also a fourth post for my general thoughts and for comments spanning more than one panel.

This is a panel I was on, which as usual means that I have notes for what I was planning to say and a couple of scrawled notes from during the panel on things I wanted to return to. This report is therefore a reconstruction—and, sadly, a very incomplete one, because when I first started working on it a week later, I could think of almost nothing specific. Please, please add your own recollections, correct mine, or request clarification.

The not-very-helpful description:

Racefail, Open Source Boob Project… so many ways to fail. How do we keep stepping in it? What is it we're stepping in? How can we avoid stepping in it?
E. Cabell Hankinson Gathman. Molly Aplet, Florian, Rachael Lininger, Kate Nepveu

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