Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sometimes you de-escalate, sometimes you escalate

In the past week or so, I've been watching not one but two blogging controversies.  If you follow both my blogs consistently, you've already heard all about them.  Otherwise, this is vague-blogging.

The first blogging controversy, from the atheosphere, concerns a certain individual.  I'm very critical of her, but also I think she already has more criticism than she can handle, and I'm worried that the whole thing will blow up in a bad way.  It might still blow up in any case, and I don't have much control over that.  But for the time being, I'm choosing not to speak directly about it.

The second blogging controversy, from the asexosphere, concerns a certain website.  Among other things, I got a Life Achievement: threaten to take down a website for copyright violations.  People had more politely raised the issue months ago, and the website just twiddled its thumbs until more people recently got angry about it.  Escalation was necessary.

These two controversies provide an interesting contrast.  Note that my chosen strategy goes against the conventional wisdom in the respective communities.  The atheosphere is very confrontational and escalates every conflict; the asexosphere is very conflict-averse.

My take-away lessons: No single strategy works everywhere.  Communities too often stick to whatever strategy has worked in their past, without regard to the current context.  Criticism should be moderated if you think you're just contributing to a pile-on.  If you don't want people to get angry, you better not wait until they get angry to address their concerns.