Talk:Rules of Communication
At today's meeting in Horsham we proposed to change the rule:
- Do not make any statements about another person's thoughts, intentions, or motivations.
- Do not attribute thoughts, intentions, or motivations to other people.
The rationale for this is somewhat involved, and involves the outcome of a few weeks of discussion, and I'm not sure I'll communicate all of it, so please add your points if I'm missing any and correct me if I've misrepresented something. One problem with the existing rule is that "statements about" could be easily construed to mean some of sorts of general speculation about motives that are allowed under the rules, as we have been interpreting them, for example, discussion exploring possibilities for different motives of people in different circumstances. We picked the word "attribute" because it seems to concisely communicate more specifically what we object to, a person making a statement about the person's actual thoughts, as opposed to exploring possibilities.
Today at the Horsham meeting, we proposed to change this rule:
- Do not state as fact something that is uncertain.
- Do not state as fact something for which there is not a consensus among the people present.
I think the latter more accurately expresses how we have been communicating in meetings. I also think everything has some degree of uncertainty, so the first rule is not something we have been following perfectly, and I don't think trying to would help us communicate more effectively.
Today at the Horsham meeting, we proposed two changes. One is to the positive principle:
- Use I statements when talking about any beliefs or thoughts for which there may not be a consensus.
We proposed to change it to:
- Use I-statements like "I think" or "I've read" when stating an idea for which there may not be a consensus.
We also proposed to change the rule:
- Do not use black-and-white categories unless there is a consensus that something fits into simple categories.
- Do not use black-and-white categories unless there is a consensus that something fits into them.
These changes were mainly to clarify the meaning of the rules and improve the wording. These changes will become official in 8 days, if there are no objections. Sylvia (talk) 22:18, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Today at the Horsham meeting, we proposed to change the positive principle:
The reason is because we talked about how the phrase "stating only truths" could be interpreted in ways that are different than how we intend it. We discussed the concern that it could seem intimidating to people who are reading the rules for the first time and aren't familiar with our meeting dynamic. We also brought up the idea that people have different ideas about what truth is.
- I want to clarify in case the reasons aren't fully apparent; I originally objected to this change and only agreed to it after further discussion. One concern we had was that "stating only truths" could be misinterpreted as constraining us to not present factually incorrect items even when encapsulated in "i statements" or other logical constructions. Another concern was more on the level of connotation, that this could lead some people to wrongly conclude that our group is a place where we don't allow any ideas to be discussed that conflict with our beliefs--which is close to the opposite of what we want our group to be like. I thought the word "truthfully" also better captured the spirit of our group because it is an adverb, describing how we want to communicate rather than the content of what we're communicating. So, I now think this is a major improvement--both wordings though still seem to need further explanation for newcomers--which is why we agreed on hyperlinking truthfully to our page on Truthfulness. Cazort (talk) 11:36, 13 February 2014 (EST)
Today at the Horsham meeting, we proposed to modify the rule:
- Do not blame anyone for negative outcomes or take or assign credit for positive outcomes.
We proposed to remove the phrase "or take or assign credit for positive outcomes," changing the rule to:
- Do not blame anyone for negative outcomes.
We have been discussing the idea of taking credit for weeks, and we came to an agreement that the idea of taking credit is more broadly defined than the sort of credit-taking that we want to avoid. And also, we talked about how the aspects of credit-taking that we want to avoid may be more subtle and complex than we would want to try to express in a rule.
Proposed Change in Rules
Tonight at the Horsham meeting, we agreed to remove the word "subjective" from "subjective negative labels," so this rule would say:
- Do not attach negative labels to people or groups of people.
We decided that we want to avoid using any negative labels on people or groups of people, whether subjective or not. This change will become official after 8 days, if there are no objections. Sylvia (talk) 23:21, 2 September 2013 (EDT)
Proposed change in rules
Tonight at the West Philly meeting, we agreed that we want to make it against the rules to use the word "deserve" because it is like a should statement, so we agreed to add "deserve" to the examples of should-like statements to avoid. So the rule about "should" would read:
- Do not use any "should statements" or statements expressing a similar sentiment (e.g. "ought", "supposed to", "deserve", etc.).
If there are no objections after 8 days, these changes will become official. Sylvia 22:53, 14 March 2013 (CDT)
- These changes have become official! Sylvia 11:04, 22 March 2013 (CDT)
Proposed change in Rules
Tonight at the West Philly meeting, we agreed to the following change:
- It is okay to share quotes, paraphrases, or ideas which break the rules of communication, so long as they are broken within a descriptive mention, rather than broken by direct use of language.
would be changed to
- It is okay to share quotes, paraphrases, or ideas which break the rules of communication, so long as the rules are broken within a descriptive mention, rather than broken by direct use of language.
The bolding is just to highlight the change: there would be no bolding in the finished rule.
This change is just for clarity of reading, to avoid the possible interpretation that "they" could refer to "quotes, paraphrases, or ideas". Cazort 20:16, 7 March 2013 (CST)
- These changes have become official! Sylvia 11:11, 22 March 2013 (CDT)
Proposed change in Positive Principles
Tonight at the West Philly meeting, we agreed to the following changes to the rules of communication. The following two point would have "See and..." removed:
- See and talk about each person as a whole person.
- See and talk about shades of gray and complexities where they exist.
The new points would read:
- Talk about each person as a whole person.
- Talk about shades of gray and complexities where they exist.
This change is to address a problem with internal consistency and enforceability of the rules. The "see" part of the rule is unenforceable without breaking the rules, because it cannot be enforced without making a statement about a persons thoughts. We thus agreed to remove this part of the rule.
As a side note, because the "see" part is important to us, we've also proposed a change to the beliefs, specifically with respect to the description of a healthy state.
The changes above will become official if there are no objections after 8 days. Cazort 22:14, 21 February 2013 (CST)
- This change has become official. Sylvia 10:46, 1 March 2013 (CST)
Tonight at the Horsham meeting, we agreed on the following change. Under "The Rules", the point:
- Do not redirect the conversation or change the subject under the guise of answering a question.
would be changed to:
- Do not unilaterally redirect the conversation or change the subject without acknowledging that you are doing so.
This is a matter we've been discussing casually going back several weeks. The main concern that we wish to address with this change is that the old rule was highly specific, and was the negative counterpart to the positively-phrased principle "State directly when you are uncomfortable with the conversation or want to change the subject." which is more generally worded. We wanted to choose a new wording that would be more general.
We decided upon the word "unilaterally" because it captures the idea that it's okay for people to change the subject, even abruptly, or significantly, so long as it is done with the consensus of the group. Like many of the rules of communication, interpretation of this rule is subjective and depends on the feelings of the people in the group, in the moment, which is what we want--the intention of the rule is to allow people to object to an abrupt change of subject and to bring out into the open an awareness or discussion over what people want to talk about. We want to allow conversations to naturally flow or change through different subjects so long as people are comfortable, but we want to avoid situations where one person indirectly changes the subject or steers the subject without consciously calling attention to the change of subject, in ways that make other people uncomfortable, such as the old example of changing the subject under the guise of answering a question.
We discussed using the word "indirectly" but decided against it and instead decided on the wording that involved acknowledgement of the change of subject.
This change will become official if there are no objections for 8 days. Cazort 21:26, 4 February 2013 (CST)
- This change has become official. Cazort 15:02, 17 February 2013 (CST)
Tonight at the West Philly meeting, we agreed to add the point:
- Use words within the range of meanings used in society at large.
This replaces the old rule "Use language and definitions based on societal consensus." This new wording addresses the original concerns raised, which were multiple, and which included a problem with the idea of "societal consensus" being so vague, that the rule could be interpreted as overly constraining (and possibly contradictory with our uses of some words, like "religion", which conflict with some mainstream uses but not others). It also is more specific, in terms of saying to use words (individual words), rather than the more general "language", because the rules of communication in our group specify that we use language in highly specific ways which in some cases differ significantly from many mainstream uses of languages in society at large. So it is specifying that this rule is to apply to the meanings of individual words. I gave examples of Objectivism's use of the word "selfish", or Landmark Forum's use of the word "unreasonable", as falling outside this newly proposed rule, but I feel pretty confident that our existing use of language in our group has stayed within the confines of this rule.Cazort 21:39, 25 October 2012 (CDT)
- The 8 days has passed with no objections, so this is now official. Cazort 11:40, 5 November 2012 (CST)