No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

“...I'll consider not shutting this thread down...”-Daniel

http://bit.ly/YP3rZ

Daniel, I wonder if you realize how high-handed this sounds. It brings up the question of what you feel your role is at DhO. It’s fine to express your disapproval of a conversation as founder, moderator, and as a member of the community. It's even fine to ask, as Tarin did, that we stop it. In extreme cases, as a mod, you could even lock a thread or delete posts. But to issue an ultimatum in what I can only characterize as an imperious tone is neither welcome nor consistent with your role as I understand it.

“While taking these issues head on is a very risky thing to do, I think that keeping them more covert is worse. True, watching these battles can cause a lack of faith on the part of those who are not as advanced, as they watch theoretically advanced practitioners seem to behave like bickering children at worse and often seem like patronizing and arrogant schoolmarms at best, but such is the nature of the beast, and those who aren’t willing to face the fact that this is how things sometimes go should stay out the kitchen.”-Daniel Ingram

http://bit.ly/dcx6O

I'd like to see us remain consistent with the sometimes chaotic but always educational process of democratic dharma. As one of my favorite dharma friends once wrote:

“I thought it would be worth having a place where people could just go ahead and fight it out so as to get it done and over with when possible, though I realize from my own experience that these things can go on for years without easy or comfortable resolution.”-Daniel Ingram

http://bit.ly/dcx6O

imperious:

1. Arrogantly domineering or overbearing. See Synonyms at "dictatorial."

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/imperious

Edit: added definition of "imperious."
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

There is conflict that raises its head periodically on DHO, that is lets get everything out in the open but hey, when we do this don't rock the boat too much or show "unnecessary" negative emotion because it will be unproductive. It reminds me of parents trying to let there children grow but shielding them for their own good. The "children" attending this forum will find any number of reasons to spit the dummy for those left, for some at least, there is learning and a freedom in being truly open and expressive.

From where I come from the comments that "inspired" this thread are tame. We do not always deal just with information if someone wants to tell someone how they feel let them.
With threads being tamed at the first hint of a disagreement beyond the information one might form the conclusion that practicing makes ones ego more sensitive emoticon

Need I say if something really gets out hand you will see community respond calling for censorship, but I reckon everyone should just let it rip (a little).

Gary
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
i disagree with those statements (dan's quotes, in kenneth's original post). bickering children, or in this case adults, should also stay out of the kitchen (or at least away from the keyboard) until they've addressed the root of their bickering, which certainly lays within their own bosom and not with another person. that issues about practice can be discussed openly in this forum is not an excuse to fight, no matter how nicely worded. the most that can come out of bickering fueled by personal contention is a temporary relief from it.. until it starts again. and can you imagine what the forum would be like if everyone brought to bear on it their dissatisfaction? compassion is just as guilty as the sorrow it was borne of in this regard, and that one is free to be open is not sufficient reason to share the seeds of one's discontent... it would be better to not plant them in the first place, or nip them in the bud where possible.

consideration:

'thoughtfulness for other people '

Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Adam_West

Hey guys and gals!

Hmm... I wonder, taking both Ken's and Tarin's good points into consideration that we may re-word and re-frame the current project as:"No IDEA, concept or argument goes unchallenged at the DhO"? Thus, keeping it impersonal and away from all that nasty personal animosity which may or may not exist. There are ongoing philosophical and pragmatic tacit and explicit assumptions that continue be raised in various threads time and again. Some quite mundane, others, however, are highly fallacious confusions that are inconsistent with established Buddhist doctrine and western philosophy. Propositions of this kind, I would suggest, would be 'usefully and constructively' addressed for all involved.

Naturally, those who find their identities supported by said assumptions may find their exploration challenging. Of course, therein lies the problem. But that is unavoidable with publicly made claims and discussion, particularly where people feel the need to defend their public persona or seek positive reinforcement of said image from others.

So, it is essentially about the ideas, propositions and arguments, not about the persons who propose them per se. We can see a fully functioning and mature example of adults discussing ideas (and spending most of their time disagreeing with each other and challenging said ideas, as is their design) in the academic world. Indeed, people in such worlds are highly invested in their ideas and their professional standing therein; however, everyone is capable of playing nice and sucking it up.

A little responsibility for self-meditation is not too much to ask of adults. To reject an idea is not equivalent to rejecting the person who proposed it. So there is no need to respond with ad hominem attacks against the agent of rejection. Poor form in every professional forum indeed.

In kind regards,

Adam.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
I have but a few comments. They're short:

1. If you make public claims you set yourself up to be questioned. If you don't want to be questioned, don't make public claims. Expect skepticism and realize that it's a healthy and normal thing.

2. The toothpaste, once out of the tube, can't be put back. If you say that your message boards are meant for the free exchange of information and free debate then you have to let them be that way. To do otherwise is worse than having a few spats.

3. I have a huge amount of confidence in community, and this one in particular. We can handle a flare up or two, or ten. DhO is, from what I've seen, a self-healing group.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 134 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Kenneth

I can certainly sympathise with your sentiment and initially I was going to post a comment here in support of an open forum where bare-knuckled dharma debates can take place in their grim and grisly glory. If you want to write it, I will happily read it. As a free thinking adult the hint of censorship gets my goat up too. But then I re-read Daniel's post in its entirety and recognised the wisdom and compassion expressed. That gave me a new perspective on the topic.

Having spent too many years reading the actual freedom mailing list with its abysmal signal to noise ratio, it is my opinion that there is something to be said for a firm editorial hand, to make DhO a place good god-fearing folk will want to visit.

Jokes about good god-fearing folk aside actually I'd prefer to keep that sort out - god-fearing folk. For example the Westboro Baptists - and let me just say, if there's a hell let them burn there! Calm. Breathe. emoticon But imagine having to put up with that sort on here calling us sinners, or for that matter any other trolls antithetical to the DhO because we agreed it'd be an open forum?

Then imagine that going on for 6 years, the enlightened folk ignoring the place as a result so no one got anywhere by participating because it was the blind leading the blind, and eventually Daniel shutting down the DhO discussion board... and thats what happened to the actual freedom mailing list (substituting AF for DhO and "The Directors of the Actual Freedom Trust" for Daniel).
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 134 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
(cont'd)

On the flip side if all challenging of attainments leads immediately to flame war and then thread lockdown (this isn't the first time it's happened here), DhO runs the risk of trolls masquerading as the enlightened - if it's not happening already.

So I can see both perspectives. And I know this is such a trite thing to say but as I write it I also see both perspectives are empty =)

Best regards
Craig

Appendix 1: Masquerading As An Arahat In Three Easy Steps

1. Either be an intentional troll or be someone who isn't an Arahat yet but believes they are for whatever reason
2. Quote / reword passages from MCTB or any other widely-acknowleged tome, perhaps from memory due to having read it so many times
3. Get really angry when someone questions your attainment
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
I'm in agreement with Kenneth that the above quote was uncalled for. It reminds me of something a father might say to arguing children in the back seat of a station wagon: "You kids better pipe down or I'll turn this goddam car around!"

For this site to work, we be free to agree OR disagree - publicly. We also need to be able to address each other directly. If we merely state our opinions without addressing the party to which they are aimed, that's when a truly passive aggressive tone comes out. I want nothing of that sort here.

I think we should keep it classy, and I think we should keep discussions on-topic. However, we should not have to settle every disagreement or challenge via private message. If this happens, this will either become just another fluffy dharma site or a sectarian haven for a select few practitioners with margainalized views - neither of which line up with the vision and purpose of the Dharma Overground as stated on the home page.

~Jackson

Edit: Spelling.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Well, there is much to think about here.

For those wishing to see Kenneth and Trent battle it out, there are already literally hundreds of posts along that line that can be found various places. You can find plenty more with Tarin and Kenneth battling it out, and if you read between the lines you can find literally hundreds of posts of Kenneth and me battling it out, all over the same question: is Kenneth a fit judge of other's enlightenment, with his own asserted attainments as the standard. In fact, if we look at the history here behind this that you all may not know about, we find that Kenneth and I have gone at it like bickering children on the same front for more than a decade, with the vast majority being very poorly done and damaging rather than helpful, as Kenneth will also admit. In fact, just a few days ago Kenneth was at me again with more emails in which he was asserting his over mine, so it continues full-tilt behind the scenes.

However, when we get to the question of peer review, let's consider what that should actually look like. In this case, the word "peer review" means debating each other's attainments. Let's think about how to do this well and accurately at a practical level. The assumption that reading someone's forum posts and interpreting them through whatever filter and coming up with the right conclusion with such certainty is peer review well done also needs to be questioned. What is interesting is that everyone jumped on my apparent heavy-handedness, and no one commented on my statements for what I feel is good peer review, or enlightenment judging. This is unfortunate, as I believe they had some merit. The notion that theoretically decades-advanced practitioners modeling really poor examples of how good peer review should be done is somehow of such value is questionable, and I questioned it, in the spirit here.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
First, I will assert, as I did earlier, that so far my earlier points stand, that Trent and Kenneth are not communicating well, and that the careful, thoughtful, long conversations necessary to sort this out are not happening here. Modeling peer review behaviors that are reactive, superficial, and I believe likely wildly inaccurate are also reasons to question things and call for a higher standard.

Here's what I think good peer review takes at the level in question:
1) Lots of accurate information that is of high quality, not only about experiences, but about how people talk, think, express themselves, describe experiences, practice, conceive of practice, and their models, conceptual background, intellectual capabilities, and what they looked like before and after at many levels, much of which is gestalt-esque. This usually requires hours of conversations and often time in person with each other over significant periods of time to get it right, and I am not the first to have stated this.
2) Clarity about what everyone means when they use certain terms. An example: Kenneth and I struggled for about 2 years recently until we realized that he uses the words "No Dog" and "The I AM" synonymously and I was not. You can't imaging the difficulties that caused, as neither of us realized it, and so we spun in circles blindly crashing around over a simple terminological point without realizing that was all it was. We are currently stumbling around in the dark crashing into each other over the word "Rigpa" in exactly the same fashion, and we know each other like brothers and have for 20 years and came up in the dharma together. What a stupid waste of time. Instead, had we taken the time to really hash out our terms and assumptions first, we would have much better off. Nothing good came from our miscommunications that I can see at all. We simply succeeded during all those hours of conflict in pissing each other off.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Daniel --

" What is interesting is that everyone jumped on my apparent heavy-handedness, and no one commented on my statements for what I feel is good peer review, or enlightenment judging."

Yes. This is, in my case, absolutely correct. I promise to think about it for a while, but I suspect the reason is very much related to Craig's Appendix spelled out "up there" a few posts.

And Daniel, you deserve huge credit for this place but I don't think you can expect people to keep their predispositions, innate crankiness, enthusiasm and all the other views that go along with being human out of the conversations that occur here. Heck, it seems that you and Kenneth can't do it! Finally, forgive me for asking, but is it possible your reaction to the conversation the other night is as much about your relationship with Kenneth as it is about what actually happened on the message board? What happened on the message board was pretty tame as flame wars go.

I take your good peer review comments to heart. They're critically important, not just to keeping flames to a minimum but to communicating accurately and well.

-Chris
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
3) Open minds. I have been on the ass-end of Kenneth evaluations for long periods of time and still am, and the vast majority of the time they were simply wrong, and not just at little wrong, but wildly wrong. He considered me to be a Dark Night Yogi below first path for about 7 years, when in fact I was an anagami, a step ahead of him (he was second path or so then), and able to get Nirodha Samapatti way before he could. He couldn't hear this at all, and we even lived together for about 6 months during this period, which is way more contact than Kenneth and Trent currently have had. His filters were so dense that his usually very intelligent brain simply locked on a conclusion, and in this case the wrong conclusion. It nearly cost us our friendship time and time again. There was not careful listening, careful questioning of assumptions, careful attention to nuance of description, thoughtful, intelligent conversation that everyone learns something from. I also had done it on way less retreat time and while much younger. I see the same patterns here and I feel that questioning them is a good idea. If everyone simply wants low-level, poorly done, Jerry Springer-style dharma combat to have the day regardless of anything else, I will have an open mind about it, and I apologize if I have been needlessly heavy handed.

A month or two ago I called up Trent and talked to him for a long time about his experiences and was impressed. He is still relatively new to all this, true, but I had the sort of conversations with him that I expect to have with anagamis, and while that is not definitive proof, as he could just be really smart and have unusual synthesis abilities, most people can't fake that with anything resembling ease, so I am keeping an open mind to see how things go, what he says, how he develops, and what wisdom comes from his posts, which I think is a more healthy attitude, and, over the long haul, more likely to lead to something good.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Cmarti posted while I was finishing my post, and curiously they go to the same place.

4) However, for those who want something better, let's attempt good peer review, respectful, thoughtful, careful, well-done, accurate peer review, and model that for the "newbies" who seem to have such an appreciation for the other, and if we can do that, I think they will come to see what the good stuff looks like and have some appreciation for my vehement reactions to what I consider to be really poor quality work by people who by this point should know better. Given the history of Kenneth and myself, there are also deeper and more personal issues here, but I believe the general points still hold.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"Forgive me for asking, but is it possible your reaction to the conversation the other night is as much about your relationship with Kenneth as it is about what actually happened on the message board? What happened on the message board was pretty tame as flame wars go."-cmarti

Hmmm...

;-)
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"He considered me to be a Dark Night Yogi below first path for about 7 years, when in fact I was an anagami, a step ahead of him (he was second path or so then), and able to get Nirodha Samapatti way before he could."-Daniel

I'll give you this one. I was wrong. You leap-frogged me and became an anagami and I refused to acknowledge it. It's this very memory that now keeps me from making definitive statements denying other people's claims.

There's more to the story, though. At some point, circa 1999, you claimed to be an arahat.

Daniel: I'm an arahat.
Kenneth: No, you're not. (And you weren't.)
A few months later:
Daniel: OK, I wasn't an arahat then, but I am now.
Kenneth: No, your not. (And you weren't.)

This happened about 19 times, over a period of about 4 years. (Not exaggerating.)
Then, on the 20th time:
Daniel: I know I've cried wolf so many times, but I'm really an arahat now.
Kenneth: No, your not. (But you were! You had actually attained arahatship. Still, I think I can be forgiven for being skeptical by this point.)

So, as these things go, you tend to remember the times when I was wrong, and I tend to remember the times when I was right. All of this reminiscing is fun and healthy, by the way. I once lived and worked at Insight Meditation Society, an organization dedicated to bringing Theravada Buddhism to the US. It was a wonderful experience in many ways and I made many good friends there. But anyone who lives there will tell you that the community is dysfunctional with regard to shadow issues like anger and power. Everyone is trying so hard to be a good Buddhist that they repress their emotions, pretend they aren't angry when they are and end up driving their shadows deep underground.

Out into the sunlight, everyone! Let it breathe!

Kenneth
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear Kenneth,

You are correct on the points about me thinking I was done and not being, as I write about in my book, which you should read sometime, just so you have some more background on the discussion. The actual count was actually about 27, as I point out in MCTB. However, the difference in count can be explained by remembering you weren't there for all of that, as we were not talking much for a few years there while we licked our wounds from the unskillful battles that had happened before.

While reminiscing may be fun and healthy, the actual thing was anything but, as I am sure you remember also, and trying to play up the whole strange process with such a lighthearted tone smacks of something conveniently reworked.

I still find no reaction to my comments on wanting to up the standard of how "peer review" is done and I think that point continues to be lost in the politics and still has value.

Regarding anger, I hope no one here thinks that I am holding back on that front in any dysfunctional way, and if I have been seemed insufficiently angry or needlessly repressed, let me know. I have had a lot of criticism leveled at me, but that is a new one. I am quite certain I am not anything resembling free of shadow sides and I also think they should be addressed, hence the posts here and the site itself.

Anger for the sake of anger is not that interesting, but the point remains that if we can figure out why our seemingly well-meaning attempts at something that should be so good called "peer review" are instead just pissing people off, that would obviously be of value. The notion that what is happening between Kenneth and Trent specifically and the process we use for that in general is healthy or productive still needs careful examination, and that continues to not happen despite my calls for it. Once Kenneth and I finally get done with our issues, perhaps we can do that useful work.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"I think they will come to see what the good stuff looks like and have some appreciation for my vehement reactions to what I consider to be really poor quality work by people who by this point should know better."-Daniel

Here we spiral back toward the original intent of this thread. Your "vehement reactions," namely the issuing of an ultimatum as though from a position of dominance or authority are the issue. Seeking to justify your actions does nothing to repair the damage. The job now is to step up and acknowledge the mistake. You have done a wonderful thing by writing MCTB and by founding DhO. But once you step into the forum, you're just another guy, accountable to the community. If you can keep that kind of perspective, we should be able to carry on without too many power issues.

There is more history to bring to light: Just a few weeks ago, we lost a very valuable member of our community, partly due to his belief that you were relating to him in a high-handed way. During that same period, we very nearly lost another, equally valuable member of the community over that very same issue, and only extensive efforts at damage control managed to avert the catastrophe.

I request that you, as founder and inspirational leader of DhO, find a way to communicate without attempting to dominate or intimidate. At the same time, I am carefully considering the points you and the other members have made, and I hope I can use those insights to become a better community member and a better communicator.

Finally, to reply to Adam's post, above, I would say that this is not only about ideas. This is about people and relationships and community. So, while it is true that no idea goes unchallenged at DhO, it should also be true that no public behavior goes unchallenged. We all hold each other accountable. That's what makes for a healthy community.

Kenneth
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
"Regarding anger, I hope no one here thinks that I am holding back on that front in any dysfunctional way, and if I have been seemed insufficiently angry or needlessly repressed, let me know. I have had a lot of criticism leveled at me, but that is a new one. I am quite certain I am not anything resembling free of shadow sides and I also think they should be addressed, hence the posts here and the site itself."-Daniel

Sorry, Daniel, I should have been more clear. The anger and repression comments were not meant for you. I think you do a good job of being honest with yourself and others about your anger. On the other hand, the question of desire for power and dominance is one worth looking at. I don't know how deeply you've dived into that particular shadow. Maybe I need to look at this too.

Kenneth

P.S. Has anyone noticed that the DhO is kind of like a reality TV show? :-D
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 25 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
I think this interaction between Kenneth and Daniel is a very good opportunity to address the original thread about the limited emotional range of arahats.

Both Daniel and Kenneth acknowledge each other's enlightment at the highest level. That is they judge each other as arahat. Also each has somewhat negative judgment of certain aspect of the other.

The question then to each one, to address the original thread, how do you consolidate both judgments?
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

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I don't think we should venture into the "no one goes unchallenged" territory without "no one is left behind", clear and simple, and I know both Kenneth and Daniel imply this, but it must be said, for the record. At the same time, both positions must be earned, being basically fractals of a deep, human mutuality, and our interest in as well as our embodiment of it. Both positions demand trust and understanding between the parties, and so are difficult to attain based on an online exchange. There is both a horizontal (equality) and a vertical (authority) component at play, irreducible to each other.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Regarding Kenneth's comment that: "Here we spiral back toward the original intent of this thread. Your "vehement reactions," namely the issuing of an ultimatum as though from a position of dominance or authority are the issue. Seeking to justify your actions does nothing to repair the damage. The job now is to step up and acknowledge the mistake," I believe I have already apologized as noted above for being needlessly heavy-handed, though explaining my reasoning is not justifying it, merely explaining it, which I did in the original post in question, whose valid points continue to be ignored. Please read my posts before responding to them.

Once more, Kenneth, lets have a conversation about how to do peer review in a way that is skillful, helpful and accurate, as it is clearly a difficult topic and one worth of discussion, as that was the root issue that started all this long before we got lost in our crap. If we are going to do it, let's figure out how to do it well.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
How about: anyone claiming some attainment can be challenge to answer [at some length] some standard set of questions? I'll take it as given that this is a terrible idea (and perhaps esp. so at/beyond first path, not that I would know), I just want to start the ball rolling as nobody seems willing to float the first trial balloon. :-)

Actually, I think it would be better to simply have the questions available. Anyone could then request a review by addressing the subject of the questions. That would at least expedite the groundwork, apart from being an excellent resource as the library grew.

And perhaps the same or similar set of questions could be addressed (or amended) by those who have been given the (collective?) nod (edit: or not!) as to the particular attainment -- perhaps after some interval. Somewhat similar to the teaching ladder in Go (analyze and comment your own game before submitting it for review).

Just some ideas. Fire away! :-)
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Oh my gawd! Daniel and Kenneth are definitely Dharma Brothers!

I can only imagine, if you believe in that sort of thing, what they were like when they were married in past lives, or a momma and daughter or father and son. And since they both are 'arahants', I guess when one of them kicks the bucket the endless cycle of bickering (in all jest) finally is cooled and extinguished.

May all beings awaken in this lifetime!
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

Just to question the sentiment of this statement. I do not believe there any real value others being able to check off a list of attributes someone has.
The beauty of a democracy is every contributor can have a say and they are judge on their content not a position or title.
There are some disadvantages in attempting to solidify or determining without doubt a persons attainments (giving a title). I would argue this is a major component of an unhealthly Guru mentality.
An unhealthy Guru mentality is caused by one judging the Guru's wisdom beyond that which they (the person) themselves can perceive.
1 - This causes all the Guru's statements to be held in overly high regard, beyond that which the Guru is truly wise.
2 - Accepting a Guru's statements as facts causes one to not do the work in coming to an understanding oneself, thus limiting progress or personal growth.

So it is better when one glimpses or sees the insight oneself to acknowledge the wisdom of another. So I think it is better that peer review not accept or refute anothers professed title or attainments rather it should deal with the specifics of that understanding that maybe in error.

In summary it can be unhealthy to focus or conclude on peoples attainments. The same can be said of those who profess an attainment then use this attainment to score points or add weight to their argument.

[edit] this sort goes against the concept of a Dharma combat - on which others may wish to contribute. However it is a fool who comments on those things he knows nothing about - and I know one of those very well!

Gary
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Adam_West

Hi Ken!

Yeah, your right, there has been some pretty consistently obnoxious behaviour around here. I'm definitely with you there. As far as Dan's original statements that triggered this thread, I saw them more as a moderator setting clear boundaries, but then I didn't see his statements through a historical context or prism, as you have previously described. I likened them to Vince shutting down that other huge thread of recent, which was so educational for so many, me included, but was quite uninteresting for me too, as it was rife with the kind of behaviours you have alluded to; personal actions which must be dealt with or too many good people will not bother with this place, having to wade through all the personal agendas, power plays and unsophisticated nonsense.

Such moderation is probably needed, as in reality, people really suck at keeping themselves in line with said behaviour. History is clear on that much. Spiritual people being just as bad in every sense, if not a little more subtle and repressed about it, 'some times'. :-)

Oh, and yes, I've already had quite the giggle at this stuff - DhO is quite the ratings generator - a party on my PC!! ;-P

In kind regards,

Adam.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
yeah it was totally funny, but from a moderator perspective, not suitable. one of the reasons i didnt lock up the thread after my request that that line of discussion be discontinued was ignored was out of courtesy to kenneth as another mod, so i was glad daniel spoke up sharing my sentiment about the matter. i didnt see his comment (i'll consider not shutting this thread down) as a power play at all; any of us with the ability to hit lock or delete could've have said the same. granted, dan is the creator of this place, and granted, many of us here have read MTCB, but ive never felt him to abuse power, just sometimes be careless with it (this from someone who's been on the receiving end of his temper many times on retreat). this incident hasnt changed my perspective.
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Some initial thoughts on peer review.

(1) Define terms: As Dan mentioned, most of the worst arguments that I've seen on these forums were due to fundamental differences in how words were being used. I use the word "language" around here like a fiend, and I doubt 95% of the readers have a clue what I mean, and yet...no one says a word. It's easier to disagree, after all.

(2) It's not personal: if each party takes this position, then both can admit mistakes and learn. No self, dharma-dumbasses!

(3) Seek first to understand, then be understood: If you feel someone is wrong, figure out precisely why you feel that way, and then that objection can be discussed. Don't just shut down and say they're wrong, and don't just restate your opinion like a poorly programed robot. Good discussion is an all inclusive decomposition of ideas in which all is exposed; why do you think good philosophy is so damn wordy?

(4) Challenge your assumptions: factors such as age, time, complexity, credibility, equality, justice, ethics, and many more subjective qualities are often thought of as being "hard facts." This results in a lazy attitude of "I'm right, you're wrong." For goodness sake, you use to think you were a solid independent entity-- if you can challenge that, you can challenge assumptions about something as arbitrary as age. Challenge everything, including the buddha's teachings; I dare say many are flat out wrong and/or useless. Nothing evolves through mindless absorption.

(5) Credibility should not be a social phenomenon. YOU should decide what is right and wrong. If you've got the audacity to disagree, you best be able to articulate your disagreement and represent it in a pragmatic way which feeds a discussion's evolution. "Me too" is not an argument, it's lazy.

Trent
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
As a quick aside, most of these have a common theme: don't be lazy, and have some patience. Expedience in this case is completely counter productive in the long run. By not taking the time to really follow the points above, people end up smashing their head against a wall for longer than the alternative thoughtful discussion would have actually taken. Also, we all might actually learn something through the "real" discussion-- imagine that!

Oh, and please avoid the "do you find this valuable" button in review. That is the laziest option available. It perpetuates the "social credibility phenomenon," which serves no useful purpose for debate style posts. Lemming mentality is a cunning ego-boost to a collective, social self. More opinions rarely solve a problem, ask the crew of the Challenger incident. In fact, this kind of thinking reinforces the problems we're here to rid people of in the first place. Show some integrity for your convictions or stay out of the thread.

Trent
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
did i somehow miss those? the only thing i can think of that might even be remotely be construed as me and kenneth 'battling it out' is one post i wrote on the 'realization and development' monster-thread from some months ago, in which i expressed a clearly different take on the 'i-am/no-dog' matter, to which kenneth didnt even reply. i admit im often oblivious to power struggle-type stuff, and my memory aint what it used to be, so maybe i just dont remember.. but i dont think so.

re the topic, i dont mind people getting challenged publicly. could be pretty neat if its done constructively and harmoniously (sorry dan, i dont have any ideas). but when its not, then its just the human condition repeating itself 'forever and a day' (a phrase i've heard a lot before but only lately started to really appreciate). often tragicomically funny, but ultimately uninteresting and not worth perpetuating.. and not worth the title of being a 'challenge' either, for that matter.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Trent, I completely agree with you on this one. If there was a way to remove the "do you find this valuable?" buttons, I would be a staunch advocate for their demise.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Adam_West

"Trent, I completely agree with you on this one. If there was a way to remove the "do you find this valuable?" buttons, I would be a staunch advocate for their demise."

Lol!! Hahahahaha... that's hilarious! Right below it was 0 out of 3 found this valuable, I assume you did that yourself !?! ;-P Classic!!
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Ha! Actually, I didn't push either the 'yes' or 'no' buttons at all. It illustrates my point, though. I was actually hoping people would do that :-D
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
one more yes vote - please, no 'value buttons' on DhO 2.0
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

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Edit: Deleted (misread)
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 134 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I like the Do you find this valuable? buttons.

I've occasionally cheered great posts on, but if everyone did that when in agreement it'd be like a giant backslapping session.

When disagreeing with someone's opinion, sometimes the person has their head up their proverbial, and I don't think they deserve a dignified response. A simple "No" gets the message across without rewarding bad behaviour eg feeding a troll.

In real life people nod, smile or make sounds of agreement, or shake heads, frown and make sounds of disagreement.

Here all we have are two little buttons. And you want to take them away??? emoticon

Maybe I could propose extending the Yes No to star ratings. Social networking sites often call that feature "karma". I see you nodding your agreement, it makes sense - of course, we'd have to spell it kamma.
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
CGN, you make some valid points here. We are more likely to "feed the troll" by commenting than we are by simply clicking the "no" button.

However, I've witnessed a number of members delete their accounts due to their posts being marked unhelpful by drive-by clickers. Not everyone we disagree with is a troll -- in fact, I'd say that trolls are quite rare here. Therefore, I think the buttons have more potential for harm than for good. They make it too easy to gang up on people.

Perhaps a different kind of rating system would be better, as you stated above. I think we would still run in to some of the same issues, but perhaps to a lesser degree.

~Jackson
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
hi CGN

Well, it's not up to me and I don't really have a problem with the buttons being there but I do think it would be better if people 'used their words' to express why they think something is particularly valuable or not.

When it comes to things like online disagreements and so on, my several years of online posting has taught me that most of this comes down to poor use of the language. For instance, humor does not translate well into text 99% of the time.

It's worthwhile, as I think it was Trent mentioned, to define terms, to define them extensively, define them precisely, and to continue to do so. It's also very worthwhile to sit with a post and think it over a bit, edit it, edit it again, think it over some more and then, maybe, post it.

That kind of forethought will eliminate most of the problems between posters and I don't see why private messages can't eliminate the rest, it works very well elsewhere and it can be made to serve here as well. It would mean that the mods would have to be a little more 'firm' but that is pretty much guaranteed in the long run anyways, assuming DhO continues to grow & develop, which is something at least some of us would like to see. When things get 'personal', get a private room people!
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

Maybe just have the Yes button, no No button (haha). This way if one disagrees they have to write (after all there is someting to say if one disagrees) while an agreement is just nodding your head. To nodd your head we do not need the thread having short entries essentially saying yes I agree with nothing to content add.

Gary
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
The problem is not their existence, but their anonymity. Anyway, this *is* rather off topic, no?
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

Okay maybe I am just too "average" for this post.

1 - But what is this social credibility phenomenon?
2 - Not every post need be a debate some just want to express their approval.
3 - If easily expressing ones opinion is "lemming mentality a cunning ego-boost to a collective" hell; we better not get together a group and have any body language like nodding ones head.
4 - Actually the Challenger was built with one hell of a lot of opinions!

Gary
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Just a brief comment after reading some of the comments here over the last day and a half:

The participants here are people. Even the most advanced (self-proclaimed or otherwise) have exhibited clear-as-a-bell human frailties and emotionally charged reations to other people and comments made here. Do not hold anyone to standards of behavior that you are not willing to hold yourself to. Remember the Goden Rule? Apply it!

Edited for spelling.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 134 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi cmarti

You wrote: Do not hold anyone to standards of behavior that you are not willing to hold yourself to.

Bravo! Wise words.

What do you think about this: Do not hold anyone to standards *at all*.
Furthermore, do not hold yourself to standards.

The "standard" is just our own interpretation of the standard, which is therefore no standard at all. It's no more than a thought, whether cultural, conditioned, inherited, or imbibed like mother's milk.

Sans standards, what's there to be angry at?

Craig
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Hi, Craig. To be honest, "no standards" sounds to me like a recipe for chaos. There's place for recognizing the inherent emptiness of all things, but we have no choice but to relate to each other in the conventional world so.... we need to be wise about standards and recognize them for what they are, but I think they're often useful social conventions. I think we should all try to adhere to some simple and effective rules, don't you?
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Gary,

(1) In short: groupthink, mob mentality, etc. It's when people allow their opinions to be swayed away from what their opinion might otherwise be, simply because of the size of the agreeing body. (4) The challenger incident is the text-book example given for what can go wrong through groupthink; the damn shuttle exploded and the people died because some of the group's members decided to go along with the crowd instead of speaking up about problems. People died because others didn't have the conviction to say "I think there might be a problem."

(3) If it is too "difficult" to express one's opinion in a way that is actually constructive, then they should probably just not say anything at all. It's not that they don't have a valid viewpoint, but that it's counterproductive to the discussions and discourteous to everyone involved. Everyone's time is important, don't let yourself be the lazy individual who muddies up a discussion. Body language is very similar and I'm glad you mentioned it. It's interesting to study mob-mentality; I would recommend the same advice for that situation, although body language is much more implicitly absorbed and thus much more difficult to mindfully "fend off."

(2) I understand that, and there's nothing wrong with it as long as those agreements aren't used as an excuse to say "one side is right and the other is wrong." Again, more people saying something is right does not make it right.

Trent
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RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Trent, I don't see much in the way of groupthink, mob mentality, lemming-like behavior or going along to get along on DhO. If anything, the recent flare-ups are evidence that we may, indeed, have too much disagreement. Am I missing something?
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Chris,

In a way, it certainly is happening. Disagreement is fine; dysfunctional disagreement (what we have going on) is not.

There are clearly cliques and factions within the DhO, and when one side is "called out," the parties are rallied for battle. You can see this quite easily in the latest thread, it is simply a bit implicit. If, for example, Kenneth "calls out" someone, he'll be a whole lot less likely to question his own judgments if 5 loyal friends immediately jump in to back him up.

That's not to say that we shouldn't back up the people we agree with, simply that "me too" mentality doesn't help in peer review or debate. It simply does not add quality; it only serves as reinforcement for subjective opinions. When two sides disagree in this context, the reinforcement of opinion is the last thing that's needed. Both sides have to challenge their personal view and the viewpoint of the other.

Trent
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
Whatever. I tend to spend way too much time composing replies that usually end up in the bit bucket. The buttons save time while allowing a level of participation. They're pretty one dimensional, and should be taken as being a very coarse representation of (dis)agreement. It's too bad some folks are put off by numerals on a page, but posting on the 'net has never been for the thin skinned. It would be better, imo, if there were a broader range of values (funny, off-topic, revelatory, insightful, useful, troll, delusion, etc.), but I guess we'll just have to deal with what it is.

Edit: typos
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
I read this and keep having to look back at the "limited range" thread, and all I can think is: Great, when will you start to exhibit this wisdom? Just sayin'.
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Jori,

Was this comment really worth the chaos it caused you?

Feel free to PM me with what you find fault with and we can discuss. Lets try to keep this thread on track.

Trent
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No one goes unchallenged at the DhO

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

Hi Trent,
The posts at DHO are not just peer review or debate. The general consenus is important. A general consensus can be achieved through the development of the content (debate) and using the feedback buttons. Because some one does not get what is said and does not enter into a debate does not make them lazy, they are just different to you with a obvious bent for debating. To write off the opinion all those reading a posts and not making a post, would be quite arrogant. Even though there be no debate if a significant number do not agree and assuming the topic is not too subjective there are 3 outcomes
1 - you know something that cannot be explained to most
2 - you have not explained your position clear enough
3 - you do not understand something that others do.
if the case is 2 or 3 you have some more work to do. if the case is 1, the presence of feedback buttons does not affect the outcome or you putting your case.
You have repeatly dress the argument that the masses do not really know what is best for themselves. for eg most cannot vote properly by pushing a button because of a group menatlity phenomena.

Functioning democratic systems actually give the best outcomes, there is lots of research on this; start with
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds. there you will see the root causes for failure of a voting system. I do not believe any of these exist at DHO with any significance. If you believe they do that would be a debate of real significance.

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