Why are sci fi fans more mature?

Teresa Edgerton

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It tries to be polite, which makes it different from many. It's not the only forum that values civility, but perhaps we try a little harder. If we don't always succeed, well, we are only human. But I've been here for many years, and I think we are getting better at it all the time.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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And it wasn't as easy as it perhaps sounds. It wasn't, "oh, we're all British and therefore well-behaved." (For one thing, we aren't all British. We are an international forum, with members of all ages and from all walks of life, and that sometimes means we have to make a special effort to avoid misunderstandings. It also means that we don't always manage to avoid them.)

We've worked hard to make this place what it is today. And I don't just mean the moderators, but members old and new as well.
 

Rodders

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The Chrons is a very nice place to be and I think the moderators do a great job keeping things civil.

SF fans though can be a prickly bunch and sometimes horrid. Remember all the abuse that Star Wars fandom has doled out recently? Ahmed Best considered suicide. Kelly Marie Tran had to withdraw from social media for a while because of fan abuse. That's just Star Wars. This abuse is spewed out by people my age.

I'm sure I remember much heated discussion when BSG made Starbuck a woman (my dad still won't watch it), or when a new captain is announced on Star Trek.

We are a passionate people, but it can be appalling.
 

Toby Frost

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SF fans though can be a prickly bunch and sometimes horrid. Remember all the abuse that Star Wars fandom has doled out recently? Ahmed Best considered suicide. Kelly Marie Tran had to withdraw from social media for a while because of fan abuse. That's just Star Wars. This abuse is spewed out by people my age
I don't think that's "fans" so much as bigots, and for reasons I can't go into, bigots currently feel that they can get away with it.

One thing forums do attract is people who can't manage to sound reasonable, even if they want to. You get quite a lot of aggressive-sounding posts out there along the lines of "No. You are wrong. I am right. This is why I am right and I win. And you are wrong" that give the impression that the poster would find normal conversation quite difficult. We seem to avoid the worst of that here. There are also the people who regard themselves as intellectual rebels and just want to argue. Again, they don't seem to last.
 

Dave

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I appreciate that some people don't like any conflict, and will run a mile rather than to get involved in a conflict situation, but I personally love a good argument. I believe that arguments are a good way to learn new things. However, that does require one to be open to changing one's mind in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary of the position that one holds. Many, if not most, discussions that I see online are not about "facts" but about "opinions." Those opinions often have no basis in fact, but are ideological positions on which people will never shift. This is especially true in the case of politics, religion, abortion (all of the subjects that are taboo here on SFFChronicles) but also Sport, Veganism and other subjects. Just as @Toby Frost described in the previous post, those people often are not arguing at all, but simply "telling" or "lecturing."

In any case, in the real world there is never one single "truth"; no black or white, but rather a wide range of different greys of lighter or darker shades on which people can take up a position depending upon their own life experience, or by manipulating statistics. So, I see nothing at all wrong with a civil argument or a heated discussion, provided that it is the real thing, with evidence submitted to back up the positions. If not, then it is simply that Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch where the argument is merely "contradiction" and "the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says."


Why is SFFChronicles more "civil" than other parts of the internet?

I agree, that is down to the work of the moderators. There is an incredible amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep it so. I think that the internet, and in particular "social media" is just a reflection of the real world. However, I agree that people online say things they would never shout out in the street; that they feel anonymous enough online to spew hate and abuse that they would never do in a town centre High Street, but they still hold those views. Without the internet to channel them, they would still hold those views in private and say them to the like-minded. Social Media is simply very good at connecting together like-minded people and producing echo-chambers where they can believe that "everyone" thinks exactly as they do. However, that is surely an argument for having more places like SFFChronicles where views have to be backed up with evidence within a civil discourse?

Also, "ad-hominem" attacks, against the person rather than the argument, are a sure sign that the argument has been lost, so they never worry me. The kind of "troll," who deliberately writes to inflame others, merely because they enjoy stirring the pot, and seeing the reaction they cause, I think that might be a new phenomena, never seen before in real life. On the other hand, I have heard family history stories of a great uncle who would listen to the Communists proselytising on Newcastle Town Moor, and come back a week later to debate the Fascists with those arguments. He would then return the following week to debate the Communists with the alternative Fascist arguments. Does that not count as the same?
 

StilLearning

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I think Dave hit the nail on the head with:
I personally love a good argument. I believe that arguments are a good way to learn new things. However, that does require one to be open to changing one's mind in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary of the position that one holds. Many, if not most, discussions that I see online are not about "facts" but about "opinions." Those opinions often have no basis in fact, but are ideological positions on which people will never shift. This is especially true in the case of politics, religion, abortion (all of the subjects that are taboo here on SFFChronicles) but also Sport, Veganism and other subjects.
To my mind an argument (in the most civilised sense of a reasoned discussion) based on evidence and reason, about something that is tangible and testable, isn't a conflict because it's based in a reality of testable facts - both sides will in the end be able to agree on a conclusion, at least in principle. It should always be civil, it needn't become heated, and it does require that both sides go in willing to change one's mind in the face of overwhelming evidence, and be able to trust each other to do the same.

I'm always up for one of these. But it is an art, and it needs both a lot of humility, self discipline, an actual appreciation of reasoned argument and logic, and an understanding that the aim is not to 'win', but to find the truth together. In short it is quite rare to find an opportunity to have one. One problem seems to be that 'winning' is more important than the truth to a lot of people, and the trust needed to argue properly is hard to build where that is the case.
 
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Parson

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The kind of "troll," who deliberately writes to inflame others, merely because they enjoy stirring the pot, and seeing the reaction they cause, I think that might be a new phenomena, never seen before in real life.
I'm very sure this is nothing new. Three decades ago I was the chairman of a denominational church board. We had a lot of business to resolve and a lot of the obvious votes turned into a discussion, some of which were fairly heated, because of one man. At lunch I asked why he kept bringing these things up: "I love to watch the process." --- I suppose I should mention that he was a college professor and he had no real stock in the outcome but loved to see people "debate." SIGH!!
 

Al Jackson

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There is nothing insulting about being old. There is much to be said for the wisdom and experience of age.

And I'd tell you all about that if I could, um, remember what we were talking about.
Yeah there is nothing insulting about being old or mature are old and mature.
(We never defined 'mature' in this thread.)
 

Al Jackson

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Could it be because football fans act and operate in groups, and SF fans are individuals?
Just my 2 pence.
An odd thing in popular culture is how 'science fiction' means only movies and TV as if the prose form never existed.
This is pretty wide spread.
The prose form we readers know is by a wide wide margin more varied than the visual narrative form, tho , in recent times that has been changing a little.
 

Vince W

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Could it be because football fans act and operate in groups, and SF fans are individuals?
Just my 2 pence.
If SF fans congregated in pubs quaffing liberal amounts of lager/ale while watching films and arguing the finer points of books I have no doubt SF fans could be every bit as immature as your average Spurs fan. At least I like to think so.
 

Guttersnipe

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I always thought American football was stupid. I like football/soccer. I read somewhere that reading fiction can make one more empathetic. Also, of course, hardcore readers will have a higher vocabulary, assuming they're reading a wholesome book.
 
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Dave

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Are there other sci-fi centered forums that are a little more ... volatile?
There used to be many forums, and several SFF forums I can think of were more "volatile," but they all closed down. Some forums were like the wild west and anything went.

I don't think there is any cause and effect between those two things, since most forums that were around have now closed. The reasons are both that Forums are seen as old fashioned and they cost money to run. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are all free to use, except that they harvest your data for marketing (and whatever else they want, if you read the newspapers.) I've been looking into this subject for genealogical project that I admin. We used to use the old message boards, but they have now almost gone completely (even the historical messages getting wiped soon.) We thought about using Yahoo Groups but they are closing soon. So, now we use a Facebook Group, but many project members refuse to use Facebook on principle. The only other alternative would be a forum but that costs money in forum software and webhosting. I'm fairly sure it is the cost that has killed off other forums rather than their lack of moderation. I think forums could still make a comeback with the reaction to social media data security.
 
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