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Open Respect

On the 5th of November Jono Bacon wrote a blog post titled “MAKING OUR WORLD MORE RESPECTFUL” [1]. He then registered the domain OpenRespect.org for his manifesto [2].

Aaron Siego supports the general concept of being more respectful while listing some of the practical problems that occur in a multi-cultural world [3]. If you read nothing else about this issue I recommend reading Aaron’s post (which I summarised very poorly, I can’t think of a good one-sentence explanation).

Sam Varghese wrote an article suggesting that it was an attempt to deflect criticism from Ubuntu [4]. I think that Ubuntu receives a lot of unfair criticism, but don’t think it’s really relevant to the issue at hand. Sam criticises some of the Open Respect supporters for failing to show respect in the past.

Jono wrote a follow-up blog post titled “REFLECTIONS ON RESPECT” [5], in that post he said “Sometimes we were disrespectful, and frankly, sometimes we were also inadvertently assholes. We never set out to be assholes, but we did set out to be edgy in a satirical way, but we sometimes went too far and I apologize for that. But you know what, we all grow and mature in different parts of our lives” about his past LugRadio work. Maybe instead of focusing on being respectful of others it would give more benefit to focus on how to apologise, back down, and move on after being disrespectful. It seems that the situations of epic disrespect tend not to be one-off incidents but are instead arguments of greatly expanded scope that arose from someone refusing to admit any error after doing something that is considered to be offensive. [Someone has registered OpenApology.org, just in case you were wondering.]

Maybe advocating Rogerian Argument would be another way of reducing some of the problems in the community.

Finally Kirrily wrote an insightful post about the ineffectiveness of discussing “offensive” things [6]. In terms of issues such as Feminism (which Kirrily uses as an example and which is also a matter of significant interest for her) discussions about “offense” apparently tend to end up being about the person who was offended rather than the person who might be described as acting in an offensive manner. She suggests using terms such as “marginalised, belittled, stereotyped, frustrated, humiliated, threatened, patronised, silenced, intimidated, misrepresented, etc” instead. It seems to me that there may be a similar issue with “respect”. Objective claims about people being dismissed, ignored, patronised, etc can be evaluated more easily than a claim about being disrespected.

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