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No personal attacks

Do not make personal attacks anywhere on the TT website. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Argue the point, not the person. Personal attacks damage the community and deter users. Nobody likes abuse. Personal attacks include calling someone an idiot (or worse), telling them to get a life, or any other such personal insult.

Definition

A personal attack, also known as an "ad Hominem abusive", is committed when a person substitutes abusive remarks for evidence when attacking another person's claim or claims. This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because the attack is directed at the person making the claim and not the claim itself. The truth value of a claim is independent of the person making the claim. After all, no matter how repugnant an individual might be, he or she can still make true claims.

Not all ad Hominems are fallacious. In some cases, an individual's characteristics can have a bearing on the question of the veracity of their claims.

Consequences

The moderators frequently remove personal attacks on sight. Occasionally forum members have been banned for repeatedly engaging in personal attacks.

Ramifications

Remember that disputes on the forum are visible to everyone on the Internet. The way in which you conduct yourself on TT reflects on both TT and on you. Also remember, the number of lurkers on the forum is substantially higher than the number of visible active members - perhaps even ten times as high. The way a member conducts themselves is visible throughout Germany - and that includes the community beyond the hardcore forum members. Make a name for yourself as being anti-social and this reputation will follow you beyond the chat forum and possibly affect your real-life friendships and relationships.

Examples

Specific examples of personal attack include but are not limited to:
  • Negative personal comments and "I'm better than you" attacks, such as "You have no life."
  • Racial, sexual, homophobic, religious or ethnic epithets directed against another contributor.
  • Profanity directed against another member.
  • Troll accusations. See more details below.

Troll accusations

Thoughtlessly and baselessly accusing a TT chat forum member, or an individual post, of being a troll is classed as a personal attack. So don't do it! Just because a post doesn't conform to the established social norms of the forum, that does not necessarily mean it is a deliberate and malicious troll. It more likely that the post is simply misguided or ignorant instead, i.e. Hanlon's Razor might apply. Or, indeed, it might be that the poster genuinely has a valid opinion which is alien to your current belief system. If you feel that another member is accusing you of being a troll, please use the report function on the corresponding forum post. This will send a message to the moderation team and they will decide whether or not to remove the offending post. The report button is found at the bottom left of each and every forum post. It looks like this:

Alternatives

Instead, try:
  • Discuss the facts and how to express them, not the attributes of the other party. This does not mean that you have to agree with them, but just agree to disagree.
  • Never suggest a view is invalid simply because of who its proponent is.
  • Explore issues in a less public forum like e-mail if a debate threatens to become personal.
  • Read Dispute resolution - Wikipedia.

Community spirit

It is your responsibility to foster and maintain a positive online community in TT. Personal attacks against any user - regardless of their past behaviour - is contrary to this spirit.

Remedies if you are attacked

If you find yourself the target of a personal attack, please click the report button at the bottom of the offending post. This will send a message to all members of the moderation team and one of them will decide whether or not it is appropriate to remove the post. For further info read: Report function. The report button looks like this:

See also:

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