Insults anyone?

Into statistics? Curious what everyone else thinks? Then start a poll here.

Do you feel it is appropriate to engage in insults, name calling or other ad hominems?

Yes:
6
29%
No:
15
71%
 
Total votes : 21

Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:27 pm

ps - however, and no insult intended at all, what I have learned from Christians is deeper and far more important.

(and I hope you can see what I mean by no insult - what I mean is that, generally speaking, although atheists and Christians have many values in common, they also value some things that are different, and in my life, those different things are far deeper and more important.)
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:44 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:A bully is someone who uses some advantage of power, either physical ability or the shere numbers of a gang to lord it over other people with threats and fear as his tools to push people around.

What the hell is this power that I am supposed to have and what are the threats that I am making and what is it that you have to fear from me?


Not necessarily, Mitch. A bully is anyone who pressures someone in a disrespectful manner. It could be physical, verbal, perhaps even silently implied. At any rate, insulting someone can certainly be considered bullying behavior. You have no real power over me, but that doesn't mean you can't try to. What I mean is, if you pull your insulting rants often enough, they could easily have a depressing effect on anyone on the receiving end and future comments could be reduced or even altogether stopped. This is nothing new and it is real.

Frankly this seems a lot more to me like the bully and his gang are whining and complaining about the one little pip squeak who refuses to fear them and refuses to be pushed around by their threats. I take the tactics of rhetoric constantly used by atheists and turn them back on the atheists and they hypocritically act like such behavior is their right alone.


Well, this is not unlike the position that Rian had and has now abandoned, all the credit going to her, not me, because it is a conscious decision on her part, nothing I did. For one thing, I certainly don't have a "gang". I think maybe KTR has defended me some, but certainly not because I asked for any help. Secondly, you have nothing to "fear" from anyone here and you know it, so that's just a non-sequitur. I have offered time and again to be respectful if you would only show me the same courtesy. It's not like I'm asking for special treatment. And I am completely happy to discuss any rhetorical tactics that I use, analyze them, dissect them in any way. I'm in no way afraid of what I might learn about myself. Please feel free to challenge me whenever you wish on the merits of my arguments. All I ask is that you A) do so in a respectful manner, and B) don't ascribe to me some rhetorical argument that I have no power over and no allegiance to. I still have no idea what you are accusing me of regarding my opinion on the testability topic. I have no idea why you reacted so childishly to my ideas. How could I know; you just ranted on about something with means absolutely nothing to me. You may as well have been speaking Mandarin because whatever you said makes no sense to me. And I absolutely do not see myself as having any "rights" that you or Rian or moon do not have. That assertion is just absurd. When have I ever made such a ridiculous assertion?

Mitch, you seem to have a vendetta against anyone whom you feel you can put in a box labeled "X". I say "X" because I really don't understand what you think is in this box. Frankly, I'm not sure you know yourself, but you are in a constant war with this windmill and you create collateral damage wherever you go. I don't think I'm in that box, but please feel free to explain to me how or why you think I do fit in that box and I'll examine my ideas and try to see it from your perspective. You seem to have made a conclusion that I am resistant to change and have a concrete position. Boy, you just don't know me very well.

I was not raised chrisitan, so I have little doubt that in many ways you are more Christian than I will ever be. Instead I was raised with these abomnable tactics my whole life.


See, this is the kind of thing that I can't help but judge just a little, and forgive me for doing so. Mitch, I think it's pretty clear that you have some unresolved issues with your parents.

So you can either drop them or have them used against you and that is the only choice I will give you.


Sorry, but you do not have the right to give me such an ultimatum. Your threat doesn't scare me in the least and you can shove it right up your pompous ass!!! :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!:

I hate to get so vulgar, but you just sicken me. I think I threw up in my mouth a little.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:48 pm

Keep The Reason wrote:From gary:

gary_s wrote:I could be wrong, but I sense that this may be something that has plagued Mitch for a long time and he may have something even deeper that is the cause of it. But I'm not psychiatrist, so I'm not qualified to make such assertions. I've just seen a lot of bullies and it always seems like every bully has a reason why they are a bully.


From MM in reply:

mm wrote:I was not raised chrisitan, so I have little doubt that in many ways you are more Christian than I will ever be. Instead I was raised with these abomnable tactics my whole life. So you can either drop them or have them used against you and that is the only choice I will give you.


Do the math.

:-D :-D :-D

Yeah, I think he's admitting (unknowingly) that he's been on the receiving end of bullying his whole life. If that is so, then there's no surprise he's such a bully.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:04 pm

Rian wrote:
Keep The Reason wrote:
gary_s wrote:Mitch often has profoundly insightful things to say ...

Well, honestly, I don't promote effective messages coming from theists.

I thought this was an important thing to highlight and comment on. Gary, this is an attitude that I think is very important - to seek truth itself, no matter from what "side". I've learned from atheists over the years, as well as Christians, because I'm open to looking for truth, wherever it comes from.

KTR, I think you're selling yourself short here, and I hope that you'll change.


I read KRT's post, Rian. With all due respect, I think pulling out that one phrase changes the context of what he's saying. Of course I agree with you that the value of what someone says is important regardless of their religious affiliation; that's a given, and I think KTR would probably agree? Do you, KTR? I think perhaps he was commenting more on the fact that he doesn't value what the religious say quite often because of flaws in their argument. But I may be mistaken; he can elaborate if he wishes. You certainly know that I disagree with many Christian arguments about reality and such, but if a Christian states something of fact, then it's just fact. You know, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

ps - however, and no insult intended at all, what I have learned from Christians is deeper and far more important.


Yes, and I would expect you to feel this way since you value Christianity so much. That just makes sense. I often value things I learn from theists, but it doesn't tend to have a spiritual root so much as a compassionate one. I know theists whom I feel have a great deal of compassion and a very giving nature and this is something that I have the utmost respect for. This lack of selfishness and a deep willingness to forgive; this is something I consider truly valuable. And even though an atheist may be just as compassionate, for some reason it is the more spiritual among us who tend to demonstrate it more often.

(and I hope you can see what I mean by no insult - what I mean is that, generally speaking, although atheists and Christians have many values in common, they also value some things that are different, and in my life, those different things are far deeper and more important.)


No problem. Actually, I think this is profoundly important to our survival. I'm not a "let's eliminate the church" kind of person. For one reason, I have a lot of friends and family who would be devastated by such a thing. My agnosticism stems from my own intellectual problems with faith. But I see great value in spirituality and even theism. I also see a great many flaws, but that's pretty obvious isn't it? 8)
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Keep The Reason » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:13 pm

Rian wrote:KTR, I think you're selling yourself short here, and I hope that you'll change.


As a one-time Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi-- for me Mitch doesn't really offer much in the way of enlightenment on theistic topics. I'm not saying others may not find value in what he states, but when it comes to the theistic side of the coin, I personally see nothing particularly special.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Keep The Reason » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:21 pm

gary_s wrote:I think perhaps he was commenting more on the fact that he doesn't value what the religious say quite often because of flaws in their argument.


Yup. In fact, the very next sentence in the post Rian is quoting states that very clearly:

KTR wrote:Offhand, I don't consider their arguments to be of any huge value (they certainly lack coherency and any ability to demonstrate their claims), though I am the first to acknowledge that humans need mythology to help them and inspire them (we also need art, poetry, literature, etc).


I generally don't value much of what theists say about religion (or theism), but that doesn't mean they don't have valuable insight elsewhere. For instance, Martin Luther King was religious, and I valued what he said very much about civil rights. MM may on occasion say something interesting on topics unrelated to theism, but his comments on theism itself, as I noted to Rian, is just more of the same that has been heard for... oh, what? 10,000 or so years?

I haven't seen a new argument here at all-- though Tony English had some interesting perspectives now and again. But the other theists are really just not answering the same basic complaints I have about theism itself, which is it's lack of demonstration.

But MM likes to add insult to that, so he's really off my "wow" radar (I don't put people on ignore-- that's too childish for me. I might ignore what they say, but I don't block their very words. If I did, calling other people out on being close-minded or intolerant would stick in my throat. It's hypocritical, disingenuous, and without honor-- and MM has me on Ignore which I find all sorts of amusing).

Anyway, Rian agrees that he insults unnecessarily , so it shouldn't be a surprise to her or anyone else that I find MM inconsequential overall.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:04 am

gary_s wrote:Yeah, I think he's admitting (unknowingly) that he's been on the receiving end of bullying his whole life. If that is so, then there's no surprise he's such a bully.

I think this proves quite soundly your habit of fabricating things with no basis in reality. Is this the habit of people who cannot face the truth, and so they just have to start making stuff up?

This is good explanation why this ad-hominem diversion into talking about this or that persons character just doesn't interest me. It amounts to people imagining that they have the authority or ability to analyze and improve upon the character of other people. The kind of people they usually keep company with might buy into this nonsense, but I am afraid that it is all too obvious to me that they are nothing but total idiots with delusions of being professionals like scientists and psychiatrists. No real scientist or psychiatrist would fabricate fantasies like this and pretend they are real.

My parents both graduated in psychology and I have known the real thing from the wannabes since I was in kindergarten. They cerainly were not perfect, but I have met enough other parents to have no end of thanks that my parents were not like them. No Dr. Mundo was far more on target with his comment about not everyone being so lucky as me.

This is not about good upbringing and bad. The ridiculous habits of black and white thinking by fundies that use such simpleton categorizations is a total distortion. What it is about is different subcultures, where people just have different ways of communicating with each other. I remember this good friend from graduate school from Vermont who really opened my eyes to this. At first we did not get along and his ways of talking seemed quite rude to me, but we eventually became best friends, and I learned that what was important was WHAT people communicate and not how.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby JustJim » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:25 am

Mitch wrote:...this ad-hominem diversion into talking about this or that persons character just doesn't interest me.

LOL! And then you follow that lie with a bunch of attacks on people's character! LOL!

Mitch wrote:...I am afraid that it is all too obvious to me that they are nothing but total idiots with delusions of being professionals like scientists and psychiatrists. No real scientist or psychiatrist would fabricate fantasies like this...

...The ridiculous habits of black and white thinking by fundies that use such simpleton categorizations is a total distortion.


Mitch wrote:I learned that what was important was WHAT people communicate and not how.

Obviously, you didn't learn that very well...

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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:28 am

mitchellmckain wrote:
gary_s wrote:Yeah, I think he's admitting (unknowingly) that he's been on the receiving end of bullying his whole life. If that is so, then there's no surprise he's such a bully.

I think this proves quite soundly your habit of fabricating things with no basis in reality. Is this the habit of people who cannot face the truth, and so they just have to start making stuff up?


No, I'm not fabricating, per se. I'm speculating.... :lol:

This is good explanation why this ad-hominem diversion into talking about this or that persons character just doesn't interest me. It amounts to people imagining that they have the authority or ability to analyze and improve upon the character of other people. The kind of people they usually keep company with might buy into this nonsense, but I am afraid that it is all too obvious to me that they are nothing but total idiots with delusions of being professionals like scientists and psychiatrists. No real scientist or psychiatrist would fabricate fantasies like this and pretend they are real.


Yet it interests you enough to continue to argue about it. :lol:

And no, I don't have the ability to improve your character, Mitch, but I certainly have the ability, and right, to tell you when you've been an offensive person.

And yet you fabricate fantasies yourself all the time, such as the straw men and rants you leveled against me. Mitch, you are only swimming in your own filth here.

My parents both graduated in psychology and I have known the real thing from the wannabes since I was in kindergarten. They cerainly were not perfect, but I have met enough other parents to have no end of thanks that my parents were not like them. No Dr. Mundo was far more on target with his comment about not everyone being so lucky as me.


Yes and I suppose this is consistent with your repeated complaints about the liberal environment you grew up in?

This is not about good upbringing and bad. The ridiculous habits of black and white thinking by fundies that use such simpleton categorizations is a total distortion. What it is about is different subcultures, where people just have different ways of communicating with each other. I remember this good friend from graduate school from Vermont who really opened my eyes to this. At first we did not get along and his ways of talking seemed quite rude to me, but we eventually became best friends, and I learned that what was important was WHAT people communicate and not how.


And yet the "what" that you were communicating to me was meaningless, unless that is you place meaning on ad-hominems, straw men and general rants. Do you?

So, your own words are belying your behavior, Mitch. I'm happy to accept new information even in a rude tone, but I'm not happy or even willing to accept rants and deflections as real information when they don't relate to me or my argument in any way. And if you think deeply about this, you will see that I am right on this. You have now for many posts been arguing that I am assaulting your character. But if what you say is true, then you should be happy to accept this new information packaged in a rude form as you seem to want me to do the same. So, either accept that you are this intolerant ass or admit that you are wrong and you simply made a mistake. To deny both is to be inconsistent.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:20 am

Keep The Reason wrote:But MM likes to add insult to that, so he's really off my "wow" radar (I don't put people on ignore-- that's too childish for me. I might ignore what they say, but I don't block their very words. If I did, calling other people out on being close-minded or intolerant would stick in my throat. It's hypocritical, disingenuous, and without honor-- and MM has me on Ignore which I find all sorts of amusing).


This is a good point. If Mitch truly found my argument so dis-interesting and bothersome, then why not put me on ignore? He hasn't and continues to address the issue with me.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Keep The Reason » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:10 pm

Mitch is a hypocrite.

Just doin' my other job. :)
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:28 pm

mitchellmckain wrote: What it is about is different subcultures, where people just have different ways of communicating with each other. I remember this good friend from graduate school from Vermont who really opened my eyes to this. At first we did not get along and his ways of talking seemed quite rude to me, but we eventually became best friends, and I learned that what was important was WHAT people communicate and not how.
I see what you're saying, but there was something there that we don't have here, and that's personal interaction, so that makes it harder. If you didn't have time and personal interaction, I don't know that you could have worked things through.

And I agree with you that the content is important, because I value truth very much, but I think that the way that content is communicated also communicates things, and these things are important, too - and sometimes even more important. Non-verbal communication is a huge part of communication, but we can't have that on this forum - we only have typed words. I can't tell you how many times I've typed something in a completely loving and kind manner and had someone take it completely wrong - I'm guessing it's because 1) my communication skills aren't the best, but mainly, 2) they've "filled in" the non-verbal part because there just isn't any non-verbal part available on these forums! The closest we have is smileys, but even those can be taken the wrong way.

Anyway, just some thoughts...
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:52 pm

A few more things to Gary -

In general, I'm in complete agreement with you, Gary. But the problem is that I think there are some special cases. Before I moved to Arizona, I used to think that given enough time and good-will, anything could be worked out. Then we moved in across the street from my sister-in-law, and I found out, in ways very painful and damaging to myself and my family, that this isn't always the case, and that sometimes the best and most loving thing is to, for a time, cut the communication. We gave her a lot of time - probably 4 years - before we finally realized that there were some things in her that made it impossible to communicate with her, and continuing to give her chances just kept hurting us. So I think that in some cases, it's the right thing to cut off communication, at least for a time.

And there are less extreme cases where something is just so emotional that the people become incapable of constructive conversation, and sometimes it's right and good to stop talking for a time, too. In my family, we always gave any family member an option to take a time-out if they felt that they were reaching a point where they were losing control. The rule was that they had to go to their room and work on calming down, and when they felt better, they had to come out and re-engage with the discussion. I think that's a good idea, and that sometimes, it's good here, too.

Gary wrote:My answer is that yes, any time you make a statement that another find offensive, you should accept responsibility for that statement and at the very least state that no offense was intended (if it wasn't) and apologize, and perhaps try to discuss what your statement means. If your opinion is still the same, and quite often it will be, I think it is fine to continue to hold that opinion, but to at least acknowledge the offensive nature of it, to own it, that is to say. I think we all likely hold insulting and offensive opinions of others. I think it is disingenuous to claim that an opinion is not offensive when someone is telling you flat out that it is. I can't even count the number of times I've seen this kind of standoff. People just don't always understand the power of their words.
I agree that words are very, very powerful. To share one example, angry words are like hitting nails into a board; you can always apologize and remove the nails, so to speak, but the holes are still there. But the problem is that there are some people out there who use feeling insulted as a control thing, and they shouldn't be encouraged in this unhealthy attitude. The vast majority of people aren't this way, and I think that you have to give people a HUGE amount of time before you make a decision on this, but I think that sometimes this is the case. We might disagree here.

I think that if you truly hurt someone's feelings, intentionally or not, then you already know the answer. Let me put it this way; if you said something in a completely benign way to one of your children and to them it sounded like a hot poker right in their eye and they broke down and cried because of it, would you apologize?
I would say that I'm so, so sorry that I hurt them, and do all I could to comfort and help them, but to me, an apology means that the person has done something intentionally wrong, so I wouldn't apologize if I felt I hadn't done something intentionally wrong. But that's perhaps just the way we use those words in our family. I think that it's important to own your own words and behaviors, but I also think it's unhealthy to own someone else's issues in a way that is co-dependent, or whatever other word you want to use. That is bad for both people, because it stops them from owning their behavior. Do you see what I mean?

I see what you say about owning hurting someone, but in these 6 years in Arizona, I've seen people use that in a destructive way, so I just can't agree with you wholesale.

Actually I think you have it backwards, Rian. I think you need to be more precise. I think the problems often arise out of generalized statements that can capture people in a net that you may not have intended. As I said in an earlier post, if you say something general and a room full of people hear it and it has the potential to relate to all of them, but you only meant one of them, you have just insulted all of them whether you meant to or not.
Then I need to try to word things better to avoid that, now that I understand that better (that people are taking something that I thought was clear a different way). And I can certainly say I'm sorry for hurting them, but I won't take something back that I think is valid and within the standards of this forum, because I think there are some people here that are capable of using the insult thing as a control mechanism, and I don't think it's right or good to let them do that.

Well, this is one of those unintentional things I spoke of. I'm certainly not in the business of managing people or policing people. If I do say something like this, it's mean only as a suggestion of one way to deal with it. If you don't like my suggestions, feel free to toss them out with the garbage and forge your own path. So long as the ultimate goal is achieved, it matters little to me how it is achieved. And to be frank, I'd rather you did it your way and not my way because it will be yours and you will own it much better.
And here is an example of something that I think you could word a little better (the "if you want to do this, you need to do that" thing).

Rian wrote:But where does this stop? A person can feel insulted continually; should the other person be continually apologizing? Where is the line drawn?
Gary wrote:That's an easy one; it stops when you are willing to accept responsibility for your comments and own them. When you are willing to accept that someone else's perception of what you said doesn't match your own perception and that's OK. You just have to take their word for it.
I can accept responsibility for my comments and own them, but I can also choose to NOT accept a response that I think is controlling and wrong. Again, this will probably be rare, but I've found out the hard way that it is certainly something that is done. Do you see what I mean? What do you think?

Your example with your co-worker is a good one, and I've been through similar things, yet here's the thing - it has to be both sides willing AND able to work on it. If not, it just can't be done. I'm not saying to drop it right away if the other person isn't working on it according to your standards, but I've also learned the hard way that beating your head against a door does NOT guarantee that it will open.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:13 pm

gary_s wrote:I do not like the ignore button at all. If I had my own forum, I would disable it. Ignoring someone with whom you have a disagreement NEVER leads to a resolution; it only postpones a possible resolution or escalation. Sometimes a cooling off period is a good idea, but to decide to ignore someone indefinitely is to sweep the problem under a rug. It may allow for fewer arguments, but it forever eliminates the possibility of true reconciliation and it limits what you may learn about others and yourself.

If you consider the example I gave rian of the fellow that I had a bad influence on some years ago. Had he simply ignored me there would have been many bad outcomes. First, we worked on a team together, so the teamwork would have suffered dearly. Also, I would never have come to understand his perspective on how we worked together, which was not manager/employee, but rather professional/craft. We complimented one another very well when we worked together. Apart, we were each less capable. So I am forever grateful that he spoke up and did not hold his tongue. After I made amends, I counted him among my close friends. We didn't always agree, but I learned a new respect for him and he for me. He became far more open and helpful and I became far more supportive of him. It was perhaps one of the most important cross roads of my life, what some might call a religious experience. Because of him, I became a better person.


Here's another thing that I used to agree with you on, but now have allowed for the extreme circumstance. It took me many years to put someone on ignore, but I finally did, for several reasons:

1) The main one was what I talked about in my previous post - after a huge amount of time and effort, it seemed very conclusive to me that this person did not desire communication; he desired sending out hurtful slings and he desired blowing up threads that were not going his way. I tried over and OVER and OVER to reach out to him and reconcile and work things out, but I found him to be like my sister-in-law - just incapable of healthy communication with me (and with quite a few of those on the Christian side - he's an atheist). For a long time, I just didn't respond to his posts, but still read them. But so many were just so ridiculous that I found myself responding to them, and the thread would blow up again. It finally occurred to me that this was probably his purpose, and I hate seeing good discussion threads blown up, so I finally, finally put him on ignore.

2) I have a rather unusual issue - I have a serious problem with my immune system which leaves me in permanent pain and crippling fatigue, and I have a very limited amount of time to talk on discussion boards, a thing which is both enjoyable and instructive (I mean I learn a lot - don't know if that's the right word, but I'm getting at the end of my energy, so I'm not wording things as well). I found out that I was pouring so much time and energy into trying to reconcile with this guy that it was definitely affecting my health. Yes, in a perfect world we could all work things out, but this isn't a perfect world, and we have to make priorities. I really value my internet friends, but my highest priorities are God and family, and then my in-the-flesh friends, so I decided that it was time to put him on ignore. I had one other guy on ignore for a while, but things got better, and he's off ignore now.

So if it works for you to not use ignore, then good! but it didn't for me. It was a hard choice, and I took a LONG time to make it, but I really do have very limited resources, and I had to do it.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby JustJim » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:50 pm

Rian,

Did you ever wonder why it is you can't ignore someone's posts without putting them on ignore? I mean, just... ignore them? It seems like you're saying you have a problem ignoring posts you don't want to read, almost as though you can't help yourself and find that you just have to read them, even if you don't want to. Does that strike you as odd? If it does, don't feel bad! :)

I used to put people on ignore, and then I found myself clicking on the "display this post" button so I could see what they said anyhow. And many, MANY times, I browse the forum without signing in first, only signing in if I want to post something or read things in the "Science" and "In the News" threads, which you can't read if you're not signed in. And ignore doesn't work if you're not signed in. So I was reading things from people I had intended to ignore, either out of my own curiosity, because I hadn't signed in, or because other people quoted them. It just wasn't worth the trouble.

Now, if I want to ignore someone's posts, I just don't read them. That, surprisingly, is easier for me!

Jim
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, refuses to go away...."
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