|Respecting each other in the Web-APP community|
|Published on 05/29/06 at 14:52:02 by yaza|
|There's something I've been witnessing a lot lately, and while it may be a bit melodramatic to call it heartbreaking, I'll go ahead and do so. It's a lack of common courtesy, or, more largely, a lack of respect for those around you. Even now, reading over that, it seems like a pretty trite subject, so why go on with it?
From day one we've been taught to be polite, courteous and kind. When we were younger and slipped up, we were reprimanded for being unkind to others. So why, with no one around to correct us anymore, do we feel it's all right to disregard these practices? It might not seem so prevalent a problem, or maybe it doesn't seem worthwhile enough to address, but common courtesy has become rather uncommon.
Although it might seem common courtesy is a common habit, there are more than a handful of people who desperately need reminding. Even though I bristle at reading dictionary definitions of terms like kindness, compassion and good will, an article from the Web site "The Intellectual Viewpoint" provides a definition of common courtesy that I like the sound of. It defines common courtesy as a "gesture of good will without the expectation of something in return." Why is this hard to abide by?
To specify what I mean by common courtesy, I mean general everyday practices that are often overlooked or forgotten, something like offering to do someone a favor, or something as seemingly insignificant as smiling at passers-by. A main problem is that we appreciate these things when they are done for us, yet we neglect to show these same kindnesses to others.
Common courtesy, though, is only a small fragment of the much larger and more important issue of being respectful toward those around you. Respect goes far beyond being merely courteous. If someone neglected to hold a door open for you, you'd probably be miffed momentarily but would forget about it within a few minutes. If someone showed disrespect toward you, however, it would most likely leave a more lasting impression.
There are countless grounds on which people are disrespected daily, including religion, race, sexuality and physical appearance. I've harped on tolerance before, but this is different, and a subject much less controversial and much easier to adopt as personal practice. My blood boils whenever I hear something disrespectful, and although offensive jokes are sometimes laughable, it never feels right to give in to them.
Worst of all are the people who are well aware of their lack of compassion but unwilling to change it. They find gratification in making themselves feel superior to others, and making others, in turn, feel that they are somehow lower or that their beliefs are invalid. If someone was truly content and confident with the person he is and what he believes, he would have no reason to put down the beliefs of others.
Furthermore, someone who makes such jokes obviously places no value or importance on his own beliefs. If he did, he would realize beliefs deserve respect, regardless of how they may differ from person to person.
Any kind of gratification derived from making offensive or disrespectful remarks is certainly not a positive one, and one should never revel in putting someone else down. There is nothing to be gained from it, except a reputation as a compassionless person. Perhaps we've become so accustomed to hearing offensive remarks and disrespectful comments that we've come to find them acceptable, but I think it needs reminding that they're not.
Simply put, there is no reasonable justification for making fun of a person's religion, race, sexuality or anything else considered important or inherent to them, and it is completely inexcusable to do so. It goes without saying that respect for those around you creates a more pleasant atmosphere for everyone, so why is it so hard to show?
Just remember what your mother told you when you were learning how to play nicely with others-treat others as you wish to be treated. If you show kindness, you will receive kindness in return. Respect is a simply maintained practice, and involves little more than thinking before you speak and taking the feelings of others into consideration. (E. Clyburn wrote the above article in April 2006.)
I would like to add that we can apply the same principles of respect towards each other online. We can refrain from using vulgar, inappropriate and/or offensive language towards each other or making fun of someone's "programming skills". Before responding to a post online, think twice about it. How would you feel if someone answered you with a curse word or offensive statement? How would you feel if someone cursed (cussed) you out everytime you asked a question? It would get old and you would likely get angry and perhaps leave. We need rules and regulations, just like in the physical (i.e., offline) society in which we live, on how we should and should not interact with others.
Many of us spend a great deal of time online, behind our PCs. When we are online it is very difficult to know what the other person is actually thinking, especially because behind the screen, we are unable to see body language or hear their voice. Thus itentions are oftentimes lost.
Web-APP is also an international community and what might be funny in one country or community is not always funny in another. That is where the cultural barrier comes into play, but when we keep this in mind, it is easier to deal with.
Web-APP is a great script and it has a lot of potential to be used in so many different ways. There's no need allowing a few people to ruin it by their innappropriate comments, vulgar use of words/phrases, etc. We each have our own screen names and perhaps they are our real name and maybe there not, but the point is, we are all human beings, we all have a conscious of some level or another and we all have feelings. Let's make sure each of us are respecting each other.
Just wanted to share this. Have a great day.
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