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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Socially acceptable behaviour?

    I'm unsure if this is the right place for this.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you have a strong sense of socially acceptable behaviour? If you answer "yes" does it correlate with general conscientiousness? Do you experience either as a consequence of defined morals and ethics, such as observing the strictures of a religion or philosophy or something more general like crediting it to habits instilled by your parents or upbringing?

    I'm also interested to find out how this translates into practice, or even if it does at all, its perfectly feasible to believe a thing or know that it is good and right but without seeking to action those beliefs, for a whole range of legitimate and sensible reasons. Its often a judgement reached to quickly to suggest that to know what is right and to shrink from it is automatically and always want of courage.

    Finally, since its an online forum and we are all participating in does a sense of propriety or socially acceptable behaviour transfer online? In some sense threads to date, in particular I'm thinking of the one about victim behaviour, would suggest that norms definitely do make the cross over but I'm interested to know peoples opinions.

    There are things which I have observed online which are massive breaks from behaviour I would expect in person, for instance recognising and even commending behaviour labelled "trolling" which I was only familiar with in the past as a prejorative label.

    I've observed some seriously wrong behaviour online, which its pretty obviously an attempt to provoke reactions from others, stuff that there could be no reason for other than the poster being some how mentally defective or possessing little in the way of empathy. I'm talking people "joking" about things which are real issues for the target of their posts, such as rape, incest, trauma, alcoholism and the like.

    However, I've also observed entire memberships of forums accepting it or generally exhibiting a high threshold for that sort of behaviour, generally provided they are not the target themselves. There's also a tendency to stand up for the poster if anyone calls them on their behaviour.

    Some of this I've read plausible explanations for attachment theorists who suggest the worst thing you can be in any social scene, group or community is a "stranger" and that prescence alone, even if you're being a constant asshole, is sufficient for people to unconsciously "like" or become attached to you. Its one explanation, it could be fishing for an explanation, any explanation, and attributing too much in the way of rationality or normality to the other whose behaving in a questionable way but its something.

    I'll say a little more about what I think and how I act in a minute, although its likely known already.
    All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
    Chapter IV, p. 448. - Adam Smith, Book 3, The Wealth of Nations

    whether or not you credit psychoanalysis itself, the fact remains that we all must, to the greatest extent possible, understand one another's minds as our own; the very survival of humanity has always depended on it. - Open Culture

  2. #2
    darkened dreams Ravenetta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    4w5 sp/sx


    Interesting OP.

    Having moved around *alot* growing up ( 30+ locations), I've tended to be aware of social dynamics from the vantage point of outsider quite often. I also saw a lot of varied and contrasting social dynamics and rules. I find that given any social group there are consistently a great many rules - moreso than the insider can perceive because they are internalized as obvious assumptions.

    I'm strongly introverted, but tend to see value in following whatever are the given expectations at least to the point of not creating unnecessary problems. Because I've been in so many different social settings, I haven't internalized etiquette to the same degree the "average" person living in one environment would. Internally I've mostly been out of sync, but will externally not rock the boat unnecessarily. It is overwhelming to have some sense of the social expectations, but not to easily internalize it or remember the sometimes arbitrary seeming details associated with them. The details are not arbitrary to the insider because everything is connected, but they are arbitrary many times to the outsider because they are not generated from reason or something that applies outside the context of that social group.

    I'll experiment with observing various groups. Online social groups are especially interesting because you aren't stuck with any of them and can leave anytime (unlike a small town or boarding school). I usually stay rather distant because of that sense of so many unwritten rules that insiders don't even see because they have internalized them.

    Some of the commonalities I've found amongst social groups include:
    1. A sense of identity, usually defined as being superior to others. There is often a sense of being winners, chosen people, smarter, more attractive, etc.
    2. Language use that is distinct in terms of word choice, ideas, and style of speaking.
    3. Dominant members who define the groups as a whole - there seems to usually be a hierarchy involving an individual who imposes their will onto the group and defines many of the social norms.
    4. Shared values and fears. Having common fears is a significant uniting force.

    I'm sure there are more, but that comes to mind quickly. Social etiquette tends to be a combination of communicating with similar language, submitting to the dominant members, and being united in ideas, values and fears. Online environments can create a somewhat undefined social situation in which the need to establish the dominant members comes to the foreground. I think much of the shocking, fear instilling, dominant communication is that attempt to establish the controlling members of the group.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ThinkingAboutIt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Your character is what you are when you think no one is watching. The Greek word for character is charaktēr from charassein "to scratch, engrave" an express image of someone/something else, with its particular features - an exact representation of the object whose image it bore.

    We each decide what we reflect. Sometimes we choose poorly. Unfortunately, the many do not realize that a live and let live attitude does not mean you are intolerant when addressing certain things. Personally, I would never keep company with a person that thinks rape is ok. And, I doubt that person would still be thinking that or promoting it to the psychotics out there if their own daughter were raped.
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

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