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10 Ways to Maintain Your Composure

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posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 10:16 AM
Welcome to my guide on how to maintain your composure while browsing through threads with controversial content. These are the techniques I have learned to use when I have found myself getting stressed and uptight. They will not work for everyone, but I do hope at least a few others will benefit from them. They are in no particular order.

1) Check that your current mindset is stable and balanced.
This is extremely important. If you are feeling down, angry or vindictive then consider postponing your reply. You will find that sometimes you really regret having posted something the day before, simply because your mood was bad at the time. It can almost seem like somebody else was posting for you when you reflect on this the next day, week or month later.

2) Question whether you understand what you have just read.
Sometimes you will find yourself feeling angry and impatient after reading somebody else's reply. This anger can cloud your judgement and cause you to misrepresent their position. Misrepresenting another member's position on an issue is a bad idea for everyone, and can lead to your own replies suffering the same treatment.

3) Consider the context of the reply in relation to the thread.
You may read a reply which you think is unrelated to the current thread. If you find this is the case, read some of the posts prior to this post and see if maybe the reply was in relation to another post. Do not attack another member's reply without confirming that you are reading what they said in context.

4) Check that you are replying to the correct poster.
It is not uncommon to find members addressing the wrong person or attributing the reply of one person to that of another. Even opening posts where the author is quoting somebody else's first hand account, not their own, should be recognised.

5) Consider the tone of the post if the post seems strange or provocative.
There are times when a reply is clearly sarcastic or overwhelmingly satirical, but other times it is not clear. Before responding to something you find provocative, try reading it out loud and making sure you are not mistaking the tone.

6) Attack the argument, not the person making it.
It is easy to disagree with somebody because, in general, you don't like their opinions or views on certain subjects. It is more difficult to distance the person making the claim from the argument, and explaining why the argument itself does not add up. The latter is far more noble and productive.

7) Format your reply or quote in a clear and presentable fashion.
Separating your own words from that of the replier you are addressing is crucial. If you do not make a clear distinction between your own words and that of the other member's words, you will confuse other people and they will be probably not take your post seriously.

8) Differentiate between discussing the issue and living the issue.
Some people know about the issue, some have lived through the issue, some are living through the issue. You may feel passionately about your experiences, but consider that others might have encountered different experiences while going through similar events.

9) Be reserved with your words and don't include irrelevant information that may be used against you later.
It is easy to get carried away with a thread and post something that does not really need to be posted. If this information can be used against you to defame or contradict you at a later time, there are people that will do just that. This can be tough to do when the general mood of the thread is positive and impulsive.

10) Realise that even the most intelligent and respected members are prone to making mistakes or losing their temper at one time or another.
Don't take what you read personally. We are all here to have intelligent discussions with a focus on logic and reason. It is human nature to make errors, overreact and misinterpret others when dealing with controversial topics. Unless the behaviour is a common pattern and is likely to be intentional, give the person the benefit of the doubt.

There are probably a few I have overlooked, but I am happy with the current list and feel they are important considerations. Thanks for taking the time to read through them. I hope this thread helps those that are struggling to keep their cool when replying to other members in threads with controversial and sensitive content.

[edit on 27/6/2010 by Dark Ghost]

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