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Expressing emotions vs. dry philosophizing - The limits of the media

Madhava - Thu, 30 Jun 2005 01:03:18 +0530
The issue of expressing emotions was brought up in one of the ongoing topics. It was contrasted with sober, dry theoretical discussions.

In this regard, let us please try to understand that there is a time and place for everything. Before venting out our hearts to all eight directions, let's spend a moment thinking whether we are in the right place and whether it's the right time for that. Let's spend a moment thinking about the possible consequences of our venting.

While theoretical concepts are easy to treat dispassionately, and while the concepts in such discussions are relatively easy to understand in the manner intended by other participants, the contrary is true of the venting of emotions. The expression of emotions, especially of the negative variety, is something that rarely leads to a positive outcome in online discussions, and is therefore best left for "real life" situations or private letters.

As a participant in a good many discussion forums, both Vaishnava and otherwise, I believe I speak with some considerable experience with regards to the general dynamics of the media used for our exchanges. It has a tremendous potential, and it has a tremendous amount of pitfalls along the way.

This is why we are not that keen on seeing emotional processing onboard in public discussions.
Tapati - Thu, 30 Jun 2005 15:34:21 +0530
A lot depends on how the emotion is expressed. I also think there is a difference between venting and processing.

I would suggest some grounding in I-messages and active listening if anyone wants to get into that territory.

But my main point is, emotions will come up in response to forum material and they will get displayed in the posts, like it or not. It's human nature, it's part of human communication, and there's really no getting around it. Best to build a good framework for expressing it rather than assume it won't or shouldn't be expressed.

Perhaps some of the problems are due to this unspoken (perhaps until now) assumption on your part that people can leave emotion behind when they start typing, or keep it tightly under wraps. Perhaps that's a part of your country or family culture--but it may not be as possible for others as it is for you.

Certainly the topic of death is one that was bound to bring up very strong emotions. I think that would have been better handled by splitting off the discussion that ensued, and maintaining one topic solely for memorial observances and another for the various issues that came up, while reminding people along the way to maintain a mutually respectful tone.

Just my 2 cents' worth. I concede readily that I am also new at this moderating game.