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Peace in our time: Assumption of goodwill

Hi!

I was just handling a complaint about a comment by one of our members. The complaint itself was well-intentioned and protective of a new member, which I enormously appreciate. But when I looked at the offending comment, I couldn't for the life of me see anything but positive support for a new member who posted some music!

It made me think of this thing I was taught as a kid which seems to me like the silver bullet for peaceful relationships, online or off - but particularly online.

It's just this: if in doubt, assume goodwill.

We're social creatures and for the most part, just want to get along and work together. Of course there are exceptions, but I'd say it's generally the case. Those few times here when I see a forum thread flare up and go south, often at the start it’s a simple misunderstanding which gets someone's reptile brain fired up.

The thing about communication in human language, and especially, especially text, is that it’s really imprecise – and when it’s informal and conversational like on a forum or social media, even more so. We might use shorthand that perhaps only our own inner circle understand, or make quips that are tad dry for the readership, or just clumsily construct a sentence.

As a participant in any relationship – anything from two forum members or strangers on social media interacting to two people in a committed relationship – assuming goodwill does two big things for us: Firstly, it generally leaves us with the most accurate interpretation, because most people mean well, and that has all kinds of positive follow-on effects, including sidestepping being offended. Secondly, even before the other party opens their mouth/new post window, it gives us a more robust feeling of connection and optimism, which is pretty good for well-being generally.

Works for me, anyway.

Comments

  • Damn, I looked for that comment but couldn’t find it. I hope it wasn’t me! One thing I found in business. If there was a misunderstanding or problem and it was worked out, the bond was stronger and more trusting, I don’t think you can prevent misunderstandings from happening. The resolution is what counts.
    But you are in the clinches, as always, Michael.

  • @LinearLineman said:
    Damn, I looked for that comment but couldn’t find it. I hope it wasn’t me! One thing I found in business. If there was a misunderstanding or problem and it was worked out, the bond was stronger and more trusting, I don’t think you can prevent misunderstandings from happening. The resolution is what counts.
    But you are in the clinches, as always, Michael.

    Ah yes, it was in a thread that the posted requested deleted.

    Yep, true - but it does help to keep in mind that the person on the other end probably isn't just trying to be antagonistic =)

  • True enough.

  • Plus plus.

  • It's always refreshing to come to the forum and read something poignant. :) Cheers @Michael

  • Wise words, Michael, very wise words.

  • Did the comment involve a missing dog per chance?

  • edited June 10

    Hi Folks ... the post in question was mine, where I posted a live mix created in AUM.

    A friendly forum user then posted an encouraging comment, which was good to read.

    However I felt the mix needed reworking, to tighten it up a bit, as I thought listeners might not persist through the slowly-building gentle intro to get to the more animated "interesting bit", especially in the internet age where we give things such a short window of attention.

    Just to reiterate that the decision to pull the post wasn't related in any way to the comment left (again which I appreciated) but a desire to make the music better, and tighter, especially since the posted version kind of just "happened" and who gets it completely right first time? And it was my first musical posting, so maybe I didn't want to set things rolling with a mix I wasn't entirely happy with. The whole thing was a single take live mix, so I was pleased with the result from that perspective but I still want to tweak it - don't we always?

    Thanks for posting Michael, and I've already become a regular forum visitor as it seems to be quite a thriving community of people who are also passionate about music making. So am looking forward to getting to know you folks in coming months :)

  • Thanks for the post @craftycurate ! Good to hear your side.

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