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Old 29-07-2008, 08:31   #1
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Us vs Them?

"Be Courteous!
We aim to ensure that the forum is an enjoyable place that you want to visit time and time again. Our underlying philosophy is that the strength of the member relationships we build here is what sets us apart from the other boards - we are friendlier, more civil, more insightful, more mature and more fun.
  • Personal attacks on others will not be tolerated."
In light of the words above, quoted from the rules of this website, how do we explain/justify the thread regarding David Vann's apparent mis-adventure, whose title offered the choice of labeling him an idiot? Subsequent postings did exactly that, over and over again.

Is it "Us vs Them", so that any "non-member" is fair game for personal attacks?
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Old 29-07-2008, 10:34   #2
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GNelson,

I take it you are referring to this thread;

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ero-11122.html

One man's brave is another man's stupid. Just because I do not agree with the path another chooses (as I do not in the case of that thread) does not IMHO give me the right to judge him.

I see this here, and elsewhere. Arm chair sailors, and even some who are cruising but don't seem to understand that bad things can happen to anyone. I hate those threads, and have a low opinion of many who choose to participate in them....

I recall when Skip exposed his failures that caused him to almost loose the Flying Pig. He shared his experience, and was rewarded (by some) with mocking and criticism.

I hope those who are so quick to judge never find themselves in a situation they did not anticipate.
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Old 29-07-2008, 10:56   #3
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gnelson,

You're absolutely right, I should have used a different title. That one sounds belittling, and isn't how we like to do things around here.

David Vann was, and is, a public figure, however, and he has a history of actually seeking publicity for his questionable exploits. The article that I quoted in the initial post indeed labeled him as an "idiot". And Vann's own written words invite the reader to make a judgment as to his sanity.

"But I am building a boat in my backyard. With tools from Home Depot and used sails. I'm going to sail around the world. Alone. My naval architect quit because he thinks I'll die. I'm not going to die. I'm going to come back and tell the story."

And..."Most sailors would say I'm crazy to attempt this trip on my homemade boat built in a couple months for $25,000. When I told Ken I couldn't afford new sails and would be buying used sails, he told me I shouldn't go. But I'm used to this."

Vann's proposed circumnavigation in a ill-designed and poorly built boat was certainly a valid topic for discussion here. If you want to see some really scathing commentary, look at Latitude 38 and some of the other sailing forum sites. Our members were polite by comparison.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:06   #4
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And don't forget Hud, all you did was ask a question. He couldn't be a Hero anyway, you have to do something heroic, not try to sail a boat, and I am being very generous with that term..
HERO- a person who puts others well-being above their own...
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:14   #5
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GNelson,

I take it you are referring to this thread;

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ero-11122.html

One man's brave is another man's stupid. Just because I do not agree with the path another chooses (as I do not in the case of that thread) does not IMHO give me the right to judge him.

I see this here, and elsewhere. Arm chair sailors, and even some who are cruising but don't seem to understand that bad things can happen to anyone. I hate those threads, and have a low opinion of many who choose to participate in them....

I recall when Skip exposed his failures that caused him to almost loose the Flying Pig. He shared his experience, and was rewarded (by some) with mocking and criticism.

I hope those who are so quick to judge never find themselves in a situation they did not anticipate.
As one of the more vocal critics of Skip's adventure, I would like to add the following:

I was critical of his acceptance of thousand of dollars, which he then kept, even after insurance paid his entire boat off, plus the repairs. Clearly, reading his more recent posts, you can see he has spent those donations on some very expensive toys.

I was never critical of his mis-navigation into the reef, other than the use of the term "blown off course" which isn't really a possibility these days, and was later found to be an inaccurate description of the events that passed.

However, I wish Skip well in the future, regardless of his previous mis-judgment.

Just wanted to set the record straight - that those who were critical of Skip were *not* critical of his mis-navigation. We were critical of his mis-appropriation of donated funds and the terms used in the initial posting to make it seem like the contact with the reef had nothing to do with a navigation error.

Some of us also felt that on a philosophical level, donations should go to needy people rather than sailors.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:48   #6
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If someone wants to make a public figure of themselves, then they also need to accept that they are fair game for criticism from the media and others. Actors, politicians and other well known people are all subject to public criticism. I'm not saying anyone they should be unfairly ridiculed. If though they are being ridiculed over something that is accurate, then that is fair game. This is different from a regular citizen who is not famous like the people in this forum.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:58   #7
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It should be OK to question behavior not personality.

i.e. Joe Sailor's attempt to round the world in a bathtub is a really stupid idea.

vs.

Joe Sailor is stupid.

We must be able to question ideas, plans and outcomes. Often that comes very close to judging the person.

However, as noted, public figures expose themselves to scrutiny. I am talking about media people like Vann as well as members here who post their plans and ideas.

By posting here you effectively become a public person.

Everyone is welcome to keep their plans and ideas to themselves and not publish here.

However - we must maintain the no personal attacks rules so that this place is a friendly and safe environment to express ideas, no matter how stupid - LOL.

The mods do a great job of paying out line in order to foster discussion and, yes, onoce in a while the line is crossed, both by members, site helpers, admins and moderators. ANd everyone is subject to censor.

The written word also has tremendous limitations in the expression of ideas, especially for those less skilled with the written word. As a person develops on online persona, the personality eventually comes through and credibility or lack of credibility is established.
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Old 03-08-2008, 14:27   #8
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Well said Dan!
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Old 03-08-2008, 15:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnelson View Post
"Be Courteous!
We aim to ensure that the forum is an enjoyable place that you want to visit time and time again. Our underlying philosophy is that the strength of the member relationships we build here is what sets us apart from the other boards - we are friendlier, more civil, more insightful, more mature and more fun.
  • Personal attacks on others will not be tolerated."
In light of the words above, quoted from the rules of this website, how do we explain/justify the thread regarding David Vann's apparent mis-adventure, whose title offered the choice of labeling him an idiot? Subsequent postings did exactly that, over and over again.

Is it "Us vs Them", so that any "non-member" is fair game for personal attacks?
I find it curious that the first post from a new member is the one quoted above.

When Hud started the http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ero-11122.html thread November 20, 2007, it was certainly an open question whether Mr. Vann had given his epic quest all of the careful consideration such an ambitious undertaking requires. As such, perhaps "idiot" and "hero" were not the best options available to describe the man's actions - but they certainly put a fine point on a valid, and timely, question.

As far as I know, David Vann is not a member of Cruisers Forum, or at least he has never identified himself as such. Therefore, anyone posting on this forum and labeling him either a hero or an idiot is not making a personal judgment on the man's character. They are expressing an opinion on a public figure's stated goal(s), and subsequent actions, by choosing between the two possibilities in the thread's title.

If Mr. Vann chooses to join this forum, and makes his identity known, then any member posting derogatory descriptors alluding to Mr. Vann's character would indeed be making a "personal attack." That, then, would violate the rules of CF, as I interpret them.

"Idiot" and "Hero" are valid labels, though neither is appropriate in the case of Mr. Vann's quest. "Idiot" is a psychological term applied to a person with severe mental retardation, possessing an IQ of less than 25 and a mental age of three. "Hero" describes a person of uncommon courage and/or abilities, and who is widely admired for his/her extraordinary attributes.

Mr. Vann is neither an idiot nor a hero, then. He's just another person on a mission, driven by something within himself that compels him to undertake that which a disinterested party, observing Mr. Vann's actions from outside, may find inexplicable. To such an observer, Mr. Vann's actions may seem idiotic (senselessly stupid or foolish), or heroic (noble and brave).

While Mr. Vann is not an idiot, nor a hero, then, neither is he a very good engineer nor welder, as his short cruise made clear.

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Old 03-08-2008, 15:59   #10
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Gee we're becoming just so darn politically correct. Isn't it just swell? I'm sure no real sailor ever expressed an opinion that another might find offensive or used language either crude or vulgar.

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Old 04-08-2008, 10:25   #11
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On Criticism Well Deserved

My personal philosophy includes the proposition that people should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Put another way, ‘…do [say] nothing to another that one would not have done [said] to oneself…’.

In the time when discourse was face-to-face, and particularly when conducted in public, people tended to be much more circumspect in their expressions lest they offend listeners’ sensibilities and thereby, at the least, demean themselves and their propositions. Such inhibitions are far less effective when a speaker/author remains, essentially, anonymous—in which case an editor/censor is a necessary requisite to maintaining a measure of “civility” in a public forum (which I do not equate to political correctness).

The foregoing not withstanding, from time-to-time situations are thrust into public view that are so egregious they merit little better than ridicule—and particularly so when the predictable outcome will very likely endanger others. David Vann chose to make his efforts “public” to promote himself vis-à-vis book and magazine sales. He could easily have undertaken his efforts entirely without public scrutiny, and consequent expressions of public opinion, but that would not have served his objective. Per Brendan Behan “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary”. Vann implicitly—if not explicitly—acted in reliance on cost free—to him—rescue should the need arise to avoid the last.

The case of Skip is another matter. His tale revealed ignorance and what seems to be astonishingly poor judgment, at least to those with any experience. Regrettably, one only gains experience by making mistakes due to lack of same. One is fortunate if the consequences of such mistakes are only monetary. As to the matter of “misappropriating” contributions, I cannot speak to that as my view is that one cannot make conditional donations to mitigate the suffering of others. The donations were made by sympathetic people at a moment when it appeared Skip and his wife stood to loose everything and I doubt any included the caveat “to be refunded in the event you collect an insurance settlement”. While I am not a fan of Skip nor his painfully repetitive misadventures, if it is any consolation to those who felt their contributions were misappropriated, it is unlikely that his insurance settlement, however generous, covered all of his costs.

For what its worth!

s/v HyLyte
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:53   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
My personal philosophy includes the proposition that people should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Put another way, ‘…do [say] nothing to another that one would not have done [said] to oneself…’.

In the time when discourse was face-to-face, and particularly when conducted in public, people tended to be much more circumspect in their expressions lest they offend listeners’ sensibilities and thereby, at the least, demean themselves and their propositions. Such inhibitions are far less effective when a speaker/author remains, essentially, anonymous—in which case an editor/censor is a necessary requisite to maintaining a measure of “civility” in a public forum (which I do not equate to political correctness)...
s/v HyLyte

Very eloquent!

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... I'm sure no real sailor ever expressed an opinion that another might find offensive or used language either crude or vulgar.
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Old 04-08-2008, 18:56   #13
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This thread brings to mind an experience I had with a guy who wanted to get the bottom done on his sailboat.

I told him of a yard....about 1.5 hours at the most cruising time from his slip. I gave him general directions and landmarks. I even made the call to the yard to set up a day for the haulout.

The directions were something like...after the bridge, pass the fort, bear to the left and pick up the channel markers. Stay in the channel because it is very shallow on either side.

He left on a Tuesday Afternoon.....On Friday I got a call from the yard saying that the guy didn't show up. THREE WEEKS later....the guy is back at the marina. When I asked what happened....he said I went out (all the way to the BAY) made a left (UP the Bay) and made another left (up a creek to a sewage treatment plant)....where he went aground for two days...ran his battery down and had to get towed off.

His solution "I better get a GPS.

My answer (unspoken) No, you need to know how to read a chart...a GPS will just tell you within a few feet WHERE YOU ARE LOST!

We have all seen and heard stories of dreamy eyed sailors who leave on trips ill prepared.....What we should do is engage them as they prepare and help them out with out being condescending and judgemental.

And as far as salty talk? I never use the Big Big "D"
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Old 05-08-2008, 16:33   #14
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This ain't the kindegarten. We ought to be able to cope with a small amount of frank and open discussion even if it borders on "robust". Bear in mind calling someone an idiot is only an insult if they are not, in fact, an idiot...
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Old 05-08-2008, 18:05   #15
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Gee we're becoming just so darn politically correct. Isn't it just swell? I'm sure no real sailor ever expressed an opinion that another might find offensive or used language either crude or vulgar.

George
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