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Casual Misogyny at CoBF


KJP
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Many posters have rightly called out the overtly sexist commentary that pops up on the discussion threads.  But there is also another, more subtle type of misogyny that weaves its way into the rhetoric that is employed in thread after thread, often by the same posters.  I'm writing this post to illustrate what I'm referring to in the hopes that people who are using this language can think more about the tropes they're invoking.

 

In the discussion section, there's a thread entitled "Oh Wilbur . . . ." that was started with the theme of defending the indefensible in the name of ideology.  As they tend to do, the thread swerved to a new topic:  Taxation.  There was disagreement about tax policy, and, as happens all too often, one poster reverted to the classic schoolyard bully tactic of name-calling, e.g., the people who disagreed with him were called "idiotic" (post #61), "moron" (post #74) and "tool" (post #100).  This is, of course, the sort of immature silliness that some people can't avoid when they can say it anonymously. 

 

But this poster also invoked another, much more pernicious type of rhetoric.  According to him, the people who had the temerity to disagree with him were "deranged" (post #92), "depressed" (post #92), "not healthy" (post #94) "bitches" (post #97), just like a "girl" he dated once (post #94).  Indeed, the "bitches" challenging his views were trying to manipulate his emotions, just like that problematic "girl" from his past (post #94 and numerous other times in other threads). 

 

Here in just a few relatively short posts, we see nearly every misogynistic trope trotted out:  The honorable, upstanding man with airtight logic and deep knowledge is being pulled down and abused by the illogical, crazy and manipulative "bitches" that won't listen to his logic.  If they would just shut up and listen (or better yet, agree with him) they'd be much better off.   

 

And then, in the "Who are you voting for thread," he justified his actions this way:  "Then the guys who polluted the thread by continually misrepresenting my viewpoint turned it into a real shit-show that reminds me of my old emotionally abusive girlfriend."  You see, it wasn't his fault that the thread turned into a "shit-show" of name-calling, schoolyard bullying and misogyny, it was the specter of his (as he recalls it) "emotionally abusive girlfriend" and those "bitches" who talked back to him that were to blame.  They simply got what they deserved.  This, of course, is simply the digital version of "If she had just kept her mouth shut she wouldn't have gotten hit." 

 

In short, people who don't bend to this man's will are "bitches" who deserve to be put in their place.  I would think this type of vile language would be condemned.  But, instead, another poster defended it and bought into the notion that the "bitches" -- in his vocabulary, "Nazis" -- got what they deserved.  This poster also invoked his frustration with an ex-girlfriend who had the temerity to disagree with him.  (See post 522 on the who would you vote for thread)

 

This type of rhetoric -- that people who disagree with you are "deranged," "manipulative" "bitches" -- should be called out for what is:  vile and fundamentally misogynistic.  The only way to put a stop to it is to take a stand and say that it is not acceptable, just like the n-word and homophobic slurs are not acceptable. 

 

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading.

 

 

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I've noticed it as well on occasion. Some people are a little less evolved for sure. I think on whole the forum is pretty intelligent and usually someone else or myself calls it out.

 

Edit: so I went and read the posts 93/94 in the thread you referenced...and I don't think there was anything wrong. IMHO u are just being too sensitive.

 

Like, if you get upset that a random dude on the internet calls you a bitch or tool...cmon man (or woman), get over it. Also, it was a god-damn politics thread. Just participating is more trouble than its worth.

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Yes. IMHO, this should be moderated, but that's Parsad's choice. Other than that, you can only call it out or ignore. Neither of these choices are perfect.  :(

 

Hi KJP,

 

Thanks very much for the eloquent post!  Much appreciated and I agree that this reduces the quality of discussions and is disrespectful to all members.

 

If boardmembers could use the "Report to Moderator" feature when they run into these types of posts, it would make it much easier for me to monitor what is going on in a certain thread. 

 

Some days it is easy for me to monitor the posts, and then some days, the sheer volume of posts is enormous.  Reporting a post at least speeds the process for me to target a specific post and then review that thread to see if the behaviour is recurring.

 

Thanks very much!

 

Sanjeev 

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I've had rude behavior towards me on this board. I once was sharing about some top notch personal development work/mental models which typically increases profits at a company between 300% - 600% on average within the first 24 months depending on the situation. Instead of people being open to new and innovative ideas, I was bashed and accused of some really gross things. I got it wasn't personal. In fact, it inspired me to reach out to some really big names in the investing world to apply that model to activism and finally found someone who is open to trying it out with me. If everyone saw it was possible -- it would have already been done by now. People kill off things outside of their realm of possibility when they're unconscious about it.

 

So when someone is mean or nasty to you when sharing -- it's more of a reflection of them than anything. I encourage everyone to share amazing things on this board and if something doesn't make sense to you or have questions about it -- to be in the question/inquiry around it VS just name calling and invalidating others -- it doesn't forward anything.

 

That being said I have and continue to get enormous value from these boards and 99% of the conversation is great.

 

Thank you to everyone for their contributions and generosity with contributing amazing conversations here.

 

Best,

 

Eric Schleien

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I've had rude behavior towards me on this board. I once was sharing about some top notch personal development work/mental models which typically increases profits at a company between 300% - 600% on average within the first 24 months depending on the situation. Instead of people being open to new and innovative ideas, I was bashed and accused of some really gross things.

Really? Can you link them? I just went through your entire post history. Aside from one-line repsonses, there was:

-one post about you meeting with some dude in toronto who said self-expression is important

-one post about you referring to these 300-600% gains in 1 year due to "cultural" changes which weren't detailed

-one post about how learning about mental models viscerally was more important than simply reading them and understanding them intellectually/abstractly

 

So I don't doubt you, I just want to learn about these wondrous methods and be able to judge them for myself.

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I've noticed it as well on occasion. Some people are a little less evolved for sure. I think on whole the forum is pretty intelligent and usually someone else or myself calls it out.

 

Edit: so I went and read the posts 93/94 in the thread you referenced...and I don't think there was anything wrong. IMHO u are just being too sensitive.

 

Like, if you get upset that a random dude on the internet calls you a bitch or tool...cmon man (or woman), get over it. Also, it was a god-damn politics thread. Just participating is more trouble than its worth.

 

LC,

 

I included cites to the posts so people could make their own assessment about what is or is not acceptable.  I appreciate that you took the time to read the post, look at the underlying material, and consider the issue.

 

My overall point is that a common tactic used to silence women is to invoke the stereotype that they're irrational, crazy, over-emotional and manipulative, and then to assert that they deserve whatever vitriol they get.  Those underlying stereotypes are then encapsulated in catch-all epithets like the c-word and "bitch".  Those epithets are then tossed out not to further discussion, but quash it, to make the recipient question themselves -- Do my views have value, or should I just shut up and listen? -- and to put them in their "place," and, ultimately, to rid the community of that viewpoint altogether.  [The n-word and other epithets are used for the same purpose.] 

 

I didn't write the initial post because of one instance in which I was offended that someone called me a "bitch".  That was the catalyst to final speak up, and, as some posters have told me privately, it may have been a mistake to single a specific example.  But at the end of the day, we're all hurt because we lose the opportunity to discuss with people who leave because they want no part of a community that accepts that type of behavior.     

 

Finally, you're absolutely right that I'm talking about an anonymous post in political thread on an online message board, not a nationally televised presidential debate.  But the same things happen, and the same voices are lost, in the classroom, in the workplace, elsewhere.  So, I thought it was worth pointing it out when I saw it.   

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I've noticed it as well on occasion. Some people are a little less evolved for sure. I think on whole the forum is pretty intelligent and usually someone else or myself calls it out.

 

Edit: so I went and read the posts 93/94 in the thread you referenced...and I don't think there was anything wrong. IMHO u are just being too sensitive.

 

Like, if you get upset that a random dude on the internet calls you a bitch or tool...cmon man (or woman), get over it. Also, it was a god-damn politics thread. Just participating is more trouble than its worth.

 

LC, I am not sure how you're using the phrase too sensitive, but I don't think KJP was writing because their was personal offense taken. I believe the point was more along the lines of, "Hey folks, here is some language that I don't think furthers the conversation in a meaningful way and also has a negative impact on people."

 

I appreciate that the language was pointed out and there was a meaningful and thoughtful analysis of the impacts of the language.  We all (likely) work in finance, which I have found to be male dominated and at times laced with misogynistic undertones. I think it is worthwhile that the language was highlighted, as I have found myself becoming more and more numb to that type of speak, which is something I would like to guard against. 

 

From investing to interacting with people, there is value in understanding societies biases and heuristics. KJP, thank you for helping me do that.

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Very good thread.

 

The reality is that CoBF is a message board. The driving force of its success is the demand-side economies of scale (network effects); the bigger/higher quality the network, the more experienced/inexperienced matches, the more participants, the more value the board has to all participants of CoBF. Standard 'platform' business 'stuff'.

 

Inexperience means rough edges & hearing it directly from the 'great unwashed'. That's not a bad thing .... but just as the highly refined have to put up with the smell, the 'great unwashed' also need to wash every now & again as well. It's a process, some are better at it than others, but ultimately we all benefit.

 

Insulting language isn't helpful; neither is abuse - perceived or actual. The usual platform solution is to 'time-out' both sides, suspend participation from all parties for a limited period, & a re-post of the 'rules for participation'. For a quality 'investment' board, most would also want to see the CFA ethical principles as part of the behavioural requirement.

 

This board suffers a lack of female participation, and while improving - more global participation would be a desirable thing. Platform businesses in particular, benefit disproportionally from diversity of viewpoint, & it should be encouraged.

 

Let the moderator do his thing.

 

SD

 

 

 

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