07/06/11 463 W - + 5 - 5 Saying Exactly What We're Thinking

Wired magazine, maybe two months ago, had a great quote about the effect of digital culture. They opined that the Internet has changed the world in one way: people are now saying exactly what they're thinking.

In forums such as these, and usually when identities are cloaked, raw and unfiltered expressions of opinions and ideas are taking place. Quite the game- and even world-changer, really.

Quarterbacking, the accepted term for such practice, happens when a bunch of folks turn their attentions to a past incident, and begin analyzing what happened. This is usually through questions about the choices of what was done. And with a rough-and-tumble tone.

Exactly the same stuff you'll hear around the firehouse kitchen table. The day room expands to gigantic proportions, with any number of participants. (And just the like firehouse, there are folks not in the room, but still within earshot. Good Lord, are there people in earshot!)

Exceptions to this metaphorical model? First, the concealment of identities. That's quite common. We've beat that horse more than a few times. Second, the leveling of ranks (and more). That's also quite common, and one we haven't really discussed before.

From private to Captain to Chief, everyone up the chain is or can be in on the discussion. But it's still a virtual experience. And a funky one at that. Concealed screen names. Staggered times of responses. No visual representation of exactly how many people are participating. Etcetera.

Would you make the same comments here, anonymously, that you would in person, in an up-rank situation? Would your tone, language, and subject matter communicate an appropriate respect for the rank or position?

What about cross-rank situations? Peer to peer? You wear a white hat, and are taking anonymous issue with another white hat. Are you being appropriately respectful to them, both professionally and personally?

Except, at least anonymously, those up-rank and cross-rank situations are concealed. And that's a bit of a problem. Heck, it can be outright infuriating to some. Who is this guy/gal writing this comment? Is it a direct report? Is it someone that works alongside you? Is it your boss/manager/chief? Are they even within the same organization, or just a local participant. Etcetera.

Again, can be outright infuriating. Plus any number of other emotions that we could name here.

These pontifications are my reaction and response to the latest comments, about the latest fire we're talking about. There's plenty of room for reader reaction to this missive above. Or maybe just eye-rolling. Legeros is sermonizing again.

Nature of the beast is still nature of the beast. Quarterbacking remains popular and entirely diverting. Everyone here is still considerably more civil than, say, the WRAL forums. Yada, yada, yada. Blah, blah, blah.

It’s amazing what people will say when you can’t put a face with a name. Or an address, or phone number. Or when you can’t just reach out your arm and punch the ***hole right in the face.
Duda (Email) - 07/07/11 - 09:21

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