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Rule 1: Listen Fairly

Posted by bonesiii , Nov 08 2010 · 184 views


How to Disagree Well: Rule 1: Listen Fairly

Recently I posted a short blog entry summing up four rules for how best to share opinions and disagree with other opinions in a positive, constructive way. I said that I didn't in that entry want to get wordy (one of the rules is about brevity, after all), but I do want to back up my views on these rules. So over the coming weeks or months (tongue.gif) I will be doing four entries specifically expanding on the reasons for each of the rules.

The four rules are:

How to Disagree Well

1 Listen fairly
2 Avoid negative labels
3 Be concise
4 Speak your mind

Today I'll look at Rule 1.

Important points are bolded for optional skimming.

Listening fairly seems like such an obvious thing -- but I see so often in debates/discussions that people don't really, truly make sure they're understanding the other person's words for what they meant. They often waste a lot of time and words arguing about it, but in the end it turns out they both already agree anyways, they simply weren't paying enough attention to understand that.

We also tend to enter discussions with the idea that we want to communicate our point of view so everybody else understands it, because we feel it's very important -- because it is, after all, our view.

But we often tend to forget the importance of understanding where the other person is coming from too, giving them the same honor we expect of others. Different people aren't naturally identical in their talents, focuses, tastes, experiences, etc. So often I see people assuming everybody else has the same starting point of them, smacking their heads against a wall when if they put themselves in the other person's shoes, they would have no trouble communicating.

A worse mistake is to realize the other person is different, but sound judgemental, or even consciously believe they're "worse" than you because they're not the same.

It's the age old mistake of discriminating against the different -- but it can apply to more than just the few things society tells us about like race or gender. It can apply even to specific opinions.

That's not to say that different opinions are necessarily right -- yes, opinions CAN be wrong -- but I find it's much more likely that you'll convince someone to change their mind if they don't feel you're insulting them for having their own opinion. And maybe you'll discover it's more of a taste thing, so they're actually right to look at the world their way, for themselves.

Judgementalism is also often wrong because we simply don't know everything.

We may think we know that someone is "worse" than us because they don't have something we have, like knowledge of something, etc. And in some cases, maybe that's true. But I've seen countless situations where the judgemental person is actually the ignorant one, and by being judgemental, they cut themselves off from finding out what the other person knows. Also often we assume they are doing something wrong just because it isn't what we would do, without realizing that other people with their own talents, actually have a duty to use their own talents in their own best ways, not to try to mimic someone else whose talents they don't have.

Have you ever heard the figure of speech, "I don't understand" used while condemning someone?

It's pretty common in today's society, and you've probably used it yourself. I would submit that it's more than just a figure of speech, though, and it may indicate a very bad mindset. That if you don't understand someone, you have the right to condemn them. Think about it -- shouldn't it be the other way around? If you really don't understand, then how can you dare to use a judgemental tone?

(And again, you can never be totally certain you understand, and judgementalism is IMO always wrong, but that's another debate.)

I think that figure of speech started out with good intentions -- "I disagree with you but I don't understand your opinion fully so I can't be confident of this." In that tone, it can be conciliatory, but so often people don't at all mean it in kindness.

Again, this is not to say others can't be wrong, or be failing to listen fairly to you. Certainly we can all make mistakes.

But before we can really "judge", we need to be careful about making sure we understand the other person.

In the vast majority of cases, I find there to be no serious disagreement in the end when this is done. And when there is, both sides understand the other far better, and walk away with the experience being much more pleasant, thus more likely for both to change their minds to the truth, whatever it is.

Another thing is that, if you're not a good listener, people are going to pick up on that, and avoid telling you things, even things you might need to know or that might make you happier or whatever.

I know a lot of people like that, and they simply go through life completely unaware of a sort of sub-realm to reality, full of beneficial things, serious things, sad things, happy things, interesting things, etc. all because they are really bad at listening. It's often like watching Muggles from Harry Potter -- and yes, it's often laughable at their expense. tongue.gif Not that making fun of people is good or anything, but sometimes it's just impossible not to laugh lol. (It's also often very sad...) If you don't listen well, you may find that's you.

But if you simply listen, people tell you all kinds of things naturally, usually with no hesitation, and you'll find a whole 'nother vivid world underneath the blurry fog of the bland one the "bad listeners" see.

Now what do I mean by fairly?

Well, it's hard to pin that down. I think a big part of it is, if you have even the slightest doubt as to whether you actually understood what they meant, don't get huffy, don't go all "are you saying I'm evil??!?" or the like. Simply remain calm and friendly and ask them if they could explain more clearly what they meant. If they don't respond, think objectively about what they probably really did mean -- continue to avoid the temptation just to assume the worst (or the best for that matter; be realistic).

Reacting to uncertainty with paranoia, in most situations of conversation (especially in person where anger can lead to fists, or on websites like this where flaming gets you banned tongue.gif), usually just knocks the whole debate off-balance, so you can never recover the atmosphere of calm and friendly discussion you had earlier. And it's usually based on nothing substantial, but the other person then gets miffed that you dared to accuse them of saying such a thing, and now both of you are riled and not in a mood to work together anymore.

Is it a fair concern that they MIGHT have meant to insult you? Sure, but it's best to keep it to yourself. Because if it isn't true, reacting with paranoia kinda makes the accusation true later to some extent. (More about this under Rule 2 later.)

Fairly also means you extend to them the same rights you claim for yourself.

Most novices at conversation enter with the intent of convincing others of their own point of view, for example, yet they contradict themselves by also going in with the stubborn idea of refusing to be convinced of others' points of view, even if the others show that they should be convinced.

Well, if you aren't going to listen, don't expect anyone else to either.

That doesn't mean you flipflip like a leaf everytime somebody seems to show proof that they're right. Often in debates we don't know the right things to say to defend our point of view, so we might seem like the "loser", but later we'll realize what we should have said. So don't just go "oh I was wrong" at every opportunity.

Still, consider their reasoning. Don't ignore it. Think it through.

If you're truly doing that fairly, you'll probably know it.

Perhaps the coolest benefit to listening fairly is that often you will subconsciously motivate the other person to actually make your argument for you!

I have had the awesome experience of this many times, especially recently as I've tried harder to listen. I will be trying to convince someone of a point they originally seemed to miss, but I do it in just the right way so that I don't make the actual point -- I lead them to make it for me. It's hard to explain how to do it exactly, it's more of an intuitive thing, but I have noticed what method never works.

You might assume that the fastest way to get someone to see your point of view is to simply state it outright, give the reasons why, and just in general "speech at them." (Let's call this "Approach A".)

With some people, sure, that works great. And in situations like writing an in-depth blog entry like this, an article, even posts to some extent, that's valid. But what I've often found lately is that with personalities who tend to be more confrontational by nature, that is actually the slowest method.

When they understand right away clearly what your opinion is, they tend to play the role of Mr. Contrarian and take the opposite view -- they might not actually believe what they're saying, but they just can't help it. The urge to debate and disagree is in some personalities very strong (I know because that is how I naturally am; I've always been the one to want to go against the crowd, never with, and I recognize it in many online and in real life too... I think you of whom this is true know who you are tongue.gif).

But when you focus more on listening to them, asking them to explain what they believe, you basically force them to go on record saying things that you agree with, more times than not.

So the approach of listening first provides more common ground from which you can then extrapolate the truth in the matters that they do go on record disagreeing with. (Whether that truth is on their side or yours is another matter, though, and of course two people can agree about something and both can be wrong.)

More than once I have tried debating the same issue with the very same person, separated over time, but in two different ways.

When I try it as "explain myself clearly first and then listen", they side against Opinion X, but when I try it as "listen to them first and then speak", the very same person will say they believe in and defend Opinion X. Often they seem unaware that they've moved around to saying just what I was arguing for; they do it with that same controntational attitude, so they seemingly think they're disagreeing with me.

But then, once they're on record saying it, I can move in with agreement and explain clearly why they were right to say that. After that, they can't backtrack without clearly contradicting themselves, and most won't.

Unfortunately, the method required to make this work is exactly the wrong method for the vast majority of others, who may misunderstand your initial questioning as actually supporting exactly what you don't agree with.

This is especially difficult in a forum debate like the many that go on here on BZPower -- if Person A sees you using Approach A, it works for them, but if Person B sees it, it "taints the argument" so that you can't try Approach B on them either, and you've basically lost Person B. You'll still win the majority and win overall, but you will fail to convince everybody. This should not happen -- everybody should at all times be willing to fairly consider the truth regardless of the approach to get there, but that is, I guess, simply human nature.

So personally I greatly prefer one-on-one conversations if it's possible. In real life, I rarely speak up in groups of three or more, for this and other reasons. This is especially true on more controversial (read: emotionally charged) discussions, of course. Maybe it can be done, but I haven't yet learned how so yeah. tongue.gif

I should also note that forums (or larger groups in real life) have another great advantage. When you do get the other person to go on record saying something you believe is true, and you can move in with agreement, the social pressure of knowing everybody is watching helps prevent them from trying to wiggle out of it. So in some situations overall I think a public conversation can be best, but not universally.

Often once I do this, I am met with mysterious silence by the 'contrarian' for a while.

This seems to be a good indication they've either consciously or subconsciously realized they contradicted themselves and made your argument for you, meaning you've won that debate, but don't expect them to acknowledge it. Pride can be hard to swallow for any of us, unfortunately; few people seem to have learned the powerful skill of being able to admit they're wrong. If they do, that's a great honor rarely earned, so be sure to let them know you appreciate it! happy.gif

And don't go assuming you're right just because they fell silent either; it's possible something in Dreaded Real Life came up or whatnot. Absence of an opposing argument being given doesn't prove the original argument true, per se.

Another downside is simply that there seems to be NO quick way to convince people with this mindset.

I've always sorta hoped there was a way to rapidly convince anyone if a truth is well-established enough, and in some areas of life that does seem to hold true. Maybe it is true and I'm just still ignorant of that too, I dunno. But with the more contrarian point of view, convincing them of the truth you know seems like a time-consuming, lengthy process. So for them, the fastest way to convince them seems to be to begin strongly with listening fairly, and hope for this neato switcharound effect. happy.gif

The upside to this downside, though, is that it seems that over time, it doesn't matter much if a contrarian person has seen you use Approach A (fully explaining) in the distant past.

Whether through forgetfulness, subconscious planting or frog-in-the-pan repetition effect, or just the time it may take to get over prideful stubbornness when proven wrong, I've found that people I worried were lost because they went on record as a contrarian against Approach A seem just as likely to side with Approach B. All it took was time. This is a lot slower than going out of your way to listen and ask them to elaborate, but at least it's good news in the end.

(Even I have caught myself taking a long time to come around on things, heh, which I suppose shouldn't surprise me since I am contrarian by nature. On the other hand, after objective analysis the crowd really does seem to be wrong most of the time. XD So a certain healthy amount of reluctance to "flipflop" may actually be wise. *shrugs*)

And keep in mind Rule 4: Speak your mind.

I'll have a lot more to say on this when I do that entry, but for now it's enough to point out that even if it will take time for them to admit you're right, if you don't tell them your opinion, you'll just be wasting all that time. Best to start early, basically. So don't misunderstand -- I'm NOT saying you should keep any part of your opinion secret or anything, and obviously don't misrepresent yourself. (At least I hope that's obvious. wink.gif)

What I am saying is that we should try to understand the other person and personalize how we speak to them in ways that are best for them, respecting their individuality. happy.gif

Now, all of these approaches have the potential to be abused to support opinions that aren't actually the truth. I like to think that the truth usually wins in the end, but it's a concern worth noting. I think the "fairly" part comes in there. Any abuse of tactics -- supporting a knowingly false opinion -- is not, by defination, fair, so would break this rule.

Finally, the temptation might be to condemn those who require more listening to than others, but I ask instead that we be patient with it and try to understand why it's best to start with listening. After all, as much as I think it unwise and even a bit silly to pretend you believe something you don't just to be contrary, I myself am prone to that temptation. For me, due to basically luck in encountering the right information, it helped me realize we should be focused on finding the truth.

But the opposite way of thinking can lead to that too or can also lead to naivete, and we shouldn't condemn each other for being different. Instead, we should encourage truth-seeking in debate, regardless of personality, and kindness. smile.gif

And who is to say that there isn't a contrarian in everybody? I don't know yet, but my running theory is that listening first is the wise course of action with everybody. Again, it's not always possible (someone has to speak first, or nothing is spoken; see Rule #4), but it should be our goal.

So it is for that reason that I place listening fairly as Rule #1 -- and I do mean it as Step #1.

Listen... then speak.

Next up I'll look at Rule 2: Avoid negative labels. Comment/question/disagree/etc. here. happy.gif

  • 0

Artakha Prime
Nov 07 2010 05:11 PM
... i read 2 lines, and skipped to the commenting.

Listen fairly. Got it.
    • 0
[listens fairly to your blog entry]

I honestly don't instinctively disagree with what you're saying. It all seems very rational and appropriate, and quite insightful too. I think I have fundamentally been a good listener throughout my life with few exceptions. This makes sense because I live in a language minority, and on top of that, I usually have to rely on textual English or English-to-ASL interpretation since I can't actually learn to hear the majority language myself.

Listening, for me, is a greater challenge because of those two modes of information I primarily receive through.

The first one, textual English, is easier because it's in a single language which both parties understand, and in some ways I believe it's actually a better way to listen to another person than with ears and voices. Writing or typing is slower, so we are forced to take longer to hold the same conversation that could be spoken more quickly. This gives everybody more time to think and get over initial knee-##### reactions.

On the other hand, it's harder because many people I meet are uncomfortable at first to communicate in that medium. They've talked and talked all their lives, and now they have to put that in text so we can communicate. Most people usually are able to get over it and end up seeing how it's really not that different and even can be better than speaking. But some people simply can't get past that conceptual hurdle and I end up being cut off from them.

Plus, when I do enter a successful text-based conversation, it's still challenging because they often aren't used to it, and to "save time," they'll write in clipped English. Like, instead of "I would like to know the price of this iPhone" (an example from work at my Apple Store), they'll write "iPhone $?"

And that has no emotion in it, so I can't easily tell what they're thinking or what exactly they might want. Some people seem to even have their own code prepared for these kinds of situations that I can't even begin to decipher! tongue.gif Sometimes it's really hard to listen properly because the person simply isn't meeting me halfway.

All of that is why I highly value and appreciate interpreters whenever they're present. They're professionally trained to translate the complete meaning and emotion of spoken English into its equivalent in ASL. This makes my job of listening so much easier, but it also does pose a new challenge.

If I want to listen well, it follows that I have to listen and understand them in the language they are speaking. Since I'm receiving an ASL version, even if it is highly accurate, I've developed the habit of re-translating it into English in my head. If that seems easy, well... tongue.gif Try listening to French or whatever language is available to you, and then simultaneously holding the foreign-language version in your head alongside the English translation. Since I'm initially understanding the person in ASL and then re-translating it back into English, that's a close comparison to what you're doing.

So yeah, listening may well be the hardest part for me because it's the one big barrier of communication I face daily. Once that barrier's resolved, everything else is pretty much "normal" from then on.

Great article... really made me think. smile.gif
    • 0
Booker DeWitt
Nov 17 2010 05:27 PM
I've skimmed this entry. All seems good. I basically want to RANT because there are forums out there where people aren't aware of these basic rules.

I mean, I'm okay-ish at 'debating well', as you'd put it, but sometimes I just get livid when a debate turns from being a debate about a topic, into a debate about debating. But it's usually me who does that. A few posts of debating and I start to pick up on many of the things you do aswell, and then I point them out.

For example, I can be debating with someone and realise they're ruddy stubborn and not really listening. I encourage them to take more of a 'Yeah, I think you might be right on X point, however....' approach, instead of a 'NO, YOU WRONG'. But they don't listen to that either. And I'm not the sort of person to just walk away when I'm staring blatent stupidity right in the eye.

And yeah, I have a tendency to call people stupid or lacking in common sense when they don't listen to even the most basic points. But that's more about my general attitude towards people sometimes, lol. People annoy me pretty often when they can't even handle the basics of debate, or have a rubbish stubborn attitude.


- Tilius
    • 0
:kaukau:I love this entry and all your entries on truth-seeking debate and logic. I've been in enough confrontational debates to know the importance of this. I don't know yet quite how to use listening in order to actually change anyone's mind faster, although I try my best to understand where another person is coming from objectively. Now, you say not to assume either the best or worse of what another person says, although I find that when a person implies some heavy insults, it is best to assume that they're not insulting you. If you respond to insults then I think it lowers you to the level where you're no longer focused on debating the topic fairly.

I know a few contrarians. I myself like to debate, although I'm not a contrarian much, it's more of an urge to get my opinion out there, which has led to the more primitive form of debate that you mentioned. If I see something I agree with, I just say that I agree with it and I might expand on it. If I see something I disagree with, I am equally likely (not more likely, as I know most people are) to say so and explain my reasoning. Although to my understanding, the approach you propose here would dictate that it's better for me to simply ask a questions first when I'm initially in disagreement with someone. For example, "How do you come to Opinion X without contradicting Fact Y?" or "How is Fact Y taken into conclusion in Opinion X?" or "How does Opinion X compare to Opinion Y?" seem to be good formats.

Now, I've seen plenty of argument on the news channels and I know what poor debating is. I rarely ever see it when an anchor truly strives to understand a guest's opinion when they answer a question. Perhaps by constantly asking myself the question "How could I have been fairer?" would over time form a basis for a more sound debating style.

I know from experience from being misunderstood by people who have no intention of trying to understand what I'm trying to say the importance of listening. I have often been called a hypocrite for bringing up a bad analogy. Things I have said have often been taken out of context to mean the exact opposite of my overall point. It's frustrating, and I know that if I fall down to that level, as tempting as it is, then the end result will be no more than some pathetic noise.

One of the accusations that has been brought against me is "you come off as..." as an excuse for completely distorting my view and my personality. I try not to use that accusation myself.

By the way, I'm considering different speeches to choose from for when I go out for "public address" in Individual Speech, and although it's not at the top of my list, I'm still considering abbreviating one of your blog entries to fit under eight minutes. If that's okay with you, of course.

Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh
    • 0
That's totally fine by me, Kraggh. :)
    • 0

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"Muahahahahahahahaha*cough* *hack* *gurgle* ..... *ahem* Must remember to watch the evil laugh when the floodwaters get that high..."

--Evil Lord Survurlode

"Oh, that's an easy question. See, Sauron's One Telephone Ring looked like a metal ring, right? Well, the One Refresh looks like a ring made out of those green arrows... like on that refresh button up there. Wait... why am I telling you this?!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode,
in a BZP interview

"No, I do not get rusty! This is Stainless Steel! What? Yes, yes! They had stainless steel thousands of years ago. Yeesh."

--Evil Lord Survurlode

Gallery Of Explosions

Because explosions are the answer.


"While it's all well and good for someone to turn the other cheek in daily life, in times of great hardship another thought comes to mind instead; namely that one cannot turn a blind eye to the actions of evil and still call himself good."

"This is a discussion forum for a reason; it's a place where opinions can be discussed and debated civilly, not where one person can claim their opinion as fact and all others as "just opinions." Every person should, however, support their opinions with facts and evidence of all kinds."

"'The challenge of being a Biological chronicler is understanding why Lego are using another method to sell better. It gets boring using the same ones all the time. Variety is the spice of selling, after all.'
— A Biological chronicler"

"I could convince a thousand people that the moon is made of cheese... and yet it would remain as rocky as ever."

"This is simple, people! If it hurts to hit yourself with a hammer, then don't do it!"

"A famous drummer sits down to do a drum solo, but he has to keep his solo up for five minutes. Does he do all his amazing stuff first? no! If he did that, he would loose all attention because the end would be so boring. If he were smart, he would start out with something simple, and then add to its complexity as he goes along, so that more people would be into it.

The point is, writing either a drum solo, or is like a mountain, the bigger the base, the higher it can get, and the more amazing it is. Think about it, when building a mountain of dirt or sand, you need to slowly create your huge base, then as you build towards the peak things get faster and easier to pile on. The High points are where the story is fast paced and we are reaching the climax--what we just left on the last mountain of story we had (the MU story arch), and now Greg is building a new story mountain for us."

Gallery Of Galaxies

~through the macroscope~


92% of people have moved on from Gregorian chants. If you are part of the 8% that still listens to real music, copy and paste this into your sig.

Least Favorite Edit Of Your Least Favorite Post On Your Most Favorite Day Of The Month?

Secret Info: The Red Star is Tahu's mobile space mansion, complete with servants.

Join the petiton for ban bad grammer toady!

9009 Ways To Say "I Heart Spam"

92% of all teenagers claim they're in the 8% that hasn't moved on to rap.
If you are part of the 0% that still uses real math, copy and paste this into your sig.

What Is Your Alter-Ego's Imaginary Friend's Least Favorite Pet Collar?

Certificates Of Approval

Various award imagery and suchnot:

(Above from Makaru; resized to fit.)

(Resized to fit.)

The above earned twice.

Certificates Of Approval

Part 2

Needs sized down

Needs sized down

/This blog has been approved by \
/-For demonstrating outstanding-\
/~~~~RHYME and REASON~~~~\


Logic is the key.

I am insane. I know that I am insane. In fact, I know that I am so insane, that I am incapable of realizing that I am insane. Therefore, I know that I am not insane.

Forgetting things since.... umm....

Creativity should not be confused with nuclear weapons.

I heart logic.

Only dead things do not change. Much.

Pay attention now. Repeat after me. "Bones. Can. Be. Wrong."

The problem is, "Tradition for tradition's sake" is like flying blind in an airplane. It's like saying as you approach a mountain "But we've always flown in this direction before... why would we change direction? It isn't the tradition!"

Remember that -- clever absurdity, designed to harmonize with certain tastes, is the key to originality.


People are like snowflakes. No two are the same.

Yes, the Toa will win somehow. But let me give you a challenge. Write a story. In which the good guys win, or the bad guys win, doesn't matter. But write it with only introducing the challenges that the winner must overcome, and avoid showing how the winner wins. Just set up the problem, then skip to the end:

"In the end, this character wins, somehow."

Now, do you think this is a successful format for a story, that anybody would really want to read? [...] Readers demand that you as writer have thought through the "how" of the story.

Where is this idea coming from?


[L]et's not mince words here -- all LEGO products are toys. It's a toy company, in the toy business. There's nothing wrong with that.

[A] wise Daoist once said that a name is merely a label. If a person calls me a "nerd", then that is their label for me. If a person calls me a "human", that is a label. If they call me "bonesiii", that is a label. I would simply reply that, if "nerd" is the term they wish to apply to me, like "human", then so be it -- I would thus be proud of that label, because I am proud of who I am.

I'm not telepathic.

I don't know if this is just the way I'm wired, but I don't really think like "hey, wanna be my friend?" I just be myself, treat others with respect and friendliness, and those who would make good friends just sorta show up. And I really don't think like "well, you're not my friend, you are, you aren't" etc. Anybody can be my friend.

*revives topic, only to kill it seconds later*

My two pieces of eight.

Ha ha! Voriki myth still isn't dead? It's been so long since the constant flow of these topics stopped I guess I thought Voriki had finally kicked the bucket. Well, I hate to put another nail in the old guy's coffin, but...

Topic closed.

I Heart Logic


Ahhhhh, the sweet smell of complaint topics in July!

I think Evil Lord Survurlode is out to get me.

Bionicle doesn't revolve around ANY one fan. Not even you.

Bionicle does NOT age with its fans.

If something absolutely has to be done for the greater good, it is by definition NOT evil.

Think, guys, think! You have brains! Use them!

Logic is not some meaningless buzzword you can throw around like pie, at least not as long as I, an actual logician, am here.

Common myth. The answer is: "Yes, if you are an ancient Greek."

Last I checked, most of us aren't ancient Greeks. tongue.gif Some of us are ancient Geeks, but...

Besides, show me a brown rock, and I'll use your logic on you. "That's not a rock, it's hardened lava."

The best symbol of stone would be gray. But it would probably sell almost as bad as brown -- LEGO needed a "flashy" color, more like what Ta, Ga, and Le Toa have.

Do not insult cheese.

Omi's right.


(Four eight fifteen sixteen twenty-three... *ahem*)

Logic! Why don't they teach logic in these schools?

Can you imagine MNOG ending with the Turaga and Matoran executing Ahkmou?

So here's the question: If LEGO working harder by listening to fans is "lazy", then wouldn't they be "lazy" if they listened to you -- a fan?

You don't need to hate to say it.

Four extra letters. "Bionicle sets." How hard is that?

Actually, three extra letters since the s just moves.

If they are "Bionicles", then you are "History".

BZPers are often the exception, not the rule.



Of course it's cruel -- did you think bad guys were Mother Teresa?

It isn't like I hide it, but it also isn't like I go up to random students at college at say "Hey, I like Bionicle, isn't that something?!"

One man's junk is another man's treasure.

I had the same theory in ages past, and Greg personally disproved it.

The thing can destroy time, man. You guard those kinda things.

Brevity is the soul.

Which I suppose is a fancy way of saying, "I have no idea."

I attack my own theories. I'm weird like that.

If only books could be updated like web pages.

Bionicle was supposedly a betrayal of everything LEGO stands for, its pieces far too clunky, a horrible turn away from the more "intelligent" Technic and a total stabbing in the back of the good old brick, an insult to AFOLS, evidence of a mythical trend away from the construction toy, far too violent, etc.

It's really pretty simple:

Gadunka is one of the "coolest" sets ever. Most inventive, most unusual, most striking. Thus, he is horrible.

Of course they're weird. All Bionicle names are supposed to be weird. Show me the Bionicle name that is "normal".

You just completely contradicted yourself. If Mata Nui was working out great, then wouldn't Metru Nui have made less money?

If that's greedy, then you are greedy for driving in a car to get somewhere far away fast, for wearing shoes so you can walk at a reasonable pace without cutting your feet, using silverware to better eat your food, using a telephone to avoid having to make a trip and speak, using a computer to type a forum post when you could walk personally to everybody's house and speak what you just said over and over and over again.... At least 2000 times to account for all the possible active BZP members, and preferably about five million times -- and you'd have to go door to door throughout the whole world to even figure out which people were Bionicle fans anyways before you started confusing monks in Tibet with strange words like "Kongu" and "Cordak". All within your own lifetime, regardless of whatever else you had wanted to do in your life.

And forget speech. You have to scratch out the message with your fingernails in stone. Then maybe you wouldn't be greedy. Maybe.

Nobody would surprise me, so it's probably Makuta. But I went with Hydraxon, because he's a weapons master and it would make sense, no?

Why didn't I think of that earlier?

I don't just ask rhetorical questions -- I answer them.

I knew you'd say that.

You're a body with a head. So what?

A simple conversion is not a business plan to actually get two radically different markets to behave as if they were the same.

Um, hello? Are my posts invisible?

Universe go poof.

We All Live In An


I hate typing Roman numerals above three.

I always find these topics funny -- everybody goes in circles, pointing to the exact same aspect of the set and going "See that? So it's obvious it's horrible! How can you not see that?", and then someone else saying, "See that? It's obvious it's awesome! How can you not see that?"

Obviously, not everybody sees I to I.

They have their uses -- like if you're making a MOC that's supposed to be a light green faceless humanoid.

I hate it when I can't tell if someone's joking.

Yes, that's an excuse to be lazy.

Hold on just a second. I think you have things backwards. Mata Nui was not paradise -- it was a place of horror and war for a thousand years!


I'm a logician. I can tell you that your argument does not merely sound illogical. It is.

Yeah, that'd be bad. Next question?

We'd still have wooden ducks, no plastic bricks, and definately no LEGO if change was prevented. Really, we wouldn't even have that.

It is unfortunate that it's this way (at least for us). But it is. We might as well come to grips with it.

And I walk away in peace.

You have no idea how many times I've read this style of opening to this kind of topic, man. I must admit I am very very tired of it.

*deeeeep breath*

*shakes head madly*

Okay, I'm good.

My memory doesn't go back that far.

If I didn't agree with something, I'd try to find out the reasons for it before doing anything else, which is something I think some people forget to do and instead they dig themselves a hole for no reason.

Lol, I think you missed the point -- BR isn't going to think your forum deserves approval if he has to be told it exists.

I'm a coolomaniac.

But I like spam!

This is not a country. This is a website. Countries are led by governments. Websites are owned by owners. Countries are places you physically exist in, and may have difficulty leaving. Websites are places YOU choose to go. Countries are places you may be born in, or grow up in, etc.

BZPower is a place YOU sign an agreement in order to join. Blame cannot be placed on us when a member violates that agreement. And if a member chooses not to like that agreement anymore, they are free to leave at will. If a member violates the agreement they made with us, we are justified in punishing the member as agreed.

I'm a logician -- I think in terms of what makes sense all the time. I don't just agree -- I know why I agree, and I think my reasons are pretty sound.

If I'm breaking a rule, it's because I gave myself permission to allow myself an exception, thus I am not technically breaking it.

[A]lthough Evil Lord Survurlode does seem to be making a bit of a comeback, just like Sauron, so we might have an epic war that will spawn a novel and three giant books of a trilogy soon... but yeah...

I object to the wording of this question.


I'm A Doctor, Not A Great Being

_bonesquotes #whatever

Ever had one of those moments where you think you just passed into an alternate timeline? This is one. ()_o

Rants are based on pompous egos and desire to pick a fight. Not intelligence.

The Monster on LOST is Makuta.

Cynics are some of the most naive people on the planet. They hear someone claim things are bad, and they accept it without question.

I'm a realist with an imagination.

I blame Survurlode.

You see a flamer, your response should not be to just flame him back -- you lower yourself to his level if you do.

Let's open that can of worms, as unpleasant as it might be. [...] *I'm not afraid of you, worms!*

"Transformation" can be as simple as a bomb rearranging a building into a debris field.

Far better to be proven wrong than to be wrong without knowing it.

I remember when I was a kid, and I was just playing around, I didn't know this stuff, so I said gas prices were five dollars at my play gas station.

My dad laughed, said gas would never be that expensive.

Toa carrying rifles... as they ride their space shuttles into... Klingon territory...

Kazi [ha]s Rahkshi staffs. (Oooh, Kazi=evil??)

Take an election between two candidates. Obviously, both candidates will get votes. However, one will get more votes, and one will get less. You would be, in this example, voting for the one with less votes (Mr. Olderfanson). You see why the fact that you, one person, did vote for that guy, doesn't prove that he won the election? [...] "Mr. Newerfanson" won the election.


In general, I do enjoy debates--but I don't enjoy being flamed, no. Nor do I enjoy wasting time when I have tons of PMs I need to reply to and top secret reference projects to work on and all that responding to things that could have been cleared up with more thought before posting, heh. Debates can still get tedious when it seems (please note "seems"!) that a few people refuse to approach them with an open mind.


I didn't even spell "the" right.

Lol. I never said I'm always right! Yeesh, what do I have to do to convince you guys I don't think that? Purposefully take wrong positions or something?

Guess what? I could draw before I learned to write, but does that mean I should get all huffy and insulted at the fact that not everybody shares my particular talent? This is just absurd, isn't it? Did you honestly think that everybody has the same talents and gains proficiency at the same time?

When someone much older than you was a kid, LEGO was wooden toys. [fogie teeth voice]"These newfangled plastic things are insulting! As if there isn't money to be made in good old fashioned woodblock toys!"[/fogie teeth voice]

Can we sing kumbaya yet? Sing it! Koooooooo----oom---bah-----yaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.

Or something... Sing it! You don't even have to agree with me! Just sing it anyways, maaan!


Your mistake is that you are thinking in terms of a simplistic "formula" of strength, and thinking that can be used to predict everything. It can't--every situation is different, and sometimes a weak Matoran might catch a glimpse of a passing Rahkshi while a powerful "Toa Ultimaultrasuper" might get blasted to bits when the same Rahkshi actually attacks. You need to be realistic--think in terms of the situation. Stories are based on that--they are a "game of seconds and inches" where dangers both big and small can occur to both powerful and weak people, and how you perform depends on your brains and the time you have to prepare more than your actual power level.

Why did the entirely robotic Bohrok need teeth? Someone explain how that is okay but teeth in Piraka isn't?

Phew. Now, to post, and see if I maxed the text limit out.

Yabo! Hahaha!

_bonesquotes #whatever.2

Thanks X. Thanks D. Thanks X and D. XD

I lazy.

You can make any innovation look bad if you point to the non-innovative ways (the old "normal" ways) and claim they must be followed blindly.

But what I don't get about it is -- why the apparent desire to kill characters off for no reason? In real life you meet tons of people who you will never meet again, and they're not dead. Is that to you a problem? I don't get it -- you'd go insane if you tried to stay in touch with every random old lady that said hi when you were walking the dog...

Yes, my post in this topic is product placement. So sue me.

In addition, high gravity affects spacetime on a fundamental level, slowing time down and bending the spatial brane. Not to be confused with the spacious brain.

It would create a field of electrogravimetry that would pull all nearby matter in and then make it explode. The explosion cloud would take the form of an anchovy.

There's only a slim chance that we exist.

I love taking myself out of context.

I think it's admirable to be careful not to offend people where it makes sense. But at some point, you have to be willing to stand up for yourself and be confident enough that if someone comes at you with an unreasonable accusation, you don't take it.

I think aliens invaded already and have fooled us into thinking they are mere animals who "meow".

Good stories aren't puppet shows. They are tales of life, with realistic characters -- people -- living out their lives, with really minimal "guiding" by the author.

Oh goody, a complainer to blast to oblivion.

To begin with, I disagree strongly with pretending it is "killing off", rather than a serious story being told, with serious themes and life in the story. Characters aren't "killed off". They die.

I find this term somewhat offensive, because it implies the writer kills the character like a TV show host telling a contestant to leave. This is not a game show. It is the events of the storyline that kill the character. That term is merely a psychological shield to avoid the emotion of the moment in the story. IMO, that's a kind of immaturity.


You can't always get what you want "now now now". Your logic makes no sense -- if you want to know what's in the books, that means you support the books' existence. Yet you apparently want spoilers to go up the day it's out, so in the countries where it is bought, people could just read the spoilers and not buy the book, risking its sales going down and the books ending, and thus no more spoilers for you to read!

Truth = Truth. And nothing else.

I had spammed ten thousand times.

A good comedy is a development, like a story, not a punchline. You start with a situation, and it goes in unexpected, funny ways, which leads into other twists, to a conclusion that often can be more serious than funny, avoiding random cliches and developing enough logic that it doesn't feel like you slapped random nonsense down. Comedies Forum has this bad rap of having a lot of Unfunny Stuff -- I think it's the temptation to write short punchlines drawing on typical one-liner cliches that causes this. The 300 word rule is a good basic start to avoiding that problem.

Dude. My voting precint is a "23". ph34r.gif

And what people are saying about randomosity is true -- I hope that it's not surprising that as a logician, I understand how to be funny (though I won't try in this post ). Logic isn't for Spock who refuses to smile -- you actually need logic in your comedy to make it funny. In my experience, a balance of logic and random nonsense helps -- even logic OF the random nonsense.

I highly recommendate it.

Another mistake a lot of people make is thinking a comedy must be 100% funny -- reality is that that tends to just overwhelm the reader and come off more as spam. If you look at my Survurlode interviews, for example, there is always at least one serious theme that the whole work revolves around. The serious aspects support the humorous, and vice versa.

*strongly approves of the use of the term "bionical"*

Well, my observation has always been the opposite -- more established official facts inspires MORE fan imagination -- at least with imaginative official facts. It was really only once the "gappists" starting complaining, in my observation as a 2003+ member here, about "tons of official facts" that I saw the fanfiction community here really explode with creativity.

Think about it -- imagination feuls imagination. Less imagination doesn't -- it starves imagination.

Search My Blog

_bonesquotes #whatever.3

How much wood would a woodwood wood if a woodwood would would wood?

But my point related to that isn't that I literally think it should be FULLY sun-sized. I'm just saying, there's a whole range, from a little larger than Earth, to a LOT larger, to a TONTONZILLION larger, and it's all possible if the story team just feels like it.

*imagines massive asteriod pulling out a pirate's telescope lol*

GD is NOT for storyline-only discussion. That discussion belongs in S&T.

S&T policies are designed for good reasons, tried, tested, and they work.

Sure I'm sure -- it's Bionicle. Anything's possible.

I never understand these claims -- how do you know what "proportionate" is for that character? He's a fictional character, made out of plastic LEGO parts.

So why get annoyed at it? When you look at a giraffe, do you get annoyed? It makes no sense to me to do so.

Besides, you're setting yourself up for it. Nobody ever told you these characters were supposed to be exactly human.

If you look at an ape, would you say it's done wrong, just because it resembles a human?

I plan not to, but I guess if the site shut down I'd kinda have to, wouldn't I?

...they usually give their jokes when they have the upper hand at the moment, though, or when they've just run into a frustrating difficulty that's not immediately dangerous, which are realistic IMO. When they're in immediate danger, I am not aware that they pause to crack jokes.

I strongly disagree -- everybody capitalizes their name. It's cliche.

(I do not capitalize because 1) I hate being cliche, and 2) it is symbolic of humility.)

I knew you'd say that.

Seriously though, obviously the focus groups like silver, guys -- there's no mystery, those of you portraying it as odd that LEGO keeps using the color. This is how personal taste works -- it differs, and you're gonna find yourself in the minority sometimes. Best get used to it -- that's life.

*lets self dp*

I'm not a soldier, but I know that keeping your sense of humor alive even in dangerous or serious situations can be a huge boon to keeping your sanity.

He who forgets how to laugh forgets how to live.

I heart silver. My favorite metallic. If I had my way, gold would be considered lesser than silver.

The red eye thing is the closest thing you have to evidence, but I could argue that Berix is the traitor for spending time away from the villages, or Ackar is the traitor because his name sounds like Admiral Ackbar and there was a traitor in Star Wars called Darth Vader.

Ultimately it comes down to this for me -- YOU choose to dissapointed or miserable.

If you expected the universe to be perfect, that was your choice, and really not very sensible of you.

If I as a writer were to try to appeal to the attitude you express in your post, I would feel like I am constantly walking on eggshells. Everytime I had a cool idea how to use a character, or more importantly logic told me the character naturally would be involved in something, I would have to worry about whether I shouldn't do it as it might offend someone.

That's a miserable way to write, and I wouldn't wish that on the story team, myself, or anyone.

But one thing. Everyone expects something when they do something.

Very true. For example, when I posted the above post, I expected somebody to reward me with this point, giving me an excuse to discuss it in a separate post so as to give it better focus.

Therefore, the more "things to expect" from a "donation or whatever the heck you want to call it", the more likely we get mooooolaaaaaaaa. Therefore good.

I don't see what the anology has to do with this. "Chevys" (or "Chevies") makes sense. Like "Keets" or Morby or my personal favorite for Makuta -- Terry Mack. "Biological Chronicles" referring to beings makes no sense. And as I typed this, a Chevy ad came on TV. They called it "Chevy." Seriously, exact same time.

Oh my, you're completely irrelevant metaphor makes you look sooo intelligent.

This is obviously getting out of hand, so I guess I have to close it. Also, you failed to answer my question. When a moderator asks you a question, answer it. Capisce? wink.gif

Please do not attack people like that. That is flaming, or at best trolling, both of which are not allowed.

What does a premier member buy?

1) YOUR right to be on here for free.

2) Their right to be on here.

3) PM perks, like poll-making, blogs, etc.

4) Proto.

No matter how you slice it, sending in that money is NOT just buying proto. Even if proto is all they want, they're still buying YOUR right to be on here for free. Yall should be grateful.


IPB Image