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When and Why To Know Better

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Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Jul 22, 2005
Liking Software ≠ Disliking People

Ladies and gentlemen,

With the release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, many individuals and persons will have opinions differing from your own. Many people enjoy this new operating system preview, while others disagree with its design for a multitude of reasons. As an administrative notice to all members and visitors, I would like to encourage you to remember one thing, and that is a concept that is much more important than Microsoft Windows, or any piece of software that you will ever purchase, use, or download.

Behind every computer screen is a living, breathing, human being. And although you may disagree with them, it is absolutely imperative that you treat them with courtesy and mutual respect. The beratement of any individual, either online or offline, can result in serious emotional consequences for that individual. When it is performed in groups, it acts as a force multiplier for individuals.

The goal of this website is to faciliate open, unbiased discussion about technology. That openness and unbiased level of discussion can only take place with your maturity and cooperation. If you disagree with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, either in part, or in whole, you have no reason to fear retribution for expressing those views on this site.

Similarly, if you enjoy the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you, again, should have no issue with your discussions.

The issues will only occur when mandates are placed on one another to conform to a certain ideology or way of thinking. Over the coming months and years, these forums will be trafficked and visited by many visitors of all different skill levels and persuasions. It is believed that we will encounter individuals that still operate and enjoy Windows XP, and they will have a lot to say about their distaste for Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Similarly, the site will be trafficked by individuals seeking further information, and guidance from people, who, although they may disagree with, can provide them with help and support.

It is our duty as mature, responsible adults, to welcome these individuals into our community, and not shun them into a place of discomfort. It is a terrible day when I have to tell a member, that basically, no one likes you, and they want you to leave, because you see the world in a different way than they do. The person I may have to relay that message to may have learning disabilities, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, or there may be nothing wrong with them at all.

And that is why I urge you, to read our Terms of Service agreement, and follow it, especially when it comes to conduct, personal attacks, and trolling. I have also outlined our standards for personal conduct and behavior towards other members in this forum announcement, as well as in a seperate thread posting.

Ultimately, if you do not agree with someone, and they cannot agree with you, and, in the course of these very human events, you can come to no conclusion other than to sling virtual mud, throw proverbial stones, or joke with each other publically about that user's shortcomings, it is time to call for a truce and ignore this person(s). It is also time to accept that some people will never agree with you, and that you will never agree with them.

You may ask yourself why we tolerate this type of converstion, and that reason is very clear. We want to provide a medium where you can enjoy your time online, get help if necessary, and provide it, if so desired. There are many reasons why an individual may choose to dislike Microsoft's new operating system, and it will be up to that individual to explain why. Similarly, an ardent supporter of the system, who finds no flaws in it, may use common sense and reasoning as to explain why this is the case. In all instances, an effort should truly be made not to offend others on a personal level, to conduct oneself with the upmost professionalism, and to avoid the temptation to illicit frustrating responses from one another.

Did you know that research found that human beings take pleasure in the suffering of others, almost universally? This is often rather innocous: we laugh when we watch television, and see a cartoon character from The Simpsons or Family Guy deal with an issue that causes them grief. As computer geeks, many of us will see images of something ridiculous, and use the Internet meme "Epic fail!". This is called Schadenfreude: the pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Schadenfreude plays a unique role in our lives that can serve as a way to relieve stress, but it can also create untold misery for others, especially over the Internet. The hurt that we can inflict on others over the Internet can lead to disastrous consequences for adults who may already be suffering from depression, anxiety, or mental disorders.

Accordingly, "A New York Times article in 2002 cited a number of scientific studies of schadenfreude, which it defined as "delighting in others' misfortune". Many such studies are based on social comparison theory, the idea that when people around us have bad luck, we look better to ourselves. Other researchers have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel schadenfreude than are people who have high self-esteem. A 2006 experiment suggests that men, but not women, enjoy seeing bad people suffer. The study was designed to measure empathy, by watching which brain centers are stimulated when subjects inside an fMRI observe someone experiencing physical pain. Researchers expected that the brain's empathy center of subjects would show more stimulation when those seen as good got an electric shock than would occur if the shock was given to someone the subject had reason to consider bad. This was indeed the case, but for male subjects, the brain's pleasure centers also lit up when someone got a shock that the male thought was well-deserved. Brain-scanning studies show that schadenfreude is correlated with envy in subjects. Strong feelings of envy activated physical pain nodes in the brain's dorsal anterior cingulate cortex; the brain's reward centers, such as the ventral striatum, were activated by news that the people envied had suffered misfortune. The magnitude of the brain's schadenfreude response could even be predicted from the strength of the previous envy response. A 2009 study indicates that the hormone oxytocin may be involved in the feeling of schadenfreude. In that study, it was reported that when participants in a game of chance were pitted against a player they considered arrogant, inhaling oxytocin through the nose enhanced their feelings of schadenfreude when their opponent lost as well as their feelings of envy when their opponent won."

You may read all of this, or even some of it, and think to yourself, how perposterous for a website based on Microsoft Windows or software. But, I tell you, that the emotional toll and damage that we can inflict on others, without even realizing it, is very present, and real. We must do everything in our power, to shed the masks that we wear every time we use the Internet, and behave like intelligent, mature adults. If this is not possible for you, than I urge you to reconsider your use of this website on pragmatism and on principle.

Many people will come to this site with very few 'real reasons' for disliking elements of Windows 8, or even the entire system. Others will come here and like everything about it, seemingly for no apparent reason. The truth is that just as there are two sides to every coin, and two sides to the moon (one we will never see with our own eyes); there are also at least two sides of every story. Because of that, we must look at issues objectively and make use of our critical thinking skills. We must also, always remember, that behind every member handle on this website and behind every computer monitor, is a human being that just wants to be accepted in this world. They may crave attention, or they may be fearful of it. They may use Windows8Forums.com as a platform to express their frustrations, where they cannot in real life.

It is so important to never forget that behind that person's name on this website, there is a real person, sitting in front of that monitor, whether it be a man or a woman. If it is a woman, no matter what she looks like, all of you men on this site should behave like men towards a lady. And all of you ladies should treat the men you encounter with a sense of dignity.

In front of every computer monitor connected to these forums, there is a human being that just wants to be accepted for who they are as a person. They are you, and they are myself. I am not a very religious man myself, but there is a saying that is said to go back around 2,000 years. That saying is "Do onto others as they would do onto you". The golden rule, as it was called, is one truth from the ancient world that was not just uttered by Jesus Christ. Over 400 years before his time, it was uttered in Ancient Greece by Plato, "One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.". And throughout the world around this time, in Ancient Egypt, Sumeria, and throughout the world, similar words were uttered. Taoism, Sikhism, Quakerism, Platonism, Mohism, Judaism, Janism, Islam, Humanism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Bahai all endorsed the philosophy at one time or another. The famous psychologist Frank Crane once said, "The Golden Rule is of no use to you whatsoever unless you realize that it's your move!". It is an example of a global ethic; a universal truth: reciprocol, pro-active altruism. Today, even neuroscientists are researcing whether or not fairness is engrained in the evolutionary make-up of the HAR-1 gene and the human brain. We are obligated, as decent human beings, to avoid conflict and to show each other true passion and dignity.

Now when we think of computer software, how important is that to treating a woman or a man with dignity when you disagree with them? It is likely worth more than all the computer systems you will buy in your lifetime.

This message has been an appeal to reason to our members to act maturely, and fairly, to one another. I hope that you will.


Mike Fara
Windows8Forums.com Founder
Originally published: 03-20-2012
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