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Cawatrooper's Unofficial Guide to Constructive and Healthy Discourse When TROS Releases

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' started by cawatrooper, May 30, 2019.

  1. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    Having moderated on another large forum (not this one, to be clear) I've noticed some tactics and situations that tend to lead to divisive situations among fans. We're here to all enjoy the same thing, people- there's no reason to be at each other's throats. Though, truth be told, it affects even the best of them, and I definitely am not immune to frustration.

    That said, I thought I'd compile some general ideas for upcoming discussion that I hope might help to keep the discourse on here a little healthier. Let me know your thoughts!

    1. Have Some Empathy

    When TLJ came out, there were two threads here that got a ton of traction- "Those Who Liked/Hated TLJ".

    I get it, it's unlikely you won't have some prevailing emotion from watching a piece of entertainment. But this type of tribalism was definitely a microcosm of how people tend to view fandom these days.

    But that's ridiculous. You don't have to be all in or all out of a movie. Surely, there were things that you both liked and hated in it.

    I suggest that once you identify what your prevailing emotion is for TROS, try to find as many scenes as possible that you feel the opposite about. Challenge yourself to try to see the movie from a different point of view, rather than simply going with your gut feeling, or whatever YouTube told you how you should feel.

    And remember that it's okay for others to have a different opinion than you. We're not here to win arguments, we're here to discuss Star Wars. In my opinion, it's usually quite interesting to see how others interpreted scenes- that's how you can grow as a fan.

    2. Have Some Joy

    I know this seems slanted toward a more positive reaction to the film, but please remember that the movie isn't even out yet. There's no reason for me to convince anyone to like the movie in actual regards to its quality.

    Look, it's unhealthy to focus your time and energy on hate. That's literally the message of Star Wars. Yet, so many people last time spent dozens if not hundreds of hours feeding into each other's hatred- and I'm not just calling out those who disliked the film here. Focusing time on tearing down others' criticisms is just as easily the thing you didn't like about the movie, and it's equally an unhealthy obsession.

    Think of those scenes I challenged you to find in our first step- cling to the joy that those scenes bring. And remember that others also found lots of joy in the movie, possibly in other scenes. Don't try to rob them of that.

    For example, after Rogue One, I asked my little brother what he though. He, having watched the OT maybe twice, was mad that Vader's costume was slightly different, which he said caused him to dislike the entire movie. Later, I found out that he'd just heard this criticism on YouTube. I don't know if he just wanted to dislike the movie and would've found something else to complain about, but he really would've benefited on trying to get over that one little thing and focusing on things he actually liked. And again, not that he only knew about this from a channel on YouTube- it's very possible someone stole his joy.

    That's why, even though I think both "camps" were extremely toxic and at fault last time, I still think a positive approach is healthier in general. You don't have to like everything, but nobody is impressed that you can quote CinemaSins, and it can actually ruin others' experiences, even if you don't actually change their minds.

    3. Have Some Nuance

    One of my least favorites types of criticism is sweeping statements. Too often, I've seen "reviews" that quickly throw in some buzzwords like "bad writing" or "great acting", then fail entirely to elaborate on the point.

    If you make a claim, try to provide some specific examples. If you say Rey has great character development in TROS, come up with some specific examples. If you thought the sound design was particularly bad this time around, let me know what exactly you meant by that.

    Also, often times on any forums I visit, I see arguments started by someone making a bold, absolute claim, something like "The dialogue in TLJ was bad." Then about four pages of arguing goes through, half of it not even about the topic but a sort of meta discussion on the poster's credibility to make such an absolute claim in the first place. Then after days, they'll follow up with "I just meant that as my opinion".

    It's a good rule of thumb to consider that anyone that posts on these forums is simply sharing their opinions. However, it doesn't hurt to try to throw in disclaimers like "I think..." or "In my opinion...", just to really hammer that point home

    Because at the end of the day, no one has a right to change your opinion, but something interpreted as an absolute claim could somewhat-reasonably upset others.

    4. Have Some Flexibility

    What exactly is the Force, and how does it work? Who was Snoke? What is the afterlife like in Star Wars? Who were Rey's parents?

    Star Wars has, at times, teased answers to all of these questions, but I think it's quite impossible to claim that any fan can for sure say they are correct.

    For instance, I remember one time in Rebels when Hera fired the lasers on her X-Wing while the S-Foils were shut. Some fans thought this couldn't happen (possibly from the non-canon Rogue Squadron games), but Pablo simply answered that the S-Foils simply affect how the beams fire, not preventing it fully.

    Truth is, this is space fantasy, and even as big of fans as we are, there are a ton of things that simply haven't been specified in it- and if they have in some obscure manual or something that may or may not be common, I think the filmmakers reserve the right to edit the laws of their universe to a certain extent. Sure, there is probably some sort of limit to the suspension of disbelief we should allow it, but I think it's wise to give them a pretty long leash. And yeah, maybe sometimes we even see stuff that seems to contradict lore in the current canon. That might come in handy at your next trivia night, and I can totally see how it's frustrating, but again, try to find some joy. If not, why even watch movies just to get angry?

    And people like making theories. Heck, that's half the reason I'm on these forums, to read yours and write my own. But remember that if things happen differently than you predicted, even if your idea was better... that's okay. There's a million ways things can happen- we as fans aren't individually entitled to our own version of things on film.

    *Cough, cough*

    upload_2019-5-30_8-48-46.png

    5. Have an Informed Opinion (suggested by @The Hero With No Fear)

    Did Mark Hamill really hate Rian Johnson's script? Is Kathleen Kennedy on the chopping block? Is this finally the confirmation we've been looking for of an Obi Wan movie?

    Believe it or not, sometimes there are rumors in the Star Wars community. Even more surprising, sometimes these rumors turn out to be nothing more than Bantha Poodoo.

    It's fine to have your finger on the pulse of SW gossip. But please remember that facts are only valuable when they're confirmed. It's far too easy for someone to make up some drama that Pedro Pascal actually hated The Mandalorian and wants to be written out of season 2, and that could actually have a detrimental effect to how others view the series when it comes out, tainting it in their eyes- even if that rumor is completely untrue (for the record, this is an example I just made up on the spot, and I've never heard of such drama with that show).

    Clickbait is extremely common online, and it's incredibly easy to find a site that sides with your particular viewpoint to use as a "weapon" in a debate online... but what's the point in that? I can find dozens of sites that say the earth is flat- it doesn't mean I'm right, or that I have a meaningful argument. (FYI, not to sound too much like a shill, but our host site here of SWNN is usually a very responsible source that almost never peddles clickbait- though even then, I'd encourage you to diversify your sources, of course).

    Furthermore, even if an actor/writer/director/what have you had an issue with an aspect of a movie or show... so what? It's strange to me that some people think that Mark Hamill disliking Luke in TLJ should have any affect on my opinion of a movie I've already watched, or John Williams apparently liking TROS is particularly meaningful. Why should that immediately change how you "should" feel about a movie?

    Like, I'd be willing to listen to Hamill and Williams' honest reviews just as I am with any of you. But as mentioned above, these sweeping absolute statements lack nuance, and I just see little to no value in them.

    6. Have Some Reasonable Doubt

    Yes, some people come to the internet to argue in bad faith. But for the most part, I like to believe that people on The Cantina tend to be passionate about how they truly feel.

    If you find yourself in some irreconcilable disagreement with someone, that's okay. It's not okay to write off their feelings based entirely on your own experiences, though.

    Stuff like "Oh, you just feel that way because you're a hater", or "Your opinion doesn't matter because you're just a Disney fanboy" aren't cool when they come from either side. Frankly, it's often not true, anyway. I mean, do you really think most people generally want to hate Star Wars, or have some sort of blind loyalty to a company like Disney? I think those types of assumptions tend to say more about the people that hold them, than anyone else.

    So have some reasonable doubt- don't rush to conclusions about others' motivations, and if you find someone you believe to be insincere, let that speak for itself.

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    So yeah, these are just some things that I personally think could help with constructive discussion later this year. I realize this maybe sounds like preemptive optimism, but at this point in reading I think I've made my case for why that's a good thing in the first place.

    By eliminating the garbage CinemaSins approach of bad film critique, I think we'll hopefully see the bad faith Positive reviews also go away. Without both sides feeling like they're constantly under siege, I think fans would be more willing to try and take a more nuanced approach to watching these movies- it'll cause viewers to be less reactionary, and more introspective.


    Let me know if you have any other thoughts on how we can foster a healthy dialogue between all fans.
     
    #1 cawatrooper, May 30, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2019
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  2. Jedi MD

    Jedi MD Jedi Commander

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    Great post. I hope that no matter how good the movie is there is at least civil discussion. I really agree with the quote above. I think if we become to attached to our own theories it ends up taking away some of the joy the movie could provide.
     
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  3. The Hero With No Fear

    The Hero With No Fear Jedi General

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    Something I’d like to add to this is to always check your sources and don’t automatically believe headlines that are often misleading. For example, I am so sick of hearing people saying that JJ Abrams/Rian Johnson/Kathleen Kennedy have “insulted” the fans when that is so untrue and there is no evidence to support this, but because they read some internet clickbait or heard a quote out of context, that’s the way it’s spread. Even though this should be common sense, don’t believe everything you read/hear online and actually be knowledgable about the topic you’re debating about.
     
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  4. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    Great point, I've added in a bit about the news and clickbait stuff.

    I've added a section that I think is what you're going for. Let me know if you'd like any changes.
     
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  5. LadyMusashi

    LadyMusashi Archwizard Woo-Woo-in-Chief
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    THIS.

    Or AT THE VERY LEAST, let others have some joy. There are some people that would rather wallow in misery and all the better if they could pull others with them.
     
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  6. BobaFettNY21

    BobaFettNY21 Force Sensitive

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    Like....Kylo Ren? :D
     
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  7. LadyMusashi

    LadyMusashi Archwizard Woo-Woo-in-Chief
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    Yeah, he just can't let it go, man. :p
     
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  8. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Rebel General

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    I will make the same suggestion I made months ago which would go a long way towards decreasing the amount of disagreement in the forum (please note the keyword is "suggestion" not "forum rule"):

    If you liked/loved it, stay out of the hated it thread. Let the "hated it" people have their own place to vent. The only reason a "loved it" person would contribute in the "hated it" thread is to pick an argument.

    If you hated it, stay out of the liked/loved it thread. Let the "loved it" people have their own place to talk about how great it was. The only reason a "hated it" person would contributed in the "loved it" thread is to pick an argument.

    I know forum rules are that anyone can contribute in any thread, but I personally followed the above suggestion.
     
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  9. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    I agree with this assuming there's a "loved it" or "hated it" thread, but honestly I hope that this time people can be mature enough to be able to discuss the movie without feeling the need to segregate the discussion based off of our opinions about space wizards.

    But yeah, I mean if these threads have to exist, going into one you disagree with is just antagonistic.
     
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  10. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
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    They don't have to exist; I think we have all learned from what transpired here and elsewhere in the post-TLJ world.
    And moving forward those types of threads that segregate certain opinions and discussions won't have a place in these forums.

    So, with any future film or project, this:
    will not be an issue.
     
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  11. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    That's really great to hear, Darth. Personally, I think that's the right decision, and will probably play a huge part in keeping this a healthy community.
     
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  12. Stormagadon

    Stormagadon Cantina Court Jester
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    Yeah, that's pretty much the idea. :)

    We found those two threads didn't encouragement much useful conversation. There were faults on both sides, with people baiting or outright denying someone else's viewpoint or opinion, along with some trolling (some intentional, some just misguided). By eliminating those two types of threads, conversation must follow our rules, no way of "bending" or "subverting" the rules already in place. If you act disrespectful, it doesn't matter what side you're on, you'll be getting a message.

    Also by not having threads like that, we hope to prevent (in our own, small way) the echo chamber effect. People will have to deal with differing opinions in a respectful manner.
     
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  13. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Rebel Official

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    And don't forget, if you're going to speculate, do so responsibly! Don't get so caught up in theories that your enjoyment of the movie hinges on what you think should happen. It is perfectly acceptable (and sometimes even more enjoyable) to be wrong and pleasantly surprised when consuming entertainment.
     
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  14. Sparafucile

    Sparafucile Guest

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    When emotions are high, rules and guides fall by the wayside. That's what happened after TLJ imo. Common sense was tossed aside for passion (I think pretty much everything mentioned we routinely use in our daily lives, at least I hope so). I don't see that problem after TRoS, and that's good but also sad in a way. I think the passion for the franchise got nipped. Some have left, others, like me, are just not as invested (anymore, in the saga ect... add your personal caveat).

    I think the hate/love threads had good intentions, and could have worked in theory, the passion got in the way. I don't think it was the threads themselves, but our decisions on how to interact within them that made them fail in the practical sense. I don't think it was clear what their intention was, which didn't help, as some saw it as safe spaces, others as battlegrounds to debate, denounce which often led to rule offenses (tentatively raises hand as being among those with offense). The lack of clarity was the issue, but also can't be mitigated, so the idea failed on arrival.

    Basically, if you want to vent, go to G&G or any number of other channels (with comment sections). If you want to praise everything, wallow in its magnificence, there are channels for that too (also open to comments). For either side there are places where opposing viewpoints will get shouted down, this isn't one of them. I enjoyed the hate thread, mostly because I felt discussions tended to try and reach a resolution (when they didn't derail with hyperbole and personal attacks), or opinion were given in a more primal way. I mostly liked it because I felt it a safe place to criticize and critique (as well as receive... I wanted to be convinced I was wrong), voice my displeasure with fair warning to anyone who loved it who dared venture in (if you don't want to read opposing views, it's obvious there will be some here, so why enter?). I didn't want to suck the joy out of it for those who loved the movie, unless they specifically chose to experience that. Though there won't be a "hate/love" thread, I could see there being a more raw thread where the fandom can explore their differences in opinion, where those who don't want to can mostly avoid in other more specific and less heated, more tame threads. Without that hate thread, pretty much everything I said there would have been said elsewhere, which I think would be a disservice to those who don't want to engage in that kind of conversation/debate.

    Lastly, I think we mostly all learned a lot from the fallout of TLJ. I'm pretty sure most of us won't be the "troublemakers" moving forward, it'll be those who inevitably join due to passion for or against TRoS that will be the spearhead of controversy. Hopefully we can all serve as ambassadors :)
     
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  15. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Force Sensitive

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    Never saw this before. Good stuff in this thread. Lets all try to avoid toxicity and not provide a voice for toxicity. Also would say try to use common sense and logic. For all out our benefit, dont use partial comments and things like they say or I heard. We dont get points for being right, we earn respect and bring more people in to have fun discussions if we are positive and even positive with things that didnt work for us. It is nice to have people who want to discuss things with you.
     
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  16. Stefynoseu

    Stefynoseu Rebel General

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    Part of the fun of Star Wars for me is to discuss different perspectives and opinions regarding the movies. I look forward to expressing my thoughts and feelings about the films, even sometimes predicting what may happen next. I agree there is no need for negativity. I've learned some really cool stuff in these threads, heck, some people have even managed to change my opinion about certain things! *teehee* ;P
     
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  17. KyloRen1981

    KyloRen1981 Rebelscum

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    I would really love if the ideals of the OP are embodied by everyone after TROS comes out. That includes the big name media outlets -- the ones that magically seem to have the closest ties with Disney and the actors/creators. Because I can tell you one of the most frustrating and hurtful things that happened after TLJ was having all the big media outlets treat me as if I wasn't the "right" kind of fan (or even a "real" fan at all) simply because I disliked so much about TLJ. In my opinion, the fact that none of them even took issue Rian Johnson or other employees for the things they said about fans did more to drive a wedge between us than any forum comment could have.

    So, that's my hope: that the people who have the loudest voice take the ideals of the OP to heart. They would have to put their relationship with Disney and their desire for clicks below their sense of kindness and empathy. Unfortunately, I fear that is too big an ask based on the lack of integrity I believe those outlets have. :-(
     
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  18. The Last Jorgny

    The Last Jorgny Rebel Official

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    Thanks for posting this! Everyone should read the OP of this thread before the movie comes out. I hope that regardless of how the movie turns out, the discussions are kept civilized and friendly.
     
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  19. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    For sure, I definitely agree with both of these.

    I think they both are symptoms of the sort of tribalism that I think fandoms can fall into. That causes a lack of nuance, which causes oversimplified/generalized opinions to form, which furthers the division. No one wins when criticism (positive or negative) becomes a partisan issue.

    I agree that no one should say that you're the "wrong" kind of fan, and I think that my comments about nuance should definitely apply to how we talk about topics like this, too (in that it's clearly wrong to generalize a group of people as the wrong type of fan, or not even fans at all).

    I cannot speak to your experiences personally, but I do think that Rian Johnson (among others) clearly was attacked by lots of fans after TLJ's release, and some staffers lashed back. Personally, I don't really see that they handled this too terribly badly, but I'd be opening to hear your thoughts in a PM, if there's a specific quote or set of quotes that you found offensive.


    If I might suggest where that divide deepens, though- a lot of fans come here to discuss their passion (Star Wars!). After months and months of people flooding the forums with complaints about the movie (and to be honest, nothing new was really said after the first week)... well, it all hearkens back to that "Have Joy" tenet above. I understand that passion can run many ways, but you must realize that the incessant attacks made by many fans actually soured the enjoyment of other viewers (in a way wholly unrelated to the film's actual quality).

    That's certainly not to say that the divide didn't go both ways, but I can't help but think that healthy discussion cannot start with obsessive pessimism.
     
    #19 cawatrooper, Oct 30, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  20. Angelman

    Angelman Servant to the Whills & Slave to the Muses
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    It is also worth remembering that hate and vitriol sells...

    Just because something gets repeated ad nauseam on the hate-fueled click-bait circuit does neither make it actually true, nor indeed a valid position to hold or hill to die on. In fact, if something gets spread all across the internet by click-bait mongers, it is even less likely to be true than other random rumors and such.

    Apply brain and heart, please :)
     
    #20 Angelman, Oct 30, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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