Representing your Team Online

#1

I’ve seen some examples of individuals doing a very poor job of representing themselves and their teams on this site recently. I figured it’s never a bad time for a reminder that your online activity DOES reflect back to your team, its members, and its sponsors whether you say you represent them or not.

Disclaimers like, “my opinions don’t reflect the opinions of my team” are a huge joke. In many cases, the only thing people will know about your team will come from what you post online. It’s just human nature to form opinions and make judgements, disclaimer or not.

The people who read this post and take its message seriously aren’t the problem… So really the above message is just preaching to the choir. However, there is a lot that the broader community can do to minimize the impact of trolls, and others that generally represent themselves and their team poorly.

The first thing I’ve noticed is that the CD community dog piles on trolls, as well as community members with unpopular opinions, better than anybody. In the future, when a glaringly obvious troll makes a comment, rather than be the 8th person to “correct them” just hit the nifty little flag button below the post, and let the moderators know they should address it. Commenting just feeds the troll and empowers them to troll harder. Ignoring and flagging trolls is the best course of action.

In the case where a person isn’t trolling, but is just uneducated on a topic, or holds an unpopular opinion, be sure to read the dog pile before contributing to it. The other thing that CD does better than anybody else on the internet is beat dead horses. Often times the best way to respond to “mentor built” or similarly polarizing topics is to link to similar previous topics. I know you want to tell somebody they’re wrong and explain why… but I promise whatever you’re going to say has been said before… probably dozens of times.

Finally, if you see somebody representing a team poorly, and you know anybody from that team, let them know what you saw and how you feel it reflects on them. I hate to see a team’s reputation get tarnished due to a single rogue student or mentor with extreme beliefs. I would certainly want to know if somebody from my team was on CD making a fool of themselves. It would give the team an opportunity to handle things internally, and then to correct the record online.

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#2

excellently summed up! Thank you!!

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#3

Ryan, how do I flag this post? I vehemently disagree with you.

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#4

I suggest people go watch John Oliver’s latest special on internet shaming. Dogpiles aren’t cool.

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#5

I wholeheartedly agree. It’s not just Chief Delphi either, whether it be here, or discord, or reddit, it’s important to be aware that you’re representing your team when you make comments. I think that everyone has their moments, and people have their rights to an opinion (no matter how unpopular it is) but we all have to remember to be gp and that FRC is more interconnected than you think. These Are the people who we will be competing with and against, and it would be a shame for someone to have a bad perspective on you or your team because of a stupid comment made online. No ones perfect, but we can try to make the environment here as welcoming and friendly as possible.

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#6

Link for those interested. Includes strong language and mature themes.

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#7

Might be a good idea to include a disclaimer about the strong language

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#8

This is very true. I’m personally of the opinion that everyone on a team is their own individual person and can have different opinions from each other. However, that’s not an excuse to just go all out and say whatever for the sake of it. Posting on CD or Discord (or any other FRC online community) with a team number attached to your name is basically like saying what you said at a competition with a team shirt on.

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#9

I know this thread was most likely made in response to one particular individual, and it’s important for everyone here to recognize that while a rogue member will inevitably reflect poorly on their team, we shouldn’t judge or view the team in question as being comprised of entirely the same kind of person as that rogue member. I’ve seen a lot of people active here bash teams of rogue users both on CD and in other circles without having ever interacted with those teams before in competition. The students of these teams and the robots built by these students don’t deserve to be judged and scrutinized in a negative lens just because of the behavior of a rogue member online.

In most cases, those teams (as well as a sizable section of the frc community) don’t pay attention to CD as much as active users here do and are usually unaware of any slander or poor opinions made in their name. I’m familiar with the team that was responsible for the White Glove award that came into being in 2017 and the students behind it are still completely unaware of how much of a meme and a talking point it became online. Mentor-built threads pop up on a yearly basis because unfortunately for a sizable majority of students coming into the program, its the easiest mindset to slip into and its adhered to by mentors and students alike, all of whom are unaware of that it’s been discussed into the ground years before they even thought about participating in FRC.

For new users that spread unintentionally inflammatory opinions, we should always endeavor to educate rather than vilify. GIFs and shitposts don’t help in these situations and usually confuse new users further. And like most discussions on the internet, when someone feels like they’re being attacked in an unfamiliar place, they’ll just dig in rather than opening up to new ideas. While active CD users know what topics tend to be controversial or not, the average kid lurking on here usually doesn’t, and we should encourage them to read further and learn more rather than making fun of them.

CD has always been a difficult and intimidating place for new users to break into and participate in discussion, and can sometimes feel like an echo chamber since most threads tend to be dominated by the same group of active users that usually have been on this site for at least five years. It can often appear to be a hostile and elitist environment to new users (I’m not saying it is, but I’ve had students mention to me that they see it this way) and if we endeavor to be more welcoming I’m sure we’ll see less rogue users misrepresenting their teams. As for trolls, the more divisive and combustible a community becomes, the more attractive it is for a troll to mess with. Although it’s easy to dismiss a lot of rogue users as trolls, most of the time from the region and program specific context they’re aware of, they typically aren’t.

Anyways, that’s probably enough from the soapbox from me.

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#10

I can safely say I think guacamole is overrated and I know for a fact a lot of my team disagree with that. Don’t even know why I try negotiating with them though sometimes…

IN all seriousness though if you are a student who has read up to this far let me just reinforce this one more time so you don’t misconstrue this thread.
Your opinions matter but they reflect on your team so just be careful with how you voice them.
And Its okay to have an opinion contrary to your team and to bring it up for the sake of civil discussion but it has to be that a civil discussion, not flame bait.
God I hate flame bait.
And guac’…

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#11

I agree with you 100% and the others who posted below, but there is a difference between trolling and simply stating ones mind as I truly believe from personal experience, I witness accounts or through education. Although my post are obviously taken negative they are in no way intended that way. I think its important to hear all sides of an argument whether there agreed upon or not. I know there are others who agree with myself on many of the topics I discuss as I have messaged in response to, but are afraid, (or wiser) then me to make a post in support or against such a thing. As far as I Know my post haven’t broken any of the rules, therefore my opinions on, opinionated topics should be valid and allowed to be included in the discussion, There is no harm done to any as they can simply agree with my opinion or disagree completely up for there choosing.

although I make a disclaimer I Know it does little towards changing anything, but I am a single mentor on a team with a few, so within our team if my opinion on a subject is outmatched by the majority it simply doesn’t occur but I still make a point to have that opinion heard and voiced as its important to here everyone’s input, if you want to judge a team by one mentors personal opinions on a subject, then by all means go right ahead and do so but what does that have to say about your team?

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#12

Judging a team based on an individual’s posts is not a black and white thing (sometimes we tend to sometimes abstract problems to absolutes here…). It implicitly happens when, for example, the person with the controversial posts has their team name in their username or CD profile.

I don’t think anyone is assuming what you say is entirely representative of the beliefs of your team as a whole. We know there are other mentors and students that may have differing opinions.

But at the same time, people connect the dots, whether intentionally or unconsciously. The human brain is not straightforward, and it’s next to impossible to operate so rigidly as to not make these connections.

Another tangentially related point–part of what frustrates people is the way in which differing opinions might be delivered. The point about civility has been brought up, and it is what will make touchy discussions productive. Going the extra mile to try to remain professional, respectful and mindful of how your words might affect others can make a less popular opinion a source of healthy debate (not a guarantee). But it has a much better shot.

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#13

yes I am aware my username is what it is, It was created when I was a freshman on the high school team and I was afraid to speak my mind, I will probably be changing it to something less relatable for the sake of debate, and I put effort into making my post as civil as possibly but also get the point across I am trying to make, its a hard matter when ultimately those who are most active on CD will disagree with what you have to say and ultimately bash on you for having the unpopular opinion, but again, I am fine with it everyone’s allowed to have there own voice.

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#14

As much as we may try not to, it’s human nature to stereotype. It’s baked into our DNA - 100,000 years ago, the ones that said “the last time I ate a berry like that, I got sick,I think I’ll stop eating berries that look like that” lived longer than those that kept eating the berries. That baked in a certain amount of pattern recognition and stereotyping that is incredibly hard to overcome - and at times, we really don’t want to overcome it!

This thread isn’t about breaking the rules. It’s about representing yourself, your team, and your community well. When you post something you know is going to be controversial, it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to think about. Think about how your going to present it, think about how it’s going to be perceived. Think about whether it will lead to reasoned and informative discussion, or angry yelling. And then consider hitting the delete key.

There have been many times I’ve written a post, gotten what I’ve had to say off my chest, and then deleted it and moved on with my life. What I had to say on the topic wasn’t going to change anyone’s mind, it wasn’t going to be received in a way that would lead to a healthy discussion. While it was cathartic to write up, it wasn’t healthy to actually post it. Taking the extra few minutes to read over your post a second time and evaluate it critically would make the internet a nicer and more civil place, and that’s something the world desperately needs right now.

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#15

Agreed with the sentiments expressed here…

I think it’s vitally important for those of us that are mentors to set an example for the students here to take the time to stop, write, delete, re-write and carefully share constructive points of view that may or may not be popular. If it’s done in a method that is non-confrontational and open-minded, it leads to incredible discussions on subjects. I’ve had my viewpoint changed on things here that I never thought I’d budge on. This is another reason that I enjoy reading and learning here on CD.

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#16

The post are weighed prior to posting a lot of stuff I end up not posting. I post topics that I feel contribute to a discussion, the post could have easily been used to continue a discussion. It had a argument the was supported. Wasn’t blasting anyone in particular, and allowed for others to agree or disagree with my points in a productive manner. Instead CD saw my post as a unpopular opinion and turned the post into what cd shouldn’t be a bunch of mudslinging. But since my opinion was unpopular it must be oppressed, what exactly are we trying to teach students?

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#17

It felt like not only was it unpopular, it was ignorant of many issues that are prevalent in teens, and adults, and telling someone to get over it isnt an opinion, its just kinda rude

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#18

Why are you making this thread about yourself and your posts? I know plenty of CD users that don’t represent themselves well on this site and the sentiment in the OP wasn’t directed at anybody in particular. It’s just good advice for everybody.

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#19

There’s a difference between an unpopular sentiment and a downright offensive and ignorant statement.

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#20

One key point I try to consider aligns well with @Jon_Stratis. Assume everything you say will stay online “forever”. It will be part of what shapes and defines other peoples opinions of you and create your reputation. While I certainly have been know to tilt at windmills, and beat dead horses I do try and be cognizant of this point. Will the post age well? Is the context clear and unambiguous? Is the tone appropriate? Would you want a potential employer to read it?

Earlier this year I was involved with an exchange over my statement that I regarded behaviour as “evil”, which another poster felt was inappropriate. We took in offline, and after further discussion realized that we were fairly aligned on the particular issue, but “divided by a common language”.

Words matter, so it is always important to strive for clarity. Decouple the emotion from the information… attack the facts not the person and as Jon mentioned sometimes write it, and then delete it.

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