2021-01-03 Community Identity

Today's dojo we covered many topics. The one that captures my attention today is a tension between writing in a community and writing as an individual.

Pete Forsyth presented the challenge when reading in fedwiki to understand the ideas expressed in the context of who wrote those ideas.

This reminds me of advice from Mike Caufield about critical reading of news. While reading, think critically about the author, that author's intent, whether the author or intent are trustworthy. The context of considering the authorship and voice of the words is one of many techniques to protect against disinformation and manipulation.

Ward suggests writing with the "we" pronoun with a spirit of making our own words into a gift to the community, instead of an expression of our own identity.

Inger-Mette suggested the change from "I" to "we" is an act of compassion.

The question of pronouns raised different questions for Eric who has loved ones who are gender non-binary... the challenge of changing my own brain to be able to speak without pronouns or with deeper sensitivity to pronouns.

Eric also shared memories of advice from peer counseling in high school: replace "you statements" with "I statements" to improve communications around emotionally charged conversations. After most of a lifetime of practicing "I statements" Eric worries he might sound narcissistic, turning every topic to something about himself.

In some contexts it is even inappropriate for a middle-aged, white, college educated, American man to assume to be speaking for the group.