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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer

There have been a lot of posts complaining about the tone of the forums and the style of certain posters. The Linkedin thing most recently, but there’s been an uptick in general, I think.

I’m not intending to comment on the merits of the specific complaints (and now re-reading this, I realized that I did exactly this). I don’t have a super strong opinion . In some cases, I agree that we’re being dicks, either in the individual or collective sense of the term. In other cases, people ask. We answer. If an answer is shitty, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about that.

As a long-term poster and reader, here’s what I’ll say, for whatever it’s worth. These forums are a valuable resource. Part of that is information. Sometimes people provide helpful, neutral facts about admissions, law school academics, hiring, and practice that wouldn’t be otherwise be readily available. More importantly, this forum provides people with a sampling of perspectives from industry insiders on different issues. Especially for those without existing ties to the legal profession, this can be important. As a student, I learned about everything from norms in Court, to best (or at least better) practices when cold calling/emailing for jobs, to how to deal with a moderately  unhelpful supervising lawyer. I would never had access to those things from a such a cross-section of the profession. At best, I had access to a handful of upper years, a couple of clinic supervisors, and then my articling principal.

A lot of that feedback I received/read was brusquely expressed. I have had my feelings hurt. @Diplock has informed me that I am being “intellectually dishonest” on at least one occasion. I don’t think I was ever the subject of a major pile-on – by the time I was actively posting, I generally knew enough to avoid the types of exchanges that tend to get people repeatedly ridiculed. But I’ve been on the receiving end of other blunt responses, so I’m not unfamiliar with how it can feel.

Some of the complaints are just people not wanting to hear legitimate, reasonable answers. The more interesting ones (at least from my perspective), are the ones which essentially say: “can’t you say the same thing, only nicer?” To which I say, maybe. I mean for one thing, this is free. I do provide blunt, but polite opinions on people's lives, but those are usually for clients who give me money. You get what pay for, and sometimes the cost of free advice is that we're not going to agonize over the nicest wording.

The other thing about a lot of the harsh, sometimes flippant answers is that it often represents somewhat common views throughout the profession. Take the linkedin debate. The announcement post is pretty common nowadays. But aside from the criticism of whether it’s harmful to unsuccessful OCI participants, self-congratulatory posts will strike some people as a bit odd. And there are certain lawyers who will judge you for them. Social media was invented within the lifetime of many practicing lawyers. Prior to that, there was a time in which making a big public announcement about every career milestone was unusual, and therefore contrary to our norms. Law is a conservative profession, and norms don’t change automatically across the entirety of the membership. So while you are free to post or not post whatever you want on your page, as was noted in that thread, other people might judge you for it. You can decide whether you think that’s worth knowing. I think it is.

Point being, I believe that the honesty of posters is an integral part of whatever value this forum offers. Part of what we’re giving you is the quiet part out loud (although I realize that saying has an unhelpful association with Trump). Some answers are shitty to hear. To use another past @Diplock example, there have been a number of occasions where he has responded to posts about arguably abusive employers with the perspective of a lawyer at a small firm. Those sorts of perspectives represent the practical reality of certain parts of the profession. And it can be hard to find another place where an articling student will be told that relatively basic seeming requests for courtesy or comfort are legitimately difficult for some employers to accommodate. At least for me, my real-life confidantes and mentors are my friends. They’ll be honest, but only to a point, because they don’t want to disrupt a productive professional relationship. And given that we like each other, they are not necessarily objective. Even if we have our biases here, I do think we offer a certain amount of impartiality.

Some might respond that those aren’t the posts people are complaining about. And no question: we have some gratuitous snark here. I dabble in snark. There’s no question @CleanHandscan be a total dick (edit: I say this as someone who very much likes cleanhands). But I have to say, aside from blocked's weird Dentons beef, most of the shit I read from the posters accused of negativity, are things that might be thought by a reasonable number of other lawyers I know. That doesn’t mean the thoughts are all the best thoughts to have. But it does mean that people are letting you in on perspective that exists. And, like I said (I'm repeating myself now - shut up I've had a long day), I think that there’s some value in knowing the thoughts that rattle around in our cynical lawyer brains, before you unknowingly share whatever views you have to the contrary.

Edited by realpseudonym
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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer

You need better lawyer friends if more of them don't have beef with Dentons. 

How's that for negative 😛 

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
5 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

You need better lawyer friends if more of them don't have beef with Dentons. 

How's that for negative 😛 

I assume many of my lawyer friends probably think Dentons has something to do with dentistry. 

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I don't have feelings, so can't get those hurt, but I've been insulted here on occasion. Sometimes it's even warranted, like a few weeks ago when CleanHands said I was not well educated or informed on a particular topic that I actually post a lot about. I think that comment went a bit far, but there was certainly some truth to it. I have taken it to heart and intend to post even more on the topic so that discussions aren't dominated by insiders who "understand" it and bring my perspective as an outsider who just doesn't understand why the cops always beat up and kill people who are seemingly no serious threat to them, even if their cop manual permits it.

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
10 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

-Snip-

Bruh, show some balls and tag me.

For real though you can handle the bantz and roll with the punches and I respect that. Yeah, let's get some use of force discussion going again when it hits the news.

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Thrive92
  • Applicant
5 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

I have never tagged anyone on this forum. How do you even do that? I'm too old to haggle over stuff like that!

You press the key "@" and then type the name "Cleanhands". There should be a list of names that pops up the moment you start typing the name

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OK, I was joking about not literally knowing how to do it. I'm not as old as MOL! But it's not something that I bother doing, and I'm too old to change my habits.

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Deadpool
  • Lawyer

It's the circle of life. Typically, those not in law school and in the early stages of their legal career, will be the most vocal group expressing concerns about forum rudeness, negativity, and toxicity. Fast-forward a bit and you have these same members becoming the very creatures they once despised so much. It is usually because many of these members are tired of seeing the same content ad nauseum and are wondering how people can be so naive, clueless, woefully ignorant, or not know how to use the search function. It's also a part of growing up because there is such as a thing as asking dumb or poorly worded questions, without first doing a baseline level of research; and when you ask dumb questions or express certain attitudes, it is easy to reflect back on your past-self and wonder how you could have been so naive or clueless. 

I try to generally couch my comments positively in online forums, as I find that people tend to listen more and it usually opens up my DMs for those seeking further insight or advice; but I also believe that there is a place - or a necessity even - to have more straight-to-the-point members like @CleanHandsand @BlockedQuebecois who do not hold back and will tell you like how it is. Because we need that side of the conversation, too. No one is intentionally trying to hurt someone's feelings on an online forum, especially coming from members that have been posting for years and whose identities are known by many people in real life. It is just the reality that when you seek out advice on an online medium, you are exposing yourself to the good and the bad, and people here are not invested in you on a personal level to predict how their choice of words or attitudes may offend someone. I would advise everyone to never take things personally here, and if you are bothered by certain comments or attitudes, feel free to express your disdain, but do not linger on them. Go watch a nice movie instead or spend time with your family. Rudeness and negativity on this forum is a pleasant experience compared to the shitstorm waiting for you in law school and the legal profession. It will train you well to have some perspective and know which battles are worth fighting, and which are not. God bless everyone.

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Thrive92
  • Applicant
58 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

It's the circle of life. Typically, those not in law school and in the early stages of their legal career, will be the most vocal group expressing concerns about forum rudeness, negativity, and toxicity. Fast-forward a bit and you have these same members becoming the very creatures they once despised so much. It is usually because many of these members are tired of seeing the same content ad nauseum and are wondering how people can be so naive, clueless, woefully ignorant, or not know how to use the search function. It's also a part of growing up because there is such as a thing as asking dumb or poorly worded questions, without first doing a baseline level of research; and when you ask dumb questions or express certain attitudes, it is easy to reflect back on your past-self and wonder how you could have been so naive or clueless. 

I try to generally couch my comments positively in online forums, as I find that people tend to listen more and it usually opens up my DMs for those seeking further insight or advice; but I also believe that there is a place - or a necessity even - to have more straight-to-the-point members like @CleanHandsand @BlockedQuebecois who do not hold back and will tell you like how it is. Because we need that side of the conversation, too. No one is intentionally trying to hurt someone's feelings on an online forum, especially coming from members that have been posting for years and whose identities are known by many people in real life. It is just the reality that when you seek out advice on an online medium, you are exposing yourself to the good and the bad, and people here are not invested in you on a personal level to predict how their choice of words or attitudes may offend someone. I would advise everyone to never take things personally here, and if you are bothered by certain comments or attitudes, feel free to express your disdain, but do not linger on them. Go watch a nice movie instead or spend time with your family. Rudeness and negativity on this forum is a pleasant experience compared to the shitstorm waiting for you in law school and the legal profession. It will train you well to have some perspective and know which battles are worth fighting, and which are not. God bless everyone.

There is a straight - to - the - point way of typing things, and there is a nicer way of typing things. Both do its jobs in getting the content across, but one is nonetheless more preferred by not only law applicants, but in general as well. Neither one of these methods should be considered as a "necessity". If you are being rude and use profanity in your content in order to get your message across, I would rather receive no advice at all.

What matters more than this is that the content of what is being typed is factually correct. If you are being "straight - to - the - point" and also being incorrect, that's when I see you as someone that I pray would not personally meet in the future in the legal field.

Edited by Thrive92
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WiseGhost
  • Law Student

The slight rudeness of posters on this forum is part of what makes it entertaining. However, I do feel that commenters here could do a better job from refraining from meanness when it isn't necessary. Yes, sometime OPs might have unrealistic beliefs about where their LSAT and GPA can get them, but dogpiling them with comments that cross the line from frank to slightly callous won't help. 

Applying to law school is a difficult process, and so many applicants (like I do to a degree) attach their feelings of self worth to being accepted to the law school/s of their choice. I think we should try to be kind but realistic. 

 

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TheMidnightOil
  • Law Student

As a clueless and doe-eyed 1L, the critical tone on this forum (and the old one) actually helps keep me accountable. I generally try to be very careful not to offer information/advice unless I'm truly confident about it (and if I'm not, I try to provide disclaimers). This attention to my lack of knowledge is only reinforced by the paralyzing fear of getting (Diplock/BQ/CleanHands)'d.

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
2 minutes ago, TheMidnightOil said:

As a clueless and doe-eyed 1L, the critical tone on this forum (and the old one) actually helps keep me accountable. I generally try to be very careful not to offer information/advice unless I'm truly confident about it (and if I'm not, I try to provide disclaimers). This attention to my lack of knowledge is only reinforced by the paralyzing fear of getting (Diplock/BQ/CleanHands)'d.

I like you.

If only people like @TheCryptozoologist would internalize this lesson this forum would have consistently fantastic quality advice.

(BTW whatever else anyone may say about me, other than dunking on Blakes I never talk BigLaw/corporate law because I dunno a damn thing about it and it's outside my wheelhouse. I agree we should leave advice-giving to people with something to offer.)

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TheMidnightOil
  • Law Student
Just now, CleanHands said:

I like you.

Bro this is legit one of the highest compliments I've ever received.

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
3 minutes ago, TheMidnightOil said:

Bro this is legit one of the highest compliments I've ever received.

I wish there was a "thanks but sad" react.

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
23 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

I like you.

8 minutes ago, Mustang said:

I still love you @CleanHands

28 minutes ago, TheMidnightOil said:

 

Would the three of you like the rest of us to leave so that you can be alone? Can I reserve you an Airbnb or something? 

I mean FFS, I write one nice pro-negativity post, and suddenly people are declaring their love for @CleanHands

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2 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

Would the three of you like the rest of us to leave so that you can be alone? Can I reserve you an Airbnb or something? 

I mean FFS, I write one nice pro-negativity post, and suddenly people are declaring their love for @CleanHands

Air bnb’s are nice, maybe a few brews with the lads? That’s a real good idea actually

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53 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

Would the three of you like the rest of us to leave so that you can be alone? Can I reserve you an Airbnb or something? 

I mean FFS, I write one nice pro-negativity post, and suddenly people are declaring their love for @CleanHands

Another canlawforums classic at work: a thread spontaneously morphing into a discussion so far removed from what the OP intended that they wish they could undo what they've done (starting the thread)

Edited by AllanC
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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
3 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

I'm always nice to everyone and I think people should follow my lead.

Conservatives aren't human beings so they don't count, I assume. :nom:

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Barry
  • Law Student

I’m glad this turned into a @CleanHandsappreciation thread because that guy rules and is genuinely someone I look up to as an aspiring criminal lawyer. I’ve kind of wanted an excuse to voice my appreciation but felt it sounded super lame. I acknowledge it sounds that way now anyway… but since everyone is doing it. 

Edited by Barry
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TheMidnightOil
  • Law Student
16 minutes ago, Barry said:

I’m glad this turned into a @CleanHandsappreciation thread because that guy rules and is genuinely someone I look up to as an aspiring criminal lawyer. I’ve kind of wanted an excuse to voice my appreciation but felt it sounded super lame. I acknowledge it sounds that way now anyway… but since everyone is doing it. 

Agreed. Dude's the sort of lawyer I aspire to be. I imagine we're not the only law students / recent lawyers who think this.

Although, you can't deny that there's something pretty funny about how a thread called "Forums & Negativity" ended up centering on him 😆

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