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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar Missing the Point Fri 19th Aug 2011 11:40am

Category: Ramblings

I want to talk some more about the whole age segregation thing that I proposed...

I've been reading the comments on the news post and poll about it, and it seems like a lot of the arguments that people are putting forward rather go against the reason why I even brought this up in the first place... What I mean is that, well, I suppose I should explain in more detail *why* I'd want to segregate the site.

Basically, some of us just *do not like* the idea of associating with a bunch of children. I find it unpleasant to picture myself surrounded by throngs of preteens, or something like that. It's *embarrassing* at times to talk to children, not necessarily because of how 'mature' or not *they* might be, but just because it's not something I'd actively seek out and it's not my idea of fun.

It's awkward to think about showing off this site to people who don't know about it... "I have this supposedly intellectual community thing! Oh, but it's full of 13-year-olds."

If they're not understanding what's being talked about but pretend they do, then that's awkward to listen to and can disrupt otherwise engaging dialogue. But if they DO understand what's going on and contribute despite being children, then that's undesirable for me *too* since, well, I imagine that I'm not the only one who doesn't derive emotional satisfaction from being in a situation where I'm 'no better' than someone half my age. Or something. It makes me feel sort of dirty, or stupid, or jealous if it seems that they're cleverer than I ever was at that age or I am now. It's just not something that I'd enjoy experiencing about a community, and as such 'they can be at our level too, you know' isn't something I see as a positive thing.

I wonder if anyone here would enjoy - and I mean really enjoy, not reluctantly feel that they should feel positive about - having their ideas corrected or expanded on in a way they couldn't do themselves, by someone half their age. Hmm.

The word 'mature' is thrown around a lot... What does that even *mean*? It's not something that I place particular value on. It suggests forced seriousness or something to me, or pretending to be older than you are.
What would separate a 'mature' 12-year-old from an 'immature' one? Would the 'immature' one should and scream and throw tantrums and call people 'poopoo heads' and stuff, while the 'mature' one would use long words and wear a suit?

Is 'mature' often used to mean 'civil', I wonder? Many young people can act polite and behave themselves, and that's great, but it doesn't mean that I'd particularly enjoy socialising with them because the issues in their lives are just not the same as the ones in my own.

Is having sex 'mature'? Is speaking pretentiously 'mature'? Is having a sense of humour 'mature'? Is showing emotion 'immature'? Is talking about quantum physics 'mature'? Is using good grammar and spelling 'mature' while not doing is 'immature'?

I suppose I hate that word, 'mature', because of how commonly it comes up in this topic and how meaningless it seems to me. Or at least it seems to have positive connotations when I don't consider it particularly important.
I mean, I hate trolls and people who are too stubborn to admit they're wrong or learn from others and that kind of thing, but I suppose I wouldn't use the word 'immature' to refer to them; rather, they're 'malicious' or 'stubborn' or things like that. 'Mature' seems so vague as to be effectively meaningless.

Talking to children often seems to be a one-way sort of affair... They seek out older people because they feel they're 'more mature' than their peers, that those peers aren't engaging, and that talking to older people will make them feel better about themselves, or so it seems. But then in such a situation, the older person is sort of stuck doing what the child is trying to avoid... That is, talking to someone younger than themselves who's not quite on their level.
The child feels that he's clever for engaging the adults like this on an equal level then later brags about how he has had 'intelligent discussions' with people more than twice his age, but the adult was still just having to talk to a child, and can you imagine THEM bragging about how they had an 'intelligent discussion' with a child who was on the same level as them? o_O
(I've seen comments like that from older people in support of children being clever and 'mature', but it seems less like something said adult would mention out of context to feel good about themselves...)

"I AM mature! I've had Intelligent Discussions™ with people 25 years old, even though I'm just eleven and a half!"
"I'm so clever! I just had an Intelligent Discussion™ with an 11-year-old! Oh boy, I feel uplifted right about now!"

Some of us don't want to be 'teachers' in a place that we'd come to relax. We'd rather talk about issues relevant to *us* instead of trying to be good role models to children, or avoiding things because of 'minors', or trying to create universal topics that transcend age and life experience... There are many things I'd like to ask that don't apply to children not because they're not 'mature' or whatever, but just because they wouldn't have *experience*.

"How was college for you?"
"What's it like to buy your first house?"
"What's the longest you've ever had a girlfriend?"
"How many people have you ever had sex with?"

Children replying to any of those with things other than 'it doesn't apply to me' would be creepy or irritating, so I often end up avoiding such topics since I don't want to hear children talking about their sexual experiences or something.
Usually they just end up talking about homework and things like that, which isn't even a factor in my life anymore.

Anyway, a lot of people have mentioned things about how we should give them a chance, that some children can be 'mature', that it would be a great learning and development experience for them to be here, etc...
But having to think or worry about things like that is a burden, when I'd rather just come here to relax. Or something.

I feel like I'm not doing a good job of communicating my views here; I suppose it's largely an emotional affair for me rather than something strongly tied to logic, and I'm just trying to drag out the idea that "the idea of conversing with someone much younger than me is embarrassing because while they might 'be on my level' in some way, it effectively puts me down to their level", and since I don't really have any friends outside this site (none in person anymore), I spend most of my time in a place full of children and it's not a particularly lovely *feeling*... Hence the segregation thing, to relieve me of frustration, which isn't born of the 'immaturity' of any young members, but of the unpleasant *idea* of me associating with youngsters more than I do with people my own age...

Consider this post just me expressing my *emotional thoughts* on this issue. Perhaps 'venting' like this will at least make me less frustrated and maybe there'll be no segregation as a result, sigh, since it seems to obviously be an issue that would have unpleasant effects on the community.

I do wonder though... If you started a site of your own, people, what kind of audience would you prefer it to attract? Would any audience bother you? Or would you just feel absolutely no difference in emotion talking to people half your age, twice your age, or equal to your age?


37 Commentson 25 roots

KK Twain`s Avatar
Rating Orb KK Twain 17 United States CholericPhlegmatic 18C 0F
6 years ago | (0)
Well, I missed the last post so I'm not entirely sure how you're planning on segregating the site since often times, younger people lie about their ages online. I've done it for years myself. So I could easily see that blowing up in your face.

Also I have to say... I think children can be more intelligent than adults, and adults less intelligent than children. If you had to choose between the 13 year old me and my 40+ year old aunt to have on your site, you would've picked me. And I have to say when I was in my preteens and hanging out on forums with people who were several years older than me, I never went around bragging about it. It didn't matter that they were older than me, I was just concerned about enjoying my time and conversations. Yes, looking back on it, I can see how I made some idiotic decisions that I know better than to do these days, but for the most part I fit right in.

I think taking it out on children is a poor decision, and reflects negatively on your own self-confidence. I can see wanting to get idiots off of your site, but not all children are idiots.
Gaellan`s Avatar
Rating Orb Gaellan 18 United States SanguineCholeric 9C 0F
6 years ago | (2)
wait wait, your telling me there would be conversations about more adult things if this site was segregated?... hmmm. well f***. ok that throws a wrench in my views on this site. well i still dont think this site should be entirely segregated but if you had "adult sections." and for those who read that wrong, no not like a porn site. I mean like blog topics where you have to be 18 years or older to comment or read and maybe even a chat that was for 18 and older.. i think it's a good idea but im no programmer so i dont know if that be easy for pseudo. or i guess 15 and over instead of 18 come to think of it since pseudo thinks of them as not children.
LightningSlash`s Avatar
Rating Orb LightningSlash 15 United States SanguineMelancholic 132C 8F
6 years ago | (3)
I *used to* (please note 'used to') have a simple "Ageism is bad we can be smart too" view of this ongoing subject. But after understanding this blog post and reading the insightful and brilliant posts by Rating Orb Wiloturtle, Rating Orb Neah, Rating Orb warren, and Rating Orb RickyProduction, I understand both sides of this and have come up with what I hope to be a reasonable opinion.

I have been academically acknowledged as 'Capable of a higher thinking than my peers'. But yet, when I know sometimes I could participate in useful community discussions by being careful and speaking pretentiously, I realize I have little experience I have compared to the older members here. Most of them are very humorous and kind to me, but I now know how uncomfortable this could be for them, and just for me to talk in the chatroom.

Final Statement:

I think the site should be segregated in some way, but not like a prison.
I know that though I am Intelligent, I am Unexperienced.
If the site is segregated, I hope to gain knowledge and experience so that when I become 15 or 16, I may rightfully join the fun among you older members.

I do hope at least most people found this reasonable and surprising in a good way. :D
bewnt`s Avatar
Rating Orb bewnt 18 Singapore MelancholicPhlegmatic 1C 0F
6 years ago | (2)
In all honesty I was rather put off by some of the generalisations Pseudo made about younglings. Quantifying people who can emotionally and/or intellectually relate to others by age may be convenient, but also sweeping. There are things that younglings can talk about intellectually; when a hard restriction is put in place, it would be rather vexing if a 13-year old couldn't participate in an intellectual discussion of a specific topic, simply because others on this site of his age don't talk about it.

Nonetheless, there's a reason why people gravitate towards friends of similar age and form social circles. Unfortunately, it's rather hard to virtualise the concept of social circles. This being the Internet, it's natural to expect all sorts of input from all sorts of people, and obviously not all of these inputs are desirable or even suitable for a good discussion. I hence thought up a possible solution: the ability for all members to filter posts in any discussion based on age. Probably the biggest benefit from this is removing the annoying question of "should this discussion go to the adults-only section or the free-for-all-ages one", knowing there would be implications with either decision. I'm no programming expert and this may seem a tall order, but in my view it seems like the best solution since it satisfies everyone's needs.

Eventually if the site does segregate into two (which I can see happening), the line between "adult-only" and "for all ages" has to be drawn with care. If everyone takes the adult section to be the "norm" where most standard discussions go, we'll have a site where younglings can only introduce themselves and talk about MARDEK, which would only encourage them to fake their ages. On the other hand, if most standard discussions are held in the all-ages section, the point of age-segregation would be moot.
UncleRex`s Avatar
Rating Orb UncleRex 65 Mongolia Phlegmatic 123C 42F
6 years ago | (7)
lots of hate in this post, not a lot of love
keep it positive, why not?

you ever wonder why a bunch of thirteen year olds are attracted to a site about video games? it's like giving out candy and then complaining when you find yourself surrounded by kids
Friendly Fox`s Avatar
Rating Orb Friendly Fox 15 Brazil MelancholicPhlegmatic 50C 0F
6 years ago | (4)
Oh. I now understand the purpose of those 'odd or unusual' polls in this site, like 'When did you start masturbating?' and such.
Psychopath194`s Avatar
Rating Orb Psychopath194 14 United States CholericPhlegmatic 5C 0F
6 years ago | (7)
What if I don't want to be stuck in a chat with a bunch of annoying 10 year old kids either? I don't want to talk to them anymore then you do.
Xskill`s Avatar
Rating Orb Xskill 17 Ireland PhlegmaticCholeric 145C 43F
6 years ago | (7)
I honestly don't think one could segregate people for their age, as what's to stop internet savvy children to just lie about their age, and continue to be on this site under the guise of being 21 or something like that. It just seems impractical to be honest.

That aside, I do see where you are coming from. Granted, I'm only 17, I have a two year old Nephew who can speak somewhat clearly, but I don't feel comfortable speaking to him, both because I can't really understand him too well, and I fear I might say something I probably shouldn't. Nothing vulgar or anything like that, but just something that really shouldn't be said to a small child. However there is one thing I must point out. Although children might not be as intellectual as adults, they have a funny way at looking at life. Just as an old man whose lived enough time to fill two lifetimes might have a strange but engaging perspective on things, so might a child.
YellowReaver`s Avatar
Rating Orb YellowReaver 19 Hong Kong SanguineCholeric 2C 0F
6 years ago | (6)
The reason in which you are planning to segregate between ages is so that people don't have to lie about their ages. I see a minor flaw in this. If you need to be a certain age in order to access the apparent adult section of the forums, then wouldn't small children lie about their age in order to do so? The best solution is to leave the forums the way they were.
Brilliand`s Avatar
Rating Orb Brilliand 23 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic 27C 6F
6 years ago | (3)
If I had my own site, the one audience that I would not want is a group of people who are just as smart as me, and good at the same things that I was good at. I like being the smartest person around, and I've been able to be that for most of my life; while I can accept having some other people around who fill the same role that I fill, if the proportion is such that I have difficulty contributing anything new, I'm likely to go elsewhere. I suppose this is what Warren called a "teaching personality" - I'm more interested in what I can contribute than how others can contribute to my knowledge, though for me it has much to do with the admiration that I get in return (a contribution to my ego, I suppose).
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