ira_gladkova ([personal profile] ira_gladkova) wrote2011-11-04 11:27 am
Entry tags:

The value of constructive negativity

There's a conversation going on right now, centering around the OTW elections and the various opinions expressed by candidates and others, in which I chose to leave a comment. However, I don't want any resultant discussion to overwhelm the person/journal where I chose to comment. I'm replicating the relevant part of my comment below, so if you'd like to discuss this topic with me, please do it here rather than in the other person's space.

It's hurtful for those who have legitimate issues with the org and how it's run to be told they're "encouraging dissention and unhappiness" or that they're being "divisive and negative" when they try to share their legitimate hurt or take steps to make the org a better place by pointing out problems while letting their hurt show. It feels a whole lot like silencing. We all want the org to be a good place and for org work to be rewarding. But a lot of people leave the org feeling hurt and disillusioned rather than satisfied and fulfilled. If anything encourages unhappiness, it's telling people who want the org to be a great place but are unhappy that there's something wrong with them.

I don't want to invalidate your feelings — there's nothing wrong with wanting the org to be a positive space and for its people to also be positive. However, the way you've framed this feels to me as if you're invalidating those people for whom the org isn't currently a positive space, but who want to make it better through their active participation and discussion of the issues.

The original comment in the context of the post.

And here is another post with a different approach.
franzeska: (Default)

[personal profile] franzeska 2011-11-09 03:01 am (UTC)(link)
I agree with this completely. Instinctively, I react poorly to public expressions of anger. However, one of the big problems we've had in OTW things is a nicey-nice culture of sweeping things under the rug in the name of harmony. I've noticed this happening a bit and I've noticed people complaining about it or suggesting that it is going on to a very large extent. My feeling is that the realities of committee/board work will make people compromise quite a lot already. An angry board candidate (committee member, volunteer, blogger, etc.) could be someone who is going to be pointlessly divisive or they could be someone who will actually have the energy to effect change. It's far from clear cut.