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By the book or by your gut feeling?

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A long time back we used to be able to post polls in this forum.

Being as this isn't available anymore.

I'm wondering if you were aware and knew that someone or some group was doing something wrong and you knew it was wrong. Would you confront them, telling them that it was wrong or would you try and find a policy or rule that you could show them to show that what they were doing was wrong?


For the record I'm the type that wouldn't bother finding the rule or the policy. If something is plainly wrong, I'm very much for confronting the wrong doer and letting him or her know.



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Ah, the reality of my actions vs the reality. Upon reflection:


Immediate Confrontation:

(1) A racially or ethnically bigoted remark. My hot button.

(2) Bullying based on disabilities.

(3) Foul language.

(4) Scapegoating by the boys.

(5) Bad mouthing women (a problem with some guys going through a bitter divorce)


Weaseling regulation seeking backup:

(1) Adult smoking on a campout.

(2) Adult smuggling "scout-juice" on a campout.

(3) Adult refusing to wear a uniform.


While I am by nature a rule follower even if I do not agree (the loyal opposition) I have noticed my "hot button" is a perceived injustice --they have led me into some of my :Nathan Hale" moments and failing to do so my deepest regrets.

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I confront someone immediately if harm is likely. That may also include if morale might slip because of too much "grey area" discussion.


Other stuff, I wait and talk to someone with more authority or experience than me.


It's pretty rare that I pull out a guide and throw the book at someone.


I usually find the rules defend my actions against folks who would put up barriers.

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Confronting or telling someone a particular thing is wrong really is the expression of an opinion. A rule, regulation, or law is the opinion of a lot of people, a majority, that have together decided a position. Pointing out the rule is really a reminder that this is what weve all agreed do.


Of course there are those that have their own opinion and arent going to change it to match yours, or the match what was agreed upon in the rule.

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I myself prefer a friendly conversation.


Though we are rule focused with the boys, I find it's important to remember the big picture with adults. That doesn't mean we ignore rules with adults. However, it does mean that I do not generally go to someone and say "BSA rules say you cannot do...".

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Judging always depends on context. For BSA, that context is the policies and guidelines. Though expressing it thru a friendly conversation is best, but ya better know the context. Otherwise those confronting a wrong often end up looking foolish.

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I guess it depends on how wrong it is.


For many things that are wrong, there is no specific guideline to pull out anyway. If something is plainly wrong, to me and to the person doing the action, I'll definitely talk to them about it.


The time that I would go to the rules is in situations where the person might not realize what the rules are. Then it's just a friendly conversation to let them know the rules.


It's hard to talk about this in totally abstract terms. Depends a lot on what situation you are visualizing.

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I really don't think there is a hard and fast here. It will depend on what they've done, it will depend on the circumstances in which they did it, it will depend on who exactly did it.


I have in the past confronted people on the spot. I've also waiting for a quoet moment to calmly discuss it, I've reported it upwards. It's horses for courses in my opinion.

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Yah, hmmmm....


I reckon this needs some context.


Now me, I think "right" and "wrong" don't have much to do with "policy." Right and wrong have to do with natural and divine laws, eh? At least in da ethical sense. They're about our relationship with da Great Scoutmaster and our obligation to others and our community. So I can't imagine ever goin' to spend any time findin' a rule or policy myself. That sort of thing only leads people astray, because it makes 'em think that human policies and human rules determine what's right and wrong. And that's just false.


At da same time, I don't reckon it's enough for da other person to be doin' wrong, eh? Da question at issue is what's da right and proper choice for me in that circumstance, not whether what they're doin' is right or wrong. Lots of times, da proper choice is not to be a busy-body who goes around tellin' other folks everything that they're doin' wrong. It's bein' a friend to 'em, and not an antagonist.


Are there times to speak up? Yah, sure. To prevent imminent harm. If yeh feel it's da right time and place to educate someone, and they might listen. If not speakin' might be taken as an endorsement of their actions. Mostly though, if yeh want to prevent wrongdoin', you're lookin' to change people's hearts, and that can't be done by bein' a pushy, preachy sort.


Now, if we're talkin' about right and wrong in a factual matter kind of thing, instead of an ethical thing (like is a uniform required for insurance coverage), then that's a different matter. There I think we all have some obligation to each other to correct ignorance, both to save da person from da embarrassment of spreadin' such a yarn and to spare other folks from bein' misinformed. Lots of folks seem to like quotin' "authorities" in such cases, so if I'm talkin' to one of those, I'll try to speak his/her language and quote authority. By and large, though, I prefer to try to encourage people to think and reason through things themselves, eh? To do their homework.


Of course, sometimes folks are engaged in premeditated ignorance, and yeh can't get anywhere with 'em even in a case where there's a clear empirical answer. Then yeh just try to be civil. :)




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